Mom’s Basic Chili

For every chili enthusiast, there is a chili recipe. This is the chili Rhonda Schuldt grew up eating, and it is still her starting point for any variation that might come along. It is infinitely adaptable, and its versatility offers a wide range of uses for any leftovers.

Mom’s Basic Chili Recipe

Makes 8 pints


2 pounds ground beef (turkey, chicken, or pork)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 15-ounce cans red kidney beans
2 15-ounce cans red beans
1 15-ounce can black beans
2 cups water
1 can Rotel® tomatoes (tomatoes with green chilies)
1 small can chopped green chilis
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, or more for desired heat)
1 package ( 1 oz.) of your favorite chili seasoning (Mom uses Williams® Original Chili Seasoning)
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large stock pot, brown the ground meat and onions. Drain well and return to the pot; add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 30-45 minutes.
  2. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), diced onions and hot sauce, if desired.


This is an excellent make-ahead recipe that is easily doubled. Leftovers freeze well for a variety of future uses!

To go vegan, use shredded tofu or pulled jack fruit in place of the ground meat and garnish with vegan cheese shreds and plain almond yogurt.

Swap out the beans in the basic recipe with any combination of beans you desire – garbanzo, cannellini, northern, etc.

To make a thicker version, add a small can of tomato paste in addition to the tomato sauce. I also like to add a can of drained, fire-roasted diced tomatoes.

Recipe by Rhonda Schuldt / Story by Keith Recker

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