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The Best Sunday Chili

104 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!


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

Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?

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!)

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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) 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
  • one 28-ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • two 14-ounce 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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This recipe is part of our coziest comfort food recipes page. Check it out!

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Recipe rating


  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made this chili and it taste awesome:) Can’t go back to other chili recipes!!! Yummy\(^o^)/
    In Hawaii, we eat chili over rice, lol.
    Thank you always for delicious recipes!
    (sorry, I reposted my comments as I forgot rating recipe, so please delete my old one, if possible? Thanks, Lindsay!)

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made this chili and it taste awesome:) Can’t go back to other chili recipes!!! Yummy\(^o^)/
    In Hawaii, we eat chili over rice, lol.
    Thank you always for delicious recipes!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’ve been making chili without bacon for 15 years. What a waste! I will never make another chili recipe again. This is THE ONE. Not typically a big jalapeño fan, but I think the bacon/jalapeno combo is what makes this one special. YUMMMMMMM.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I was hesitant to try a new chili recipe but dang is this good. 2nd time making it, this time with bison, even better! Thanks for sharing

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    My husband offered to make this for dinner since I’m 41 weeks (and counting?!) with our 4th… basically dinners here had become frozen nuggets 😉
    This is not my normal style of chili AT ALL, but I was so surprised by how good it was! I’m pretty sure he followed the directions as written (although he did sub carrots for sweet potatoes to use them up), and my 1, 3, and 4 year old all ate… some! Like a bite. Which, after however many meals of chicken nuggets, is a pretty big win in my book!
    As is the case with any good chili, this one was even better the next day. I thought we’d get 2-3 days of leftovers, but we barely made it to the next dinner because it was truly so good!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This recipe was AMAZING! And easy.
    I’ve never been a big chili gal but my husband loves it so we make it every now and then. This recipe was a game changer, it is our go to now! Loved it!!!!!!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    another pinch of yum hit! we’ve now made this at least 5 days, and freezing the extra portions works great. we like to add extra beef to it.

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’m super excited to try this recipe out! Question: After browning the meat, would I be able to throw all these ingredients in a slow cooker on low for 6 hours or high on 3 hours and it still come out okay? I don’t have a ton of experience with slow cookers but I like the idea of being able to set this to the side and let it do it’s thing, as well as prepare it in larger quantities all at once!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is my new go-to chili recipe! It has even replaced my mom’s family recipe for chili (sorry, mom!). I’ve made it 3 times now. I like to use a food processor to pulse the garlic, jalapeño, onion, and carrots into small pieces. I find it get so much more flavor from them into the chili! I haven’t tried it with bacon yet because it’s just so good as is!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    So I am not a great cook. That said, this recipe is so easy and even my father (who is a great cook and a bit of a grouch) admits this is really good. I replaced the carrots with a sweet potato and highly recommend that to others! Thanks for making me a hero!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Hi! If I only have regular crushed tomatoes, how do you recommend getting that “fire-roasted” flavor? Any spices that would help?

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Hi, Liesl! Regular crushed tomatoes will work in place of fire-roasted tomatoes. You could always add a little bit of smoked paprika for that smoky flavor if you want. Enjoy!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This delicious chili has been a part of my “favorite recipe rotation” since it was posted here. It has everything you need. As a veggie lover, I love the addition of all the vegetables and it’s great for the meat lovers of the house too because the veggies don’t compromise the traditional chili flavor. It is such an incredibly easy, yet incredibly flavorful dish.
    I usually omit the bacon because, honestly, I’m just too lazy for the bacon addition but even without it… *chefs kiss*

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love this recipe – I make it a lot and it’s just me and my husband so we freeze leftovers in two-portion containers and it’s always delicious. That said, I don’t eat pork. I tried to replace bacon with turkey bacon and it didn’t do the job. I always just add a little extra oil and salt, but is there anything else you would recommend to replace the bacon?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      We don’t have a great replacement for the bacon, so what you’ve been doing with extra oil and salt is a great a idea!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Aurora and Krista,
        I don’t eat pork either but came across beef bacon at Whole Foods (some retailers online sell it as well) and it serves as a perfect replacement!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    So easy and delicious! Had been wanting to try and make chili for a while, so glad I made this one!

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Alison Lang

    5 stars! This chili is so good, it’s addictive. I married a Texan so we usually increase the ground beef to 2 lb, add a little more of the spices, and only add 1 can a beans. Any way you do it, it tastes wonderful!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    It specifically says “Dutch oven”-would it be ok to cook this in a stainless steel pot? Also, is the bacon streaky or back bacon? Can’t wait to make this.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Yes, you can cook this in a stainless steel pot. For the bacon, I’m not super familiar with the difference, but I believe you’ll be looking for streaky bacon. Enjoy, Luna!

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Pretty solid chili. I will make it again but I had to make some additions. It was fairly bland so I needed to add an additional teaspoon of salt. The recipe also didn’t call for sugar and you have to use sugar when cooking with this much tomatoes. I added some at the beginning and it needed more after it was done. The chili was also a but too soupy. Next time I’ll use about 3/4th of the liquid. Overall it was solid though.

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is my third time making this chili. I used peppered bacon that I cook in the oven first. We don’t care for onions so we leave them out and I just used onion powder instead. This is the best chili recipe.

  18. 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 🙂

  19. 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.

  20. 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.