The perfect chili base

There are so many different types of chili out there, I just never found the one that used exactly what I wanted, so after a year or so of making chili whenever the temperature dipped below 80 degrees (burr..), I finally created the perfect chili base- meaning after this you can add whatever you want to it and make it as spicy as you like.  This should also work well in a slow cooker or on the stove.  This also makes it easy to double or triple if you are feeding a crowd.  I find the ratio of 1 can beans + 1 can tomatos is good with each pound of meat.  Also, if you want to eat this sooner and/or dont like soupy chili, go ahead and drain the beans and tomates a bit (maybe reserve on side just in case).  Also, a good way to lower salt intake if you are concerned about that, is to always rinse the beans before hand- check the label on the can!

The Perfect Chili Base


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans (feel free to substitute with kidney or other beans)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Add -ins 

  • chopped or pureed vegetables (carrots/celery)
  • corn
  • other beans
  • ground meat
  • fake ground meat
  • tofu/tempeh

Mommy Tips

  • picky eaters- puree up vegetables or beans if you kids don’t like them (from Deceptively Delicious)
  • time saver- chop the veggies (including onion) in a food processor or vitamix


  1. chop up the onion and saute in a little oil until soft
  2. add ground meat (if using) and brown
  3. when meat (or onions) are almost done, add in the crushed garlic and cook for a minute or two (until fragrant)
  4. add with the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker, or into a big pot for the stove top
  5. season to taste, and feel free to add any other spices you might have lying around! If you like your chili spicy, add another tbsp of chili powder
  6. if you are using the fake ground meat (now available at costco on maui) – add in just before serving, to just get warmed
  7. Slow-cooker- 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low
  8. Stove-top- 90 minutes should do the trick!

3 responses to “The perfect chili base

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