Chili Beans with Rice

A staple in our home growing up was my mother’s chili beans, which she still makes several times a month with either ground beef or turkey. Many chilis I’ve encountered seem almost designed to give you heartburn. This one isn’t.

These chili beans are more mild and less fatty than most, especially if you use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Yet they are very flavorful, hearty, and filling. My mom learned this method of preparing chili beans years ago, when she was still teaching school, from a fellow teacher from Louisiana.

  • Prep: 5 minutes
  • Cook: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

If using dry beans, older beans may take longer to cook to become tender. If you soak the dry beans for several hours ahead of time, they will require less cooking time.

My mother uses a pressure cooker to cook pinto beans. To cook beans with a pressure cooker, cook no more than 2 cups of beans in a 4 quart pressure cooker, with the water added until it reaches the fill line indicated for the capacity of the pressure cooker. Cook the beans for 35 minutes with 15 pounds of pressure and low heat. After 35 minutes, allow the pressure cooker to cool completely. Make sure that the pressure cooker has completely cooled before opening, and if there is any resistance when opening, do not open it. Follow the directions for your particular brand of pressure cooker. (See safety tips on pressure cookers.)


  • 2 cups (1 pound) dry pinto beans OR 4 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
  • 2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 14-ounce can of crushed or whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (cooked, canned), sliced (Note concerning the tomatoes and jalapeño pepper: my mother will substitute these on occasion with a cup of Pace brand salsa - works fine)
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves


1 If using dry beans, cook the beans: (If using canned beans, skip this step.) Put the pinto beans into a large pot and cover with at least 3 inches of water (about 3 quarts of water). Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer, covered, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender.

2 Cook the rice: While the beans are cooking cook the rice according to the instructions on the rice package. Add a Tbsp of butter to the rice while it is cooking for flavor.

3 Sauté the onions: In a large skillet, sauté onions 2 Tbsp of olive oil until translucent on medium high heat, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and chili powder and cook for a minute more. Remove from pan to a bowl, setting aside.

4 Brown the meat: Increase the heat to high and add the meat to the pan. Let cook for a minute or two without moving so that the meat gets browned, then turn to brown on the other sides.

5 Combine meat and onions, add tomatoes and jalapeño: Add back the onions and garlic. Taste for spiciness and add more chili powder if desired. Add one can of tomatoes. Add sliced Jalapeno pepper. Add chopped parsley. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes.

6 Add the cooked beans: Once the beans are cooked, drain them. Add the beans to the meat and onions, adding another teaspoon of salt to the beans as they go in. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, tasting and adding more salt if needed to taste.

Stir in cilantro leaves right before serving, or sprinkle on top. Serve over rice or with warm corn tortillas.

Chili Beans with Rice

Main Ingredients