Loaded with ground beef, beans, and vegetables, this stovetop Dutch Oven Chili recipe is so hearty, rich, and satisfying. This quick and easy one-pot chili comes together in under an hour, making it the perfect recipe for a cozy weeknight dinner.
Chili is classic American comfort food at its finest. Warm, hearty, and flavorful, you can find many different versions of chili all across the United States.
Depending on where you’re from, you might consider chili to be a strictly beef and chili pepper dish with no beans or tomatoes in sight (Texas). Other regions use beef and beans, but no tomatoes (Springfield, Illinois) or serve their chili over spaghetti (Cincinnati).
I’ve always made my chili in a Dutch oven using ground beef, beans, and tomatoes. Usually, I like to simmer it low and slow for at least an hour on the stovetop. The ground beef becomes super tender while the beans and tomatoes break down into a thick and flavorful stew sauce.
This stovetop chili is the perfect recipe for a chilly October evening when all you want to do is cuddle up on the couch in a warm, cozy blanket and watch Halloween movies. Try pairing it with my delicious brown butter cornbread.
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy One-Pot Meal- Dutch oven chili is made by layering flavor on top of flavor all in one pot. Not only does this make for a delicious stew, but it also means easy clean-up!
- Fresh and Flavorful- Bold, spicy seasonings. Ripe, juicy tomatoes. Fresh, delicious vegetables. Every bite of this homemade chili is jam-packed with flavor.
- Hearty Enough to Satisfy- Two pounds of ground beef and two cans of beans makes for a hearty, homestyle chili. This chili is rich, filling, and perfect for a cool and cozy fall evening.
Here are some notes on key ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Ground Beef- I typically use 80% lean ground beef because I want a little fat in this chili to make it richer and more satisfying. Plus, cooking the dry seasonings in the beef fat helps them open up and release their flavors into the chili as it cooks.
- Beans- When it comes to beans in chili, I like to use a variety of sizes and colors. I use one can each of black beans and red kidney beans in this Dutch oven chili recipe. Opt for low-sodium beans and drain and rinse them prior to adding to the chili.
- Jalapeño- A good chili recipe has a bit of a kick to it. A couple of fresh, sliced jalapeños are perfect for this.
- Bell Peppers- Bell peppers, especially red bell peppers, are slightly sweet. This sweetness helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes and the spice from the jalapeños.
- Stewed Tomatoes- When I make chili, I prefer it to be a little on the chunky side. I use stewed tomatoes in this recipe so I can break them up into large, bite-sized chunks as the chili cooks.
- Chili Powder- A blend of dried chiles and other seasonings, chili powder is not typically very spicy, despite its name. It does, however, give this chili recipe quite a bit of flavor.
- Cumin- Warm and earthy, cumin has a distinct flavor that is essential in a good chili recipe.
- Cayenne- Just a pinch of cayenne pepper helps round out the dry seasoning blend.
Fresh Tip: Nothing is more rewarding than growing your own produce. Try growing bell peppers and jalapeño peppers in your garden next summer and make a batch of this Dutch oven chili with your very own harvest.
Step by Step Instructions
Here is how to make this Dutch oven chili.
Step 1: Sauté the aromatics. Heat the canola oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the onion, jalapeño, and garlic and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown.
Step 2: Brown the ground beef. Add the ground beef into the pot and cook, breaking it up into bite-sized chunks with a wooden spoon. As it cooks, the ground beef will render out some fat and water. Keep cooking the ground beef until it is fully browned and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Mix the spices thoroughly with the ground beef until the beef is well coated and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Step 3: Add remaining ingredients and simmer. Reduce heat to low and pour in the stewed tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, and chopped bell peppers. Mix well to evenly disburse all of the ingredients and bring the chili to a gentle simmer. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and simmer for about 25 minutes.
Step 4: Reduce and serve. Once the bell peppers and tomatoes have softened, removed the lid and begin to break up the stewed tomatoes and some of the beans with your wooden spoon. The beans will release their starches, thickening the chili. Simmer the chili, uncovered, for an additional 5-10 minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency. Serve with tortilla chips and toppings of choice.
The Best Homemade Chili Tips
- Use your own spice blend. Many of those chili seasoning spice packets contain thickening agents, such as flour or cornstarch, and added sugars, which are ingredients I don’t necessarily want in my chili. I recommend buying the individual spices so you can have better control over the flavor of your chili.
- Don’t drain the beef. I know, I know. A lot of liquid comes out of the beef as it cooks. But it’s not all fat. If you let most of the liquid evaporate off, you’re left with deliciously rich beef fat that is perfect for making a rich, flavorful chili.
- No need for added thickeners. Some recipes call for adding tomato paste, flour, or cornstarch to thicken the chili. However, if you add beans to your chili, there’s no need for any additional thickening agents. Just crush some of the beans with the back of your wooden spoon and they’ll naturally thicken the chili as it reduces.
- Simmer longer for a more flavorful chili. Chili is one of those dishes that tastes better the more time it has to simmer on the stovetop. The longer you let this chili bubble away for, the more the ingredients and flavors have time to meld together.
Substitutions and Additions
Here are a few ways you can customize this Dutch oven chili recipe to fit your diet and taste preferences.
- Ground Beef- Use lower fat ground beef, if you prefer. Alternatively, you could use cubed beef chuck, ground turkey, ground chicken, soy crumbles, lentils, or quinoa in place of the ground beef.
- Beans- I use black beans and kidney beans in this recipe, but feel free to get creative here. Pinto beans, white beans, and brown lentils would all work well.
- Stewed Tomatoes- It’s not chili if it’s not chunky, in my opinion. But, if you’re not a fan of chunky chili, try using diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, or even tomato sauce in place of the stewed tomatoes. Fire roasted tomatoes would add a nice, smoky flavor.
- Jalapeño- An extra green bell pepper, poblano peppers, or habanero peppers could all replace the jalapeño peppers. You can also leave the jalapeños out entirely if you’re really not a fan of spicy food.
- Onion- A tablespoon of onion powder can be used in place of the fresh onion.
- Garlic- Use ¾ teaspoon of garlic powder to replace 3 cloves of garlic.
- Vegan- To make a vegan version of this recipe, replace the ground beef with either 4-5 cups of cooked brown lentils (about 2 cups uncooked) or 4-5 cups of cooked quinoa (about 1 ½ cups uncooked). This Dutch oven chili recipe is already naturally dairy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free.
- Extra Spicy- Bump up the amount of cayenne pepper or replace the jalapeños with a couple of habanero peppers.
- Mild- Leave out the cayenne pepper and jalapeños entirely to make a mild version of this chili recipe.
- Vegetable- Trying to get your five servings a day? Toss in some extra vegetables! Zucchini, summer squash, butternut squash, carrots, celery, corn, and spinach would all work well in this Dutch oven chili.
What to Serve with Dutch Oven Chili
Half the fun of eating homemade chili is all of the toppings and side dishes that go with it! Topping chili with a dollop of sour cream, some shredded cheddar cheese, and a sprinkle of scallions is classic. Oh, and don’t forget a warm, buttery piece of cornbread on the side.
Here are a few suggestions for what to serve with this Dutch oven chili.
- Cheddar Cheese
- Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
- Guacamole or Diced Avocado
- Fresh or Pickled Jalapeño Slices
- Roasted Corn
- Tortilla Strips
- Green Onions (Scallions)
- Sliced Olives
- Hot Sauce or Salsa
- Lime Wedges
- Tortilla Chips
- Mexican Rice
- Baked Potatoes
- French Fries or Onion Ring
- Corn on the Cob
- Spaghetti (Cincinnati-Style)
- Quesadillas or Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- Hot Dogs (for Chili Dogs)
- Garden Salad or Taco Salad
Storing and Reheating
Chili is the perfect make-ahead recipe because it reheats easily and is freezer-friendly. Whether you’re making a big batch of homemade chili for your weekly meal prep or for a game day party, you have several options when it comes to storing and reheating this Dutch oven chili.
How to Store
- Refrigerator- Store any leftover chili in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
- Freezer- For longer storage, place the chili in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container for up to 6 months. I like to portion leftover chili into individual or meal-sized servings for easier defrosting.
How to Reheat
If the chili that you want to reheat is frozen, I recommend thawing the chili over 1-2 days in the refrigerator first. However, if you’re short on time, you can run the container of chili under cool water until the chili can be popped out. Then, reheat the chili using one of the following methods.
- Stovetop- Place the chili in a saucepan and warm over low heat until simmering. If necessary, add a splash of water to help loosen the chili and keep it from drying out.
- Microwave- If you’re in a hurry, the microwave is a fantastic way to reheat individual servings of chili. Add a splash of water and cover the bowl of chili with a damp paper towel to keep it from splattering. Microwave on high for 1 minute, then stir. Continue microwaving in 30 second intervals until warmed through, stirring in between each interval.
- Oven- If you need to reheat a large batch of chili, but you’ve run out of room on you stovetop, the oven can be used instead. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the chili in an oven-safe dish. Cover the dish with foil or a lid and heat for 20-30 minutes or until fully warmed through.
Helpful Tip: Trying to keep this chili warm for a game day party or holiday gathering? Place the chili in a slow cooker and set it to “keep warm.”
Frequently Asked Questions
If you don’t have a Dutch oven, don’t sweat it! You can make this recipe using a heavy-bottomed stainless steel deep skillet or pot instead.
Yes, you can make this recipe in a slow cooker, if you prefer. You’ll want to brown the onion, jalapeño, garlic, and ground beef in a skillet, then transfer it all to a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.
Absolutely! Chili is an excellent recipe to make a double batch of and store in the freezer for when you don’t feel like cooking. It’s also great to make for a crowd. Chili is always a hit at football parties, Halloween parties, or even on Christmas Eve.
Have some leftover chili you don’t know what to do with? Use it as a topping for nachos, baked potatoes, hot dogs, hamburgers, or macaroni and cheese. It also makes a fantastic filling for tacos, burritos, and quesadillas.
Craving More Dutch Oven Recipes?
- Dutch Oven Mac and Cheese
- Homestyle Dutch Oven Chicken Noodle Soup
- Dutch Oven Meatballs
- Braised Chicken Breast with Vegetables and Gravy
- Gluten-Free Corn Chowder
Dutch Oven Chili
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1-2 jalapeños sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 pounds ground beef 80% lean
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- ½ tablespoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 28-ounce can stewed tomatoes
- 1 15.5-ounce can low-sodium black beans drained, rinsed
- 1 15.5-ounce can low-sodium kidney beans drained, rinsed
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- Heat canola oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the onion, jalapeño, and garlic and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown.1 tablespoon canola oil, 1 medium yellow onion, 1-2 jalapeños, 3 cloves garlic
- Add the ground beef into the pot and cook, breaking it up into bite-sized chunks with a wooden spoon. As it cooks, the ground beef will render out some fat and water. Keep cooking the ground beef until it is fully browned and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Mix the spices thoroughly with the ground beef until the beef is well coated and cook for an additional 2 minutes.2 pounds ground beef, 2 tablespoons chili powder, ½ tablespoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Reduce the heat to low and pour in the stewed tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, and chopped bell peppers. Mix well to evenly disburse all of the ingredients and bring the chili to a gentle simmer. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and simmer for about 25 minutes.1 28-ounce can stewed tomatoes, 1 15.5-ounce can low-sodium black beans, 1 15.5-ounce can low-sodium kidney beans, 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper
- Once the bell peppers and tomatoes have softened, removed the lid and begin to break up the stewed tomatoes and some of the beans with your wooden spoon. The beans will release their starches, thickening the chili. Simmer the chili, uncovered, for an additional 5-10 minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency. Serve with tortilla chips and toppings of choice.
Did you try this recipe?
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