Most chili recipes require forethought and planning since they require hours of simmering time. We wanted to create a chili recipe that’s deep in flavor and ready in under 45 minutes so when the hankering strikes, you can have it for dinner. This Quick Chili Recipe delivers on flavor thanks to a few workhorse ingredients like fire roasted tomatoes, canned green chiles, chile powder, and roasted red peppers. 

Ingredients for Quick Chili 

This quick chili recipe is part of our Soup-er Simple Series which means it’s quick-cooking but tastes like it’s cooked all day. In order to be apart of the series, the soup needs to have 10 ingredients or less, ready in under 45 minutes and taste like it took hours. Here are the key ingredients to building flavor fast in this easy chili. 

ground beef, canned tomatoes, canned beans, spices, diced onion, salt, olive oil, broth and green chiles measured out and set on a counter.
  • Olive oil, salt, sugar: each of these ingredients we don’t “count” towards the 10 ingredients since they are pantry staples. 
  • Onion: a large yellow onion builds the foundation of flavor for this soup. One large onion will yield 2 to 2 ½ cups diced onion. You can also use white onion.
  • Garlic: another important aromatic for building flavor! Use 4 large cloves of fresh garlic. 
  • Ground beef: we like to use lean ground beef here—94% lean ground beef creates a meaty but not greasy chili. For more flavorful bites of beef, feel free to use 85% lean ground beef. Just keep in mind the chili itself may be a bit greasy. 
  • Chili powder: you’ll need quite a bit of chili powder here, ¼ cup to be exact. It may seem like a lot, but since we aren’t using dried chiles and simmering this soup for hours, you need to use a good amount of chili powder.
    However, all chili powders are different and can vary in spice level and saltiness, start with 2 tablespoons and adjust as needed (taste test the meat and add more to your liking—keep in mind a lot of other ingredients will be added so the beef should taste almost over-spiced). This is the chili powder I use.
  • Dried oregano: a heaping tablespoon of dried oregano adds a nice savory note to the chili. You can use regular oregano, or even better, Mexican oregano. Marjoram is also a great substitute. 
  • Canned fire roasted tomatoes: a couple cans of fired roasted tomatoes, instead or regular diced tomatoes, really kicks up the flavor. You’ll need 2 (14-ounce) cans or 1 (28-ounce) can.
  • Jarred roasted red peppers: another great ingredient shortcut. We like to buy a 12-ounce jar of whole roasted red peppers and dice them ourselves (offers more control) but you can also buy diced roasted red pepper. The little bits of roasted red pepper adds smokiness and slight sweetness to each bite.
  • Canned green chiles: these tiny cans of green chiles pack a punch of flavor and heat. If you like a spicy chili, go ahead and use two cans. If you prefer a more mild chili, leave them out altogether or use 1 can.
  • Beef broth or Better than Bouillon beef: I’m a huge fan of keeping Better than Bouillon on hand at all times. I always have the roasted chicken in my fridge and I’ve started to keep the beef variety as well. You’ll get countless quarts of broth from one small jar, which means your ingredient list just got shorter for a few months. 
  • Canned kidney beans: kidney beans are a classic chili ingredient, at least where I come from. Feel free to use black beans instead. 

How to Make Chili Fast

Aside from using flavor-packed ingredients, the key is to build flavor on top of flavor—starting with the onions, then the beef, followed by the spices and the broth ingredients. 

    Diced onions sautéing in a large gray pot.
  1. Saute the onions in olive oil with a bit of salt (it’s important to season at every step!). 
  2. Ground beef cooking in a large gray pot with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the beef and garlic; season with salt and cook, crushing with a wooden spoon, until nearly cooked through. You want the beef to still be slightly pink. 
  4. Spiced ground beef in a large pot.
  5. Stir in the chili powder, oregano and sugar and cook for a couple minutes just to bloom the spices. 
  6. Ground beef and diced tomatoes cooking in a large pot.
  7. Add the tomatoes, broth, roasted red peppers, and green chiles. Bring the chili to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmre and cook 5 minutes. 
  8. Stir in the beans, bring back to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. 
  9. Season to taste with salt then serve with your desired toppings (we like shredded cheese, sour cream, and cilantro and crushed tortilla chips). 

Quick Chili Toppings

When it comes to chili bar ideas, where do you stop? Because the topping options are endless! 

For this easy chili recipe we like to keep the toppings simple: 

  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream or whole milk Greek yogurt
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Crushed tortilla chips

Avocado, green onions and charred corn are also great toppings for this quick chili recipe.

Quick chili in a shallow white bowl set on a blue plate. Chili topped with shredded cheese and cilantro.

What to Serve with Chili 

Easy Guacamole is always a hit with spicy chili. The creamy avocado cools off the spice and bulks up the meal.

Serve up this Mexican Coleslaw for something fresh and crunchy, 

Cornbread is a favorite side dish—try our Healthy Cornbread or for a gluten-free option our Gluten-Free Cornbread.

Variations & Substitutions

  • Vegetarian: skip the beef and use vegetarian meat crumbles or bulk up the chili with additional vegetables such as carrots and fresh bell peppers.
  • Turkey: swap the beef out for ground turkey. If you opt for lean ground turkey, don’t go any leaner than 93%. 
  • Mild: for a mild, less-spicy chili, skip the canned green chiles altogether. Add 1 diced green bell pepper for flavor and color. 
  • Smoky and spicy: for a smoky chili, swap the canned green chiles out in favor of some minced chipotles in adobo. Start with 2 tablespoons and add more as desired. 
  • Black beans: swap the red kidney beans out for canned black beans.

How to Freeze Chili 

According to the USDA, quick beef chili will last in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 

For longer storage, transfer quick chili to zipper-lock freezer bags and freeze for up to 4 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on the stovetop. 


What is the secret to really good chili?

The key to making really good chili is to use quality ingredients. The quality of chili powder you use is important as is the canned tomatoes, broth and beef.

How many hours should you cook chili?

Most chili recipes require 2–4 hours of simmering. Not this recipe—this recipe is done in 45 minutes and requires just 10 minutes of simmering.

Does chili get better the longer it cooks?

It depends. Traditional chili recipes that use either dried chiles or chunks of stew meat (or both) do get better the longer they cook. If you’re using stew meat it’s especially important to allow the soup to simmer for a few hours to soften and tenderize the tough bites of meat. 

How long to cook chili for best results?

Most chili recipes are best when cooked for 2–4 hours. This quick chili recipe is best when simmered for 10–15 minutes. 

Aren’t fire roasted tomatoes the best?

Yes! We use them in a lot of things! There’s a time and place for regular diced tomatoes, but we like fire roasted tomatoes in chili recipes. 

What size cans of diced or crushed tomatoes?

You’ll need 2 (14-ounce) cans or 1 (28-ounce) can.

Can this be made without the meat?

Absolutely! Simply add some additional vegetables to account for the bulkiness you’ll loose from not using meat. We like to add diced carrots and green bell pepper. 

More Chili Recipes to Try 

Quick Chili Recipe

No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 9 cups
Category Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Amercican



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced (about 2-2.5 cups)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound lean ground beef, 94% lean
  • ¼ cup chili powder *see notes
  • tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans fired roasted tomatoes with their juices
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth or Better than bouillon beef
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red bell pepper, drained and chopped (1 cup)
  • 1–2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chiles
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Optional Toppings

  • sour cream, shredded cheese, fresh cilantro and tortilla chips


  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high until shimmering. Add 1 diced onion and ¾ teaspoon Morton kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt); cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes.
  • Add 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 pound ground beef and ¾ teaspoon Morton kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt) and cook, crushing with a wooden spoon, until beef is almost cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  • Add ¼ cup chili powder*, 1 ½ tablespoons dried oregano and 1 tablespoon sugar; cook 2 minute.
  • Add 2 cans tomatoes, 2 cups broth, 1 jar roasted peppers (diced), and 1–2 cans green chiles; stir to combine then bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook 5 minutes.
  • Stir in 2 cans drained beans; bring back to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste and serve.
  • Optional: serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, fresh cilantro, and/or crushed tortilla chips.



Chili powders vary in spice level. If you’re worried about heat, start with 2 tablespoons. After it’s cooked with the beef for a few minutes, test the meat and add 1–2 for tablespoons to taste. 
If you like a really spicy chili, use two cans of green chiles. For a more mild chili use one can or leave them out altogether


Serving: 2¼ cupsCalories: 460kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 42gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 1509mgFiber: 12gSugar: 12g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine,,, and more.

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