A LOW-CARB, Meaty Chili

If you like your chili thick and mostly meat, then this recipe is for you. With five pounds of ground beef, this chili is a hearty dish–sure to please any meat-eater as well as chili-lovers–ready to serve a hungry crowd. Chock full of traditional chili ingredients–such as onion, garlic, bell peppers, pinto beans, and spices–this recipe is flavorful and rich, perfect for a filling one-dish dinner. 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 yellow onion (diced)
5 pounds ground beef
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 red bell pepper (seeded and chopped)
1 green bell pepper (seeded and chopped)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomato puree
2/3 cup chili powder
1/4 cup ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups water (or as needed)
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans (drained)
Optional Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado, chopped scallions

Steps to Make It

Gather the ingredients.

In a large pot, warm the oil over medium heat; add the onion and beef and sauté until the meat is browned and broken into small pieces. Pour off any excess grease and return the pot to the stove.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add all of the remaining ingredients—except the beans—and simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. 

As the chili cooks, add water if needed so it doesn’t become too thick or dry.

Add the beans and cook for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

If desired, serve with your favorite chili toppings such as shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado, and chopped scallions.


When buying the ground beef for this recipe, you want to choose a package that lists a high-fat content on the label, such as 15 percent fat/85 percent lean. The fat helps tenderize the meat as it cooks, so if you use a ground beef that is quite lean, it will tend to be tough and chewy and dry out.
Although the meat is ground up (vs. in big chunks), it still needs time to soften and become tender, so the 90 minutes of simmer time is important.

Recipe Variations

If you would like to try this recipe with different cuts of meat, there are three other types that are ideal for chili. Beef chuck, brisket (and burnt ends), and short ribs are all good choices when it comes to the slow cooking and spicy flavors of this well-loved dish. Diced beef chuck will result in a chili with a beefier flavor, and brisket will shred while it cooks (and may need a little longer cooking time); short ribs will have to be removed after cooking so the meat can be taken off of the bones.
If you like your chili spicy, you can increase the amount of cayenne pepper, or add a few drops of hot sauce at the end of cooking time. Just remember this recipe serves a dozen people, so make sure everyone is on board with the added heat. (To play it safe, you can simply offer a bottle of hot sauce on the side.)

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