This Customizable Chili Recipe Template makes for a delicious, cozy meal during the colder months. You get to use your favorites and choose your meat, vegetables, beans, and toppings. You can meal prep this chili ahead of time too.
This post was originally published November 27, 2020. It was updated on February 26, 2022.
Use this chili recipe template to make your own chili
Like most of my recipes, this customizable chili calls for ingredients of your choice. This means you can use this template as a guide and throw in whatever you like best.
- Ground meat – Use your favorite protein like lean ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken.
- Beans – Chances are you already have a few random cans of beans on hand. Use those or grab any options like kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, or cannellini beans.
- Vegetables – Again, throw in your favorites! The more colorful the better. The different colors represent different types of nutrients to keep us healthy. I love to use everything from carrots to corn to bell peppers. You can even throw in any frozen vegetables you might have tucked away.
- Toppings – To me, chili is all about the toppings. I like to load on plain Greek yogurt, corn chips, cilantro, cheese, and avocado.
Is chili healthy?
Chili ingredients like meat, vegetables, and beans are high in protein and fiber. This balance of nutrients helps keep us fuller longer. To make chili more heart healthy, choose no salt added beans, lean meat options (90% lean or higher), and reduced fat cheese on top.
Can you make chili vegan?
This chili can easily be made vegan by substituting the ground meat for plant-based meat like Happy Little Plants or Impossible Foods. Add vegan toppings like vegan shredded cheese, avocado, and corn chips.
Can you make this chili ahead of time?
You can easily make this chili ahead of time and have it ready to go for another day. Simply brown your meat and add all other chili ingredients into a gallon sized freezer bag. Let this lay flat and cool for a few minutes before putting in the freezer. You can freeze this for up to 3 months.
Once you’re ready to use your chili, thaw the freezer bag enough to break apart the ingredients. Add the chili to either a crockpot or large pot to heat through. (See the recipe card below for full cooking instructions here.)
What’s the best way to store any leftovers?
This chili makes 6 servings so chances are you might end up with some leftovers. You can store leftover cooked chili in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or back in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Looking for other healthy one pot meals? Try these:
- 1/2 to 1 pound ground meat of your choice (turkey, chicken, beef, bison, or plant-based meat)
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 - 15 oz cans beans of your choice, drained and rinsed (kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, or cannellini beans)
- 2 - 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
- 2 cups chopped frozen or fresh vegetables of your choice (carrots, peppers, corn, zucchini, squash)
- 1 - 1.25 oz packet of chili seasoning (or about 2 tablespoons of homemade chili seasoning)
Toppings to serve
- Any toppings of your choice (Corn chips, shredded, cheese, cilantro, avocado slices, sour cream or plain greek yogurt)
Cooking Same Day Instructions:
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add meat and onions and cook until meat is browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add all other chili ingredients to the pot and let simmer until warmed through, about 10 minutes.*
- Serve chili with any toppings of your choice.
Save for Another Day Freezer Instructions:
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat and onions and cook until meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Take off heat and let cool.
- Place cooked meat and all other chili ingredients into a large gallon sized freezer bag. Press the air out, seal, and freeze for up to 3 months.
- When ready to eat, thaw the chili bag enough to break apart the ingredients and add them to a large pot or crockpot. If using a large pot, cook over medium heat until warmed through, about 15 minutes. If using a crockpot, cook on low setting for 6-8 hours.*
- Serve chili with any toppings of your choice.
*If you like you're chili with a soupier consistency, add over 1 cup of broth when cooking.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 350Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 275mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 12gSugar: 5gProtein: 30g
This is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. Nutrition may vary depending on ingredients used. Toppings are not included in this nutrition information. For more nutrition information, seek a professional registered dietitian's advice.