The World’s Best Chili Recipe (aka Bill’s Chili)
Chili is a hearty comfort food everyone loves. And I guarantee this is the World’s Best Chili Recipe with the perfect blend of “secret spices” for amazing flavor with just the right amount of heat. Those seasonings combined with ground beef and stew meat, plus bacon and beans make it truly unforgettable. Let it simmer all day on the stove or in the crockpot, or make it ahead because the leftovers taste even better!
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. And we were lucky enough that she shared his recipe.
I have now been making it for years and will be making his amazing recipe 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.
Check out reviews like:
Wonderful recipe! This will be my go to! My husband loved this. I don’t think he ever stopped raving about it. Also I went into labor the night I made it…
Bill’s Chili recipe is the best I have ever eaten! And the best news is I froze over half of it and thawed it out 3 months later for dinner one night. I cooked up a pound of thin spaghetti and topped it with the chili and plenty of grated cheese-SO WONDERFUL❤️
Had to write and say THANK YOU for such an amazing recipe! I am happy to report that your recipe was the first-place winner of the cook-off. This will definitely be my “go-to” recipe as the flavor is ever so delicious and the consistency is perfect. The only thing I “changed” was I used only two cans of beans rather than three ?
Everyone agrees that this recipe truly is the BEST EVER! Have you tried it yet? If not, what are you waiting for?
What makes the best chili recipe?
Because it’s so much more than just a basic chili. It is simple and hearty, but 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.
- 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!
You can get the full, detailed recipe at the bottom of this post, but here is a brief summary, including step-by-step photos:
- Saute the two kinds of beef and bacon with chopped onion, pepper, and garlic.
- 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.
- Corn bread like this Gluten Free Cornbread or even some corn pudding casserole.
- Instead of a bowl, you can serve it as stuffed acorn squash.
- You could also go with a slaw, like Maple Dijon Apple Cole Slaw.
- Another option is to toss a simple salad with Greek Yogurt Ranch 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.
After cooking on the stove, you can 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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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.
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
World’s Best Chili Ever
Loaded with beef, bacon, and more. As soon as they’ve tried it, this spicy comfort food becomes everyone’s favorite. It is my go-to for feeding a crowd or if I want to stock up my freezer with leftovers. Once you make this homemade chili recipe, you’ll never make another.
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.