Ground Beef Chili Bowls

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This thick ground beef chili bowl topped with shredded cheese and green onions also makes perfect topping a baked potato or chili dog.

A white soup bowl filled with thick ground beef chili topped with shredded cheese and sliced green onions. There's a spoon and a pile of potato chips on the side.

There are as many chili recipes as there are home cooks, don't you think? Everyone seems to have their own preferences about spice level, consistency, and ingredients.

I stand firmly on Team No Chili Beans. How about you?

While our family normally enjoys this lightened up chicken chili, a classic ground beef chili recipe is essential if you want to top a potato, make chili fries, or chili dogs at home for the kids.

I've used this for an easy chili bowl recipe served plain with Frito chips and as a nacho topping, too.

I love that you can make it as mild or spicy as you can handle.

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A package of ground beef and the rest of the ingredients are on the counter.

This is a very simple ground beef chili recipe and you don't need many items to make it.

  • Ground Beef: You could substitute ground pork or even ground turkey as long as you brown it in a bit of olive oil.
  • Canned Tomato Sauce
  • Rotel Tomatoes
  • Minced Garlic
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Cayenne

And then just be prepped and ready with your favorite chili toppings. You can see my recommendations below.

How to Make the Chili

Brown the ground meat in a large pot with a lid. Once it is no longer pink, drain the fat from the pot and return the beef to the stovetop.

Add all the dry seasonings to the pot and stir. Cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. This will toast the seasonings and flavor the meat.

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The ground beef has been browned and all the seasonings placed on top.

Add the canned tomato sauce, Rotel tomatoes, and a little water to the pot and stir them in. Bring the mixture to a bubble.

The canned tomato sauce and Rotel diced tomatoes have been added to the pot.

Cook the chili for 1 hour, stirring it once in a while to check consistency.

It is a very thick chili but it should not stick to the bottom of the pot. If it starts to get too thick, just add a 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of water at a time to thin it out again.

The finished chili is simmering in a big blue pot.

Chili Bowl Topping Ideas

A bowl of ground beef chili is topped with cheddar cheese and green onions.

The best part of a chili bowl is mixing and matching your favorite toppings.

Some of my favorites to serve include:

  • Shredded Cheese: Especially a good sharp cheddar but blue cheese crumbles would be a fun twist, too.
  • Chopped Green Onions: I prefer these milder onions to a harsher raw white onion, but use whatever your family loves.
  • Sour Cream
  • Hot Sauce: The chili isn't too spicy. You could add hot sauce to kick it up or even a sprinkle more of cayenne.
  • Buffalo Sauce: If you really want to add a boost of spice, this 3-ingredient buffalo sauce would be tasty drizzled over the top.
  • Fresh Lime Wedges: I love a little fresh citrus with spicy foods like this.
  • Fresh Cilantro: If you want to add fresh herbs, this is the one to use.

Serving Suggestions

You could serve this as a thick chili bowl with toppings alongside your favorite chips for dunking:

  • Frito Corn Chips
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Potato Chips

It would be delicious with my slightly sweet steakhouse brown bread, a square of Grandma's buttermilk cornbread, or a wedge of garlic bread for dunking, too.

If you want a heartier meal, use this chili as a slowcooker sweet potato topping or spooned over a bowl of mashed potatoes.

You could bake a bag of frozen tater tots and use it to make a chili tot bowl or bake a batch of sweet and spicy roasted sweet potatoes and use those for a base for the chili.

If you're looking for more of an all-in-one type of dinner, you might enjoy this Crockpot hamburger hashbrown casserole that has the potatoes incorporated right into the dish.

Make Ahead Freezer Tips

The best part is that you can make a big batch of this thick beef chili and then separate it into smaller containers for your freezer.

I love to double this recipe for easy lunches or leftovers.

Defrost just what you need for countless easy recipes all winter long.

Simply reheat the chili in a sauce pan on the stove top. You may need a little water if it is too thick as it cooks. You could also defrost it in the microwave and heat it on HIGH till warmed through.

📖 Recipe

A white soup bowl filled with thick ground beef chili topped with shredded cheese and sliced green onions. There's a spoon and a pile of potato chips on the side.

Ground Beef Chili Bowls

5 from 50 votes
This super-thick ground beef chili bowl recipe is delicious served with Frito chips for dunking but also makes an excellent chili dog topping or baked potato filling.
TOTAL TIME 1 hour 10 minutes
PREP TIME 10 minutes
COOK TIME 1 hour
YIELD 10 servings


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (8 oz) can Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies

For Serving:

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh green onions
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Chips for dunking: Frito corn chips tortilla chips, potato chips,


  • Brown the ground beef and garlic in a large pot. Drain off the excess fat.
  • Add in the spices and salt and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until fragrant.
  • Add the tomato sauce, Rotel, and ½ cup water. Stir together, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Add additional ½ cups of water if it starts to dry out during simmering. Just keep in mind this is a THICK chili, not a soup.
  • Serve as a chili bowl sprinkled with your favorite toppings and chips for dunking. Also makes a delicious chili dog topping or baked potato stuffing.

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The photo collage shows a bowl of ground beef chili next to the chili cooking in a dutch oven on the stove top.
A bowl of very thick chili with shredded cheese and green onions on top and Frito chips on the side for dunking.


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5 from 50 votes (50 ratings without comment)

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