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Sunday Chili

90 reviews / 4.9 average

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

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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.

Ingredients for Sunday chili.

What I Love About This Chili

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.

What Deliciousness Is Stewing In This?

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

  • Ground beef
  • Bacon
  • Jalapeño, onion, and garlic
  • Carrots (if you want)
  • Spices
  • Crushed tomatoes and tomato paste
  • Beans
  • Broth

Let’s Get Cooking!

We’re going to start by getting those bacon slices nice and crisped up. 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.

Now, 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.

Next, add in your ground beef and spices. Ooooo! Things are smelling really good!

Toss in the tomato paste, tomatoes, beans, broth, and crispy bacon bits (you know, the ones you have left at least after snacking). Cover the pot, turn the heat down to low, 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.

Get your toppings together (maybe cilantro, probably avocado, definitely chips!) and let’s gooooo!

The Secret Ingredient To Make This So Good

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 Or Thin? Your Choice!

Either beef 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.

All About The Toppings

The toppings – do we even need to discuss? – are a heavenly salad bar of possibilities. Avocado, cotjia cheese, cheddar cheese, cilantro, green onion, red onion, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, crumbled cornbread, Fritos if you’re classy… yes, yes, and yes.

What Goes Well with Chili

As you know, I’m currently obsessed with one-ingredient socca, and I think the golden/crispy/bready texture makes it a great dipper with this chili. But there’s always the miracle no-knead bread for something a little more crusty, hot, buttery, and traditional, a classic cornbread situation, or good ol’ tortilla chips for a little crunch.

Sunday chili in a bowl with a spoon.

This hearty, meaty, chunky, 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 – you keep bacon fat in your fridge, right?! TIME TO START.

Can I make this chili in the Instant Pot?

You sure can! See the recipe notes below for instructions.

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! Less precise, but super fast and easy.

Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?

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!)

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Sunday chili in a bowl with a spoon.

Sunday Chili

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


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


Units Scale
  • 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 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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More Chili Goodness

One More Thing!

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

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Adie Wolcyn

    Lindsay – you asked on FB about chili (beans or no). I can’t answer on fb, but I thought I’d write here. Funny chili story: I was in charge of the football parents at Northwestern (College) when you and all my boys were there. We did a get-together meal before every home game, and chili was a favorite every year. We would plan to combine our chilis into large kettles; however, families from different states made their chili differently. Some added noodles, some not, one put the chili over rice; some spicy, some not. We had so much fun with all the differences. Food is not just a great chance to gather, but a geographical/historical lesson. Love your blog 🙂

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Barbara Smith

    Made your Sunday Chili yesterday and it was fabulous. Never have I included bacon or carrots before in my chili and they added such a great flavor and consistency.

    I plan to make more of your recipes. Thank you.

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is a great chili recipe and it has the added bonus of bacon for extra flavor. I always get lots of compliments whenever I take it or serve it to friends and family.
    I usually substitute 2 stalks of celery for the 2 carrots and often substitute a bottle of pureed tomatoes for the chunky canned tomatoes. It doesn’t alter the texture or flavor one little bit. Try it — and you’ll be hooked.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    It’s crazy! I get soooo hungry browsing this blog. Your images are soooooo real!!! I LOVE food too and this Monday Chili is going to be All Week Chili in my kitchen!

    Thank you for having a veggie section!!!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I use plant based beef like Beyond Beef or Impossible meats and add Edward and Sons Not Beef or Not chicken bouillon. No one knows the difference! I even throw in some lentils for more fiber! A favorite in my home!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Danielle Crocco

    made this last night! SO GOOD. I did not have bacon so I left it out and it was still DEISH! Thanks again!!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    DeAnna Paulette

    Absolutely delicious! My husband and I both loved it. The smokeyness of the bacon adds something special. This will be our go to chili recipe from here on out!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Emily Murdoch

    I find that no matter how many times I try including cumin in my cooking I still don’t like the flavor. Do you have a lovely substitute that you would recommend?

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This chili is awesome. I’ve made many versions of chili over the years which I’ve pretty much loved them all, but my hubby has been meh on most chili, but it’s something to eat. He said this was the best chili I’ve ever made and my grown son stopped over and said pretty much the same. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    My daughter has taken a sudden disliking to beef. Do you think I could substitute it for ground turkey, or would it lose too much richness of flavor? Thank you!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Elizabeth Harris

    Made your Sunday Chili yesterday and it was delicious!
    Made enough for us to enjoy again another night.
    Look forward to each of your soup series recipes. Thank You.

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Okay, this is the BEST chili I have ever made. I was always a wing-it girl when it comes to chili but following these instructions resulted in the best chili. So delicious. I didn’t have bacon so the next time will be even better!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Rachel S. Stein

    Hi Lindsay,
    I do not eat pork products. What will happen if I leave out the bacon? Or will a vegan alternative be acceptable? I don’t want to miss out on any yumminess! How about turkey bacon?

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    How spicy does this end up being? My husband and I love the heat but my 5 and 3 year old aren’t spicy fans and I want this to be something they eat too.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      It’s not too spicy at all! Any heat would be coming from the jalapeno. You can reduce/eliminate the heat by making sure to scrape out the seeds and cut the thin white ribs from the jalapeno before mincing. You could even leave it out or sub in a bit of chopped green bell pepper too!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yum! This is very close to my typical go to and I think I already like this better, same amazing flavor without unnecessary extras. Totally on the menu for Sunday ❤️

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is my go-to chili recipe. I eat a lot of vegetarian meals and save this one when I treat myself to beef. The only thing I don’t add is the bacon as it never makes it past breakfast when I buy it. 🙂

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Suzanne Harman

    Looking forward to making this! Do you have a favorite digital recipe box that you like to use? I’d love to save all of your recipes that I like in one easy to access place. Thanks!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Hi Suzanne! I’ve used the Paprika app for many years. It has the ability to sync between phone, iPad and PC so recipes are always on hand no matter what device I’m using. Bring a dish to a potluck, someone asks for the recipe, and it’s easy to send right then via: the app. You can create unlimited categories (ie: poultry, beef, soups, desserts, etc). Create a folder for Pinch of Yum and they’ll be all grouped together. Open paprika and use the browser within the app to search and add recipes…..most websites have the ability to download directly, Can’t imagine cooking without it!

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Suzanne! If you click the little heart icon to the right of the screen (while on the Pinch of Yum site), the recipe you’re viewing will save to your “favorites.” You can do this for all of your favorite Pinch of Yum recipes, and every time you’re on the website, you can access your saved collection of favorites.

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’ve made a lot of different chili recipes and this one is far and away the best!!! I have not yet found one that tops it. Cannot recommend it enough.

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is my go to chilli recipe but in the video and in the recipe it has you add raw ground beef to the bacon fat and continuing to build there. This turns out to be extremely greasy. This comes from not draining your ground beef after browning. I cook the beef in a separate pan and drain out all the fat then add it to the bacon fat and veggies

  20. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kasey D. Werner

    I made this last night and it was hands down the best chili I’ve ever made! I’ve never ever been able to find a homemade chili recipe that tasted right – but this was finally it! Reminds me of my childhood favorite chili.

    For dietary reasons I had to leave out the bacon and used turkey instead of beef. And I couldn’t find fire roasted crushed tomatoes, so I used a can of normal crushed tomatoes, but oh man, it was still so good! This will now be my go to chili. And it makes a ton of food, so it will be great for company/parties!

  21. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi there,
    I live in Australia and I don’t believe we have Fire roasted crushed tomatoes – would normal diced tomatoes be okay? Or should I add anything extra to give that “fire flavour”?

    Thank you!

  22. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made this chili exactly as directed except I exchanged fritos for Doritos and Cheetos! It was all I had on hand for crunch! I’ve really been loving your blog and all these amazing recipes!