No Beans Chili

4.77 from 78 votes
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This thick and hearty No Bean Chili recipe is deeply flavored thanks to an authentic blend of spices, plenty of tomatoes, and a generous portion of ground beef. You’ll love the sizzling Southwest flavor of this meaty Texas chili recipe!

Side shot of a white dutch oven filled with no bean chili and garnished with bay leaves.


 

So, I love beans as much as the next gal, and I’m definitely a fan of beans in chili, but not everyone loves the humble legume so much, and some chili-makers, especially in Texas, refuse to pair beans with chili. For them, true chili is saucy and meaty, not bean-y! Thus, enter this no bean chili recipe, also referred to as Texas chili, for the reasons mentioned above. It’s quick and easy, and it’s loaded with tons of flavor – just no beans. You could even use a couple of cups of your favorite beer to create this seriously comforting bowl jam-packed with tender meat, veggies, and tomatoes. No beans in sight! Then, go a step further and turn it into Chili Stuffed Poblano Peppers!

If you’re looking for a crock pot version, get this recipe for Slow Cooker Beef Chili or my White Chicken Chili recipe.

Why You’ll Love This Beanless Chili Recipe

  • Low-carb. This recipe is a low-carb option! Chili with beans contains more carbs, so this one is a good choice for those limiting carbs for lifestyle reasons.
  • Ready in an hour. If you’re short on time, you can have this beef chili on the table in just about an hour. But, of course, you can also opt to let it simmer on the stovetop for a few hours.
  • Freezes well. Chili is great for meal prep because it stores well in the fridge and freezer. Don’t be afraid to make a double batch to have some extra for later!
Close-up shot of Texas chili in a bowl garnished with sour cream, onions, cilantro, and shredded cheese.

What You’ll Need

  • Olive Oil: For sautéing. I recommend using a lighter olive oil, since extra virgin does not handle heat as well.
  • Ground Beef: You’ll need two pounds of ground beef. Lean ground beef is good, but chuck is a bit more traditional and handles a lengthy cook time better. You can also use ground turkey.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Onion: You’ll need one yellow onion, finely diced, or you can substitute a white or sweet onion.
  • Bell Pepper: I used a green bell pepper but red, yellow, and orange bell peppers are also fine. They vary slightly in sweetness, but any color will work.
  • Fresh Garlic: Minced or pressed.
  • Spices: This homemade chili recipe uses classic chili spices including chili powder, cumin, oregano, and paprika. They give the dish the authentic taste and flavor!
  • Tomato Paste: Do not substitute with tomato sauce, which is less concentrated.
  • Fire Roasted Tomatoes: These are available canned. Use one large 28 ounce can, or substitute 28 ounces regular canned tomatoes. Do not drain.
  • Beef Broth: You’ll need 2 cups of beef broth. If you aren’t concerned about the carbs, feel free to use a cup of beer.
  • Bay Leaf: For added flavor.

How to Make No Beans Chili Recipe

This Texas chili recipe is super easy to make and it can be ready in less than an hour if you’re short on time.

  1. Brown the beef. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat on the stove top. Add the ground beef to the hot oil, season with salt and pepper, and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon while it cooks.
  2. Stir in aromatics and seasonings. Once the beef is browned, stir in the onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for 4 minutes, or until veggies are soft. Then stir in the chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, and paprika.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients. Add the tomato paste; stir to combine, and cook for 3 minutes. Then stir in the tomatoes and broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the bay leaf and bring chili to a steady simmer.
  4. Simmer. Simmer the chili for 30-ish minutes, but at this point, you can let the chili cook for 3 to 4 hours, as long as there is enough liquid. If you would like to cook it for longer, make sure to add more liquid to the pot. Water is fine to use for the extra liquid.
  5. Serve. Remove the chili from the heat. Taste it for salt and pepper, and adjust. Remove the bay leaf. Ladle the chili into bowls, and garnish with cheese, jalapenos, sour cream, and/or other desired toppings.

How Long Should You Simmer This Texas Chili Recipe?

Different cooks have different opinions, of course, but in general, there’s a pretty wide window! I think it takes about 20 minutes of simmering at a minimum to cook the chili enough to be tender and tasty, but from there it can simmer quietly for several hours.

Overnight is a little risky in terms of overcooking. 3 to 4 hours total is probably as long as you should let it go. I almost always cook my chili for about 2 hours. In that time, I will probably add one to two more cups of broth, or just water.

Favorite Toppings Ideas

Feel free to savor it just the way it is, or jazz it up with some of the tasty toppings listed below. However you choose to have it, you’re in for a tasty, hearty dinner.

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sliced jalapenos
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream, yogurt, or creme fraiche
  • Cheese
  • Corn chips (Fritos are especially popular)
  • Saltines or oyster crackers
  • Sliced green onions
  • Minced white onions
  • Guacamole
  • Sliced avocado
  • Hot sauce

Tips for Success

  • Adjust the flavor to your preferences. If you prefer a more mild chili, be sure to use regular tomatoes instead of fire-roasted. You can also use sweet paprika instead of smoked paprika for a flight different flavor and for more heat, add some jalapenos right into the chili.
  • Add more broth as necessary. The longer you simmer your chili, the more broth you’ll need to add. If you’re simmering it for a few hours, be sure to check it periodically to add more broth.
  • Avoid simmering overnight. As mentioned above, simmering your chili for a few hours is great but I would avoid simmering it overnight as you’ll likely end up with overcooked, dried up chili.
  • Try other ground meat. Feel free to use ground turkey in place of the beef or even some ground sausage along with the beef to mix it up.

What To Serve with Homemade Chili

A big bowl of no bean chili makes a hearty dish on its own, especially if you add a handful of toppings. But if you want to add a side or two, consider skillet cornbread or garlic breadsticks. I’ve even served it with cooked spaghetti. I also love to use leftovers to make chili stuffed poblano peppers. For a game day twist, consider ladling this over hot dogs, creating tasty chili dogs. And, of course, don’t forget dessert. Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorites.

Overhead shot of a cooked no bean chili in a white dutch oven.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Chili often tastes even better the next day because the spices and flavors blend together as it cools down, creating a thicker texture and richer taste. Store leftover chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. To reheat, place the desired amount in a covered saucepan over low heat and cook until just heated through. You can also microwave it in a pinch.

Can You Freeze No Bean Chili?

Yes, you can! Allow the chili to cool completely then place in freezer-safe food storage bags or containers, leaving as little air as possible in the bag or container before sealing. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge, then reheat on the stovetop as directed above.

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4.77 from 78 votes

Texas No Beans Chili

This thick and hearty No Bean Chili Recipe is deeply flavored thanks to an authentic blend of spices, plenty of tomatoes, and a generous portion of ground beef. You’ll love the sizzling Southwest flavor of this meaty Texas chili recipe!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

For the Chili:

For Garnish:

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Seeded and thinly sliced jalapenos
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped cilantro
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Instructions 

  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat.
  • Add the ground beef to the hot oil; season with salt and pepper, and cook until browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon while it cooks.
  • Once browned, stir in the onions, bell pepper, and garlic.
  • Continue to cook for 4 minutes, or until veggies are softened.
  • Stir in chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, and paprika.
  • Add tomato paste; stir to combine and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomatoes.
  • Stir in the broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  • Add bay leaf and bring chili to a steady simmer; reduce heat and continue to simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Please note that, at this point, you can let the chili cook for 3 to 4 hours, as long as there is enough liquid. If you would like to cook it for longer, make sure to add more liquid to the pot, 1 cup at a time, stirring occasionally. Water is OK to use for the extra liquid.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Remove bay leaf and taste for salt and pepper; adjust accordingly.
  • Ladle into bowls; garnish with cheese, jalapenos, sour cream, and cilantro.
  • Serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 541mg | Potassium: 840mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1507IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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51 Comments

  1. Mark says:

    Fabulous no bean chili!!
    Easy to make and went a long way.
    Easily one of the best chili’s I have ever had.

    1. Katerina says:

      Thrilled you loved the no bean chili and found it easy and satisfying! It’s great to hear it ranks as one of your favorites. Happy cooking! 🙂

  2. JW says:

    My hubby won’t do beans in chili so made him this. He loves it & I do as well. We always eat chili over rice & I love the coolness of some sour cream on top. This will be in my rotation!

    1. Katerina says:

      I’m glad to hear this chili recipe was a hit with both you and your husband, especially without the beans! Serving it over rice and topping it with sour cream sounds delicious. 🙂

  3. Sara says:

    How much is about a serving?

  4. Jennibette says:

    Thank you for sharing your yummy recipe! Definitely a keeper!

    1. Katerina says:

      I’m thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the chili and consider it a keeper! 🙂

  5. Sheri says:

    From Texas….This was a great recipe except it needs way more chili powder than what’s called for. It seemed a little flat until I added more chili powder.

    1. Katerina says:

      Thanks for your feedback! Taste preferences, especially for spices like chili powder, can definitely vary. I appreciate your suggestion to increase the chili powder for added flavor. Happy cooking!

  6. Sue says:

    The whole family loved it. Just enough spice very easy.

  7. Breanna says:

    love this recipe i cut the cumin in half but other than that i’ve made it 4 times since i found it in august!

  8. Stevie says:

    Even my kids enjoy this recipe!
    Thank you!