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Homemade Chili with Jalapeños

Fresh jalapenos give heat and flavor to this simple homemade chili that comes together in 30 minutes or less. Enjoy it for an easy weeknight dinner.

woman's hand with spoon digging into bowl of chili with beans

You work hard all day. Your family is hungry. You want a quick and easy meal that doesn’t take all day or cost a fortune. It’s not too much to ask, is it?

Sounds like it’s time to up your kitchen game with a homemade chili recipe that will knock your socks off.

Homemade chili is one of my go-to meals. It’s got spice and heat which keeps things exciting. It’s got lots of beans, a cheap, plant-based ingredient with lots of fiber. And homemade chili is a great vehicle for using up whatever meat and exciting toppings you have on hand. This jalapeño-spiced Chili is a perfect example.

Is it chile, chili, or chilli?

Chile is the name of the spicy pepper used in Mexican, South American, Indian, African, and Thai cuisines. In the UK, it’s written as chilli.

Chili, as in chili sauce, chili powder, and chili con carne is a mixture of chiles and other ingredients.

What ingredients go in Chili?

Traditional chili con carne is a mixture of meat (diced or ground beef) and chiles or chili powder. In some parts of the southwest United States, it’s frowned upon to add beans, tomatoes, or other ingredients.

However, I live in California where anything goes, so my homemade chili has beans. Sorry.

bowl of homemade chili with beans and lots of toppings

How do you make good homemade chili?

I’m glad you asked!

It’s possible that you’ve only known homemade chili as one coming from a packet of dry mix or a few cans mixed together. But this recipe is a from-scratch affair.

Typically, I add spice to chili via chili powder, but in this recipe I use fresh jalapeno pepper. It’s a great way to get a kick of heat into the chili for a really low cost. You can buy fresh jalapenos at the grocery store for just a few pennies. They’re lightweight, so a single pepper doesn’t cost all that much.

Pro tip: Canned chopped green chiles are extremely expensive. Consider using fresh jalapeño chiles instead to lower the cost of your dish!

Can I add different ingredients to homemade chili?

In this Jalapeno Chili, I’ve designated that you can use whatever meat you like: ground beef or turkey, cooked chopped pork, shredded chicken or beef. Anything goes which means that you can use up leftovers from earlier in the week and save some money.

Or just go without. This chili is just as tasty without the meat. Texas laws notwithstanding.

Just be sure to offer some toppings. The toppings really make this an eye-catching dish.

bowl of homemade chili with beans and meat and toppings

How to make this good and cheap:

Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:

  • Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. When you see a good price on tomato sauce, beans, or your favorite meats, buy a few extra to stash for later. You know you’ll use them.
  • Cook your own beans. It’s a lot cheaper to cook dry beans than to buy canned. Recently I’ve started using my electric pressure cooker for beans and it just may be a game changer.

How I make this recipe easy:

This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.

Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:

  • plastic cutting boards – I have blue boards for veggies and white boards for meat.
  • Ergo Chef chef’s knife – I’ve had my set for several years and they work well.
  • 5-quart pot with lid – I have this one. It’s perfect for cooking chili or a big pot of rice.
  • dual-sided silicone spatula/spoon – This is great for the cooking process as well as scraping every last bit out of the pan.

bowl of homemade chili with beans and lots of toppings

Chili can be frozen. Chill completely before storing the chili in an airtight container in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating to serve.

Level up your meal planning and prep.

Need a little extra motivation to get on your meal planning game? Want to make lunch packing less of a drag? Creating a kitchen survival kit to help you WIN in the kitchen this school year.

I’d love for you to join me for the next Mom’s Kitchen Survival Workshop!

Together, we’ll create a plan to help you get dinner on the table every night, fill your freezer with wholesome snacks and breakfasts, finesse your lunch-packing skills, and even make sure you get a daily dose of MOM food.

Learn more here so that when registration opens, you won’t miss out.


woman's hands holding bowl of chili with toppings



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