Easy Beefy Bean Chili

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Delicious, easy, hearty beefy bean chili – with a classic smoky, salty Western flavor that is perfect for a crowd!

A bowl of chili with sour cream and bread.
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A bowl of chili with a spoon in it.

Easy Budget Beef & Bean ChilI


Beefy bean cookout-style chili, with its rich combination of ground beef and ground sausage, presents a robust and hearty flavor profile that is both deeply satisfying and distinctly bold.

While my family enjoys this recipe regularly, I also like to make it to take for potlucks and parties. It goes very well over hot dogs, chips, or just on its own. You don’t have to add dairy to your chili but it does go well with a big piece of Honey Butter Cornbread. Yum!

A bowl of chili with cheese and sour cream.

How to make Beefy Chili

First you will want to assemble the following ingredients:

  • Bacon grease or olive oil – while you can add either one I love a little bacon flavoring in my chili.
  • Yellow onions – onions add a natural sweetness, light a candle when cutting onions to help your eyes not burn.
  • Garlic – this gives the chili a strong distinct flavor, use fresh garlic.
  • Chili powder, Paprika, Cumin, Oregano – these spices are the perfect quartet of spices for chili.
  • Ground beef – beef is expected in most chili and has a wonderful texture.
  • Italian sausage – pork adds some needed fat and richness. You will need to remove casing if necessary.
  • Salt – salt adds necessary seasoning to the beef and the chili in general.
  • Crushed tomatoes – crushed tomatoes will give more liquid content than diced tomatoes which is perfect for chili.
  • Kidney beans – kidney beans are meaty and add a wonderful texture to this.
  • BBQ baked beans – even after we have rinsed the beans they add some bbq flavoring to the chili.
  • Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce – these can be found in the Latin section in the Supermarket. They add a smoky spice.
  • Garnishes – I love garnishes in my chili like cheddar cheese, green onions, sour cream, jalapeno slices, and bacon.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use this process:

  • Sauté vegetables. Heat the grease or oil in a Dutch oven, add onion and garlic and sauté while stirring occasionally.
  • Spice it up. Sprinkle in the spices and stir them into the onions, let cook for a minutes or two until fragrant.
  • Meat. Add the meats and cook, stirring frequently until all the meat is browned. Add the remaining ingredients.
  • Simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 1 hour.
  • Serve. Enjoy this hearty chili hot, garnish with cheese, sour cream, green onions, and bacon.
A bowl of chili with cornbread on a cutting board.

Tips and Tricks to Best Chili

Make it in your Instant Pot: This recipe is easily made in an instant pot by using the sauté function for the first three steps. When you add the tomatoes do not stir, just let it sit on top of the meat and beans. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and cook for 12 minutes on high pressure and then let it naturally release for another 12 minutes before opening the vent and then removing the lid. Turn it back to the sauté function and let simmer with the lid loosely on for 10-15 more minutes or until it’s at the desired consistency.

You can make this in the slow cooker: Do steps 1-4 in the recipe then add everything to the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6.

Quality of Meat: Choose high-quality ground beef and sausage for the best flavor. A mix of lean and fatty meat is ideal as it provides richness without being overly greasy.

Browning the Meat: Brown your meats separately to develop deep flavors. Ensure that the beef and sausage are well-browned before combining them; this step adds a savory depth to your chili.

Layering the Spices: Add your spices (like cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder) early in the cooking process, cooking them with the onions. This helps to release their aromatic oils and infuse the dish with more flavor.

Chipotles in Adobo Sauce: Be mindful of the heat. Start with a small amount of chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, then adjust according to your taste. Remember, it’s easier to add more spice than to take it away.

Tomato Tip: Use high-quality canned tomatoes for consistency in flavor. Fire-roasted tomatoes can add an extra layer of smokiness that complements the chipotles well.

Simmering Slowly: Allow your chili to simmer slowly after all the ingredients are added. This slow cooking process melds the flavors together and tenderizes the meat. A low and slow approach is key for a rich and cohesive chili.

Balancing Flavors: If the chili is too spicy or acidic, a touch of brown sugar or honey can help balance the flavors. Conversely, if it’s too sweet, a bit of vinegar can provide balance.

Beans: Choose your beans wisely. Kidney beans are a classic choice, but black or pinto beans work well too. Add them towards the end of cooking to maintain their texture.

Resting Time: Chili often tastes better the next day after the flavors have had time to meld together in the refrigerator. If possible, make your chili a day ahead.

Garnishes and Sides: Serve your chili with a variety of garnishes like shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped onions, or cilantro. Cornbread or a side of rice makes a great accompaniment.

Adjusting Consistency: If your chili is too thick, add a bit of beef or chicken broth. If it’s too thin, let it simmer uncovered to reduce and thicken.

Turn up the heat: If you want to make this chili spicier simply add more chipotle chilis in adobo.

FAQs

How do I keep leftovers?

Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Does Beef Chili freeze well?

Yes, this chili freezes very well. I freeze my chili in a ziplock bag and always put the date on it. It keeps well in the freezer for 4-6 months.

How do I tame the heat of this chili?

To mellow out an overly spicy chili, you can add more tomatoes, beans, or other ingredients to dilute the heat. Dairy products like sour cream or cheese can also help counteract the spiciness when served.

How can I make my chili spicier?

You can increase the heat in your chili by adding more chili powder, fresh or dried chili peppers, cayenne pepper, or hot sauces.

Can I make chili without meat?

Absolutely! You can substitute beans, lentils, tofu, or other meat substitutes for the beef and pork.

How do I thicken my chili?

Allowing chili to simmer uncovered will help reduce and thicken it. Alternatively, you can mix a small amount of cornstarch with cold water and stir it into the chili, then let it simmer until thickened.

Is this chili gluten free?

Yes, there is no gluten in this chili recipe!

A bowl of chili on a wooden cutting board.

What to Enjoy with Beefy Chili

Chili is a versatile dish that can be paired with a variety of foods and drinks. Here are some popular accompaniments to enjoy with chili:

Foods:

Cornbread: A classic pairing. The sweetness of cornbread complements the spicy and savory notes of chili. I love this recipe!

Tortilla Chips: Great for scooping and gives an added crunch.

Rice: Chili served over rice can provide a filling meal, especially popular in some Southern and Southwestern U.S. households.

Baked Potato: Top a baked potato with chili for a hearty meal.

Hot Dogs or Sausages: Chili dogs are a popular American fast food item.

Grated Cheese: Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Pepper Jack are great choices to melt on top.

Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt: Adds a cooling contrast to the spicy chili.

Sliced Green Onions or Chives: For a fresh and slightly pungent kick.

Jalapeños or Other Chili Peppers: For those who like it extra spicy.

Crackers: Especially oyster crackers or saltines.

Avocado or Guacamole: Adds a creamy texture and rich flavor.

Spaghetti: Believe it or not, chili served over spaghetti is a regional favorite in Cincinnati, Ohio, known as “Cincinnati Chili.”

Salad: A light, fresh salad can balance out a hearty bowl of chili.

Pickled Vegetables: Like pickled onions or jalapeños for an added tang.

You can also enjoy chili as a dip for veggies like bell peppers, celery, and carrots or use it as a topping for nachos, pizzas, or tacos. The possibilities are almost endless!

Enjoy your chili with a side of sour cream cornbread, honey butter cornbread or one of these sides:

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A bowl of chili with cornbread on a wooden cutting board.

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A beefy bean chili with sour cream and cornbread on a cutting board.

Easy Beefy Bean Chili

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Delicious stick-to-your ribs smoky super easy beefy bean chili is just the thing on a cool evening or at a BBQ!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp bacon grease or olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb Italian sausage, removed from its casing if necessary
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can bbq baked beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • Garnishes (optional): cheddar cheese, green onions, sour cream, jalapeno slices, bacon

Instructions

  1. Heat oil or grease in a pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the ones and garlic, stirring occasionally, cook 7 till 10 minutes till tender. 
  2. Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano and let spices cook till fragrant, about 2 minutes. 
  3. Add the ground beef, sausage, and salt to the pot and cook 8 to 10 minutes until cooked through. 
  4. Add the remaining ingredients. 
  5. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour. 
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, adding more chipotles to add heat if necessary. 
  7. Top with desired garnishes and enjoy hot!
Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 627Total Fat 33gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 21gCholesterol 90mgSodium 1627mgCarbohydrates 49gFiber 12gSugar 17gProtein 40g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

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About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style. Courtney writes the popular creative lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs- a site devoted to delicious everyday recipes, home decor, crafts, DIY inspiration, and photography tips to help make your every day extraordinary.

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