Easy No-Bean Chili

You can swap the ground beef for the same amount of ground chuck. Cut it into bite-sized cubes and simmer the chili for 2 to 3 hours, until the meat is tender.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings


For the chili:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 (28-ounce) can chunky tomato puree (or diced tomatoes)
  • 2 cups beef stock

For the toppings:

  • Sliced scallions
  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Tortilla chips
  • Diced avocado
  • Diced onion

Special equipment:

  • Dutch Oven or heavy-bottomed pot


1 Brown the beef: In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and then the ground beef. Brown the beef well, breaking it up with a wooden spoon while it cooks.

Let the beef cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until it’s lightly browned. There shouldn’t be any visible pink spots on the beef.

How to Make Chili without Beans brown the beef

2 Add the onions through cornmeal: Add the onions, green peppers, jalapeño, and garlic to the chili and stir. Let the vegetables cook for a few minutes until they soften. Add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper, and stir together.

Finally, add the tomato paste and cornmeal and stir into the mixture. It will seem very dry at this point, but let it cook for a few minutes like that, stirring constantly, to develop some color.

Chunky No Bean Chili add the onions Easy Chili without the beans add the spicesChili Recipe No Beans add the tomatoes

3 Add the tomatoes and beef stock to the chili. Use the liquid to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan.

4 Simmer the chili: Bring the chili to a simmer and turn heat down to low. Let the chili simmer for at least 10 minutes, but it could simmer for hours at this point if you wanted to. Just keep an eye on it to make sure it has enough liquid and add water if it seems dry.

How to Make Chili without Beans simmer the chili

5 Serve! Serve the no bean chili with grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, and fresh scallions.

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen for up to two months. Reheat chili slowly on the stovetop.

Easy Chili without the beans serve the chili

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  • George

    It did turn out pretty “tomatoey” and I had to add more spice to give it a Texas kick – a lot more. Added Cayenne too. Still this is a good recipe to start with. Next time, I’d mince the onions and peppers and I’d go with the tomato puree instead of diced.


  • Kristin

    This was ok. I used the chuck and simmered for hours. It did tenderize, but the flavor was SUPER tomatoey, and definitely missing something. I added some crushed red pepper flakes for heat, some Worcestershire sauce to try and give it a little flavor depth and more chili powder. But, still very tomatoey.


  • JoAnn

    Do you have the nutritional values? Looks delicious. Would it be Keto friendly if I left out the cornmeal?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, JoAnn! We don’t currently calculate nutritional information on our recipes. I’d recommend using an online nutritional calculator like this one. As for your keto question, I’m not 100% familiar with all the specifications for the keto diet, so I’d recommend consulting with a nutritionist or other dietary expert. Enjoy!

  • Dave

    Couple minor quibbles – extra lean beef like 90/10 (ground round) does not carry flavours as well as 80/20 (ground chuck). If the visible fat offends – spoon it off and save it to pop some popcorn. A good compromise between cubes of meat and minced beef is “chilli grind”
    chuck – have your butcher take a nice shoulder “clod” and run it twice through his coarse plate.

    On the bean – no bean debate. I once had a Texan loudly declaiming that “Beans have no place in chilli” while spooning Brooks Chilli Hot Beans into his bowl of red.

    If you ask I’ll send you my ICS prize-winning recipe for chilli.

    • Bona

      Please send that recipe!!

      • Dave

        Here you go.

        MMMMM—– Recipe via Meal-Master ™ v8.06

        Title: The Recipe
        Categories: Beef, Chilli, Stews, Udd
        Yield: 6 Quarts

        115 g Kidney Suet (4 oz)
        5 lb “Chilli-grind” beef chuck
        3 Ribs celery; in 2″ chunks
        1 lg Brown onion; peeled, chopped
        16 oz Can chicken broth
        48 oz Can tomato juice; Red Gold
        1 1/2 tb Vinegar
        1/2 tb Prune juice
        1 tb Arrowroot (opt)
        2 tb Tap water (opt)

        10 g Jalapeno; powdered *
        35 g Beef soup base (GFS/Minor’s)
        115 g Chilli spice mix **
        65 g Cumin
        20 g Brown sugar 20 g
        15 g Granulated onion
        15 g Granulated garlic
        25 g Salt
        5 g Oregano; dried, crumbled
        5 g White pepper
        10 g Worcestershire powder ***

        MMMMM————————SECOND DUMP—————————–
        25 g Chilliman chilli mix +
        10 g Cumin 10 g
        2 g Salt (1/2 ts)

        3 cn (48 oz) Brooks Chilli Beans

        * Or use two FAT jalapeno chilies, diced fine, no seeds. Adjust this
        according to your taste for heat. This recipe sometimes gets me
        marked off by some judges for “too hot”.

        ** Baron’s #5640 (aka Spicecraft) is a 5# container. It is also
        available as #5610 in a 1# container.

        *** Or 6 tablespoons of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce.

        + Since Chilliman was sold their chilli mix is not the same so I have
        been using Mexene (Bruce Foods) as a very nice replacement.

        Chop the celery & onion and blenderise w/the chicken broth until the
        chunks are pureed. Transfer to a container.

        Measure and weigh out the dry spice ingredients and mix together in a
        container (a baggie will do).

        Render the suet in the chilli pot and add ground chuck. Cook meat
        stirring often to break up clumps until all the pink is gone from the

        Add the beef soup base, tomato juice and the pureed veggies in chicken
        broth that you fixed the night previously. Bring to a nice boil.

        Add your first dump of spices and reduce heat to a medium simmer. Stir
        often and cook until the fat begins to render from the meat. Add the
        vinegar and the prune juice and continue to cook and stir.

        After an hour and a half turn off your stove and let the chilli rest
        for an hour. You may use this time to contemplate your navel or to
        skim off the rendered oil (reserving it to pop popcorn in at home –
        or to add back to the chilli after the judges get done with it) or
        other necessary cook-off activities such as washing up your utensils
        and/or skulking around and spying on the other cooks.

        About thirty minutes before turn-in time – fire up your stove and
        bring the chilli back to a nice simmer. Add the second spice dump.
        Continue to cook and stir and taste. Make any final adjustments.

        You can put the chilli in the ice box overnight if cooking this
        recipe at home. It works even better that way. But, we must make some
        compromises to keep to a schedule at a cook-off.

        Remember that optional stuff we mentioned in the ingredients???

        If you feel that the chilli is too “thin” use that optional TB of
        arrowroot mixed in the 2 TB of water, stirring it in at least 15
        minutes before turn in to give it a chance to thicken things up.

        Beans are permissible at home – but, not at a chilli cook off. Leave
        out the suet at a chilli cook-off. However, it makes an excellent pot
        of chilli truly wonderful.

        A couple of notes here – this recipe is now one I consider to be my
        own. However, like almost all recipes is is based on experience,
        observation and the work of others. I started out with a chilli
        supper recipe developed by my friend Les Eastep.

        MM Format by Dave Drum – 17 January 2005

        Uncle Dirty Dave’s Kitchen


  • Foodiewife

    I’m in the camp of I can go either way– though I do love pinto beans. I bet this recipe can easily be adapted for a pressure cooker. Yes, indeed! I like to add Masa to my chili for thickness and I really like that subtle “umami” that comes from it. Try it some time!
    Great recipe!