This beef and black bean chili is rich and savory, perfect for cold weather or anytime you crave a warm and filling meal. Whether you prefer it mild or spicy, this chili is versatile and can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Make the recipe as written if you have the spoons or check out my simplification tips for an easier version.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Ground beef: The ground beef in this recipe can be replaced or mixed with with ground chicken or pork. Alternatively, you can use a vegetarian ground meat alternative but you'll likely get a decrease in umami flavor.
- Onion: You can use fresh or frozen onion for this recipe.
- Bell Pepper: Any sweet pepper will work in place of a bell pepper. Fresh or frozen peppers will work just fine.
- Hot Peppers
- Stewed tomatoes
How to make this recipe easier
Some days the act of chopping vegetables or mixing spices are just not in the cards. If you're having one of those days but are craving some chili, try some of these tips for an easier beef and black bean chili recipe.
Use frozen vegetables: Onion and bell pepper are sold pre-cut and frozen. In a dish like chili where the vegetables cook down over a long period of time you are unlikely to notice the difference between fresh and frozen anyway!
Jarred garlic: This is an easy and convenient way to add garlic flavor to your dish without all the hassle of peeling and chopping.
Buy a chili seasoning mix packet: While I think that the mix of spices in my recipe are perfection, I completely understand that some days pulling out that many spices is not an option. So feel free to pick up a pre-made packet of chili seasoning. Alternatively, if two spices are do-able for you, choose the chili powder and cumin and skip the rest!
Use pre-cooked beef or frozen ground meat alternative: Cooking ground beef can feel like a pain in the butt sometimes. The best alternative (for flavor) to cooking the beef in the chili pot is to use pre-cooked ground beef. However, if that's not available you can also use a frozen ground meat alternative. This will not provide as meaty of a flavor base but it has a similar texture to the real thing and it is a lot easier to use. Simply add the meat alternative in the last 30-45 minutes of cooking to ensure it has time to soak up the chili flavor.
Toppings for chili
- Shredded cheese- cheddar, Monterey jack, pepper jack
- Sour cream
- Diced tomatoes
- Diced onions
Chili freezes and reheats well. Freeze it in an air tight container and eat it within 3 months for best quality. Then, simply throw it in the microwave or heat it in a pot on the stove until warm.
To make this chili vegetarian you can either replace the ground beef with a vegetarian ground beef alternative or leave it out entirely. If using a beef alternative, add it about 30 minutes before you remove the chili from the heat.
The type of pepper used in a chili recipe can greatly affect the overall flavor and spiciness of the dish, and different pepper types can be combined to achieve a desired level of heat and flavor. For a milder flavor try anaheim or poblano peppers, for medium heat add in some jalapeños or chipotle peppers and for hot toss in some serrano or cayenne peppers.
Throw your ingredients in a pot, stir them all together, then go enjoy the freedom of the next couple hours. If you forget about it for an extra hour, no harm done. Chili is a forgiving lover.
Beef and Black Bean Chili
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1.5 pounds ground beef
- 1 onion ,large diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 bell pepper whatever color you prefer, diced
- 1-5 hot peppers Habanero, serrano, jalapeño, or poblano are good options, in order of spiciest to least spicy. Pick a hotter pepper and use more of it if you like a spicy chili.
- 2 cans Stewed tomatoes + 1 can of water 14.5 oz cans
- 1 can black beans 15 oz can, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon chili powder Reduce if you're sensitive to spice
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne leave out if sensitive to spice
- salt and pepper to taste
- See the notes section for shortcuts. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add beef to the pot, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Cook until all the ground beef is browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the onion to the pot and let it cook for 2-3 minutes until it's lightly softened, then add the bell pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Mix in the hot peppers and garlic and cook for another minute. Put the rest of the ingredients through the beans into the pot and turn the heat up to high until the chili reaches a boil. Cover the pot about ¾ of the way, reduce the heat to low, and let the chili simmer for 2 hours.
- At this point, add in all of the seasonings (the rest of the ingredients) including a small amount of salt and pepper. Cook the chili for another 30-45 minutes. Taste the chili, then add in salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with your choice of toppings. Some options are: sour cream, cheese, sriracha, cilantro, or green onion. Chili can be frozen for about 3 months for best quality.