Beef Chili with Pinto Beans

Beef Chili

The Central Texas temperatures have finally dipped below 90 degrees during the day and below 70 at night. This makes my family start to crave a hearty bowl of beef chili. I know that doesn’t sound very Fall-like for many of you, but we’ve just spent the last six months braving the 90-100+ degree days.
I grew up eating and cooking chili. My dad cooked with his brothers in many chili cook-offs. I also tried my hand at cooking in a few cook-offs. My problem with this type of chili is that you cannot use any fillers when you prepare it…that means no tomatoes or sauce, no beans, potatoes or corn…only meat, peppers and onions, chili powder, seasonings and water.
While I love chili cook-off chili, my real love for chili grew from a recipe my mother made from the back of the Gephardt’s Chili Powder bottle. Unlike the chili we used to make for cook-offs, it has tomato sauce which adds a slightly tangy taste. When I was younger, my mother would add potatoes instead of beans to stretch the number of servings.
I cooked this same recipe for years occasionally substituting beans, corn or hominy for the potatoes, or tomatoes with chilies for plain diced tomatoes, or ground pork or chicken for ground beef. Sometimes I would add chopped fresh peppers or use a different variety of chili powder. I’ve even made my own chili powder.
This recipe is one of my daughter’s favorites and she asks for this variation more than any other…Beef Chili with Pinto Beans. It isn’t very complicated but when you cook the ingredients separately and then put them together, you add more layers of flavor. I love the versatility of this recipe, too. It’s easy to swap out the ingredients for what you might have on hand. Last week my daughter preferred her chili with lentils, this week was pinto beans. But that may change next week when I ask, “Black beans, corn or hominy?”

Beef Chili with Pinto Beans

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1/6 of total recipe


1 pound lean ground beef (I used 90% ground sirloin)
1 Tbsp. oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 sweet bell pepper, diced (red, yellow or orange)
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 7 ounce can mild diced green chilies or 1 cup roasted Hatch green chilies, diced
1 12 ounce can or bottle of beer (lager, pilsner or pale ale)
1 to 2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 ½ to 2 Tbsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. chipotle chili powder (I use this instead of black pepper)
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Step by Step

  1. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the oil and the ground beef to the hot pot allowing the meat to brown and caramelize slightly before stirring.
  2. When meat has finished browning, remove it with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. The paper towel will absorb any excess grease and oil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Sautee the onion, bell and jalapeno peppers till soft, stirring frequently (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and diced green chilies. Stir to combine and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the seasonings to the vegetables. Stir and cook for another minute.
  5. Add the meat back to the pot. Stir to combine and raise heat to medium high. Cook for another minute or two.
  6. Add the beer to deglaze the pot. Cook until the liquid is reduced by about half (about 5 minutes).
  7. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce and stock. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  8. After 20 minutes remove lid and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes.
  9. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, diced avocado and corn bread.


WW PP 8; Calories 342; Total Fat 8.0g; Saturated Fat 2.2g; Trans Fat 0.0g; Cholesterol 68mg; Sodium 968mg; Total Carbohydrates 31.3g; Dietary Fiber 7.8g; Sugars 5.7g; Protein 32.4g

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