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Italian Chili is a comfort food meal with a Mediterranean feel! With warm and cozy flavors, this chili is packed to the brim with hot Italian sausage and ground beef. Perfect for a game day crowd, or a hearty Italian dinner on a cold or rainy day, it will warm you up from the inside out!!
Want to make a whole lot of food in not a lot of time? Want plenty of flavor with just a little bit of effort?
Look no further than my Italian chili recipe – it makes a filling, satisfying, and simply scrumptious dinner!
This Italian style beef and sausage chili has a savory spiciness and subtle sweetness.
There’s a whole lot packed into one pot, and you can enjoy every bit of it in each and every spoonful. It’s freezer friendly too, so reheat and eat – it’s a quick dinner idea! Make some easy and delicious southern cornbread to go with it!
Got a craving for more chili? I have over 25 chili recipes for you to try!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Ground Beef and Italian Sausage – A mix of meats adds variety in texture and taste.
You want ground beef with a decent fat percentage – 80/20 is a great ratio. And it’s up to you whether to use mild or spicy Italian sausage.
- Italian Seasoning – It doesn’t get easier than pre-blended seasonings! Of course, if you want to use individual spices, that isn’t a problem.
Whatever is easiest for you is the best choice!
- Red Bell Peppers, Yellow Onions, and Canned Tomatoes – A tried-and-true combo of sweet, sharp, and acidic flavors.
Feel free to use the other variations of bell peppers and onions, as well as fresh diced tomatoes if you want to take the extra step.
- Chili Beans (in sauce) – I like to use beans with built-in flavor! The spicy, garlicky sauce that comes with canned chili beans perfectly seasons the Italian sausage chili.
- Cumin, Chili Powder, and Garlic – A mix of earthy, fruity, and sharp spices to add layers of complexity to the pot. If you don’t have fresh garlic, garlic powder is fine.
- Pecorino Romano – This Italian cheese blend is the sheep’s milk cousin of parmesan. Shred it fresh when at all possible.
And if you want to substitute with parmesan, go for it – just know that they taste slightly different, no matter how similar they appear.
- Garlic Cheese Croutons – Grab a bag of these at the store, or make homemade croutons in just 20 minutes.
They last quite a while, so you can add them to any soup or salad that needs a little crunch.
Italian Chili FAQ
Parmesan definitely pairs perfectly with an Italian style chili! My recipe makes a chili with sausage and beef, peppers, beans, and Italian herbs, so Parmesan is the perfect fit!
I recommend grating it fresh – the flavor is always better than anything packaged!
For the most part, the longer you let stews and chilis cook, the better the flavor will be.
With this recipe, if you’re in a hurry, you can simmer the beef and sausage chili for as little as 20 minutes.
Keep in mind though, it won’t be as flavorful that way. Allowing it to cook for at least an hour will give you maximum flavor!
Recipe Variations and Things to Know
- Use fresh herbs instead of dried.
Store bought Italian seasoning is a mix of oregano, thyme, basil, and rosemary. You can use twice the amount of fresh herbs, finely chopped, instead of the dried blend.
- Choose different proteins.
One of the best things about a good chili recipe like this is how versatile it is – use any protein you like!
Using ground turkey or chicken instead of ground beef will make it leaner. I often substitute chicken sausage for Italian sausage in recipes.
- Remember to drain the grease.
If you don’t drain and rinse the cooked meat after browning, your Italian sausage chili will be totally coated in fat.
It leaves a greasy coating in your mouth that is not scrumptious at all.
Storing and Reheating Leftover Beef and Sausage Chili
Store your chili in an airtight container in the fridge, and serve it or freeze it within 5 days.
If you like to prep your meals, you’ll be happy to learn that ground beef and sausage chili freezes, defrosts, and reheats like a dream!
I recommend using several medium-sized freezer-safe containers. This way, you can easily thaw only what you plan on serving at any one time.
Reheating Italian Chili
To reheat, you can put the whole batch back on the stove in a pot and cook on medium until warmed through the center.
If you store it in separate portions, you can even just microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring between each.
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- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pound ground hot Italian sausage, or links with casings removed
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 30 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes, plus their juices
- 30 ounces chili beans, (with sauce)
- 30 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1 cup chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
- Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
- garlic cheese croutons
- In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, sprinkle the salt. Add the beef, sausage, and Italian seasoning. Cook until the meats are browned, 8-10 minutes. Drain any excess fat.
- Add the peppers and onions and continue to cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and saute 30 seconds longer, about 10-12 minutes total.
- Add the diced tomatoes, chili beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, and cumin. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Stir the parsley into the cooked chili. Serve hot, topped with a sprinkle of parsley, freshly grated Pecorino Romano, and garlic cheese croutons.
- Storage: Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, or freeze (without croutons and shredded cheese) for up to 3 months.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally Published Oct 16, 2011, updated and republished August 2022
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All variations of chili are good with us!
This looks amazing! I can't believe it got that cold! I wish it would get and stay cold here in San Diego.
Sedona really is lovely. But being a Canadian, I usually wait until it's a little colder to pull out the chili!
Italian style chili! Get out! I am totally bookmarking this for our upcoming chili weather!
Loving this one!
This sounds great, Donna. I always have oregano in our chili and more times than not, the sausage is Italian and spicy. YUM! I know I would have LOVED this batch. (Go figure, were we both making chili on the same day last week? I froze ours and took it to the cabin. YUM!)
I can have chilli liekthat any time:))
I love the Italian sausage in this. Sounds wonderful and you could serve this over some pasta, too….this is a great idea!
That looks good-I may have to use turkey sausage but hey… mmmm. ty ty
when you say chili beans, do you mean the kind that are already seasoned?
Yes, S&W sells a "Chili Bean" that is seasoned and packed with flavor. You could also use Ranch Style Beans. Enjoy!
Made this for dinner tonight and added some Italian link sausage also. Yummy!
This was very good. Couldn't find chicken sausage, so used italian pork. Will make this again.
Chili is a family favorite, so I make it for all the gatherings. This recipe was a major hit with everyone! I’ve never gotten this many compliments.
I have made Chili several times over the years. This recipe is by far the best I have ever tried. I will for sure make it again and again. Love it!
While simmering for an hour plus, does it hurt to keep it covered?
could this recipe be canned?