Cheap and Easy Chili
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This homemade chili recipe is a quick, easy and cheap meal idea. Perfect for chilly days when you’re craving a comforting bowl of soup or stew. Ground beef, onions and kidney beans are mixed with diced tomatoes, tomato puree, and chili powder. It’s an easy family favorite!
Serve this homemade chili with toast or garlic bread. Or try our garlic parmesan knots, gluten-free four seed crackers, or even sweet potato biscuits.
Why We Love This Recipe
- It’s easy and budget-friendly! Ground beef isn’t too expensive, and all other ingredients are nice and cheap.
- The ground beef and kidney beans help to fill you up. To make it even more filling, add a side of sliced toast, garlic bread, or serve with pasta.
- It’s so easy to prepare. Just brown the ground beef and dump in the other ingredients.
- Add this chili recipe to other meals! Check out our 109 Cheap and Easy Meal Ideas that include adding chili to a burrito casserole, on top of hot dogs, corn dogs or as a base to make chili garlic pizza bread.
Ingredients here are cheap and simple. When mixed together, it creates a delicious chili recipe. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need plus variations:
GROUND BEEF: The recipe uses ½ lb of lean ground beef. You can use any kind of ground meat including ground turkey, ground chicken and ground pork. Consider cooking 1 lb of ground beef then storing half in the freezer for a future recipe.
CHILI BASE: Chopped onion and garlic are sauteed with the ground beef. Then a can of diced tomatoes, some tomato base, chili powder, water, salt and pepper create the base. A can of kidney beans adds extra protein. A little bit of cornstarch is added at the end to help it thicken.
How To Make This Budget-Friendly Chili Recipe
It’s an easy recipe with three main steps. Brown the beef with onion, add all other ingredients, and stir in cornstarch in the last few minutes. Here’s a quick overview with the full detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Cook the chopped onion, garlic and ground beef in a pot with cooking oil over medium-high heat.
- Mix in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, kidney beans, salt and pepper. Let simmer until thickened.
- In the last 10 minutes, stir in a water and cornstarch mixture. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
Leftover chili can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or frozen. Reheat in the microwave or in a pot on the stove.
- Stir the chili frequently while it’s cooking.
- Swap out ground beef with ground pork, ground chicken or ground turkey to help save even more money.
- Add hot sauce, red pepper flakes, or more chili powder for more spiciness.
- Top the chili with sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese and sliced green onions.
More Soup and Stew Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken Chili is easy, healthy and ready in 20 minutes!
- Turkey Quinoa Chili is another healthy favorite.
- Meatless Vegetable Chili is full of a variety of vegetables for when you’re craving something simple.
Budget-Friendly Chili RecipePrint Pin Recipe
- ½ lb lean ground beef
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves - minced
- 14 oz canned diced tomatoes - keep the liquid
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 4 cups water
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 15 oz kidney beans - drained
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- ¼ cup water
- Add chopped onion and ground beef to a large pot over medium high heat. Break apart the ground beef with a flat wood spoon. Stir and cook until the beef has browned, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the diced tomatoes (with the liquid from can), tomato paste, 4 cups water, kidney beans, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir together.Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to let simmer for about 25-30 minutes. Stir frequently.
- While soup is simmering, mix together the cornstarc and ¼ cup of water in a small bowl.
- Pour the cornstarch mixture into the soup in the last 10 minutes. Stir together and simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and serve.