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Chili Recipe For Two – An Easy Small Batch Recipe

Now that the weather has become cooler, I thought I would share my stove top chili recipe for two. There is nothing more comforting than a thick and hearty bowl of chili on a cool Autumn day.

It is one of my favorite soups to make as soon as Mother Nature decides that it is time to cool things down outside. And it couldn’t be easier to make!

With just 7 basic ingredients, this recipe comes together in no time! In fact, it is ready to eat in under 30 minutes.

chili recipe for two in a bowl with cheese
This recipe will produce a thick and hearty chili that will keep you feeling full for hours.

Although I love to make a big batch of Crock Pot Chili when the family comes over to watch our favorite football team play on the weekends, there are many times when I simply don’t need to make that much.

Sure I can put the leftovers in a freezer safe container and freeze it for later use. However, because garden season has just ended, my freezer space is full of frozen corn, tomatoes, peppers and other soup bricks.

So instead, when the craving hits, I make an easy, small batch recipe instead. Pair it with a grilled cheese sandwich and you have yourself a classic comfort food meal!

Customize The Ingredients

I have provided my favorite base recipe for chili. However, it is easy to customize the ingredients to your preference. Here are some ways that you can make the soup exactly how you like it!

1. Ground Meat

When it comes to which type of ground beef to buy, the most flavor will come from an 80/20 blend of meat. This means that the ground beef is 80 lean and has 20 percent fat.

However, if you like a thicker chili, it is best to stick with ground sirloin. Ground sirloin is leaner and therefore it won’t cook down as much as ground beef.

Of course you could also opt for ground pork or ground sausage. The choice is up to you.

Although, if you aren’t a red meat eater at all or want this recipe to be a little healthier you can use ground turkey or ground chicken in place of the ground beef. Just be sure to add a little oil to pot before browning the meat so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

raw ground beef and diced onion in a pot
The first step in making chili is to brown the ground beef and saute the onions.

And for those vegetarians and vegan eaters, there is an option for you as well. There are now several options to purchase plant based ground crumbles.

Although the flavor of these products have come a long way in recent years, the real flavor will come from the chili beans and seasoning.

2. Chili Beans

You will need one can of chili beans to make chili recipe for two. Pick your favorite brand and spice level.

We like things a little spicy, so I always opt for the spicy chili beans. Although you can purchase mild beans if you prefer.

Chili beans are most often made with seasoned kidney beans. However, I have noticed lately that you can purchase a can of mixed chili beans that are made of kidney, black and pinto beans.

I haven’t tried those, but I can only imagine that both the taste and texture would be fantastic in chili.

3. Diced Tomatoes

Because I use a lot of diced tomatoes throughout the year, and especially during the winter months when I make Stuffed Peppers and Mexican Casserole on a frequent basis, I will buy my diced tomatoes cans in bulk.

However, those diced tomatoes are typically cut in larger chunks. Because I prefer small tomatoes in my chili for two, I will simply cut the tomatoes in smaller sections as the chili cooks down.

garlic press pressing garlic clove
I prefer to use fresh garlic whenever I can, but you can use jarred minced garlic instead.

I would recommend that if you are purchasing a can for this recipe, and you don’t like large chunks of tomatoes in your chili, buy petite diced tomatoes instead.

And for those who like to kick up the flavor a notch, opt for the diced tomatoes with green chiles. The added flavor takes this chili recipe to a whole new level.

4. Thick & Hearty vs. Soup Like Chili

This recipe calls for 1/2 pound of ground beef which will make a thick and hearty chili. If you like your chili to be more like soup consistency decrease the amount to 1/4 lb.

Also, feel free to add in tomato sauce, tomato juice or broth to thin the chili as it simmers. We like chili to have a thicker texture so I don’t add any other liquid, but you certainly can.

Chili Recipe For Two

*A printable recipe card is located at the bottom of this article which contains the specific measurements, temperatures and cook times. However, continue reading below to learn about more helpful tips about this specific recipe.


  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 16 ounces chili beans, undrained
  • 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


In a large saucepan, add the ground beef and onion and cook over medium heat until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink.

Right before the meat is almost cooked through, add the minced garlic to the mixture. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently to prevent the garlic from burning.

Drain the meat if needed and return the mixture to the pot. Then add the undrained chili beans, undrained diced tomatoes, chili powder and cumin to the pot.

chili beans and seasoning in a pot
Once the meat mixture is drained, add the beans, diced tomatoes and seasonings and bring the pot to a simmer.

Reduce the heat to medium low and bring the chili to a simmer. Cover and let it simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If you want to add more liquid, do so while the pot is at a simmer. However, be sure to keep the lid on so that the liquid doesn’t evaporate.

Serve the chili warm and add toppings as desired.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What toppings go good on chili?

Suggested toppings for chili: diced onion, diced jalapeno, sour cream, cheese, diced cilantro, sliced avocado and saltine crackers.

2. Can I make this ahead of time?

Just like with any soup recipe, this chili recipe for two only gets better with time. I like to make it a day or two ahead of time so that the flavors have time to meld.

Then simply reheat it in a saucepan, adding more liquid as needed. Or scoop out individual bowls and reheat in the microwave.

chili in a saucepan
Cooked chili that is ready to be served with your favorite toppings!

3. I purchase a pound of ground beef, what can I make with the other half?

Most of the ground beef recipes that I share will use only 1/2 pound of meat. Therefore, feel free to find those recipes by clicking on the magnifying glass in the top right hand corner of this site.

Here you can insert the search term ‘ground beef’ and it will give you all the ground beef recipes that I have included so far. However, here are some of my favorites:

Enjoy! Mary

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chili recipe for two in two bowls

Chili For Two

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Thick and hearty stove top chili recipe that is the perfect amount for two people.


  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 16 ounces chili beans, undrained
  • 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


  1. In a large saucepan, add the ground beef and onion and cook over medium heat until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Add the minced garlic and cook just until fragrant, approximately 1 minute. Drain and return the mixture to the pan.
  2. Add the chili beans, diced tomatoes, chili powder and cumin to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium low to bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and let the chili simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve warm with desired toppings. Suggested toppings: diced onion, diced jalapeno, sour cream, cheese, diced cilantro.


If you like spicy chili be sure to use spicy chili beans and add in 1/4 teaspoon or more of ground cayenne pepper.

Make this recipe a day or two ahead to get the most flavor. Then reheat on the stove or in the microwave until warmed through.

Recipe provided by

Nutrition Information
Yield 2
Amount Per Serving Calories 584Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 101mgSodium 2044mgCarbohydrates 50gFiber 15gSugar 19gProtein 44g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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