Sunday Chili


Sunday chili in a bowl with a spoon.

Here’s the thing – I do love chili. But here’s the other thing – I’m kind of picky about chili. I like chili that is:

  • Thick! Mega thick.
  • Chunky, but small, even chunks – no huge pieces of tomato, please.
  • Spicy, but not like fire-in-your-mouth spicy. Just the cozy, warming, winter afternoon kind of spicy.
  • Beany in moderation. I want to know that the beans are there, but not be thinking about beans with every bite.

So… with that, I’d like to introduce you to my new favorite Sunday Chili.

In This Post: Everything You Need For The Best Chili Recipe

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Ingredients for Sunday chili.

What I Love About This Recipe

It’s thick and appropriately chunky, spicy and extremely flavorful without being hot, balanced just right between meat, beans, and vegetables, and excellently scoopable (what else is chili for, really).

And not to mention it does that chili magic thing where it GETS BETTER AS LEFTOVERS.

There’s just something about a slow-simmered chili on a Sunday that’s chock-full of cozy goodness.

Ingredients For Chili

We have a really simple and delicious ingredient list for you.

  • Ground beef
  • Bacon
  • Jalapeño pepper, onion, and garlic
  • Carrots (if you want)
  • Spices
  • Crushed tomatoes and tomato paste
  • Beans (black beans and pinto beans are great, or you can also add kidney beans)
  • Broth

Easy ingredients, the perfect balance of flavors, and all ready to simmer away.

The Basics On How To Make Homemade Chili

Here we go – let’s cook!

  1. Crisp the Bacon: Very important step here – make an extra slice of bacon to crisp up and munch on while the rest of the chili cooks. This is essential.
  2. Sauté Veggies: Save that bacon grease in the pan and plop your chopped veggies right in there. Your onions, your garlic, your carrots, your jalapeño – all of that goes in the pot. Also, hot tip alert. Take a look at all the ways to cut an onion (without crying).
  3. Cook The Beef with Your Spices: Ooooo! Things are smelling really good!
  4. Add Beans and Liquid: Toss in the tomato paste, tomatoes, beans, broth, and crispy bacon bits (you know, the ones you have left at least after snacking).
  5. Let it Simmer: Give things a stir, cover the pot, turn the heat down to a low simmer, and go grab a magazine and a glass of wine. Or maybe more realistically in your household, unload the school backpacks, fold the laundry, and listen to the dog bark at a random squirrel in the yard because dinner is pretty much cooking itself at this point.

Scoop these big flavors into a bowl, get your toppings together (maybe cilantro, probably avocado, definitely chips!) and let’s gooooo!

Adding Bacon and Winning Hearts

The bacon! Did the bacon get mentioned yet?! You need it. It’s crispy, and smoky, and provides just the right amount of surprise. Plus, bonus! You can just sauté your veg right up in that bacon grease.

Bless it.

Plus, spices! It’s all in the spices here, friends. Use really fresh spices. Just trust! Go into your kitchen cabinet or spice drawer right now and make sure you don’t have any spices that you’re still using that are from 1986 because, yes, the hairstyles were boppin’, but no, your spices are most definitely not still boppin’ from then. We’re using chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and salt, which are such kitchen staples that you’ll go through them really quickly.

Sunday chili in a dutch oven with a spoon.

Thick Chili Or Thin Chili?

Either beef broth or chicken broth will be perfect here for the liquid in this chili. Low-sodium broth can work in a pinch if that’s what you have on hand – just add a bit more salt to balance everything out. Personally, thick chili is the way to go IMO, but just add a bit more broth if you need to thin it out.

Let’s Talk Chili Toppings

The toppings – do we even need to discuss? – are a heavenly salad bar of possibilities. My favorites:

  • Avocado
  • Cotjia cheese or cheddar cheese
  • Cilantro
  • Green onion
  • Red onion
  • Sour cream
  • Crushed tortilla chips or crumbled cornbread or Fritos if you’re classy… yes, yes, and yes.

What Else To Serve With Chili

There’s a lot happening here to make this recipe a meal in itself, but if you’re making a full spread, there are a few favorites you could serve alongside it:

  • Cornbread: It’s a classic for a reason! It just works.
  • Baked Potatoes: Bake ’em, slice ’em open, and stuff ’em with all this chili goodness. Wholeheartedly approve of this decision.
  • One-Ingredient Socca: As you know, I’m currently obsessed with this and I think the golden/crispy/bready texture makes it a great dipper with this chili.
  • Miracle No Knead Bread: But there’s always this delicious bread for something a little more crusty, hot, buttery, and traditional
  • Simple Green Salad: For a little something fresh, green, and crunchy to brighten things up.

How To Freeze Leftover Chili

Okay, wait. You have leftovers? But how?! While we don’t fully understand how you have extras of the best chili ever (!), good news is this chili freezes wonderfully!

  1. Plop everything in a freezer-safe container or bag.
  2. Toss it in the freezer to be thawed at a later time.
  3. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stovetop. Your future self will thank you for leaving such an incredibly delicious meal for a hectic weeknight.
Sunday chili in a bowl with a spoon.

This hearty, meaty, chunky, high-protein, slow-simmered Sunday chili has BEEN THERE for me and it can be there for you, too.

Grab your toppings and your dippers and your biggest soup spoon.

Sunday + Chili + You = A Very Good Thing.

Sunday Chili: FAQs

Can I use diced tomatoes?

Sure! I really like using crushed tomatoes here, but you can also use canned diced tomatoes.

I have everything except bacon on hand. Will this work without bacon?

It will. The bacon is optional, but SUPER good! A faster alternative is skipping the bacon but sauteeing your veggies in reserved bacon fat or smoked paprika – you keep bacon fat in your fridge, right?! TIME TO START.

Can I make this chili in the Instant Pot?

You sure can! Once everything is browned up, you can add it to the Instant Pot and pressure cook it for 20-30 minutes to concentrate the flavors in less time.

Whew! Looks like a lot of veggies to chop. Any tips to speed this up?

Speedy tip coming your way! You can buy pre-chopped veggies or just chop all your veggies up in the food processor! (affiliate link) Less precise, but super fast and easy. You can also save time on veggie prep with this guide to How to Cut an Onion.

Could I use ground turkey instead of ground beef?

Absolutely! Ground turkey would work great in this as well.

How could I make this chili spicier?

Adding in some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes with the other spices should do the trick!

Source notes: Chili recipes that helped me come up with this version: Oh Sweet Basil’s Instant Pot Chili and Pressure Cook Recipes Instant Pot Chili. (The last few weeks I started making a Sunday chili in the Instant Pot but realized I preferred a regular stovetop version better, which is how I got here!)

Sunday chili in a bowl with a spoon.

The Best Sunday Chili

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings (a generous 1 1/2 cups each)


This is the BEST Sunday Chili! Beef, bacon, tomatoes, chopped veggies, beans, and spices – it’s a cozy weather weekend essential!


  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • half of an onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 4 carrots, minced (optional)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 34 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 28ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 14ounce cans beans, rinsed and drained (I like black beans and pinto beans)
  • 2 cups beef broth or chicken broth (plus more to thin as needed)
  • toppings: avocado, cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, red onion, cilantro


  1. Mix salt with ground beef. Set aside so it can get nice and salty while you prep the other ingredients. In a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, fry your bacon pieces until crispy. Drain on paper towel lined plates. Pour off most of the bacon fat, but leave 1-2 tablespoons for sautéing.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, and carrots. Sauté until soft and fragrant.
  3. Add the ground beef and spices. Brown until fully cooked.
  4. Add the tomato paste. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes, beans, broth, and bacon. Bring to a low simmer. Cover it and let it hang out over low heat for at least 30-45 minutes, but ideally 2+ hours (this helps the flavors develop and this is why it’s Sunday chili). You can alternate between  keeping it over a low flame and just letting it rest in the hot pot. It will thicken, so use extra water or broth to thin it out to desired consistency.
  6. BOOM! Top with all your favorite toppings. Make plans to revisit this again next Sunday.



Instant Pot Instructions: Once everything is browned up, you can add it to the Instant Pot and pressure cook it for 20-30 minutes to concentrate the flavors in less time.

Slow Cooker Instructions: Once everything is browned up, you can add it to your crockpot on low for 3 hours. Enjoy! 

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: chili recipe, beef chili with bacon, classic chili

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One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our coziest comfort food recipes page. Check it out!

The post The Best Sunday Chili appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

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