Who says you need beans to make an epic pot of chili? This no bean chili recipe is a wonderfully beefy and hearty family meal that’s ready in about 30 minutes. Bonus: the leftovers taste even better the next day!
You can find me and my family indulging in bowls of venison chili, white chicken chili and vegan chili all winter long. But when there are picky eaters to please, I’ll make them this no bean chili instead.
Also called Texas chili, this pot of spiced tomato and beef goodness is just as filling, hearty, and warming as the classic, making it picky eater-approved!
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- Best chili for bean-haters. Did you know that you DO NOT need beans to make a great pot of chili? Chili without beans swaps the beans for protein-packed beef, giving you a hearty meal that pleases even the pickiest eaters. It’s also great if you are watching your carbs (like my keto chili).
- Quick and easy. Simply dump everything in the pot, let it simmer, and voila! You have an epic pot of chili in about 30 minutes.
- Even better the next day. I turn to this beanless chili recipe when I need a flavor-packed dish for meal prep. It stores well and tastes even better over time!
- Versatile. Have fun here and put your own spin on the chili. I like to use ground turkey instead of beef and add more spicy peppers when I feel like getting creative.
This is a no-bean zone. All you need are a handful of easy ingredients to make this chili without beans recipe:
- Ground beef. A Texas chili staple. I like to make chili with lean ground beef so there’s still some fat and flavor, but stew beef also works as a substitute.
- Vegetables. Onion, garlic cloves, bell peppers, and jalapeno peppers start the chili with savory and spicy flavors.
- Olive oil. To sauté the vegetables.
- Salt and pepper. To taste
- Beef broth. To thin the chili.
- Diced tomatoes. Fresh or canned.
- Seasonings. Taco seasoning, ground cumin, and smoked paprika give the chili its classic smoky-savory flavors. Don’t worry – this blend isn’t too spicy!
- Cilantro. For garnish.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to make no bean chili
Step 1 – Sauté the veggies. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapenos and cook until soft. Add the garlic to finish.
Step 2 – Brown the beef. Push the vegetables to the side and add the beef. Cook until it’s browned.
Step 3 – Season, then simmer. Stir the seasonings into the pot. Pour in the beef broth and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, then bring the mixture up to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and let the chili simmer until it’s thickened. Enjoy!
Alternative cooking methods
Skip the babysitting and make this recipe in the pressure cooker or slow cooker instead. Making beef chili in either of these gadgets is one of my favorite ways to cut down on cleanup and get dinner on the table a bit faster. I’ve tested this exact recipe using both these gadgets and love the results. Here’s how it’s done
Instant Pot: Start by cooking the vegetables in the oiled Instant Pot on Sauté mode. Next, add the beef and brown as normal. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, turn off Sauté mode, and seal the lid on top. Cook on high pressure for 8 to 10 minutes, then allow the natural release for 10 minutes before a quick release.
Slow cooker: Sauté the vegetables and beef in a pot on the stove as normal. Dump the mixture and the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker. Cook on High for 3 to 4 hours or on Low for 5 to 6 hours.
Recipe tips and variations
- Make sure your ground beef isn’t too lean. Otherwise, the chili will miss out on that delicious beefy flavor. I like an 80/20 ground beef because it still contains some fat but isn’t overly greasy.
- Feel free to use regular paprika if you don’t have smoked paprika. Alternatively, add one teaspoon of regular paprika and one teaspoon of chili powder so you don’t miss out on the smoky flavor.
- Sometimes, I like to make this easy homemade chili with ground turkey, venison, bison, or pork instead of beef. A 1:1 mix of ground beef and ground pork is good, too.
- I like the level of heat in this recipe, but if you like chili with no spice, omit the jalapeno peppers.
- If you love heat, make this recipe extra spicy by swapping the jalapenos for poblano peppers or serrano peppers.
- Don’t forget the toppings! Garnish your bowls of chili with guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, fresh cilantro, and crushed tortilla chips.
To store: After it cools, transfer the leftover chili to an airtight container. Store the leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 week.
To freeze: Beanless chili freezes well for up to 6 months, making it a fantastic freezer meal! Just let the leftovers thaw in the fridge before reheating.
To reheat: Reheat the individual servings quickly in the microwave or a pot over medium heat on the stovetop.
Frequently asked questions
Me and the kids love nothing more than a bowl of this beef chili recipe with our favorite chili toppings and a few slices of cornbread or garlic bread on the side. For a well-rounded meal, I like to serve the chili with comforting side dishes, like stuffed baked potatoes, cauliflower casserole, or air fryer brussels sprouts.
Yes! With no wheat or no flour needed, this recipe is suitable for celiacs.
More bean-free soups and stews to try
- Turkey Noodle Soup – A 30-minute meal made with wholesome ingredients.
- Stuffed Pepper Soup – The whole family will love this comforting soup!
- Oxtail Soup – A crave-worthy, one-pot soup with mouthwatering oxtail.
No Bean Chili Recipe
- Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil and let it heat up.
- Add the diced onion, bell pepper, and jalapenos to the pot. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Add the minced garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds.
- Push the sautéed vegetables to one side of the pot and add the ground beef to the other side. Cook the ground beef, breaking it apart with a spatula, until it's browned and no longer pink. Mix to combine.
- Add the taco seasoning, cumin, and smoked paprika to the pot. Stir to coat the meat and vegetables.
- Pour the beef broth and diced tomatoes (with their juices) into the pot. Stir everything together. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until it has thickened.
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