The World’s Best Chili Recipe (aka Bill’s Chili)
The World’s Best Chili Recipe ever is the ultimate comfort food. This hearty beef chili is fully loaded with both ground beef and stew beef, plus bacon and plenty of “secret spices”. Plus it makes enough to feed a crowd. Let it simmer all day on the stove, or get it ready and keep it warm in a slow cooker for a tailgate party. Then get ready to enjoy a bowl of this homemade family favorite that we know as Bill’s Chili.
Originally published on May 16, 2012. Updated on January 19, 2016.
Years ago I was part of a Facebook group where every day we answered one question – “What’s for dinner?” The answers ranged from fabulous steak dinners to super healthy salads to chicken nuggets to pizza night. Basically, when life gets crazy, you gotta do what you gotta do and just get the family fed.
However, everyone in the group got excited when someone said they were making Bill’s Chili, a now-famous recipe that was passed around the group. I have no idea who Bill is, other than that he is someone that one of the group members knew. But I can tell you one thing – I will be making his amazing chili for the rest of my life.
And so will many other people. It has been pinned over 140,000 times. The video has been viewed on Facebook nearly 4 million times. It is even award-winning at several chili cook-offs.
This recipe truly is, at least in mine and many others’ opinions, the World’s Best Chili Ever.
Have you tried it yet? If not, what are you waiting for?
How to Make Chili
It’s so much more than just a basic chili. It is simple, yet hearty. By letting the delicious combination of ingredients cook together as long as possible, all of those flavors develop and blend together. Each ingredient adds something to the overall flavor and texture that really makes it the World’s Best.
There is always the debate of whether you use just ground beef, just stew beef cubes, or a combination of both. This recipe uses both to get the depth of flavor and the different textures. Plus there is bacon for that salty, smoky goodness.
The bigger debate with chili is beans or no beans. This is a chili with beans, but leave them out or swap kidney beans for black beans, if you like. It’ll still be delicious. The beans are definitely an inexpensive option to be able to feed more people with this one recipe.
This recipe makes a ton. Whether you are having leftovers the next day or pulling the extra chili out of the freezer, it reheats well, and in fact might taste even better the second time around.
Here is a brief overview so you can see just how easy it is to make. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full quantities and details.
But don’t skip my PRO TIPS below!
- Meat – This recipe uses both ground beef and stew beef cubes. Plus there is bacon for that salty, smoky goodness.
- Vegetables and aromatics – Onion, red bell pepper, and garlic are sauteed with the meat to add layers of flavor. Canned chopped green chiles give it a bit of heat, and the saucy stew base is a mixture of canned whole tomatoes and tomato paste.
- Herbs and spices – The (no longer) secret blend of spices includes chili powder, dried mustard, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Beans (or no beans?) – This chilli has kidney beans. You can always leave them out or swap them for black beans. However, adding beans is a budget-friendly option to be able to feed more people with this one recipe. But a no bean chili is a great low carb option.
Let it simmer all day in one big heavy-bottomed pot on the stove for dinner. Or make it ahead and keep it warm in a crockpot for a party or as one of your favorite potluck dishes. It tastes even better reheated the next day!
Directions overview – scroll to the recipe card for the full set of instructions
- Saute the two kinds of beef and bacon with chopped onion, pepper, and garlic in a large Dutch oven.
- Add the seasonings, including chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and a few more items.
- Pour in the tomatoes and tomato paste, water, and canned green chiles.
- Add kidney beans.
- Stir everything together.
- Reduce heat and simmer as long as possible, stirring occasionally.
BRIANNE’S PRO TIP: if you don’t want to worry about tending to it on the stove, transfer to a crockpot for the simmering time. But use about half the water to start, and add more if needed.
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Chopped raw onion
- Sliced avocado
- Crushed tortilla chips. Buy a bag or make your own Baked Tortilla Chips with flour or corn tortillas.
Make it a meal
- Have some corn bread like this Apple Butter Gluten Free Cornbread or even some corn pudding casserole or Hushpuppies.
- Instead of a bowl, you can serve it as stuffed acorn squash.
- Need some veggies? Try a slaw, like Maple Dijon Apple Cole Slaw.
- Another option is to toss a simple salad and set out Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing or Creamy Greek Yogurt Maple Dijon Salad Dressing.
Can you make chili ahead and freeze it?
This recipe makes a lot. So you can definitely make it ahead to feed a crowd at a party, or heat up your leftovers the next day. In fact, it tastes better the second time around.
If cooking on the stove, just keep it on low and let it simmer.
Or transfer it all to a crockpot (make sure you get a large one, like this 6-quart slow cooker) after it is cooked just to keep it warm or to reheat it. This is especially helpful for a party. If you allow it to simmer in the slow cooker, I’d recommend starting with about half the water and add more if needed.
And yes, you can freeze it all, or have it for dinner one night and freeze the rest. Transfer the cooled chili to an airtight container and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Or for even more compact storage, fill plastic freezer storage bags and lay them flat. And it always reheats well. If it has thickened up, just add a little more water.
Is chili gluten free?
This recipe is gluten free, but not all are. A few things to look out for when looking for in a recipe is whether it contains flour to thicken it, if beer is added, or if the recipe uses a powdered seasoning mix that might not be gluten free. However, there are plenty of options out there to find your favorite gluten free recipe.
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Don’t have time or need quite this much?
Here are some quick and easy chili recipes
- Quick and Easy Chipotle Turkey Chili
- Slow Cooker Aloha Chili
- Cauliflower and Quinoa Vegan White Chili
- Pineapple Black Bean Crockpot Turkey Chili
Bill’s Chili – World’s Best Chili Ever
I hope you’ll leave a comment and give it a FIVE STAR rating or share a photo on Pinterest!
Bill’s Chili (The World’s Best Chili Recipe)
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 lb stew beef, cut into about one inch chunks
- 1/4 lb bacon, diced in small pieces
- 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced (or 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic from a jar)
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1/2 Tablespoon crushed red pepper
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons cumin
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4.5 oz chopped green chilies
- 28 oz whole canned tomatoes (I used Tuttorosso Peeled Plum Tomatoes)
- 12 oz Tomato Paste (I used two 6 oz cans Tuttorosso Tomato Paste)
- 48 oz canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 cups water (add more if needed)
- shredded cheese
- sour cream
- diced onion
- tortilla chips
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the meats, pepper, and onion, and cook until the meat is browned and the vegetables are tender. Drain any collected grease and liquid, if desired.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
- Stir in the chili powder, dried mustard, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Add the chilies, tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, and about two cups of water, and simmer on low for at least 2 hours, or put into a crockpot on low for at least 4 hours. Add additional water, as needed to achieve desired consistency.
- Serve with desired optional toppings.
More of my most popular recipes made with ground beef:
- Lasagna is always a family favorite, and this one is the best.
- Shepards Pie or Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage Pie, whatever you call it, it’s delicious.
- Beefaroni also has a million different names, but it’s a family favorite ready in a flash.
- Beef Egg Roll Bowl is a one-pan dinner ready in less than 20 minutes.