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The Perfect Classic Chili

 A classic chili with plenty of flavor and just enough heat. 
Make this in the slow cooker or on the stove-top! 

Gorgeous Classic Chili - Not too spicy and full of flavor. Make it in your slow cooker or on the stovetop. (Gluten free, dairy free)
Is there anything that says “it’s getting cooler outside” more than chili? In the summer months, the last thing I want to eat is something warm and hearty like this, but once the weather starts cooling off, it’s one of the first things I crave. It warms you from the inside out and feels like cozy comfort food.

Much like soup, there are never-ending varieties of chili. It’s versatile, and every region and family seems to have their favorite spin. Heck, on this blog, I already have Cincinnati Chili (which runs on the sweeter side), Pumpkin Chili (which is gorgeous and savory), and a Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili (which is simple and Whole30 approved).

So why add another? Well, this chili is a classic.

The coziest pot of classic chili. Loaded with goodness and you control the level of heat.
Just a little spicy, and so much flavor! This is some seriously classic chili.

I call this Classic Chili because it’s in the middle ground. It’s meaty (no beans in this one), it’s flavorful (the combination of spices is really fabulous), and it’s just a leetle bit spicy (with a few different kinds of heat).

The chili itself is gluten and dairy free, paleo, and even Whole30 friendly. You can add your favorite toppings to it depending on what your preferences and needs are. You can crush up some corn or tortilla chips on top, add cheese and sour cream if that’s your jam, enjoy a bowl plain, scoop it over a baked sweet or white potato, or make a batch of cornbread to go with it. See? Classic. Versatile.

Serve it with cornbread, ladle it over a baked potato, or serve it in bowls, this is the Classic Chili we can't get enough of.
Another great thing about this chili is that you can easily make it in the slow cooker. From a texture perspective, I prefer sautéing the peppers and onion before adding them to the slow cooker, but I’ve also made it as a “dump recipe” where you toss everything in and go.

I get asked a few times a month (and a few times a week in the cooler months) about which slow cooker I recommend. My favorite slow cooker is absolutely this one. It’s easy to program and automatically switches to the “warm” setting once it’s finished cooking, which means you’re less likely to overcook or scorch anything. The crock is dishwasher safe, and the whole thing even has lid clips so that if you’re transporting your chili to a cook-off, you won’t slosh any onto your lap or the floor of you car. By far my favorite!

Classic Chili - Such a good blend of spices! (Gluten free & paleo)

Notes on the recipe:

Slow Cooker – You can absolutely make this in the slow cooker (this is my favorite). You can put all the uncooked ingredients in the crock and set it for 7-8 hours on LOW or 3-4 hours on HIGH, or you can sauté the onions and peppers first for a slightly softer texture. Your choice!

Beans – Feel free to add a can of your favorite beans to this recipe if your family will mutiny without beans in their chili.

Can I use Turkey?  – I don’t personally care for the taste of ground turkey, but it will work perfectly in this recipe if you’re trying to avoid red meat. You can also use ground chicken breast.

Leftovers – This makes about 8 cups of chili, which is more than our family will eat in one sitting. I serve half one night, then freeze the leftovers in a zip-top bag (I lay it flat in the freezer). Leftovers will keep well-stored for about 3 months.

This is our favorite classic chili. Plenty of flavor and just spicy enough. (Plus, you can make it in a slow cooker!)

Keep the chili train going with these other favorites & don’t forget the cornbread!

Classic Chili - toss the ingredients in the slow cooker, or let it simmer away on the stove. This is the good stuff!

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Gorgeous Classic Chili - Not too spicy and full of flavor. Make it in your slow cooker or on the stovetop. (Gluten free, dairy free)

The Perfect Classic Chili

  • Author: One Lovely Life, adapted from How Sweet It Is
  • Yield: about 8 cups 1x


This is the perfect classic chili recipe. Tuck into a bowl, serve it over a baked potato, or add a side of cornbread or corn chips!


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef (can sub ground turkey or ground chicken)
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 34 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/41/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14oz) tomato sauce


Stovetop directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the ground beef and cook 5-6 minutes, or until cooked through. Add onions and bell peppers. Cook 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Next, add garlic, spices, salt, and pepper and cook 1 minute more. Stir in tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Stir to combine and cook until bubbly. If chili is more thick than you prefer, feel free to add 1/2 cup water or beef broth.

Slow Cooker Directions:

  1. If desired, brown beef and saute onions and peppers as directed in stovetop directions, then transfer cooked beef and sautéed onions and peppers to the crock of your slow cooker. (Or simply, add ingredients to the crock of your slow cooker).Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Cook on LOW 7-8 hours, or HIGH 3-4 hours.


Serve it with cornbread, ladle it over a baked potato, or serve it in bowls, this is the Classic Chili we can't get enough of.
Classic Chili - Such a good blend of spices! (Gluten free & paleo)

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  1. This was absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe exactly except that my peppers were quite large so I used half for each one. I plan to make this again for a Super Bowl party this weekend!

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