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Dutch Oven Beef Chili

This dutch oven beef chili is hearty and packed full of flavor! Loaded with tender vegetables, juicy ground beef, spices, and beans, this easy chili is the ultimate comfort food.

Looking for more easy chili recipes? Give this crockpot beef and bean chili or this instant pot chili a try!

Why You’ll Love This Dutch Oven Chili

Here in Texas, homemade chili is one of my favorite things to make in the cooler months. It’s total comfort food that warms you up from the inside out. Plus, it’s super easy to make and pretty much everyone loves to eat it! Here are a few more reasons to give this beef chili recipe in particular a try:

  • Great texture and flavor. Every bite of this dutch oven chili is filled with juicy ground beef, tender beans, and a kick of heat from the smoked paprika, chili powder, and more!
  • Make-ahead meals. I love that I can make a big batch of this chili that my family gobbles up, and then still have some leftovers. Next day chili is just as good as same day chili – in fact, it may even be better since all the flavors have had time to mesh together in the fridge.
  • Quick. This ground beef chili recipe takes just 30 minutes to complete, making it a great option for busy weeknights!
  • Crowd-pleaser. Like I mentioned above, who could turn down a big warm bowl of chili? Throw some shredded cheese on top and add a few crispy tortilla chips, and then you’ll really be hooked.
Beef chili in a dutch oven with kidney beans.

What You’ll Need

Chili is all about adding layers of flavor on, so there are definitely more ingredients in a chili than in most other things. Although, half of them are probably spices…

Anyway, here are the ingredients you’ll need for this beef chili recipe (check out the recipe card below for exact amounts).

  • Ground beef – Buy grass fed beef, I promise you’ll taste the difference. You can use 80/20, 90/10, or even 85/15 for this recipe.
  • Onion – I use sweet onion in this recipe, however you could use yellow or red onion if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Garlic – You can use store-bought garlic if you like, but freshly minced garlic tastes the best!
  • Avocado oil – This is my oil of choice when cooking, it has a high cooking temperature so it can stand the heat and doesn’t burn. Other oils you could use are grape seed oil or coconut oil.
  • Chipotle peppers – You can find these canned in the international aisle or latin cuisine, it’s chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
  • Spices – I use a combination of ground cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, ground coriander, salt, and pepper. On occasion, I add a little bit of cinnamon too, it adds an interesting yet addictive flavor!
  • Carrots – You don’t need a ton, but the carrots add a nice crunch, flavor, and some veggies to this primarily beef chili.
  • Red pepper – I usually use red pepper, but green works as well!
  • Fire roasted tomatoes – I like the flavor you get from the fire roasted tomatoes, my favorite brand for this is Muir Glen Organic. 
  • Tomato sauce – Buy the no salt added kind, this allows you to control how much salt is in your chili.
  • Beef broth – You could also use beef stock or bone broth, this adds a richer flavor and makes it taste like the chili has been simmering for hours.
  • Dark red kidney beans – Red beans are just a classic for me, it’s what I grew up on. However, I’ve already used black beans in this recipe as well and it came out just as great. I would not recommend pinto or butter beans – the flavor profile will not go with this chili.

What Kind of Ground Beef Should I Use in This Chili?

I’ve tested out a couple of different kinds of ground beef for this recipe. The best is grass fed because, in my opinion, you can taste a difference in flavor. As far as ratios, I like to use 85/15 – which is 85% fat and 15% lean. 

What Kinds of Beans Are Best For Chili?

When it comes to a traditional chili recipe, kidney beans are the star! Hands down, they are considered the best beans for chili. Kidney beans retain their firmness and shape under high heat. They are also very hearty, and absorb spices and flavors like rockstars. 

Should I Drain the Beans?

Technically, because you’re adding them into a chili, you don’t HAVE to drain or rinse them. However, I like to control the sodium content, and most of the time beans that have been canned are sitting in a liquid that contains a lot of sodium. I find that draining and rinsing the beans with water removes some of the salty liquid that would otherwise stick to them.

Ladle scooping beef chili from a dutch oven.

How to Make Dutch Oven Beef Chili

Even though chili recipes can have a lot of ingredients, the great thing about them is they are still SUPER easy to make. Here’s how to do it:

  • Warm the oil and cook the onions. Heat a large dutch oven to medium high heat, then add in avocado oil and onions. Sauté until the onions are translucent (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Add garlic. Next, add in garlic and chipotle peppers and sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring the whole time.
  • Brown the beef. Add in the ground beef, and cook it until it is no longer pink (about 5-7 minutes), smashing and stirring the whole time so the meat is broken up.
  • Mix in the spices, pepper, and carrots. Then, stir in the spices, ground cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, and sea salt. Stir the spices into the meat until everything is combined. Add in the red pepper and carrots, too, and cook them for 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, broth, and beans. Finally, add in the diced fire roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, and kidney beans. Stir everything together and cover.
  • Cook the chili. Keep the heat at medium high and let the chili cook for 15 minutes.
  • Serve! You can top your chili with diced avocado and shredded cheese if you like.
A hand holding a bowl filled with beef chili.

Tips & Recipe Variations

This ground beef chili recipe is pretty simply made, but I do have a few tips and tricks that you might find helpful!

  • How to thicken your chili. If you want your chili to be a little thicker, the best way to do this is to just let it simmer on the stove a bit longer until you have achieved your desired thickness.
  • Meat substitutions. You can also use ground turkey or ground chicken in this recipe, though of course it won’t be a beef chili anymore! Another idea is to add a second kind of meat in addition to the ground beef.
  • Bean substitutions. You can also use different kinds of beans instead of, or in addition to, the red kidney beans. My suggestions would be canned black beans or pinto beans. Just use them in the recipe the same way you would the kidney beans.
A bowl filled with chili and topped with cheese and sour cream.

Topping Ideas

Growing up, my mom would put noodles in our chili because it was considered a “poor mans soup” so noodles would help it go further. When I moved down to Texas, my chili game changed. Here are some fun ideas to top your chili with, or even create a “chili bar” out of!

  • Shredded cheddar cheese – You could also use queso fresco or another shredded cheese of your choice!
  • Sour cream – Plain greek yogurt is another great option if you don’t have/like sour cream.
  • Chopped cilantro – Diced green onion and diced red onion are also garnishes that I love to add to my chili.
  • Jalapeños – You could use raw or pickled jalapeños, it’s up to you!
  • Fritos chips – Tortilla chips are just as good if you’d rather use those.
  • Avocado – Creamy avocado slices make a regular bowl of chili next-level delicious.
Two bowls with chili and topped with chili toppings.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

As mentioned above, leftover chili tastes just as good as (if not better than) freshly made chili! Here’s how to save it for later:

  • To store. Let your chili come to room temperature before moving it to an airtight container and storing it in the fridge. It will keep for 5-6 days.
  • To reheat. When you’re ready to heat up your leftovers, simply spoon the amount you want into a saucepan or microwave safe bowl. Heat your chili over low heat on the stovetop, or for a few minutes in the microwave, until hot.

Can I Freeze This Beef Chili Recipe?

Absolutely. To freeze this chili, just let it cool completely and store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat to enjoy!

More Chili Recipes

There are so many ways to make a hearty chili that the whole family will love! Here are a few more of my favorite chili recipes:

A crock bowl filled with beef chili and toppings.
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a bowl filled with chili topped with cheese and sour cream

Dutch Oven Beef Chili Recipe

  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This dutch oven beef chili recipe is comfort food at its finest (and easiest)! Juicy ground beef, tender vegetables and beans, and a handful of spices fill every bite of this chili with so much flavor.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 pounds grass fed ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 28 oz. muir glen diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 14 oz. muir glen tomato sauce (no salt added)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 14 oz. can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • optional: top with shredded cheese and avocado (if paleo just do an avocado)

Instructions

  1. Heat a large dutch oven to medium high heat.
  2. Add in avocado oil and onions. Saute until onions are translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Next add in garlic and chipotle peppers, saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stirring the whole time.
  4. Add in the ground beef. Cook until beef is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Smashing and stirring the whole time so the meat is broken up.
  5. Next add in the spices, ground cumin, chili powder, coriander, smoked paprika and sea salt. Stir the spices in to the meat until everything is combined.
  6. Add in the red pepper and carrots, cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Next add in the diced fire roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth and kidney beans. Stir everything together and cover.
  8. Keep the heat at medium high. Let the chili cook for 15 minutes.
  9. Serve!
  10. Optional: top with diced avocado and shredded cheese.(if paleo, do not add the cheese)

Notes

  • To store. Let your chili come to room temperature before moving it to an airtight container and storing it in the fridge. It will keep for 5-6 days.
  • To reheat. When you’re ready to heat up your leftovers, simply spoon the amount you want into a saucepan or microwave safe bowl. Heat your chili over low heat on the stovetop, or for a few minutes in the microwave, until hot.
  • To freeze. Let your chili cool completely and store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat to enjoy!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
  • Calories: 347
  • Sugar: 12 g
  • Sodium: 1498 mg
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 38 g
  • Fiber: 11 g
  • Protein: 33 g
  • Cholesterol: 65 mg

Keywords: dutch oven chili, beef chili recipe, ground beef chili recipe

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