Homemade Chili – A Perfect Freezer Food

Yesterday was cold and rainy. It was a perfect day to come home and enjoy a bowl of warm chili for dinner, so that is exactly what I did! I consider chili the perfect freezer food. Why? The recipe doubles easily and tastes just as good when it is thawed and reheated.

You can make chili using your favorite recipe – or you can try mine below. It’s a simple recipe that comes together quickly. The flavor is good and gets better as it simmers. This recipe is (again) from my mother-in-law, with slight adaptations from me. They are not a beans in chili family, so this recipe follows their tradition. If you like beans in your chili, feel free to add some! My mom’s chili had beans in it so I won’t be offended in the slightest! :-) However you make your chili, double it and freeze some soon. You’ll be glad you did on the next cold fall or winter.

Homemade Chili - Joyfully Thriving


1.5 pounds of hamburger, cooked and drained
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 cans (28 ounce) diced tomatoes
1 can tomato soup


In a large saucepan, combine hamburger with diced onion and spices. Stir together over low heat. Add tomatoes and tomato soup. Allow to simmer on the stove (covered) for one hour.

Additional Notes:

As I said before, chili is a very easy dish to double. Allow the chili to cool before storing it in the freezer. I freeze chili in quart size freezer bags (laid flat) or in quart canning jars. Both work well.

We like to eat our chili with cheese on the top. I like to mix in crushed corn tortilla chips which reminds me of a tortilla soup. My husband likes to eat his chili with Fritoes on the side. You can try either of our variations or eat it as is! You can also add more tomatoes and / or more chili powder if you desire.

For all my other freezer cooking recipes, click on the button below. Do you freeze chili or any other soups?



  1. When I make chilli I don’t put meat in it so I really depend on the beans. I serve it with cheese as you do but also include sour cream, chopped avocado, and chopped green onions. If I don’t make corn bread to go along with it then I serve it with Fritoes. A Nebraska tradition I have not been able to embrace is to serve chilli with cinnamon rolls. It’s the only way natives eat it and seems so odd to me even after being here for over 20 years.

    • Cinnamon rolls? That’s one I haven’t heard of yet. Although, in the Whirrett family, chili is served with a side of Ritz crackers and strawberry jam. I guess it’s the same principle. Something sweet to go with the salty!

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