This black bean and beef chili is THE PERFECT chili for every fall and winter gathering, from tailgating and game days to snowy weekend meals with friends.

Black Bean and Beef Chili is served in a white round bowl. On top of the chili is a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of cilantro and red onions, and some Fritos Scoops.

With fall on the doorstep, the morning temperatures here have been dipping into the 30s and honestly, it’s been lovely!  This weather has also got us craving (and I mean craving) cold-weather foods and I’m the first one to say, “Bring on the chili!”

Actually, when I was making up our menu for this week last Friday morning, I sort of had an epiphany when I realized, with my winter slippers already on and a hot cup of coffee sitting next to me, that it’s time for cozy weekend food again. 

What an exciting moment in a fall-loving blogger’s life!

So this black bean and beef chili made it to the menu and the weather hasn’t disappointed us yet this week.  It seems as if fall is the only season that “knows” it’s place here in New England – winter lasts well into spring, sometimes it feels like we miss spring and jump directly into summer, and winter often feels like it starts in November.

Fall: you’re right on time!

Black Bean and Beef Chili is served in a white round bowl. On top of the chili is a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, a sprinkle of cilantro and red onions, and some Fritos Scoops.

We made this black bean and beef chili once last winter and decided that it deserves a place of honor next to my turkey chili. 

It’s really fantastic, for a beef chili.  Believe it or not, this was our first beef chili recipe! It’s been one of Kyle’s long-standing, yet never-fulfilled requests, and I can assure you that he is a happy camper with this recipe!

I was mainly afraid of beef chili being too greasy but the use of very lean ground beef in this recipe remedies this issue. And that made me a very happy camper.

No Added Thickeners

What’s so cool about this recipe is that you’ll purée one can of the black beans with the tomatoes and this mixture will thicken the chili as it cooks.

So instead of a soupy chili that will dribble off of your spoon, this one is ends up thick and hearty without needing flour or cornstarch to give you a great consistency.

Black Bean and Beef Chili pin image.

Spicy or Not Spicy: It’s Up to You!

This is one of those fantastic recipes where you can adjust the spiciness according to your preferences.  Despite the inclusion of chipotle peppers and various types of chile powders, it’s fairly mild on the spicy scale.

You can ease the heat by skipping the chipotle peppers or increase it by adding an extra one. It’s up to you!

What To Serve with Beef Chili

Chili on its own is kind of boring, right? You NEED toppings and sides to make chili a well-rounded meal! Here are some of our favorite foods to serve with chili:

I can’t think of a better meal to welcome in my favorite season, and paired with a few scoopable Fritos, I’d say it’s pretty darn close to perfection.

Black Bean and Beef Chili is served in a white round bowl. On top of the chili is a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, a sprinkle of cilantro and red onions, and some Fritos Scoops.

Black Bean and Beef Chili

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Black bean and beef chili will give you a terrific twist on regular beef chili. For the spicy-averse eaters in your life, this chili is full of flavor but low on the heat scale. It's one you'll want to make year after year!


  • 3 cans (14 - 15 oz each) black beans
  • 1 can (14 - 15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 diced chipotle chili pepper (canned in adobo sauce) or a pinch of ground chipotle chile powder
  • 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb very lean ground beef (less than 10% fat)
  • 1 medium red onion, very finely diced
  • 1 tbsp regular chili powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp ancho chile powder
  • Pinch ground chipotle chile powder
  • 2 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cups beef stock or 1 (15 oz) can beef broth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Drain 2 cans black beans into colander and rinse well, until no more foam appears. Let beans drain while you use a food processor to puree the third can of undrained beans, diced tomatoes and liquid, and the diced chipotle chile pepper (or chipotle powder). Process the beans and tomatoes about 1 minute, until they are fairly smooth.
  2. In bottom of heavy soup pot or large Dutch oven, heat 1 - 2 tsp olive oil and brown beef, using the back of the turner to break it into small pieces. Remove beef to bowl, then add a bit more olive oil and the onions. Lower heat a little and cook onions until they are softened but not starting to brown. Add all the chile powders and cumin and saute about 30 seconds.
  3. Add beef stock, browned ground beef, pureed bean mixture, drained beans, and tomato paste and simmer over low heat, uncovered, 1 to 1 ½ hours.  Stir the chili occasionally to prevent any sticking on the bottom of the pot.  After 45 minutes, check the seasonings and add more chile powder, salt, and/or pepper as needed.
  4. Just before serving, stir in the chopped cilantro and lime juice and cook about 5 minutes.  Serve chili hot with toppings of your choice.


adapted from Fine Cooking via Kalyn's Kitchen

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Leave a Comment

  • September 21, 2011 at 5:49 AM

    Thirty degrees!?! Wowza.

  • September 21, 2011 at 6:23 AM

    I have at least another month for even 50-60 degree weather here in Florida so I will save this recipe for then! Thanks!

  • September 21, 2011 at 8:14 AM

    We’re ready for chili in Kentucky too! YUM

  • September 21, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    30s? I’m so jealous! The chili sounds so good, and paired with Fritos? definitely perfect.

  • September 21, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    It’s currently 82 degrees in lovely Austin, Texas but this recipe still sounds fantastic.

    Chili was always my dad’s go-to for cool weather food so it has a feeling of fall, family and home all in a pot of deliciousness!

  • September 21, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    Loving the idea of pureeing a can of beans to make it thicker. I hate “soupy” chili. This looks delish

  • September 21, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Ooooo wow, this looks great! I am such a fan of chili…this is so delicious looking…not to mention you have black beans in there! YUM

  • September 21, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    Count me in….dish looks so beautiful, I am big fan of chili:)

  • September 21, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    That is some great lookin’ chili! With colder weather coming, eventually, chili is definitely on my fall menu.

  • September 21, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    I’m drooling looking at these beautiful photos! Your chili looks fantastic 🙂

  • September 21, 2011 at 9:48 PM

    30 degrees?! That is too cold for September – I would be making chili too! I never really use a recipe when I make chili, but I love the combination here. And I love any excuse to eat Fritos 🙂

  • September 22, 2011 at 2:41 AM

    Wow 30 degrees would have me craving a nice bowl of chili too!! Yours looks so wonderful and comforting. Who doesnt love an amazing bowl of chili in the winter to warm your belly?!

  • September 22, 2011 at 10:03 AM

    What a gorgeous chili! I haven’t made my first batch yet for this fall…..but after seeing these photos, I really need to! Sounds wonderful.

  • September 25, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    I’m always on the hunt for chili recipes, and this one sure looks great!

  • September 29, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    Do you have the recipe for the turkey chili????

  • Sam
    October 1, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    I just made this, my kitchen smells amazing and it was absolutely delicious! Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Margaret
    January 17, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    Just made this, I omitted all the spices except chili powder and cumin cause I didn’t have them and wasn’t going to the store anytime soon. I ground the cumin from whole seeds and the flavor was much more enhanced. Also didn’t have tomato paste and decided to double the chipotle pepper and add a bit of the sauce from the can. Served lime on the side and garnished with raw milk white cheddar, cilantro, red onion, and sour cream. My boyfriend took one bite and declared it amazing and said it was his new favorite recipe. Although I tweaked it, mostly out of laziness, you’ve got a mighty fine recipe here. Great flavor, texture and consistency. Well done.

  • scottshu13
    February 10, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    Could I addrecipe a good dark beer to this recipe in place of some of the beef stock? thinking of adding anither dimension to the flavor…

    • February 10, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      Sure! I think maybe halving the stock for some beer would be great! Personally, all beer instead of stock may be a bit much.

  • Lisa Whelpley
    January 25, 2015 at 11:57 AM

    We love this recipe. We substitute spicy V8 for the broth. Thank you, it’s delicious!

    • January 26, 2015 at 10:54 AM

      What a great idea for a substitution! So glad you loved this recipe, Lisa!