Beef Chili

Beef chili is a spicy stew that contains beef, chili peppers, tomatoes and beans. It may also include other seasonings like cumin, onions and garlic. You can prepare this dish on its own or use it as a base for other dishes.

Beef chili is a popular dish because it’s tasty and easy to prepare compared to most beef recipes. It serves as a great weeknight meal and you can have it ready in a matter of minutes.

Brief history

The origin of beef chili is what is now southern Texas and northern Mexico. The dish was popular among Mexican women and working class Tejana. In previous decades, the chili queens of San Antonio, Texas, were widely known for their casual “chili joints” where they sold affordable chili-flavored beef stew.

What’s unique

What makes this dish unique is its mixture of beef with tomatoes and beans. While you can still prepare beef chili without the beans, including them gives the dish a wider range of flavor.

Preparation instructions

The following are the steps to preparing beef chili. Alternatively, you can follow the instructions in this video.

  1. Cook ground beef and diced onions in a pot until the onion becomes soft.
  2. Add cumin, chili powder, tomato paste, sugar, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and cayenne (optional).
  3. Let these vegetables and spices cook until the mixture becomes tender.
  4. Add broth, diced tomatoes (including juice), seasoning ingredients and beans. Stir and let it simmer until the beans and vegetables become tender.
  5. Turn off the heat and wait about five to ten minutes before you serve the beef chili.

Keep in mind that if you don’t like diced tomatoes, you can use alternatives such as tomato puree or finely cubed tomatoes.

On its own, beef chili is a savory dish. But if you prefer to add toppings for better taste and presentation, consider the following.

  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Diced avocado
  • Saltine crackers or oyster crackers
  • Sliced green onions

If you’re having beef chili for dinner, it can go well together with two-ingredient Nutella brownies.


Variations of beef chili include vegetarian chili, chili verde and white chili. Vegetarian chili has no meat at all or replaces the meat with a meat analog such as tofu or a starchy vegetable. Chili verde is moderately spicy and white chili includes turkey meat and white beans.