Simple Ground Beef Chili

Simple Ground Beef Chili

Simple Ground Beef Chili

This smoky, rich ground beef and bean chili made with cocoa and beer is a perfect winter recipe to warm you up.

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword beef, chili, soup, stew, stovetop
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 2 Tbsp bacon fat
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef 80% or 85% lean
  • 1 15 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
  • 1 15 oz can red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 oz lager or dark beer (about half a can – drink the rest!)


  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the bacon fat over medium-high heat

  2. Add onion and bell pepper, and sautee for a few minutes until the onions start to turn translucent

  3. Add garlic and salt and cook for another minute or two

  4. Add the chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, paprika, and smoked paprika. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the spices are well combined with the onions and peppers and start to smell fragrant

  5. Add the ground beef, breaking it apart as it starts to brown. The spices and beef should start comingling nicely

  6. When the beef is no longer pink, add both types of tomatoes as well as the beans and stir to combine

  7. Let the mixture start to bubble slightly – after a couple minutes – and add the cocoa powder, Worcestershire sauce, and beer. Give everything a few good stirs

  8. Partially cover the pot and let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on how much time you have

  9. When almost ready to serve, add the juice of one lime and taste for seasoning. Add salt, pepper, smoked paprika, additional chili powder, etc. if necessary

  10. Transfer the chili to serving bowls and add additional lime juice, sour cream, scallions and hot sauce to your liking. Can also serve with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, over rice, or with guacamole

Recipe Notes

If you like your chili extra tomato-y, you can also add a full can of tomato paste before you add the ground beef.


Also check out our Pork & Beef Chili recipe if you’re looking for something with even more meat flavor.

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