Making Chili for Large Groups Quantity, Tips and Ideas

Turn your need for large-scale feeding into a feast and we will show you how to make homemade chili for chili dogs and feed a big gang or a large group.

See our other catering advice for large groups like

How many sodas do you need for your big party?

How To Set Up A Taco Bar for a big crowd?

Cooking for a large group needs some serious calculations of ingredients and budget. That is why we will make it easier for you by noting down some tips and serving recommendations for this easy chili recipe.

Do not want to cook – see our top no cook recipes for a group

Moreover, we will provide you a great recipe of classic chili for your large gathering. We made sure that this will be the best outline with lots of serving suggestions and recipe ideas for chili sauce with meat, canned beans if you want, and if time is of the essence canned tomatoes.

Meatballs are also a great idea to work in with this dish – see how many meatballs you need for 100 people.

Also Baked Beans for feeding a large group especially- Southern style can be great

This is a great homemade chili for a big group -and is very easy for a tailgating recipe of slow cooker chili or even using a pressure cooker like an instant pot.

The serving sizes we suggest below may vary a little and people will eat more on cold days or nights when they are drinking beer!. Usually, a large group of 70 people should be served 140 cups of chili. Meaning, an adult guest should be allotted at least 2 cups of chili for a big crowd and this will allow for people who eat more and for those who eat less. 

How to make your own chili flakes – see how to do it here.

Often you will serve chili at a BBQ, to see How Much Meat Per Person For BBQ read this meat calculation guide.

Also, see How To Freeze Chili

Making Chili For A Crowd How Much Do You Make Per Person?

Chili for a crowd of 10 to 20 people

Here is the calculation for the ingredients you need to have when making a chili recipe for a large group. In this case, we will have 10 to 20 people. This will give you two cups of beef chili for 10 people and one cup chili for a crowd of 20 people.

An average gathering is 10-20 people. 

  • 4 pounds ground chuck/beef
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cans diced tomato
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 4 bay leaf
  • 2  cans light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (optional) – you can also use pinto beans, chili beans, and black bean.


1. In a large skillet(or a big dutch oven), cook the beef over medium heat until turns brown, keep stirring with a big wooden spoon so you break up the meat. (You can also use ground turkey)

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a large slow cooker. Stir in together with the onion, beans, and other remaining ingredients. If it gets too thick, add a little water. 

3. Cover and cook over medium heat for at least 2 hours or until soft and tender. Taste after 1 hour to check. You can also use a large crock pot.

4. Remove the bay leaf and serve. 

Homemade making chili on stove top
Homemade making chili on stove top

Cooking Chill For A Crowd of 30 People

Here is another chili recipe for a crowd that you can follow. This is made up ofslightly more affordable ingredients with easy steps to follow and a reduced cooking time. 


  • 8 pounds burger patty
  • 4 large onions, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large tomato sauce cans
  • 2 diced tomato cans
  • 3 quarts water
  • 4 large cans of crushed tomato
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 12 beef bouillon cubes (or 3 quarts of beef broth and cancel the water above)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed


  • diced bell pepper x 2
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 4 diced green onion for garnish at the end for serving this chili con carne


1. Prepare a large stockpot and add the burger patties. Cook over medium heat until and use a wooden spoon to break the patties into pieces.

2. Drain the water and oil from the stockpot. Transfer the crushed patties to a plate. 

3. Stir in the onions and saute until translucent. Stir in the garlic for a minute. 

4. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Add the beans and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes or until soft. 

6. Serve.

Chili For a Crowd of 50 people

Here is another chili recipe for a large group of 50 that you can follow. This consists of more affordable ingredients with easy steps to follow and lesser cooking time.  However, you can replace the sausage with ground turkey to serve up on your chili bar.


  • 2 lb sausage (regular)
  • 2 lb sausage (hot/spicy)
  •  4 oz canned diced green chili peppers
  • 18 lb canned crushed tomatoes
  • 18 lb tomato sauce (can use ketchup but add a little sugar because it is more tart)
  • 1oz ground cumin
  • 2 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 40 ozs kidney beans
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1 head or clove garlic, crushed


1. Prepare a skillet and cook the sausage over medium heat. 

2. Add the onions, garlic, and green chili peppers. 

3. Add the tomato sauces and crushed tomatoes followed by the other spices. 

4. Simmer for at least 40 to 50 minutes. 

5. Add the kidney beans and cook for another 10 minutes. 

6. Serve

Crock pot chili for a crowd 100 People

Recipe for chili for a crowd or big group of 100 that you can follow.


  • 21 pounds of minced or ground beef
  • 9 tin cans (28 oz each) tomato sauce
  • 9 tin cans (28 oz each) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 9 tin cans (16 oz each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 9 tin cans (15-3/4 ounces each) pork and beans
  • 3 lbs onions, finely chopped
  • 9 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 6 cups finely chopped celery with leaves
  • 6 tablespoons chili powder (or cayenne pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1 table chili or cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbl white pepper
  • 10 bay leaves


1. Cook the beef in a large skillet (you can add a little olive oil) until brown and drained and transfer to your crockpot (you may need two)

2. Add the spices like onions and garlic.

3. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.

4. Add the other ingredients except for kidney beans. Cook for 60 to 75 minutes. 

5. Add a little water if the stew is too thick. 

6. Add the kidney beans and cook for another 10 minutes.

7. Serve

Nothing like taste of home chili for a crowd
Nothing like the taste of home chili for a crowd

How Do You Bulk Up Chili?

If you ever feel like adding more ingredients to your chili to make it more satisfying and fulfilling, here are more things that you can add up to:

  •  Put in one of those generic taco flavor packets that you use on ground beef.
  • Thin slices of zucchini
  • More cups of beans
  • Finely chopped or grated carrots for natural sweetness
  • Lentils with more cups of water
  • More ounces of sliced tomatoes
  • More meat
  • Sour cream just before serving

Is Chili Better in a Slow Cooker?

Using a slow cooker for cooking a chili recipe is a great way to do it. Usually, cooking chili will take several hours to be done since it needs to be stew-like and the flavors develop more. 

A slow cooker will allow you to cook it on low heat and leave with no worries for several hours. You can also use the slow cooker for reheating the food. 

If you have a longer time to prepare, using a slow cooker can be used to draw out the flavor of the ingredients. If not, you can use a pressure cooker like an instant pot or ninja foodie, especially if you are cooking more beef. 

How Do I Check My Crock Pot or Slow Cooker is Food Temperature Safe?

It is important to note that food staying in a container or appliance for a long time may develop contamination, especially if it is not at the right temperature. To check your slow cooker’s performance, you should fill it with water halfway to the top. Next, turn it on to the lowest setting and cover for a maximum of 8 hours. Remove the lid and measure the water temperature; it should be at least 185 degrees Fahrenheit. 

How to Transport Chilli For a Big Group

Transporting large amounts of chili is a tricky business. Our first recommendation would be to see if the host will let you make it at the destination you would be serving it at.

But for those of you where that’s just not possible here are some helpful tips.

Trying not to spill

Of course, make sure the chili is covered with a secure lid – but still the best advice there is to give is to drive very carefully. Avoid sharp turns and driving fast over bumps or up and downhills.

When transporting Chili one of the best options is to put it in a pot that is either twice its size or has at least a one-and-a-half-inch depth from the top of the pot to the actual chili. This greatly reduces the risk that it will spill.

Another great way to prevent the chili from spilling while driving is to actually have someone hold it, maybe not your grandma, but someone. This way you can concentrate on driving while your chili partner adjusts the pot of chili accordingly.

If you don’t have someone to hold it, do not stick it in the back seat and buckle it in. This has proven time and time again to be ineffective.

Rather, it is better to keep it on the floor in the front seat. This way you can keep a sideways eye on it while still driving. Having it lower also reduces the effect that turns will have on the pot itself.

How to Transport large Amounts of Chili 

If you are cooking a large amount of chili for a large crowd and need to be transported to another area, that would definitely be hard. So, we come up with tips that you can consider doing. 

Keeping chili for a big crowd warm

This may be easy, or relatively hard depending on how long your drive is. If you decided not to cook the chili in a crockpot or transfer it to a place without a burner to reheat we would suggest blankets.

Yes, you read that right, blankets.

If it is nearly impossible to reheat your chili once you get to your destination, stick it in a cardboard box that will fit on the floor of your car. Then surround it with blankets.

This will keep the heat in as much as possible and will also prevent it from sliding and spilling even more.

Reheating Chili for A Big Gathering Or Family Reunion

As mentioned before, this is best accomplished with a slow cooker. Keeping your chili in a slow cooker means that when you get to the venue you will be serving at, you just need an outlet.

That’s it. No hassle with a kitchen or transferring it to a different pot.

When reheating in a slow cooker, turn it on in the low setting. This way you can keep it on the entire time your serving, staring occasionally.

If you’re reheating in a stockpot, make sure there is a kitchen with adequate burners at your destination. Do everything to can to keep the heat in while transporting to reduce the time it will take to reheat.

When you get to your venue, turn the burner on high to jump-start the reheating process, but take care to stir so it does not burn on the bottom. Since you most likely won’t be reheating throughout the night, get the chili as hot as you can (while keeping it safe and edible) before taking it off the burner to serve.

Doing this will increase the odds of every serving being warm.

This is also similar to keep the sloppy joe for a crowd warm.

How much chili do you make per person

A minimum is 4 oz (250g) and sometimes more.

How much is a serving size of chili

One party cup size, which is a small cup and is about 4 oz

How Much Chili Powder Should I Put In My Chili

The best way is to add the chili little by little as you are cooking it – and then taste it to determine if it is spicy or hot enough.

Can you make chili in advance?

Yes – using a slow cooker or crock pot is a great idea to make chili in advance for a big group.

I Put Shallots On My Chili And They Tasted Just Like Onions Whats The Big Deal With Shallots

Shallots are a much sweeter version of onions and that is why many people prefer them. However, with a strong tomato and chili sauce, it is probably fine to just use onions.