Homemade Chili with Jalapeños

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

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.

Can I Freeze Chili? 

Absolutely you can. And I recommend that you do! It’s a great thing to freeze and then have on hand for those easy summer weeknight meals. And chili actually will benefit from being in the freezer. It’s one of the ways that my freezer is my BFF

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:

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:

0 from 0 votes
bowl of homemade chili with beans and lots of toppings
Homemade Chili with Jalapeños
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Fresh jalapenos give heat and flavor to this simple chili that comes together in 30 minutes or less. Enjoy Jalapeno Chili for an easy weeknight dinner.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: chile, chiles, chili, jalapenos
Servings: 6
Calories: 270 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups cooked meat like ground beef, chopped pork, shredded chicken, etc.
  • 3 cups cooked and drained pinto beans
  • 2 cups cooked and drained black beans
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • Toppings: cooked rice shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, sliced jalapeno, chopped cilantro, etc.
  1. In a large stockpot heat the oil until shimmering. Add the jalapeno, onion, and garlic. Cook over high heat for 3 minutes or until the onions are clear.
  2. Deglaze the pan with the tomato sauce, scraping up any browned bits. Add the meat, pintos, black beans, and enough water for your preferred consistency. Stir until blended.
  3. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with toppings.
Recipe Notes

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.

Nutrition Facts
Homemade Chili with Jalapeños
Amount Per Serving
Calories 270 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 44mg15%
Sodium 400mg17%
Potassium 838mg24%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 13g54%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 21g42%
Vitamin A 200IU4%
Vitamin C 8.4mg10%
Calcium 105mg11%
Iron 3.6mg20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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



About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

Subscribe to Good Cheap Eats
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post


  1. Erica says

    I just had to let you know how much our family enjoyed this chili!!! One of our sons is a bean hater and he LOVED it. It will definitely be eaten at our house again 🙂

  2. I made this chili tonight and it was SO delicious! Instead of chicken or meat, I just added a little extra beans and it was just as good. Thank you so much for sharing it! It’s printed and found a permanent place in my recipe book. 🙂

  3. Katrina says

    Wow…I came across this website by searching for a Rapunzel birthday cake. I plan on using your Rapunzel recipe for my daughter’s fourth birthday! But, today I was looking over your website at the weekly meal planning and I am excited to try it because I am horrible at meal planning and making grocery list. I have always wanted to somehow get my act together to be more organized in this area. I’m tired of deciding at the last minute about what to make for dinner. So, thanks for providing your great ideas and I look forward to trying to be more organized in this area!

  4. Misty says

    As someone who has never been a great cook, chili has always been one that my family loved (even before this recipe). However, I have tried a few food delivery places and have vastly improved my cooking skills via their recipes, ingredients, and merely seeing things that this Alabama southern Belle, simply hasn’t been exposed to. The delivery sites get somewhat expensive and I appreciate the stepping stone they have made in my cooking improvements. I started looking for cheaper ways to still feed my family with the same quality. I just want to say thanks for this recipe. My family said it is a new favorite and really enjoyed the freshness the toppings gave that traditional chili was lacking. I never thought to combine so many flavors. Hope to try more of your recipes soon!

    • Wow, Misty! This made my day! I’m so glad to hear this. High praise, indeed. Please let me know how I can help you specifically. I’m happy to help. And there are tons of resources here and on my other blog, Life as MOM to help you.


  1. […] Jalapeno Chili with toppings Casserole: Fresh Basil and Garlic Chive Lasagne (add side dish vegetable) Soup: Cheddar Cheese Soup […]

Share Your Thoughts