Best Beef Chili Recipe Ina Garten

Ina Garten and Her Cooking Philosophy

Ina Garten, often referred to as the Barefoot Contessa, is a culinary icon known for her simple yet sophisticated approach to cooking. She emphasizes the use of fresh ingredients and straightforward techniques to create dishes that are both delicious and approachable. Garten’s philosophy centers around the idea that cooking should be a joy, not a chore, and that the best meals come from a place of love and care.

Why This Beef Chili Recipe Stands Out

Among the myriad of chili recipes out there, Ina Garten’s beef chili distinguishes itself with its robust flavors and hearty texture. What makes this recipe particularly special is its balance of spices, meat, and vegetables, creating a dish that’s both comforting and satisfying. For those interested in exploring more of Ina Garten’s culinary creations, the Food Network offers a treasure trove of her recipes.

Key Ingredients Overview:

  • The use of 90% lean ground beef ensures that the chili is rich in flavor without being overly greasy.
  • A combination of chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper provides depth and warmth, making each bite as inviting as the last.
  • The inclusion of kidney beans and tomatoes adds texture and body to the dish, making it a well-rounded meal.

Benefits of Homemade Chili:

  • Cooking chili at home allows for complete control over ingredients, ensuring that the dish can be tailored to specific dietary needs and preferences.
  • Homemade chili is often healthier than store-bought versions, which can contain high levels of sodium and preservatives. For those interested in the nutritional benefits of key chili ingredients, Healthline is an excellent resource.

Ingredients List

Ingredients List

Ina Garten’s beef chili is renowned for its depth of flavor and hearty texture. Here’s what you’ll need to recreate this comforting dish at home:

  • Ground Beef: 1 lb of 90% lean ground beef ensures the chili is rich but not greasy.
  • Olive Oil: 1 tablespoon, for sautéing the onions and browning the beef.
  • Red Onion: 1 medium-sized, finely chopped, adds a sweet and slight sharpness.
  • Garlic Powder: 1 tablespoon, for a robust garlic flavor without the fuss of peeling and chopping.
  • Chili Powder: 2 and 1/2 tablespoons, the main spice that gives the chili its distinctive taste.
  • Ground Cumin: 2 tablespoons, for a warm, earthy note that complements the chili powder.
  • Cayenne Pepper: 1/4 teaspoon, adds a spicy kick; adjust according to heat preference.
  • Beef Broth: 1 and 1/2 cups, to thin the chili and add rich flavor.
  • Petite Tomatoes: 1 (15 oz.) can, undrained, for a tangy tomato base.
  • Red Kidney Beans: 1 (16 oz.) can, drained and rinsed, adds texture and protein.
  • Tomato Paste: 2 tablespoons, thickens and enriches the chili.
  • Salt and Black Pepper: To taste, for seasoning.

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions

Preparation Time: Start by preparing your ingredients. Having everything measured and at hand simplifies the cooking process.

  1. Heat the Oil: In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. This is the base for sautéing the onions and browning the beef, ensuring that flavors start to meld from the very beginning.
  2. Brown the Beef: Add the ground beef to the pot, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook until the beef is thoroughly browned, ensuring that it’s cooked evenly for the perfect texture and flavor foundation.
  3. Sauté the Onions: Once the beef is browned, add the chopped red onion to the pot. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. This step is crucial for adding a depth of flavor to the chili.
  4. Spice it Up: Stir in the garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Let the spices cook for about a minute until fragrant. This helps to release their flavors, creating a richly spiced base.
  5. Add Liquids and Tomatoes: Pour in the beef broth, add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir well to combine. The tomato paste and broth will help to thicken the chili and add layers of flavor.
  6. Simmer: Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let it cook for at least 30 minutes. This slow cooking process allows the flavors to deepen and meld together, creating a more complex taste.
  7. Beans Last: Add the kidney beans to the pot in the last 10 minutes of cooking. This ensures they maintain their texture and don’t become mushy.
  8. Season: Finish by seasoning the chili with salt and black pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning carefully to ensure every spoonful is delicious.
  9. Serve: Once the chili is cooked, remove it from heat and let it sit for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to settle and the chili to thicken slightly.

Serving Suggestion: Garnish with shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and freshly chopped cilantro for an added layer of flavor and texture.

Cooking Tips and Tricks

Cooking Tips and Tricks

Enhancing the flavor and texture of Ina Garten’s beef chili can turn a good dish into a great one. Here are some tips to elevate your chili:

  • Toast the Spices: Before adding them to the meat, toast the chili powder and cumin in a dry pan. This step deepens their flavors, adding an extra layer of complexity to the dish.
  • Use Fresh Garlic: While garlic powder is convenient, using fresh garlic can add a sharper, more pronounced flavor. Mince a few cloves and add them with the onions.
  • Deglaze with Beer: Instead of using just beef broth, consider deglazing the pot with a dark beer before adding the broth. The beer adds a rich, malty flavor that complements the beef and spices well.
  • Simmer Slowly: The longer you allow the chili to simmer on low heat, the more developed and rich the flavors will be. If time permits, aim for an hour or more, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Finish with Chocolate: Adding a small amount of dark chocolate or cocoa powder towards the end of cooking can introduce a subtle depth and richness to the chili.

Serving Suggestions

Serving Ina Garten’s beef chili is an opportunity to get creative and cater to individual tastes. Here are some suggestions for garnishes and side dishes:

  • Garnishes: Offer a variety of toppings such as shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions, diced avocado, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and sliced jalapeños. This allows guests to customize their chili.
  • Side Dishes: Serve the chili with a side of cornbread or garlic bread for dipping. A crisp green salad with a vinaigrette dressing can balance the heartiness of the chili. For a fun twist, serve the chili over cooked spaghetti to make a Cincinnati-style chili.
  • Beverage Pairings: A full-bodied beer or a glass of Zinfandel complements the rich flavors of the chili beautifully.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Proper storage and reheating are key to enjoying leftovers without sacrificing flavor or safety:

  • Cooling Down: Allow the chili to cool to room temperature before storing. This prevents condensation inside the container, which can make the chili watery.
  • Refrigeration: Store the chili in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Use glass containers if possible, as they don’t retain odors or flavors from the chili.
  • Freezing: For longer storage, freeze the chili in portion-sized containers for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Reheating: Reheat the chili on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally. If the chili seems too thick, add a little water or broth to reach your desired consistency. For a single serving, microwaving is quick and efficient. Cover the chili and stir halfway through reheating.

By following these tips, tricks, and serving suggestions, you can elevate your beef chili experience and enjoy this comforting dish to its fullest.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I make this chili in a slow cooker? Yes, after browning the beef and onions, transfer all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  • How can I make this recipe vegetarian? Substitute the beef with a plant-based meat alternative or extra beans, and use vegetable broth.
  • What are the best toppings for beef chili? Traditional toppings include sour cream, shredded cheese, and green onions.

By following these steps and tips, you can create a delicious, hearty serving of Ina Garten’s beef chili that’s sure to impress. Remember, the key to a great chili is patience—letting it simmer and develop its flavors over time.

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Best Beef Chili Recipe Ina Garten

Best Beef Chili Recipe Ina Garten

  • Author: Wendy Balderas
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Experience the warmth and richness of Ina Garten’s best beef chili, a recipe that combines simple ingredients into a flavorful, comforting meal. Perfect for any occasion, this chili is sure to become a go-to in your culinary repertoire.


  • 1 lb 90% lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add ground beef, breaking it apart with a spoon, until browned.
  2. Add chopped onion, cooking until soft. Stir in garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper, cooking for 1 minute.
  3. Mix in beef broth, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Stir in kidney beans and continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve hot with your choice of garnishes.


  • For a thicker chili, simmer uncovered during the last 10 minutes.
  • Optional garnishes: shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Simmering
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: per serving
  • Calories: 350
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Sodium: 690mg
  • Fat: 10g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 33g
  • Fiber: 9g
  • Protein: 35g
  • Cholesterol: 77mg

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