Beef Chili Recipe

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This beef chili recipe is an all-time favorite dish that’s not only easy to make but also won’t break the budget. This flavorful recipe is fantastic on its own with all of your favorite chili toppings or also on nachos and of course chili cheese hot dogs.

With fall arriving faster than we can blink, many of you will be looking at tailgating events. Tailgating is a time-honored tradition in this country and good food is always a top priority. But just because you want good food doesn’t mean it has to be filled with garbage that leaves you feeling less than your best.

Beef chili on a spoon.

In fact, a good beef chili can totally be part of a low calorie diet. The carbohydrates are easily adjustable (take out the beans!) for a low-carb diet, and in fact, this recipe gives you plenty of fiber and protein, and it’s easily adjustable for many different diets and eating styles. 

This wonderful beef chili recipe will serve many tailgating purposes without overly expanding your waistline, and it even takes minimal prep time. You can’t beat it!

HEALTHY BEEF CHILI RECIPE

The truth is, the best chili is rarely made with a ton of bottled or boxed ingredients. While people are generally used to those types of chilis, inevitably, they love the real unprocessed stuff even more. Why? Because real food tastes amazing when it’s prepared well!

For this recipe, you can use canned or fresh ingredients, depending on what you have on hand. Just be sure to read the ingredients on your canned food goods if you use them. Pick the ones that don’t have added sugar. Bonus points for low or no sodium!

What Beans Make Good Chili?

According to a review of 28 studies published in the journal Advances in Nutrition, daily bean consumption resulted in about a 10 percent lower risk of heart disease and high blood pressure compared with not eating them.

Consumer Reports

That sounds like a great excuse to eat more beans, right?

Usually, three types of beans make a good pot of chili. You can use one, two, or all three. Any combination of these three is always a sure thing.

  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Red beans – Such as red kidney beans

How To Make Homemade Chili Without Beans?

If you can’t have or don’t like beans, there are a few simple substitutes you can use. Leave the beans out and try one of these instead:

  • Peas
  • Chopped mushrooms
  • Lentils

Best Chili Toppings

While many people have their favorites, there are some classic standards. They are:

  • Sour cream – A healthier substitute is usually Greek yogurt.
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Fresh, sliced green onions
  • Fresh, diced tomatoes
  • Chopped, fresh avocado
  • Diced red onion
  • Crumbled queso fresco
  • Sliced jalapeño chiles
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Tortilla chips
  • Soy sauce – Hear me out. It won’t ruin your chili! It simply adds umami, or depth of flavor. Don’t overdo it. A little goes a long way.
An overhead view of a bowl of beef chili.

What To Serve With Chili

My favorite go-to side dishes for chili are:

How To Use Leftover Chili

  • Chili nachos
  • Us as a filling for taco night
  • Stuffed baked potatoes with chili on top
  • Inside a quesadilla
  • Over pasta
  • Mixed with rice

Chili Seasoning Mix

Chili spice mix generally has sugar, additives, or preservatives added when you buy it at the store. If you can find a packaged mix that has only spices in it, then use it. If not, give this chili seasoning mix recipe a try. It’s super quick and easy to make from spices you probably already have in your spice cabinet.

What Ingredients Do You Need For Beef Chili?

(Scroll all the way down to print the recipe below in the recipe card)

1 lb. ground beef – You can use regular or lean. Lean is better.

1 tbsp. oil – Any oil you normally cook with is fine.

1 ½ cups chopped green bell pepper – You can use red peppers if you prefer them.

1 cup chopped red onion – Red onion is the best, but white or yellow onion will work too. Use what you have.

2 medium garlic cloves – Mince these as fine as you can get them.

2 tbsp. chili seasoning mix – If you buy it at the store, look for one that has no added sugar or preservatives. Just regular spices.

½ tsp. ground black pepper – White pepper works too.

1 tsp. ground cumin – This is in addition to the chili seasoning.

½ tsp. cayenne pepper – This is optional and can be adjusted to your heat preference.

1 tsp. salt – I add this after cooking, to taste.

1 large bay leaf – Optional, but tasty. Just remember to remove it when you’re done cooking.

14 oz. can black beans – Drained and rinsed. Look for a can with no added sugar.

14 oz can pinto beans – Drained and rinsed. Look for a can with no added sugar.

14 oz. can diced tomatoes – Look for a can with no added sugar.

1 cup tomato sauce – You can also use tomato puree.

2 cups beef broth – Look for broth with no added sugar or dextrose.

How To Make The Best Homemade Beef Chili

Several white bowls on a table filled with beef chili ingredients.

Gather all your ingredients.

Raw, ground beef in a pot.

Heat a large pot and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil then the beef. Cook the beef until cooked through.

Browned beef in a pot with chopped onions added.

Push the meat aside and add the onion and sauté until it just begins to soften, then mix until combined with the beef.

A pot of browned, ground beef with spices added.

Next, add the garlic and all of the spices and salt and mix them into the beef mixture.

A pot with beans and green bell peppers.

Now add the rinsed beans and the bell pepper and again mix until well combined.

Then pour in the tomato puree/sauce and mix until well combined. If you used whole tomatoes break them up with a spoon as you mix in.

Broth being poured into a pot of beef chili.

Now pour in the beef broth and stir until well combined. Over medium heat, bring the chili to a soft boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 45 minutes.

A close up of beef chili in a pot.

After 45 minutes the chili will have thickened up and is ready for serving. Taste it and adjust any of the seasonings as desired. If adding more seasoning, then allow simmering another 10 minutes under low heat to let the flavors combine well. Serve as desired!

NOTES & TIPS:

* You can use white, brown, or even red onion. All work well and each will lend a slightly different flavor to the chili.

A pot of finished beef chili.

** If you’d like to use home-cooked beans the equivalent would be about one and three-quarter cups of beans.  Additionally, you could use only black beans, or only pinto beans, or only red beans, or a combination of any two or three if desired. 

A white bowl on a table filled with beef chili.

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More Healthy Chili Recipes

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Healthy Beef Chili Recipe

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Beef chili on a spoon.

Beef Chili Recipe

Chili is an all time favorite dish that’s not only easy to make, but also won’t break the budget. This flavorful recipe is fantastic on it’s own with all of your favorite chili toppings or on nachos, and of course, chili cheese hot dogs. 
Print Pin Rate
Course: Chili, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 387kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 ½ cups chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 medium garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 tbsp. chili spice mix (see recipe link above)
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (adjust to heat preference)
  • 1 tsp. salt (adjust as desired)
  • 1 large bay leaf (optional)
  • 14 oz. can black beans (rinsed)
  • 14 oz can pinto beans (rinsed)
  • 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (or puree)
  • 2 cups beef broth (no sugar added)

Instructions

  • Gather all your ingredients.
    Several white bowls on a table filled with beef chili ingredients.
  • Heat a large pot and add 1 tablespoons of vegetable oil then the beef. Cook the beef until cooked through.
    Raw, ground beef in a pot.
  • Push the meat aside and add the onion and sauté until it just begins to soften, then mix until combined with the beef.
    Browned beef in a pot with chopped onions added.
  • Next add the garlic and all of the spices and salt and mix into the beef mixture.
    A pot of browned, ground beef with spices added.
  • Now add the rinsed beans and the bell pepper and again mix until well combined.
    A pot with beans and green bell peppers.
  • Then pour in the tomato puree/sauce and mix until well combined. If you used whole tomatoes break them up with a spoon as you mix in.
    Now pour in the beef broth and stir until well combined. Over medium heat, bring the chili to a soft boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 45 minutes.
    Broth being poured into a pot of beef chili.
  • After 45 minutes the chili will have thickened up and be ready for serving. Taste it and adjust any of the seasoning as desired. If adding more seasoning then allow to simmer another 10 minutes under low heat to let the flavors combine well. Serve as desired!
    A close up of beef chili in a pot.

NOTES & TIPS:

  • * You can use white, brown or even red onion. All work well and each will lend a slightly different flavor to the chili.
    A pot of finished beef chili.
  • ** If you’d like to use home cooked beans the equivalent would be about one and three quarter cups of beans.  Additionally you could use only black beans, or only pinto beans or only red beans, or a combination of any two or three if desired. 
    A bowl of beef chili.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 1412mg | Potassium: 1073mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1723IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 6mg

Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 6/14/2020.

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