Easy 30-Minute Smoky Ground Beef Chili — Don’t have all day for chili to simmer? No problem!! This EASY, hearty chili with lovely SMOKY heat is ready in 30 minutes! PERFECT for busy weeknights!!
Easy Beef and Bean Chili Recipe
Lots of people love their slow cookers because of the ease. But this beef chili with beans is just as easy and you don’t have to wait around for hours. It’s ready in just 30 minutes and perfect for hectic weeknights.
Despite the quick cooking time, there is so much depth of flavor that’s infused into the chili from the sweet Vidalia onions, garlic, fire-roasted tomatoes, green chiles, cumin, and smoked paprika.
You can’t have smoky chili without smoked paprika and the fire-roasted tomatoes and fire-roasted green chilis lend to the smokiness, too. Throw in black beans, red kidney beans, and ground beef and you’ve got yourself hearty comfort food that will keep you warm and satisfied on chilly nights.
The chili has rich smoky flavor and it’s somewhat spicy but not overpowering. My 11-year-old loved every last bite and it’s a family-friendly recipe in our house.
What’s in Smoky Ground Beef Chili?
To make this easy beef chili recipe, you’ll need:
- Ground beef
- Fire-roasted tomatoes
- Tomato sauce
- Fire-roasted diced green chiles
- Spices (chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne, bay leaves)
- Sugar (optional)
- Lemon juice
How to Make Ground Beef Chili with Beans
It doesn’t get much easier than homemade ground beef chili! Simply brown the beef in a large Dutch oven alongside the onion, then throw in the garlic. Then, stir in the rest of the ingredients and let the chili simmer away for about 30 minutes.
Taste the chili after it’s had time to simmer and adjust seasonings as necessary. To serve, top with your favorite garnishes (we love adding a dollop of sour cream, some shredded cheese, and crushed tortilla chips!).
What’s the Best Ground Beef for Chili?
I recommend using a lean ground beef (85 to 90% lean). You don’t want the ground beef to be too fatty, otherwise you’ll need to drain off the excess grease after the meat has browned. On the flip side, you don’t want to buy ground beef that’s too lean or else it’ll dry out and won’t pack in as much flavor.
Can I Use a Different Type of Ground Meat?
Yes! I used ground beef, but you could likely swap it for ground chicken or turkey. Drizzle in some olive oil if you’re going that route because white meats don’t render out enough fat to sauté the onions properly.
Tips for Making the Best Beef Chili Recipe
This recipe calls for 1 to 2 cups of water or broth. If you prefer thicker chili, start with 1 cup and add more as desired.
Since everyone’s tastes vary for spiciness vary and if you’re not a fan of as much heat, I would swap out the fire-roasted tomatoes and fire-roasted chilis for plainer/milder versions. While you’ll give up some of the smoky flavor, the heat level will be reduced as well.
There’s already salt in the many of the canned goods, but I chose no-salt added products when possible. Depending on the saltiness of your products, the amount of salt you add to the beef chili with beans will vary.
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- 2 pounds lean ground beef (85 to 90% lean)
- 1 large/extra-large sweet Vidalia onion, diced small
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves, finely pressed or minced
- one 15-ounce can black beans (I used no-salt added), drained and rinsed
- one 15-ounce can red kidney beans (I used low-salt), drained and rinsed
- one 14.5-ounce can petite diced fire-roasted tomatoes (regular petite diced tomatoes may be substituted)
- one 8-ounce can tomato sauce (I used no-salt added)
- two 4-ounce cans fire-roasted diced green chiles
- about 1 to 2 cups water, chicken or vegetable broth, or as desired
- 1 to 1.5 tablespoons chili powder (I used 1.5)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (regular paprika may be substituted)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt, or taste (see step 3. below)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
- 2 to 4 bay leaves
- 1 to 3 teaspoons granulated sugar, optional and to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
- sour cream, green onions, shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, crackers, etc.; all optional for garnishing
- To a large Dutch oven, add the beef, onion, and cook over medium-high heat until beef is cooked through and onions are translucent, about 7 minutes; crumble beef as it cooks and stir intermittently to ensure even cooking.
- Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir nearly constantly.
- Add the the black beans, kidney beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chiles, water/broth (if you prefer thicker chili start with 1 cup), chili powder, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, optional cayenne, bay leaves, and stir to combine. (Note - there’s already salt in the many of the canned goods but I chose no-salt added products when possible. Depending on the saltiness of your products, the amount of salt you add will vary).
- Bring to boil and allow chili to gently boil for about 5 to 10 minutes or until chili has reduced and thickened some.
- Stir, taste, optionally add sugar to taste (I added 3 teaspoons because the sugar balances the acid from the tomatoes and tomato sauce), optional lemon/lime juice (brightens up the flavor), and additional salt, pepper, etc. if desired.
- Remove bay leaves, ladle into bowls, and optionally garnish with your favorites.
Spice level: I used fire-roasted tomatoes and fire-roasted green chiles but you can choose milder versions of those products (and/or reduce the green chiles to 1 can or omit) and scale the amount of chili powder down to 1 tablespoon if you’re cooking for those who are more sensitive to spices.
Storage: Chili will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months. The flavors meld and marry and I think it tastes even better a day or two later.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 485Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 115mgSodium: 1513mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 10gSugar: 8gProtein: 46g
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