Gran’s 30 Minute Chili, a quick and easy meal for “chilly” days!

Gran’s 30-Minute Chili is the perfect quick and easy meal when the weather is cold outside. Just dump, pour, simmer and eat! This hearty chili is both filling and delicious! 

30-minute chili, quick and easy meals, one pot meals

Gran’s 30 Minute Chili, the perfect one-pot meal!

Fall has FINALLY decided to settle in! The last two days have been “chilly” outside, especially today! So I decided to make a chili recipe that I made when my children were growing up, Gran’s 30-Minute Chili. It is an easy, one-pot meal that will be ready to eat in just 30 minutes! How’s that for a “warm you up” meal?

Gran’s 30 Minute Chili vs. Aunt Ann’s Chili, both Family Favorites!

Gran is my children’s grandmother on their daddy’s side. She is still living–84 years old. She gave me her recipe for this chili when I asked her for some of her family favorite recipes. This was probably 45 or more years ago. This is the ONLY chili recipe I made when my children were little because, at least then, it was their daddy’s favorite. She didn’t call it “30-Minute Chili”. It was just her “Chili” recipe. I renamed it . . . because it is . . . a 30-Minute Chili.


Candace and Gran

My family’s favorite chili was, and still is, Aunt Ann’s Chili, which we still make. But that chili takes several hours to cook. It simmers on the stove for at least two hours, and the longer you let it cook, the better it is. Aunt Ann is my daddy’s youngest sister. She, too, is still living, at age 90! Aunt Ann gave Mama this recipe at some point decades ago, and it is still our favorite chili. I recently made it for a church luncheon, and there was virtually NONE left.

Comparing Gran’s 30 Minute Chili with Aunt Ann’s Chili . . .

Both of the chili recipes are one-pot meals, as is most, if not all, chili recipes. There are some notable differences:

  • Gran’s 30-Minute Chili uses several canned ingredients, including canned chili. Aunt Ann’s Chili only uses canned tomatoes. (Back in the day, I’m sure Mama and others in her generation, home-canned their tomatoes. Today, we buy them in the grocery store.)
  • Aunt Ann’s chili uses several spices: cumin, chili powder, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Gran’s uses only chili powder.
  • Aunt Ann’s Chili also has chopped onions and garlic, which Gran’s chili does not.
  • Gran’s chili cooks in 30 minutes. Aunt Ann’s several hours.

Both use, of course, ground beef. I generally use ground round because we don’t need, or want, all the fat. Some people prefer more fat for more flavor, but my husband’s had two heart surgeries, so we try to limit animal fat as much as we can.

So, in looking at both of our Family Favorite Chili Recipes, both are really good. After all, they both are “Family Favorites”. But, when you don’t have a lot of time to cook, and it’s COLD outside, which would you make???

chili, quick and easy

Making Gran’s 30 Minute Chili . . .

Gran’s 30 Minute Chili is a dump and pour, one pot meal. It is just that: dump, pour, simmer, and it’s done. You can see from the picture that this chili uses a lot of canned ingredients. I did add a can of dark kidney beans, because there didn’t seem to be enough beans in the chili. We like beans! But, if you don’t, don’t add them. There are some beans in the canned chili.

chili, quick and easy, one pot meal

Simmer for 30 minutes, then eat! I added shredded cheese to Lynn’s bowl.

chili, quick and easy, one pot meal

To mine, I added, not only the shredded cheese, but also three tablespoons MORE of the Rotel. I like my chili HOT. He likes his chili MILD. So, to compromise, I add extra to my bowl:) That way, we both have the chili we like to eat.

chili, quick and easy, one pot meal

One thing I learned from Gran about eating chili, is to eat it over rice. You can’t see the rice in the bowl, but it’s there. She had a large family–five children. And, rice helps to extend the number of servings that you would normally get from the recipe. Plus rice is filling. And, her husband was, and my children’s daddy, and my two sons are, rice farmers. So, here’s to rice farmers everywhere: Thank you!


Jason (left) and Trey (right) with cousin, Jonathan, on the combine in the background.

Would you serve Gran’s 30-Minute Chili over rice? Or just as chili?

Shared on Meal Plan Monday, and Tasty Tuesdays,

5 from 1 vote
Gran's 30-Minute Chili Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

This is the chili recipe that I made when my children were growing up. It is done in 30 minutes, and is both delicious and filling.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Maribeth
  • 2 pounds ground beef (I usually buy 85-15% ground round)
  • 2 cans chili with beans (I always bought Armour Chili with Beans)
  • 2 (6-ounce) cans tomato juice (or 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes)
  • 1 (10-ounce) can tomatoes with green chilies (I use Rotel)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained, optional
  • 1-1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder (Use the amount your family likes)
  • 3/4 cup Water (add more if the chili is too thick
  • Shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese for garnish
  • Cooked white rice (If you are serving the chili over rice)
  1. Brown meat in a skillet over medium heat

  2. Add all remaining ingredients except shredded cheese and rice.

  3. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes.

  4. Serve over cooked white rice or not. Garnish with shredded cheese.


  1. Lynda Cook says:

    This is pretty much the same as my recipe, except I also add canned sliced mushrooms, it’s very good, I like that it’s so fast to make!

    • It’s a good, quick chili recipe for sure, Lynda. I never thought about adding mushrooms to chili! Interesting! I’ll pass that on:)

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