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Classic Beef and Bean Chili

Beef and Bean Chili
You know Eric and I love cooking together, so it should come as no surprise to you to find out that he also enjoys cooking on his own. Unlike the husbands of many of my friends, Eric doesn’t get excited to eat fast food when I’m not home. He almost always cooks something, and may even bake something if he has time. When I went to BlogHer Food last year, he made hamburger buns and barbecue. He’s certainly not going to bake a cake on his own, but he will totally whip up a batch of homemade rolls or a loaf bread. I love that about him.

I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately – first to Alabama to visit family and then to Connecticut to visit friends – and Eric made this chili while I was gone. While we were FaceTiming, he showed me the Dutch oven with this in it and I immediately requested that he save a bowl for me. Had I been home, I would have suggested making some type of southwest chicken chili, mostly because standard chili recipes never really appealed to me. Eric made a great decision choosing this recipe, though, because it clearly won me over. In true Eric fashion, he substituted beer for the water called for in the original recipe. Like any chili recipe, you can adapt this one to suit your personal tastes. Use the high range of jalapeño peppers to make it spicier. Try different types of beer to see which you like best (though make sure it’s something you’d be willing to drink). Mash more or less of the beans to change the thickness of the chili. Whatever you do, don’t leave out the chocolate! It gives this chili a depth of flavor that cannot be achieved without it. When you’re craving a delicious, no frills chili, this recipe can’t be beat.

Beef and Bean Chili


Classic Beef and Bean Chili

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Classic Beef and Bean Chili


2 pounds lean ground beef
2 large onions, chopped (2 cups)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cups beer (or water)
3 15-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
Shredded cheddar, green onions, additional jalapeños and corn chips for topping


Brown the beef in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. Drain off fat if necessary. Add the onions, garlic and jalapeños and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, until starting to soften. Add the chili powder and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato sauce and beer (or water) and increase heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes.

While the beef mixture is cooking, place one can of beans in a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Stir the remaining two cans of beans, along with the mashed beans, into the chili and return to a simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt, cilantro and chocolate. Continue stirring until the chocolate has melted. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve with desired toppings.


  • Angie @ Coffee and Cannolis

    I had come to the conclusion that I may never find a classic beef and bean chili recipe completely from scratch that is as good as using prepared chili beans. From the looks of this recipe and that picture, this may be a winner! I can’t wait to try it out soon – once we get over this ridiculous heat-wave this week!

  • Melissa

    This looks alot like my Mom’s recipe-all time fav! Tip-we serve on a bed of white rice-super yummy!

  • Crystal

    Josh and I have been wanting to try chocolate in chili so we will definitely be trying this one soon!

  • Katie Sechrist

    I made this recipe and was intrigued by the chocolate. I didn’t really taste it, but knowing it was there made me feel brave and adventurous! This was good chili with depth.

    • Courtney

      Glad you liked it! The chocolate flavor doesn’t really come out in the final product, but I think it provides a richness that the chili would be missing without it.