My Absolute Favorite Easy Chili Recipe

My favorite easy chili recipe with Carroll Shelby’s kit

Anyone else have foods that remind you of a specific time of year?  I don’t mean just a season.  Chili, specifically this easy chili recipe made with Carroll Shelby’s kit, always reminds me of the weekend between Christmas and New Year’s. For the past few years I’ve found myself too tired from holiday cooking to make a big meal but yearning something hearty and home-cooked.  Three dozen decorated cut-out cookies, four pies, and a (also my first) maple honey ham within a few days really takes it out of a girl!  This chili always fits what I’m looking for this week of the year—ease, little time investment, and pre-portioned.  You’ll love this easy chili recipe when you need to warm up, fill up, and relax between holiday activities.

While many chili packets in the grocery store offer an alternative easy chili recipe, I have yet to find one that tastes as good as Carroll Shelby’s.  Growing up I always thought my parents were making chili from scratch.  As it turns out, they were using this kit the whole time.  When I moved out and asked how they made it, I was both surprised and elated that I could make this with all the seasonings already prepared and portioned for me in a box.  Although my culinary skills are slightly more advanced now than they were then, I still love to use this kit.

My favorite thing about this kit is its versatility.  Add beans or leave them out.  If you add them, choose the type you prefer.  Add some spice until it meets your taste preference or add none at all.  Make it thick or make it thin.  It’s also simple to prepare and the cook time is not long at all.  You’ll be box to bowl within 35-40 minutes.

Carroll Shelby’s Chili Kit Prep

Reading the back of the box, you’ll see that the box will not have all the ingredients you need.  Swing by a few more aisles while you’re in the store to pick up the other items to complete your batch of chili.

Easy Chili Recipe Ingredients

*It was really hard to take this picture.  I had to strategically leave out all of my kitchen mess.  It’s still a wreck from cooking for Christmas Eve & Christmas Day.  The mess from making the cut-out cookies reminded me of the one and only time I’ve had to discharge a fire extinguisher in my life.  It’s been a process.


For this particular batch I used:

  • Carroll Shelby’s Chili Kit
  • 2 lbs ground beef, 93% lean
  • 1 8 ounce can Kroger brand tomato sauce
  • 1 10 ounce can Rotel, mild
  • 1 10 ounce can Bush’s Best Chili Beans, black, mild

Inside the Carroll Shelby’s Chili Kit box, you will find:

  • Chili seasoning
  • Salt
  • Masa flour
  • Cayenne pepper

Easy chili recipe box contents


The back of the box has several different suggestions for different easy chili recipes utilizing the same spice packet in the box.  I used black beans but have made it before with kidney beans and been just as satisfied.  I happen live with a black bean fanatic so this time around I was catering to his palete.  Other suggestions from the brand include adding diced peppers and onions to the meat, using 2 cans of water instead of adding any form of diced tomatoes (keep reading and this will make sense), leaving out the salt packet, and either adding or omitting the cayenne pepper to make the recipe mild or hot in spice level.  They also offer more recipes using this box at their website.

Let’s make this easy chili recipe!

First, you’ll want to brown the ground beef.  Drain and return to the pot.

Easy chili recipe browned ground beef

Add contents as indicated on the box.  At this point in time you’ll add the seasoning packet, tomato sauce, and at least 8 ounces of water.  You can either add diced tomatoes at this point if you want or add another 8 ounces of water if you are not adding tomatoes.  You’ll also need to add the cayenne pepper packet now if you want your chili to be hot or leave it out if you prefer your dish to be mild.  I usually add about half the packet for enough heat to make it interesting.

Easy chili recipe seasoning the pot

Stir together, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Easy chili recipe add beans

At this point you can add the masa flour from the kit with 1/3 cup water to make the chili thicker if you prefer.  This is also when you will add a can of beans if you decided to add any.  With either of these additions, cover and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

I got so distracted/enamored by this adorable spoon rest my cousin got me for Christmas this year that I forgot to take a picture of the chili with the beans added.  Oops.  Isn’t it cute though?!

Easy chili recipe spoon rest

Add toppings & serve

Here’s the fun part—toppings.  I served with diced jalapeños (canned, saving me more time), light sour cream, and shredded mild cheddar cheese.

Easy chili recipe toppings

Now all that’s left to do is grab a comfy blanket & enjoy!

My favorite easy chili recipe with Carroll Shelby’s kit



What’s your favorite recipe to recover between holidays?  Share with me below!

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I love chili, but need something that comes together fast to fit with my weekday schedule. Here I share with you how to customize the Carrol Shelby’s Chili Kit to make the yummiest, easiest, fastest chili!

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  1. I’ve never thought to buy a chili kit! I’ve always relied on the spices in the can of beans for flavor! 🙂 I’ll have to look for this!

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