Black Bean Chili

$9.19 recipe / $1.53 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.76 from 86 votes
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Chili is seriously one of my favorite parts of the fall-winter season. It’s super easy to make, the leftovers are amazing, and it’s incredibly cozy and hearty. It’s basically all I want to eat from September to March. 😅 Our classic chili recipe is great, but I also love this simple black bean chili because it has a slightly lighter, brighter flavor, and I just have a soft spot for black beans. Gimme all the black beans all of the time! So if you’re looking for something to meal prep for the week or just something to keep you warm as the air outside gets colder, give this black bean chili a try!

Overhead view of a bowl full of black bean chili with toppings.

What’s in Black Bean Chili

Rather than just substituting all black beans in my classic chili recipe, I also changed the flavor profile of this chili slightly. I used tangy diced tomatoes with green chiles, which gives the chili a nice brightness. I paired that with a little more cumin than usual for a slightly earthy base, and then added some smoked paprika because that smoky flavor pairs really well with the black beans. I also wanted the black beans to be the star of this show, so I actually used half the amount of ground meat as my classic chili, which helps keep it very budget-friendly as well!

Ingredients for Black Bean Chili

Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious and hearty pot of black bean chili:

  • Onion and Garlic: Any pot of chili is going to start with plenty of onion and garlic to get those savory base flavors in place!
  • Ground Beef: I used only a half pound of ground beef for this recipe, but you can increase it to one pound if you prefer a more meaty chili. You can also substitute with ground turkey if preferred.
  • Tomatoes: I used a combination of diced tomatoes with green chiles and tomato paste for this chili. The diced tomatoes add texture and a zingy flavor (thanks to the green chiles) and the tomato paste adds richness and helps thicken the chili.
  • Herbs and spices: The spice mix for this chili starts with a hefty dose of chili powder, then we add some extra cumin for earthiness, a little smoked paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. Feel free to add a little cayenne if you like your chili spicy!

Toppings for Chili

One of the reasons I love chili the most is all of the fun toppings you can add to your bowl. It’s a great opportunity to use up leftovers in your fridge or pantry, and it can just add tons of flavor, color, and texture to the meal! Here are some of my favorite toppings for black bean chili:

  • Fresh or pickled jalapeños
  • Diced red onion
  • Avocado
  • Sliced green onion
  • Cilantro
  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Sour cream
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Diced avocado
  • Pico de gallo
Overhead view of a pot full of black bean chili.

Serve with a side of Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread!

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Black Bean Chili

4.76 from 86 votes
This easy and comforting black bean chili is rich, full of warm chili spices, and fast enough to pull together on a busy weeknight. 
Overhead view of a bowl full of black bean chili with toppings.
Servings 6 (about 1.3 cups each)
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions 

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion and garlic to a large pot with the olive oil and cook over medium heat just until the onions are softened (2-3 minutes).
  • Add the ground beef to the pot and continue to sauté until the beef is cooked through (5-7 minutes).
  • Add the drained black beans, diced tomatoes (with juices), tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, and water. Stir everything to combine.
  • Place a lid on the chili and allow it to come up to a simmer. Let the chili simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let the flavors blend and help the liquid thicken slightly.
  • Taste the chili and add salt as needed (this will depend on the salt content of your canned goods. I added about ½ tsp). Serve with your favorite chili toppings and enjoy!

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Notes

*If you want a mild chili, you can use plain diced tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes with green chiles.

Nutrition

Serving: 1CupCalories: 358kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 22gFat: 11gSodium: 1292mgFiber: 17g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Side view of a bowl full of black bean chili with a spoon in the center.

How to Make Black Bean Chili – Step by Step Photos

Onions, garlic, and oil in a soup pot.

Begin by dicing one yellow onion and mincing four cloves of garlic. Sauté the onions and garlic with 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat until softened (2-3 minutes).

Browned beef in the pot with garlic and onions.

Add ½ pound ground beef (or turkey) and continue to sauté until the meat is cooked through.

Tomatoes, spices, and water added to the soup pot.

Add three 15oz. cans of black beans (drained), one 10oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (with the juices), one 6oz. can of tomato paste, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp oregano, ½ tsp salt, and 2 cups of water.

Chili ingredients in the pot, stirred, but not simmered.

Stir all of the ingredients together until evenly combined. Turn the heat up to medium-high, place a lid on the pot, and allow the chili to come up to a boil. Once it comes up to a boil, give the chili a stir, replace the lid, and reduce the heat to medium-low.

Simmered chili in the pot being stirred.

Let the chili simmer over medium-low heat for about fifteen minutes, which will help blend the flavors and thicken the sauce. Give it a taste and add salt if needed. I added about ½ tsp. And that’s it! You’re DONE making dinner! 

Overhead view of a pot full of black bean chili with toppings in the center of the pot.

Add your favorite toppings and go to town! Or divide it up into single-serving portions and refrigerate for really easy ready-to-heat meals for the rest of the week.

Overhead view of a bowl full of black bean chili with toppings.
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  1. This was my favorite chili, but I remember it having ground turkey. Did anything else change? I wish I had saved the recipe and not just the link😕 Is there anyway to get the original recipe?

  2. I am on an intense budget and was looking for a meal that was good and to stretch. This did not disappoint; the bomb!

    A few changes I made (out of necessity)-let me preface I was cooking for one:

    -I had I can black beans so used 1 lb ground beef (it was 96/4 lean if that matters=less juices but not devoid)
    -no onion so used a heaping tablespoon (probably 1.5-I measured with my heart there) of onion powder.
    -bc I was a poundlow on protein I used 1.5 cups water.

    This turned out so good! I’m keeping this recipe for good!

    Going to stretch by adding cooked rice, on top of eggs, I’m from Cincinnati so chili spaghetti.

  3. I’m not as big of a fan of the revisions. It was perfect before. Mine was a little too soupy this time around.

    1. To remedy that, just don’t drain the beans and skip the water that I added. :)

  4. Made this yesterday, it was easy and simple to make. It was filling and hearty.

  5. Step 3 doesn’t say to add the water but it does show and state in the image below the directions. Hubby forgot the water, oops!

    Other than that, it smelled and tasted great. Thanks!

  6. This has been my go-to chili recipe for years! I usually use a whole pound of meat and two cans of beans. Sometimes I also do a can of kidney beans and a can of black beans instead of two cans of black beans. It is also just as good with ground turkey. This is also a recipe that only gets better as leftovers!

  7. One of my favorite things to make, thank you for this recipe. I have adjusted it slightly at this point to my tastes by using a full 1lb of turkey and more of the spices (but slightly less chili powder). I also tend to get the rotel tomatoes with cilantro and lime, and I like making it with two cans of black beans and one can of dark red pinto beans.

  8. Still a go-to when on a time crunch. We grab a bag of Frito scoops and go town! Fantastic weeknight meal ftw!

  9. Nice and quick and quite tasty. But honestly, not the Winn Dixie black beans, please. Kirby makes the best black beans and will improve the flavor. Also, try adding diced roasted peppers. Better yet roast your own , not canned

  10. I have made this so many times, it’s an absolute staple! One game changing tip – instead of chili powder, I throw in a whole 7oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced. Adds incredible depth of flavor! You can adjust peppers to chili powder ratio to taste. But it’s so easy and cheap to stock up on these to have on hand.