This chili is on another level.
The most amazing beef chili recipe I’ve ever made only exists because one night I was feeling really tired and I had a ton of ingredients to use up. Who knew you can make something so good with such little energy?
This recipe is easy to customize in terms of spices, vegetables, proteins, and garnishes. You can switch it up depending on what you have on hand!
It is perfect on its own or you can add this to nachos, burgers, mac and cheese, enchiladas, etc! The possibilities are truly endless with this chili. Let’s get into it!
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Beef Chili Recipe Overview
Have you ever cooked with alcohol before? This is a good chance to practice if you’re new to it. The addition of red wine to this chili is part of what makes it so awesome.
Other ingredients are beef, kidney beans, bell pepper, a bunch of spices, and whatever else you have on hand. In the photo above, you can see I threw in extra black beans and shredded chicken I had from other meals. If you are looking for a vegetarian chili recipe, this one is great!
The three things that make this chili awesome are:
- The wine, which adds a depth of flavor
- Mashing the kidney beans, which gives it that distinct texture so it’s not soupy, but not dry either
- Letting it cook for an hour on the stove while you chill out so those flavors get a good chance to mingle with each other
How to customize this beef chili recipe
Chili is so easy to customize. Really, any vegetable or leftover meat (not fish, though) you have can go in this. Do you have extra cooked grains? That can go in too! Mushrooms, tomatoes, cauliflower, carrots, celery, red onion and red cabbage (all chopped very small) would be my first picks for veggies to add.
- If you don’t want to use wine, you can use beer.
- If you don’t want to use alcohol at all, use meat stock (chicken or beef) instead, which will cut down on cook time slightly. A Beef stock cube or a few teaspoons of stock paste will work too!
- Instead of ground beef, you can use ground turkey. Feel free to also mix different proteins here! Why not?
- If you’re missing a few ingredients, don’t worry. Just skip them. The stars of the dish are beef and kidney beans and the spice mix.
One thing to not sacrifice though is the cooking time. Give it an hour while you clean your kitchen, catch up on a Netflix show or finally call your grandparents/parents/sibling/friend, etc — whatever you have to do.
Related: 70+ Best Camping Meals
If you’re not into eating beef chili for days…
You can repurpose it! I made the most incredible nachos out of this chili over the weekend after it was made. It was a great choice. Using this in a burrito, in a quesadilla, in tacos, or stuffing a potato (or other veggies) with this chili would work too.
When in doubt, just freeze it!
Related: 5 Essential Freezer Meal Prep Tips
Storing & Reheating this Chili
This meal can last in the fridge for up to 5 days. It’s freezer-friendly for up to 6 months. I recommend reheating it on the stove or in the microwave. Adding extra cheese on top when you reheat is a fantastic idea.
And don’t forget to try our other delicious comfort foods!
- Our favorite Mac and Cheese recipe
- Individual Chicken Pot Pies
- Veggie Meal Prep Ramen
- Thai Coconut Curry Soup with Chicken
- Chicken Tikka Masala for meal prep
The Best Slow Cooked Beef & Bean Chili
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 16 oz ground beef sub ground turkey
- 2 clove garlic chopped
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup red wine sub beer, beef/chicken stock, beef stock cube
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 15 oz can of kidney beans rinsed and drained, lightly mashed
- 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup broth veggie, beef, or chicken broth works
- 3 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
- 2 tsp brown sugar sub maple syrup, agave, or granulated sugar
- 1 lime chopped in half
- 1-1/2 cup shredded cheese optional
- 1 cup cilantro chopped, optional for garnish
- Add the olive oil to a large pot (you need a big one) over a medium flame and let it warm up for a minute or two. Add the chopped onions and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. If they start to burn, add a splash of water.
- Add the ground beef, garlic, and tomato paste with salt and pepper to taste. Break up the beef with a wooden spoon and stir until everything is incorporated. Let the beef cook through completely (about 6-8 minutes).
- If using, add the wine or beer. Cook over medium heat for another 5-7 minutes so the alcohol evaporates completely. Then add the bell peppers and stir. Cover the pot so they soften quickly and let them cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the lightly mashed kidney beans (this helps thicken the chili) followed by the diced tomatoes, broth, chili powder, paprika, cumin, chipotle powder, and brown sugar. Stir everything together well and bring it to a low boil. Then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered over low heat for 45-60 minutes (trust me).
- When it’s done cooking, most, but not all of the liquid in the chili should have completely evaporated. The mixture will be thick, but still a little liquidy. Taste it and adjust the spices as necessary. You may want to add more salt, make it spicier, etc. (An easy way to add be would be stirring in siracha). Squeeze half a lime over the chili and stir. If meal prepping, divide between three (or four depending on how much you want to eat) meal prep containers. Garnish with extra lime wedges and cilantro if desired. Keep shredded cheese on the side to add right before heating up!