three-bean chili Recipes

three-bean chili

In my fantasy recipe-writing league, I’d cover everything, a million questions you hadn’t even thought to ask yet. Every recipe would work on a stove, slowly braised in the oven, on a grill, in a slow-cooker, a pressure-cooker, on a train, in a car, or in a tree. You could make the vegetarian carnivorous, the carnivorous paleo, the gluten-full gluten-free, the sour cream could always be swapped yogurt which could always be swapped with buttermilk, or milk and lemon, or soy milk and vinegar. We’d find a way to put kale in everything. You could use flat-leaf parsley instead of cilantro (because cilantro is the devil’s herb, naturally) or none of the above, because green flecks = grounds for dinnertime dismissal. We’d make food that your picky spouse, your pasta-eating kid, and your pesky fad-dieting house guests would applaud at every meal, and all of those promises made by food writers greater than myself in tomes more epic than this blog of food bringing people together for the happiest part of everyone’s day would be made good on at last.

what you'll need
how to get things started

Of course, I’d also write about one recipe a year. Despite understanding this, sometimes I get carried away with The Dream of this kind of recipe-writing. I make Lasagna Bolognese with homemade noodles (but you can use store-bought), homemade bechamel (but you can use ricotta; just don’t tell me about it), and bolognese with milk, wine or both. We make Hot Fudge Sundae Cake for crazy people (everything, down to the cookie crumb filling, homemade) or for people with a life (everything, down to the cookie crumb filling, store-bought). We make Lazy Pizza Dough on three different schedules, whatever your orbit demands that week. And in this episode, I found as many ways as I could dream up to make a three-bean chili, so nobody would have an excuse not to make it.

cooking the dry spices, indian-style

one beer

Why chili? Because at least around here lately, one day it is spring and we are all like this puppy in the field and the next day there’s a pelt of snow and we are not having it. It’s sandals, no, Sorels weather, and I can’t figure it out. Chili, to me, bridges the gap — it can be treated as heavy and hearty as the thickest stew or be scooped with tortilla chips for a perfect summer dinner.

three beans

I made a three-bean chili several years ago, when this blog was a wee young thing, but the recipe had a limited reach. What I’d really always wanted to do was make it from dried beans but couldn’t find a recipe-like structure to even gently guide me in the right direction. I mean, surely this is the kind of food that’s just made for a slow-cooker or pressure-cooker? So, I finally struck out on my own with it. Nine days later — hey honey [and also anyone else that doesn’t run fast enough when they see me approaching them with take-out containers today], guess what’s for dinner again tonight?! — I achieved almost all of my goals. You can make it with dried beans or canned. You can make it with dried chiles or fresh or just mild peppers. You can make it with a lot of or a little tomato. You can skip the chili powder if it’s not your thing. You can make it on the stove, in a slow-cooker and I’m going to outline how you can make it in a pressure-cooker too (even though I failed to get it tested in my brand-new but not mastered yet one). You can soak your beans but there’s no need to. You can even use canned beans.

on a stove, in a stolen dutch oven
in a slow-cooker

The only thing you cannot do it serve it to a Texan. I’m sorry, Texas. I love you and I love my friends from you and it is out of this love that I need to warn the non-Texan population that you do not take kindly to people putting tomatoes and beans in your chili. Ah, well. My fantasy recipe-writing league and I will try again soon.

three-bean chili

More Chili: With beans, beef and sour cream and cheddar biscuits. A really quick version with beans and beef. The previous three-bean chili, but I like this one better.

Good Reads: Are back by popular demand! Being productive at work is vastly overrated.

One year ago: Spinach and Smashed Egg Toast
Two years ago:
Banana Bread Crepe Cake with Butterscotch
Three years ago: Apple Tarte Tatin, Anew
Four years ago: Romesco Potatoes
Five years ago: Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Cornbread
Six years ago: Caramel Walnut Upside-Down Banana Cake
Seven years ago: Risotto al Barolo

Three-Bean Chili

Yield: About 9 cups chili; 8 smaller servings or 4 to 6 large ones

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
1 to 2 peppers of your choice (see Notes, below), finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt or 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse salt
1 12-ounce bottle beer
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted if you can find them
1 1/2 cups mixed dried beans (see Note)
3 1/2 to 4 cups water

To serve: Lime wedges, sour cream, diced white onion, cilantro, corn or flour tortillas or tortilla chips or rice

Heat oil in the bottom of a medium-sized heavy pot or Dutch oven (if finishing it on the stove), in the pot of your pressure-cooker (if using one) or in a large skillet (if finishing in a slow-cooker). Once warm, add onion and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add any fresh peppers and cook for 3 more minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt and cook for 2 minutes, until browned and deeply fragrant. Add beer and scrape up any bits stuck to the pot. Boil until reduced by half, or, if you’re nervous about alcohol content, until it has all but disappeared.

If finishing on the stove: Add tomatoes, dried beans, any dried or rehydrated-and-pureed chiles and the smaller amount of water. Bring mixture to a full boil and boil for one minute, then reduce heat to a very low, gentle simmer, place a lid on your pot, and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Add the last 1/2 cup water if mixture seems to be getting dry, though I didn’t need it in most of my tested batches. If a slightly more sloshy chili wouldn’t bother you, you can add it from the get-go.

If finishing in a slow-cooker: Scrape onion, spice and beer mixture into a slow-cooker and add tomatoes, dried beans, any dried or rehydrated-and-pureed chiles and the smaller amount of water. Cook on HIGH for 6 to 7 hours, until beans are tender. You can add the last 1/2 cup water if needed, but probably will not find it necessary.

If finishing in a pressure-cooker: Follow the directions from your pressure cooker manufacturer. I failed to get this fully tested in my new one (boo) but estimate that it will take 20 to 22 minutes on high.

Serve as-is or with fixings of your choice.

Notes:

  • Peppers: The most important decision you make about your chili is, unsurprisingly, in the chiles themselves. If you’re cooking for people who don’t like spicy food, I recommend just using 1 bell pepper or 1 fresh poblano, which is very mild. 2 fresh jalapenos will give you slightly more heat. 2 small dried chiles, depending on which you use, will give you a bit more of a kick, as will 1 to 2 chipotle en adobo peppers from a can. If you need help choosing a dried chile, Serious Eats has a great guide to the properties of each here. To best incorporate the flavor of dried chiles into your chili, cover them with a bit of boiling water until they’re soft, then puree them. If this sounds like too much work, you can cook them with the dried beans for decent heat flavor infusion.
  • Chile powder: If you’d like the clear flavor of your dried chiles to come through, you can skip the chile powder in part or entirely.
  • Tomatoes: This makes a fairly tomato-y chili. If that’s not your thing, halve the suggested tomatoes, using only a 15-ounce can instead.
  • Beer: Use whatever type you’d like here. I used Dos Equis; I think a Negra Modelo would also impart a nice, deep flavor.
  • Beans: I use a mix of three beans here, usually 1/3 dried kidney beans, 1/3 black beans and 1/3 pinto beans, but I had a bag small pink Rosa de Castillo beans from Rancho Gordo around so I used them instead. I find that these three beans, surprisingly, take about the same time to cook, but if you’re nervous one will take longer than the others, you can soak it in water while preparing your other ingredients. Even 30 minutes should even up the cooking times.
  • To pre-soak your beans: This recipe doesn’t call for or require pre-soaking but pre-soaked beans will cook faster. How much faster depends on how long they are soaked for, but you can estimate that beans soaked for 6 hours or overnight will approximately halve suggested cooking times, regardless of cooking method. If pre-soaking beans, do so in the 3 1/2 to 4 cups of water listed in the recipe, and use the remaining soaking liquid as the water in the recipe.
  • Using canned beans instead: 1 1/2 cups dried beans will yield approximately 3 to 3 3/4 cups of cooked ones. To use canned or already-cooked beans instead, you’ll want to use 2 to 3 15-ounce cans of cooked beans and then — this is important — skip the water. Simmer all of the ingredients except the drained and rinsed beans for 20 minutes, then add the beans and simmer it 10 minutes more. If the mixture looks dry, add 1/4 cup water and simmer for another few minutes.

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202 comments on three-bean chili

  1. CindyLou

    Wish I had a bowlful now! Thoughts on adding a bit of unsweetened chocolate or spoonful of cocoa powder to chili as it simmers?

    1. deb

      CindyLou — You know, I used to and then I got away from it. I did like the mole-ish vibe. But no reason you cannot here, especially if you prefer it that way.

  2. Jan

    I love that first paragraph! That is exactly how I felt last week when I was cooking for guests — one vegan, two kids (one of mine, very picky), one peanut allergy, one diabetic, and a husband who likes a hearty meal. Oy!

  3. Love this post. And the recipe – love that you can do it with dried beans too! Love the mix. And since there is still (!) snow on the ground, this is perfect. Thanks!

  4. Ana

    Yum yum yum!
    I add red wine to my chili, will try beer/lager next time!

    Heston Blumenthal browns his mince first! We’ve tried it, and it’s good. But I don’t bother every time.

  5. Katie G

    Deb–this looks fantastic, but unfortunately my husband doesn’t like beans. Any suggestions for a substitute?

    …just kidding, couldn’t resist :)

    1. deb

      Katie — Ha! I already felt that simmer of dread building in my stomach.

      Belinda — That is my mother’s Dansk Dutch oven that she probably got as a wedding present in 1968. I saw it last time I was home and said, “It’s mine. Give it to me.” and — whoa — it worked. I think they recently reissued them. The white one is especially charming.

  6. Tonya

    I’m from Texas, and I’m making this tomorrow. Can’t wait to make it! :) I’d make it tonight, but my fiance has promised to make omellettes while I watch the Boston Bruins game.

  7. Anita

    Well Deb, your original three bean chili is a family favorite in my house. I’ll definitely have to give this one a try too.

  8. DaniC

    what type of beer? coming from a HUGE craft beer community in Seattle, i know that the flavors are very specialized and can affect the overall palette. i look forward to knowing and then trying this tasty treat! thanks!

    1. Amber

      Try a pumpkin ale- they’re coming into season now in the fall. I used a bottle of Pumpkinhead (can’t remember the brewery, but I’m from Buffalo, NY if that helps). My chili turned out great with that, btw.

  9. Amanda

    That first paragraph belongs in the food blog hall of fame. A work of art! I *gasp* have never really liked chili, but this? I think I could find a variation that would work for me.

  10. Gretchen

    As a native Texan who still counts the Lone Star State as home, I will definitely make this and serve to my 100% Texan brood. HOWEVER, you are correct about the whole chili and tomatoes/beans thing. The solution? This isn’t chili, it’s delicious beans!

  11. I love, love, love chili! When it comes to chili ingredients, my motto is usually, everything but the kitchen sink. I’m relieved to see that I use a lot of the same ingredients as you do! One thing that I add, that I don’t see in your recipe is tomato paste, (I add that in addition to crushed tomatoes) I find that it helps thicken it up and really come together as a chili. What kind of consistency does this three-bean chili have? Thanks!

  12. Sunata

    I’m not sure I understand the salt measurement. Because kosher salt measures out differently than table salt, usually you’d use more kosher salt than table salt, but here that seems reversed.

  13. I love making dishes with dried beans — they really do taste so much better, so when I have the time, I’ll do it. This chili looks phenomenal, and I love the addition of the beer!

  14. Jess

    Deb, your first paragraph sums up how I feel when I read so many of the comments here and on other blogs, except my thoughts always involve more cursing. People, experiment! Try adding something or subbing something and see what happens!! The internet doesn’t have to do all the work for you. I hope you never grow weary of it and quit because I love reading your blog.

    1. deb

      Jess — I don’t mind answering questions if I have the answer. I do, however, stress over having TIME to answer all of the questions.

      Sunata — Gah, that’s a mistake. Now fixed. The 1.5 teaspoons table is correct; the other should be roughly doubled.

      Isadora — You can add it if you like. This recipe is totally flexible. I didn’t find it necessary. It’s pretty thick.

      Zoe — You probably can. I didn’t suggest it because it will take all of 30 minutes on the stove so it didn’t seem worth stretching out; also I was concerned about the canned beans falling apart if cooked too much longer. But, I’m sure it can be done, just with greatly reduced cooking time.

      Alisa — I haven’t frozen it but I’d bet it freezes well.

  15. Amie

    As a vegetarian Texas, I ALWAYS put beans and tomatoes in my chili. We’re not all crazy purists. Chili is a saucy dish with lots of chili powder, onions and whatever you have on hand.

  16. amy

    hey Deb – you’re probably aware of this, but just a heads-up since I didn’t see it in the notes – you have to be really careful with dried kidney beans, as they have a weird toxin that can cause food poisoning if the cook temp doesn’t get up high enough (which it might not in some slow-cookers). I don’t care for kidney beans, myself, so I’ll just look forward to trying this recipe with black/red/pintos, but the recommendation I keep seeing is that if you’re going to do kidneys in a crockpot, boil them for a few minutes first, just to be safe.

    http://www.foodreference.com/html/artredkidneybeanpoisoning.html

  17. Lyn

    This may sound crazy but honestly the addition of chunks of roasted winter squash in chili is to die for. You have to try it, Deb! My family is hooked on the rich, sweet-hot combination. I recently made your Black Bean Ragout because, you’re right, the changeable weather just begs for chili-like meals. Anyway, I was thinking that a bit of smoked paprika wouldn’t hurt this dish in the least, would it? Loved your post by the way. Always gets a chuckle (or guffaw depending) and vigorous head nodding and dinner inspiration. All much needed. Thanks!

  18. I totally feel you on the weather front. One day its 67 and the next its 40 & I’m back to wearing my winter jacket. Such a tease. When will spring be here to stay?! Chili looks great!

  19. Kate

    This looks like a great follow-up to the black bean ragout recipe from your cookbook. My coworkers make fun of me for how often I bring the black beans for lunch, maybe I can diversify a little with this.

  20. Andrew

    I am a Texan, who LOVES Texas chili, but i’m a closeted bean-lover. Whenever I make it for myself I always add a can of kidney beans, and sometimes I use barley instead of ground beef. I would never allow a fellow Texan to know I do this…. I am also making this tonight.

  21. Dee

    The recipe sounds delicious. About the peppers, though: saying “….one fresh poblano, which is very mild….” is true about 70% of the time, in my experience. Some poblanos, though, have a kick, which is not as hot as a jalapeno, but definitely noticeable, and you won’t know until you cut into it. If it’s no heat, no way, no how, go with the bell peppers. (I speak from several years of cooking with poblanos at least weekly. We love them, but they are a bit unpredictable. Peppers from the same plant can have different heat levels.)

  22. carly

    Can’t wait to try this, but isn’t there some reason that kidney beans can’t be cooked in a slow cooker? I’m hoping it’s a wives tale, but have heard the slow cooker doesn’t heat them enough to kill some sort of toxin?

  23. Sheila

    Wonderful – our family loves your original 3-bean chili, but we’ve always wondered if we could manage to do it with dried beans. AND, I love to make beans in the crockpot … AND, we love putting beer in food … AND, pregnancy heartburn has me avoiding too-tomatoey foods so I haven’t been able to make 3 bean chili in too long. So altogether, I am tickled pink by this recipe. It’s like you just gave me a gift. Thanks Deb!!!

  24. I had never thought of chilli as a summery dish before, but you’re right – with crème fraiche and chips it sounds perfect for a warm evening. It’s also great party food. Just saying. Everyone loves chilli.

  25. Jonathan

    I’m glad to hear you’ve got a pressure cooker. I’ve been looking for more recipes with pressure cooker instructions ever since I got mine, and your recipes never fail to delight.

  26. Rachel

    Deb, take heart! I’m a Texan, raised by Texans, & I grew up eating chili with beans in it :). Not until I moved away & purchased The Homesick Texan did I realize that I didn’t belong :).

  27. Tamara

    @Alisa- I’ve successfully frozen chili recipes that were very similar to this (differences being only in the spices).

    I will be trying this tonight in my pressure cooker- Ive never used it before! Thanks for the motivation Deb!

  28. Kat

    That is one hell of a first sentence. And as an English teacher I highly appreciate it! :) The recipe isn’t half bad either ;-)

  29. SaraB

    I’m absolutely feeding this to my Texan. Chili REQUIRES beans and tomatoes and one day he will learn to eat real people chili. (Also if I tell him it’s from “Smitten Kitchen” he’ll just eat it. He’s learned that anything I make and say “I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen” is good and he should just shut up and eat it. Even if his bourguignon has 0 meat in it.)

  30. Oh Deb, I soooo would love to be in your league!
    I mean, you re totally my cooking guru. You would not believe how much your philosophical approach suits mine. I had my Dad search every bookshop in NY for the one thing I wanted as a souvenir from the States was the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Really. I am even now suffering hell to type this message in english with that stupid automatic spelling app converting every word into a french lookalike.
    So anytime you want to set up a league, even a recipe-translating rather than recipe-writing league, count me in!
    By the way, I make my lasagna with homemade béchamel an its actually easy.
    Claire, from Toulouse France

  31. Adam Eran

    I’d go for this with one alteration: Cook the beans (slow cooker after soaking, please), then add the chilli / mirepoix after they’re cooked. There’s really no point in over-cooking the garlic, onion, spices and tomato. You may have to adjust your recipe, but this method — beans first, then add-ons — is par for the course in the kitchens of real bean-making veterans (e.g., my Hispanic mother-in-law). That’s why even cooked salsa is a separate item for refritos…

    Also, add salt only after beans are all cooked, otherwise you’ll toughen the skin (says mi suegra / mother-in-law).

    I don’t mean to pull rank, but she really and truly is the best cook in the entire world.

  32. lee ashley

    So this is almost EXACTLY the homemade chili recipe that my husband and I came up with…it’s so good!

    Here’s where you can offer an olive branch to the Texans: we usually start with 1-2 lbs of tri-tip, which are browned in the dutch oven, then removed. We use a *bit* of the fat to get the onions started, then we’re off to the races. We also add a bay leaf or two along with the spices. The meat gets added back in after the beer and tomatoes, and we let everything simmer down for a good hour. We also add the beans with all of the liquid. Another tip we picked up from the Barefoot Contessa is to add a bit of coffee. It adds a…smoothness, which somehow seems to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.

  33. Lauren

    Thanks for (1) Jack Nicholson- I was convulsed…(2) a great Lenten recipe for those of us that have several weeks to go and have “had it” with some of our options… (3) the reading list and… (4) the Dansk Kobenstyle cookware link. I have all of mine (my 1976 bridal registry) and wouldn’t part with any of it. But for your readers, the top of that casserole pictured in the link doubles as a trivet. Fabulous design! E-bay has a lot of it listed in all the colors of the rainbow. It was great then, and since it has been reissued, it is obviously still great. Can’t wait to fill mine up with this chili!

  34. Deb! Missed opportunity: I don’t always make chili, but when I do…I make it with Dos Equis.

    (even if it’s not strictly true, the set up was too easy–though I do think you’re in contention as The Most Interesting Food Blogger In The World)

  35. Emily

    I have been searching and searching for a great chili recipe that I can devour all year long AND make in my slow cooker, and this just might be The One. It’s supposed to rain all weekend and I’m making bread – perfect timing! Thanks for a fabulous recipe!

  36. This looks delicious! I love a good chili recipe, but we’re not really meat-eaters. We have a white chicken chili recipe that we love, but I’m always on the look out for a delicious red-sauce vegetarian-based chili.

    xoxo
    Taylor

  37. christina

    I just made this for dinner– it looks, smells, and tastes absolutely awesome. Perfect with fresh tortilla chips even though there’s still plenty of snow on the ground up here in New England. Thanks, Deb for inspiring me to get off my butt and use up those dried beans I had lying around.

  38. Susan

    I usually make chili when I’m down to my last half pound or less of ground beef or have a last little serving of some braised or roasted meat or poultry. I’ve never tried a vegetarian chili nor an all meat chili. I love the way beans extend this spicy stew, but I usually only make it during the cold weather months. I’ll have to think about this version as I’ve never added beer to chili, either (not a fan of beer). Gads, with all the different variants of this dish, you’d think I’d have tried one! Guess I’ve been waiting for yours.

  39. Jane

    This looks delicious! Thank you for another veggie recipe to try.

    Also– just noticed on your ‘previously’ list that we’re now into the ‘seven years ago’–is this even possible? We are lucky to have had you blogging all this time :)

  40. SandyH

    I am a fifth generation Texan, and I put tomato sauce in my chili. I’ve never had one complaint and this past fall, it won an award at a fair. IN TEXAS. There are no beans in it, but my mom always put them in hers when I was growing up. I think it was to stretch it to feed us all, but whatever, it was great. And to those who claim to KNOW it all about no beans in chili, I say, oh yeah, who says so? You can’t get any more Texan than me, and I say, make it however you want! Just no potatoes. Please.

  41. Kendra

    This looks great Deb. Have you ever looked at the Cooks Illustrated vegetarian chili recipe? It bakes the beans in the oven and creates umami with ground dry mushrooms, soy sauce, and tomato paste. It’s delicious but takes a lot of work. I am happy to have this more streamlined version in my pocket as well. Thank you.

  42. It makes me so happy to know you bought a pressure cooker. It’s a life changer, and all my sisters and girlfriends I have either gifted or badgered into purchasing one would agree with me. I have a stove top Fagor that I won at a bridal registry party at Macy’s a million years ago. Best door prize EVER. One of my friends got a counter top plug in one I can’t seem to understand. What did you end up going with?

  43. Julia

    Hi Deb!! This looks fantastic!! I am just wondering if I substituted the beer which would you choose? Chicken broth or coke? Can’t wait to make this!

  44. Thank you for your recipes.

    This blog entry is spot on. I am appalled at the manners that some people lack on the Internet. You are GIVING us beautiful recipes for free an everyone should smile and enjoy that. You are no one’s personal chef.

    If you need gluten free vegan meatloaf then you’d better learn how to make those subs yourself chickadee cause it’s a cold hard world out there.

    Don’t even get me started on the, “I love this recipe. I substituted carrots for chocolate and ground beef for corn starch” people.

  45. It ticks a lot of boxes but not paleo but who cares about people on a paleo diet and why wouldn’t have cavemen eaten beans. Looks delicious and your right chilli is one of those wonderful trans seasonal foods.

  46. Tracy

    Ok, too funny. I ended up under the Paleo basher. Paleo is also about avoid foods that stimulate the immune system, which, unfortunately, legumes do. Smittenkitchen is showing up a lot on the paleo blogs, though most of your stuff is not paleo, though always delicious.

  47. SJ

    Hi Deb,

    Long time reader, first time commenter! This looks amazing, but my guy has asked me to put meat in it (typical fussy dude) – I’m so sorry if this seems trivial but I’m a very inexperienced student cook and was wondering if you could help me decide what quantity meat is ideal, and how this affects cooking the chili! I’m lost! Thanks! :D

  48. Love this post! Not just the recipe, but the very skilled writing. Now – just to complicate things even further – I’m going to make this but I’m going to finish it in the oven! I made a bean soup recipe from the Kitchn website once that used this method, and the result is a very very creamy bean mixture that is somewhat carmelized from the oven roasting. So I’ll do everything the same (as your stovetop version) but finish by baking covered in a enameled cast iron pot in the oven. I think it’s something about the splattering against the side of the covered pot that develops that carmelized taste… Looking forward to seeing how this method works on this recipe! Thanks for a great post!

  49. yeni

    Great chili recipe! I’m gonna make it in the slow cooker. If I add ground turkey, do you suggest I precook? Or should I add it to the cooker and just increase the liquids? thanks!

  50. Suzanprincess

    Please, Deb? Pretty please? Last sentence before the recipe, instead of “Me and my fantasy recipe-writing league will try again soon,” “My fantasy recipe-writing league and I will try again soon.” Now I can unclench and go cook instead of edit.

    1. deb

      Suzanprincess — For you. But it was intended more colloquial than grammar-defiant.

      yeni — I’d brown it up with the onions and spices.

      SJ — I’d use beef or dark turkey meat. And, as I just mentioned to yeni, brown it up with the onions and spices. You might bump the spices and seasonings up a bit.

      Julie — I’m sorry if I was misunderstood. I’m really not bothered by special requests. I was joking more about how dreamy it would be to find magical recipes that please everyone and I figured a flexible recipe such as this would be a good as any place to try.

      Julie — You can totally skip the beer and then add that last 1/2 cup water from the get-go if you’re nervous.

      Molly — I got the stove-top type. I hope it was the right choice, though, I am nervous because it’s so hard to keep the heat even (I always have to bump it around to approximate a steady “medium-high” or the like) on my gas stove and wonder if plug-in would save me that trouble. Anyway, I got ahead of myself. I thought I’d could unbox it, read the directions and use it for the very first time to test this out. It was a bit too ambitious for me this week. (Already in my second week of testing this!) I watched a ton of videos on using them and feel I’m ready for next time. Might just start with a simple pot of beans or short ribs.

      Kendra — I have not! I didn’t see it at all and I really looked around for a bean chili that began with dried beans. The ingredients sound… strange? But I’m sure CI knows what they’re doing.

      Unrelated, or related since we just mentioned CI, plug — I have an interview with America’s Test Kitchen up on their site today. I talked too much. No surprise there.

  51. msue

    Texan here. You are so right about our traditions regarding beans (especially beans!) and tomatoes in chili. It might defy logic to non-native Texans, but no matter. This recipe looks delicious, and I’ll make it soon. I’ll not call it chili except to my Wisconsin-born husband who, despite his entire life minus a few months lived in Texas, happily eats chili with almost any ingredient included. Good food is good food, and this one looks really great!

    More importantly though: your first paragraph was sublime. Your writing was spot on, brilliant, inspired. The way you expressed yourself grabbed me from the first sentence and pulled me in, tumbling in free fall until the last period. I get so much joy reading something that is well-written. Thank you for making my day!

  52. Leslie

    Looks great! My kitchen is being remodeled, and slow cooker is becoming my best friend. To top it off, mother nature played an april fools joke on all of us here in Utah – snow! This recipe couldn’t be more timely. Thanks.

  53. BRedhook

    “fire-roasted if you can find them”…..or roast your own. In the summer I buy large boxes of plums and slow roast them using the recipe in Molly Wizenburg’s book. Then I freeze them in “recipe size” packages. I used a package just last night in a recipe that called for “Fire Roasted Tomatoes”. delish.

  54. Evalyn

    Like CindyLou, I often add cocoa powder to my chile. And sometimes coffee (instant – horrors – or that cold cup you never finished). It just seems to round out the flavor for a non-meat chili.

  55. Just when I thought I wanted to move to Austin, I learn they don’t put tomatoes in their chili. Say what?! It’s finally warming up here a bit in Philly, but likely (and unfortunately) there will be another day necessitating a chili like this…Looks great.

  56. Amanda

    I do live in Austin and am well aware of the heated debates that can arise around chili. However, 3-bean chili is my very favorite. So there are some of us here fighting for the other side!! This one looks great. :)

  57. Sarah U

    Deb, you’re too good to us! We’re certainly spoiled. Thanks for indulging us.
    Can you give a substitute for the alcohol? We don’t use it, ever. I normally have no issues figuring out how to sub for it, but I need help here. I’m annoying, I know. :)

    1. deb

      Sarah — You can just skip the beer. It’s a layer of flavor, that’s all. If you’re worried it looks dry, add the last 1/2 cup water from the get-go.

  58. It seems like I remember something about suggestions for future recipes you have always wanted to learn how to do. However I can’t find where I saw it or where to submit. Anyway, how about eclairs or cream puffs? Cream puffs only if you can pour lots of chocolate on top but then it would be an eclair right?

  59. Rachel

    We had the same pot growing up! And I absconded with it in much the same manner as you. Alas, I no longer have it because the enamel on the inside became worn and chipped. Yours is in much better shape than mine was.

  60. Stephanie

    Okay, I admit it, I don’t believe you! You use dry beans and cook them with the tomatoes already in the pot? And they soften?

    I make almost the same chili regularly, but I always cook the beans first (in 3 separate pots after the time I did NOT get them to all be soft at the same time) and add them to the onions/garlic/spices/carrots (yes, diced carrots–sometimes squash in winter). I love the bean broth addition into the chili to thin it.

    But do the dry beans really cook with the acidity?

    Also, consider a handful of roasted corn going in at the end.

  61. Beverly

    Of course, the beans should be soaked!! Soaking helps the phytates in the beans to be more easily digested. Not soaking the beans is how canned beans are made and thus one of the main reasons people who eat canned beans may find then difficult to digest.

  62. Michelle

    Hi Deb – Won’t putting salt in the vegetables at the beginning make the (dry) beans tough?

    (in your black bean soup recipe, you’re pretty clear about leaving salt for the end… I LOVE that recipe, btw. It’s amazing.)

  63. Camille

    I have made many a pot of vegetarian chili. I have a few recommendations. Add some basil and paprika, increase grlic by a clove or two, and just before serving, throw in a handful of chopped, fresh cilantro, a dash of soysauce for depth of flavor and you would have a wonderfully rich dish.

  64. Jessie

    I feel like an acolyte. I am telling everyone about your blog and your cookbook is my current favorite. I was reading the 3 chili recipe then looked at the old recipe listed for the smashed egg & spinach on toast. I happened to have everything listed and just finished the best lovely lunch I’ve had in weeks! Of course I posted a pic on fb because I am that person who does that. I have never ever had recipes that in the end look just like what was pictured. Never. And they are all delicious as they are beautiful. Right now we have the butternut squash & carmelized onion galette and the lemon bars in the fridge. 2nd time making both. And I am going to have to tweak the apple cider caramel recipe so I can sell them as my own since people are yelling at me to do so. We’ll see about that. Thank you!!!

  65. Dahlink

    We had your black bean ragout last night for dinner, Deb, so I won’t be making this dish until we have finished off the black beans. (Fortunately, I love leftovers!)

    I don’t think that being afraid of pressure cookers is an irrational fear. I grew up hearing the story of my Grandmother’s split pea soup blowing up in the pressure cooker and turning the kitchen ceiling pea green! What an indelible image.

  66. Michelle

    As a Texan who is a purist about chili, I will say this – you CAN serve this here – if you don’t call it chili. It’s more like Ranch Beans. As for the comments about adding cocoa powder, by all means. I add cocoa powder to my pure chili all the time. It adds a great flavor – try about 2 T. Winter squash and sweet potatoes also go well with the flavors – I often serve chili as a filling for sweet potatoes!

  67. Nancy

    Hey I’m a Texas – well 2/3 of me are since I live here, have large amount of Texas ancestors and the remaining 1/3 was born and lived in California during childhood. I may not qualify as a true Texan because of that 1/3 but love chili – Texas style and non-Texas style. Mainly because beans are so wonderful and tomatoes are sweet and wonderful. Who cares if Texas say they don’t like it they don’t know what they are missing!. The secret is they often serve beans on the side and it all gets mushed together :)

  68. Adrienne

    Great recipe, very similar to the chili recipe I use in my regular lineup. Looking forward to experimenting with dried chiles too! I do have a question though: your chili pot…what brand is it? I love the handles and feel like I need one in my kitchen!

    1. deb

      Adrienne — Do you mean the yellow one (my mother’s old Dansk Dutch oven) or the white slow-cooker (tiny, from Proctor Silex, won’t fit whole batch)?

      Does salt make beans tough? — No. Delightfully, this has been disproven by big shots like Cook’s Illustrated and Harold McGee and little people like me, who salt my bean-cooking water all of the time and doesn’t find this to slow down their cooking one bit.

      Michelle — I didn’t know any better at the time. I should fix that!

      Do tomatoes make beans tough? — I, too, have/had heard that acidic ingredients will make it hard for beans to soften, but it just hasn’t been the case in my kitchen. This recipe has been exhaustively tested and there were no problems. [“Exhaustively” = I just caaaaan’t eat it for dinner a 6th time, heh.]

  69. Dorothy Rackley

    Hi – if I don’t want to use beer, is there someting else I can substitute? Beef stock? Chicken stock? Maybe with a little vinegar? Thanks.

  70. I’ve never used either Anaheim or Poblano chiles so I tried them in this chili today. Also, per Deb’s suggestion, I used Muir Glen Fire-Roasted Crushed tomatoes. I used canned beans this time (although I have made Deb’s slow cooker black beans from her cookbook, and that recipe works brilliantly). Deb knows her stuff — the chili needed a bit of water near the end of cooking time. Taste? Fabulous. Serving it tonight with plain Greek yogurt, cilantro and pickled jalapeños for my husband’s asbestos-lined mouth. Thanks, Deb, for yet another winner.

  71. Sally

    I’ve been playing around with my pressure cooker for years, trying to figure out the best method for cooking beans. All the timing charts I’ve owned end up with mush. Then I discovered this: put dried beans in pot with enough water to cover by a couple of inches. Lock on the lid. Turn burner to high, bring to full pressure then turn off the burner and allow the pressure cooker to sit for an hour or more. Cooker will depressurize. (This step is equivalent to soaking.) Then, drain the beans, put them back in the pressure cooker, add the same amount of water as before (you can also add aromatics if you like), and repeat the process. This time, it doesn’t need to sit the full hour, only until the pressure drops. The stove is only on for the short time it takes to get to full pressure, but the contained steam seems to work perfectly. Even garbanzo beans cook well this way.

  72. Sophie

    Deb, you are awesome!! Looks amazing and I’m getting tired of my chili recipe:) I have to eat gluten free but hate eating things that taste gluten free. :) what do you think about using a hard apple cider instead of the beer? I wish every food blooger would tests things like you! I choose your recipes because they work. Ah Pinterest recipes are almost always a disappointment.

    1. deb

      Sophie — Thank you. I think hard cider can work but maybe find a dry one so it doesn’t impart sweetness. Also, you can really totally skip the beer. It’s a layer of flavor that I like, but it will not be lacking for flavor without it.

  73. Kyle

    I have this in the oven at 300, right now, pretty much as written. What I really like about this “recipe” is that it strips it down to the nuts and bolts. As long as it’s tasty, I don’t think I’ll need to refer to the recipe again. That’s when cooking gets fun!…when you just do it and don’t sweat it so much.

  74. gingers kitchen mess

    for Sophie 101 there is a few Gluten Free Beer in Canada so im sure some place is the USA has it.. ps will be making this for the bf soon

  75. Kat Bryan

    I wouldn’t be too worried about Texans and chili. My Native Texan husband (I was born in NE) puts beans and tomatoes in ours on a regular basis. No one has threatened to revoke his birth certificate yet. :)

  76. Staci

    This is how I make my chili! Except for the oregano. But I can’t wait to add some to the next pot. I also add corn to mine. Yum!

  77. Oh, I think you did the right thing by getting a stove top model. My best advice for getting used to it is to use the cookbook that came along with it. I think I started with risotto and went from there. At a certain point, I started adding raw beets to the pot and topped it with goat cheese. Sometimes I’d add raw butternut squash. I think it takes 8 minutes when all is said and done. I’ve never done a three bean anything in the pot, but my guess is all those beans have the same cooking time. My pot came with both a recipe book as well as a separate book outlining cooking times for things from cuts of meat to beans to vegetables. I’d say spend a week just trying out beans and their cooking times before you delve into recipe testing. And honestly, I have a pile of pressure cooker cookbooks I never ever use. You’ll get the hang of it and it will blow your mind.

  78. Kyle

    Follow up. Yeah, it works. :)

    This is my new go-to working from home on a rainy day recipe. After three hours, it was pretty much done, but I knocked the temp down to 250 for another hour while I finished some things. That extra hour plus a lowered temperature let it really thicken and soften up without it fall apart.

    Thank you!!!!

  79. Adrienne

    Saw this in the morning and made it for dinner, subbing red wine for the beer (gluten-free)- it was DELICIOUS! Perfect for the equally serendipitous weather happening in Chicago this week.

  80. Amy

    oh, thank goodness. i am living in mexico and while i love love loooove the taco adventures i am able to have here, it is so nice to find recipes that will be easy to find ingredients for – especially being one of the obnoxious gluten-free vegan types! thanks deb!

  81. Jonathan

    We just made a batch of this in the pressure cooker, and it turned out to be delicious. However, it did take a bit longer to cook than your estimate—we didn’t soak the beans, and after 22 minutes on high pressure they were still fairly underdone. After re-sealing the pressure cooker and cooking for another 10 minutes, everything was perfect. I did use the smaller amount of tomatoes and reduced the water to 3 cups, as very little is evaporating from the pot.

    Also, for my own future reference, 2.5 chipotles in adobo sauce plus a diced, fresh Fresno chile made it fairly, but not excessively, hot.

    1. deb

      Jonathan — Thank you for the feedback. I’ll keep my eye out for other responders pressure-cooking time and see if a pattern develops.

  82. Emily

    I just wanted to say that I took a double batch of your old three bean chili recipe to my works Halloween party for the last three (three?!) years in a row, and it was always devoured. Thank you! This recipe looks delicious, too.

  83. Martha

    Hi, I make my veggie chili with the addition of roasted butternut squash chunks and some smoked (hot) paprika. Also for some reason I mostly add corn niblets too. I like mine very spicy and the sweetness tempers the heat. I love your recipes!

  84. Jess

    Thank you for filling my “what can I make for dinner” void yesterday. I used black and cranberry beans…there is no love for the kidney bean in this household and they were the only beans I had, so a two-bean chili it was. For fun I also threw in mushrooms and zucchini. Turned out great.

    P.S. Love the cookbook!

  85. sarah

    Deb, this is my current favourite daughter-pleasing Friday night comfort meal. We have a tomato product here (Australia) called passata. Do you know that? it is the commercial version of what all Italian people make at the end of tomato season. they puree the tomatoes and bottle them and then cook them – some put some fresh basil into the bottle. it sells here in a 720ml bottle. Well, I put a glug of olive oil in a good solid pan, then a bottle of passata/pommadorella then a small bunch of favoutite/fresh herbs and a clove of garlic and some red wine – quantity up to me. Then another big glug of good olive oil, no lid, bring it to the simmer and cook very, very slowly- maybe 2 hours but check it to see it isn’t disappearing too fast. This can be stopped and started at any time. Then at meal time when the exhausted person drags themselves in, put on the water for pasta and by the time that is al dente the weary ones have undressed, dressed, got a glass of wine and are relaxing. A bowl of pasta, sauce on top and cheese of choice/what’s in the fridge. Delicious!

    1. deb

      sarah — Yes, I love passata! I saw it in all of the stores when I was in Rome last June and totally think it’s one of the secrets to great homemade red sauce. I’ve seen it here too, but it wasn’t a brand with a great flavor. Glad you enjoyed.

  86. RL

    I made this last night (on the stovetop) and it was delicious! I took the convenience factor one step by only doing a rough chop on the onion and peppers. Then, after adding the tomatoes, I hit it with the immersion blender (but only for a bit, I still wanted texture after all). It was the perfect meal for a cold, rainy evening.

  87. Jen

    I have this in the crock pot RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Used dried kidneys and pintos; didn’t have dried black beans. Used 3 small chipotles in adobo from a can. Used a Mexican-style beer similar to Corona from Aldi. Can’t wait! Already smells amazing and I just turned on the crock!!

  88. pjcamp

    “Every recipe would work on a stove, slowly braised in the oven, on a grill, in a slow-cooker, a pressure-cooker, on a train, in a car, or in a tree. ”

    In a box?
    With a fox?

  89. I love chilli, but I especially love to smell it while it simmers. Once we made some during Halloween and left it simmering while handing out candy. The older kids and teenagers were wishing they could have some instead of candy! We don’t do it anymore, too cruel, lol.

  90. GP

    The old saying is.. ” if you put beans in your chili you don’t know beans about chili”
    That being said, I am a chili purest who only uses chiles in my chili and of course beef. This recipe is delicious, however it’s not chili, call it a stew, a soup or even a bean chowder but it is not chili. You wouldn’t call a shrimp a lobster. But enjoy, it is good.

  91. April

    Thanks for making this Texan laugh out loud :-) Sounds like a terrific recipe! We love our beans, just not in our chili, that’s true!

  92. Nancy

    I used my pressure cooker, but unfortunately I didn’t have the ring on correctly, and I scorched the bottom of the chili. Next time I’ll cook the beans first then add the rest of the ingredients. (I soaked them for about 8 hours and then froze them.) And next time I’ll pay attention to the ring placement :)

    I just poured out the chill and finished it in the microwave.

    The flavour was fantastic, and I’ll be making this again.

    I’d love some pressure cooker recipes, Deb. By the way, the Test Kitchen interview was great. You could never talk too much :)

  93. Emma

    Made this overnight (minus the beer as didn’t have any in boo) – it’s divine! Added a tsp of cocoa but think the beer would definitely add a special something.
    Thanks for sharing! x

  94. Barbara

    Such perfect timing for me! I’ve just entered a chili cook-off at work in which we are to bring the chili in a slow cooker. I volunteered to bring a vegetarian chili, and this is exactly what I was looking for. Can’t wait to try it!

  95. This is a fab recipe. Chilli as a summery dish before had never crossed my mind, but this seems worthy of trying. Have a group of friends coming over the weekend, I am planning to make this for them

  96. Rich

    HILARIOUS. I was just coming here to look up a bean chili recipe. (Mostly I’m tired of rearranging cans in the pantry.)

    I guess it was meant to be!

  97. Matt

    Just a heads up if you’re going to use red kidney beans (from wikipedia):
    The toxic compound phytohaemagglutinin, a lectin, is present in many common bean varieties, but is especially concentrated in red kidney beans. White kidney beans contain about a third as much toxin as the red variety; broad beans (Vicia faba) contain 5 to 10% as much as red kidney beans.[8]

    Phytohaemagglutinin can be deactivated by boiling beans; ten minutes at boiling point (100 °C (212 °F)) are sufficient to degrade the toxin, but not to cook the beans, the U.S Food and Drug Administration recommends boiling for 30 minutes to ensure they reach a sufficient temperature for long enough to completely destroy the toxin.[9] For dry beans, the FDA also recommends an initial soak of at least 5 hours in water which should then be discarded.[8] Outbreaks of poisoning have been associated with cooking kidney beans in slow cookers.[8]

  98. Puss N Boots

    Dear Deb
    First para of this article made me smile reminded me
    of New York… Why ? Because it sounds like a new verse of green eggs and ham think consequently you should rename it green eggs and ham chilli p x

  99. Kim

    Just a note for anyone else considering using dried kidney beans. Mine took over 7 hours to get tender (no presoaking, brand new bag) on the stove. On the bright side, the long simmer gave the chili that lovely thick texture that I don’t usually have patience to achieve. Anyway, it was delicious, so thank you!

  100. Andrea

    OMG Smitten Kitchen saves the day again!

    I am leaving tomorrow for Vancouver for a week and wanted something I could make tonight for an early dinner, that my husband (staying home) would finish tomorrow. I’m so tired of soups and stews (this Toronto “Spring” calls for warming foods), but chilli with chips and guac is perfect!

    So here I am sending you so much love as a pot of this chilli simmers on the stove.

    Gosh Deb, I think I love you.

  101. Evelyn

    I made this and was a bit disappointed. Although I used new dried spices in the amounts called for by the recipe, I found that this chili had the flavor of a smoky pizza sauce (too harsh?). The chili flavor was not as prominent as I had hoped. If you are hoping for a deep chili flavor, definitely consider upping the amount of chili powder and using reconstituted dried chilies. The poblanos I used just didn’t bring enough to the party.

  102. Kerry

    Eek! I’m still in recovery since making this in London where chilli powder is of the cayenne hot hot hot variety! I didn’t add 2tablespoons of the stuff fortunately but 2 tsps was enough to blow our minds and that’s coming from those who are partial to a hot vindaloo curry! Next time I’ll just be adding 1/2 tsp I think but I will be making it again as I want to find out what it should taste like and spicy bean dishes are the only veggie meal I can get my meat eating boyfriend to consume.
    Cheers , kerry

  103. IndianaLiz

    Delicious. Abso-LUT-ly delicious! Used 3 cans black beans, 1 medium jalepeno, mild Chili Con Carne seasoning, and Corona along with everything else. Deb, you have a gift for combining flavors to create amazing food. Thank you SO much for sharing!!!

  104. Sara

    LOVED this, and vegetarian-boyfriend approved! I used canned beans but followed the recipe to a T. Thanks for another flawless recipe!

  105. stellanor

    My kidney beans didn’t quite get tender, but other than that this was delicious! I just cannot manage meatless chili so I tossed in a pound of stew beef to brown when I added the chilis and just left it there. By the time the chili was finished cooking, the beef was so tender it just shredded to bits. I served it with my mom’s cornbread recipe (which involves a bunch of sour cream and a can of corn).

    Next time I’m going to soak my kidney beans or use smaller beans, though. (That said there is definitely going to be a next time.)

  106. TerriSue

    Actually Deb, I’ve lived in Texas for the last 30+ years of my 55 years here on earth. Don’t go to lumping us all together to quickly. Both my husband and I are vegetarians. We like beans in our chili, or what else would it have? And we like a tomato based chili. Now our children who are native Texans grew up hearing us “preach” why we were vegetarians and why that lifestyle is better for the whole world. i.e. more food to go around. We never “preached” or “preach” to any one else but I believe you can try to instill your own beliefs into your own children. It doesn’t always work. First our daughter married a carnivore 7 years ago. But I have to hand it to her, they have tofu at least once a week so my grandchildren do know what it is. Then this year my son became engaged to a wonderful woman who is bringing a 5 year old son into the equation. Our son has tried hard to be a vegetarian but a four year stint in the army sort of brought that to a halt. The army says they will cater to your beliefs for your diet but that isn’t really true, or that was Eric’s experience. He found he would have to eat meat or go hungry. When he got out of the army he went back to being a vegetarian. That is until he met his fiancée who like our son-in-law is also a carnivore! In fact our new grandson won’t eat anything but meat period. I mean anything!!! When he comes to his new Grandmama’s house they have to bring things for him to snack on because there is no meat in this house. I have a little two shelf cupboard that I had turned into the grandchildren’s snack cupboard. It’s full of dried fruit, crackers, applesauce pouches, fruit snacks, etc. Everything is organic and healthy. I also always have homemade cookies on hand which are out of reach, but can be easily wheedled out of me because my first two have never asked for more than two cookies in one visit. I showed all of this to our new grandson and it was like I was asking him to eat worms. Eric out of desperation went out one day and bought a Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Lee poked through it and looked at Eric and said “Where’s the meat?” What child won’t eat Kraft M&C? So even though they had a very proper upbringing my native Texan children both eat meat. But……..they like beans in a tomato based chili!!!

  107. Hollie

    Made a big batch of this last weekend using canned beans instead of dried. Recipe worked perfectly with delicious results! Froze the leftovers but come Wednesday I was already reaching into the freezer for a quick mid week meal. Defrosted in the fridge and reheated, tasted every bit as good as it did fresh! This will be my go to chilli recipe from now on.

  108. LaJuana

    I see you addressed your PC issues on a few notes within the thread but I couldn’t find all of the references…just wanted to note that I’ve been using an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker for well over a year and make vegan chili on a regular basis…looking foward to trying your recipe sans oil…but I did want to mention that you should be able to cook it in more like 10 minutes total time under pressure, a bit more time getting to pressure. I always cook my beans (from soaked) along with some seasonings first and then add tomatoes/peppers/and anything else that calls my name, including more seasonings and bring it to pressure a second time. Beans …using a variety…usually 6 minutes and then maybe 4 minutes after the other additions. The tomatoes will have a tendency to stick if cooked too long…from my experience. Jill Nussinow’s “The New Fast Food” has become my pressure cooking ‘bible’…so much practical advice on the process in general. What did I learn first about my pressure cooker…ignore their suggested times! All were way too long! I’ve always loved your recipes Deb, don’t check in as often since I quit eating meat and dairy…happy to see your touch on something that will work for me…know it will be delightful!

  109. Christine

    Best. Chili. Ever. Used 2 jalapenos, some sort of coffee beer, canned beans and the fire roasted tomatoes. No one noticed there wasn’t any meat in it. :) Thank you for your continued dedication to recipe perfection.

  110. Angela

    Hi Deb. I made this in the pressure cooker. After 20 mins all beans were still about half cooked. In the end 40 min was too long, I ended up with some scorched bits at the bottom even on very, very low…so maybe 35 min would have done it? At 40 min the beans were cooked to perfection. I used 1/3 lentils….they melted into the chilli and made a meaty background noise.

  111. Laura

    I made this yummy chili over the weekend using dried beans (new yorker here so I’ll call it chili). I ended up quick soaking them before cooking the chili on the stove. I also waited 2 hours before adding salt because i have had bad experiences cooking dried black beans in salted water. The chili cooked for hours and the flavors developed beautifully. The beans all stayed whole. I served it with the Sweet Corn spoon bread recipe on your site. It was a PERFECT side dish even with all the dirty dishes. Thanks for the meal ideas.

  112. Kathleen

    This is amazing! I’ve made it twice just this week, and it’s now officially a meal in the rotation. After finishing the onions, peppers, spices, and beer in the skillet, I put everything (including canned beans) into the crockpot. I wasn’t sure how long to cook it, as I had used canned beans, but had good luck with an hour on high and and hour on min (I only have warm/ min/ high as options on this bruiser of a crock pot). Anyhow – the results were terrific.

    Thanks as always for another wonderful recipe!

  113. Devorah

    Hi Deb,
    I was wondering what you would substitute for the beer. We have an addict (in long-term recovery) in our family, so I don’t cook with alcohol. I have also been heartily enjoying your cookbook, and was wondering the same about the ribs recipe and the cabbage slaw one (with the white-wine vinegar).
    Thank you!

  114. Meredith

    This is delicious! I used canned beans and did the whole thing in a skillet and it worked wonderfully! Tip: Try adding ancho chile powder and a little bit of cinnamon. Really adds some nice deep flavor!

  115. Jill P

    This was fantastic! :) I used Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale for the beer, and cooked on the stovetop. For peppers I used a mixture of fresh bell peppers and dried bishops crown chile peppers. The only thing I did different from the recipe was to put the salt in toward the end, because I was too nervous that the beans wouldn’t soften if I added it at the beginning. Delicious!

  116. Mara

    I’ve made this at least once a month since you first posted it, whenever someone is coming down with a cold. We just switch the beer out according to season. It’s delicious every single time.

  117. Loved this recipe. Added some reconstituted [dried] Ancho pepper to this by soaking it in water for 15 minutes, cleaning out seeds and pureeing in the food processor. Added extra depth for the cold nights. This will go into my list of favorite recipes ever.

  118. Kelly

    Made it and after 6 hours of drooling I opened up my slow cooker and the beans were still raw!!!
    Been sautéing it for last 15 minutes hoping they finish cooking.
    Very sad.

  119. Laurel

    First, I can’t wait to try this today. I want warm food before this new blizzard hits New England. Second, I have never had success cooking beans in a crock pot. I always end up needing to out them on the stovetop to finish them because my crock pot evidently doesn’t get hot enough.

    I have cooked many dried beans, soaking overnight is essential. It’s not just to reduce cook time, but is also a mild fermentation process which makes the beans more digestible, the nutrients more accessible and will reduce any gas your body might make after eating beans. I have been told that cooking dried beans with acidic things will make the skins tough and that tomatoes and salt are items that should be added towards the end. Putting everything in together certainly is easier and hope I will have success today.

  120. Katherine

    Second time making this recipe and it is easy and delicious, but…I did not soak or rinse the beans beforehand, cooked chili in slower cooker and- I’m afraid I got the dreaded kidney bean toxin food poisoning! So please be cautious if using dried kidney beans in this recipe!

  121. Lauren

    Love this! I added a few carrots (shredded) and some cinnamon. So so good! I made way too much chili for one person – so probably will be eating chili through April :)

  122. Mr Hunt

    At least one person mentioned this (although I didn’t meticulously read the 167 comments):

    I tried making this last night and the beans simply did not soften. I used a mix of (soaked overnight) dried pinto and dried black beans. I did a bit of online research and found that dried beans won’t soften when cooked in acid (something to do with the skin not being soluble in acid), so I’d recommend if using dried beans, cooking them in plain water first, then adding the onion/beer/seasonings/tomato mixture once the beans are soft.

    I ended up boiling the beans in the tomato sauce for about 2 hours, then draining the beans in a sieve and reserving the sauce. I rinsed the beans and boiled them in a large quantity of water for 2 more hours, then drained again and recombined beans with the tomato sauce. The bean skins were still a bit tough; not recommended.

  123. deb

    Mr Hunt — I looked into this before making this and other bean recipes so I’ve tested cooking dried beans with and without acidity in the broth and found no issue getting the beans to soften in a sauce with tomatoes. That said, I find bean cooking times all over the places; even from a fresh bag, they may have been on a supermarket shelf forever and this always causes it to take longer.

  124. Anne

    I love this recipe and have made it many times in the last year. I made it for a lunch with extended family, including an uncle who believes that a meal isn’t complete without meat. He loved the chili and asked me multiple times what kind of meat was in it! He didn’t believe me when I said it was *just* beans and tomato. I took this as proof of what I already knew: this chili has TONS of flavor!

  125. kbaz323

    I have come back to this recipe over and over again since i discovered it, and after taking the summer off, i’ve (already) put it back in rotation. fall weather is chili weather!

    Thank you deb for another classic :)

  126. Patti

    I cannot wait to try this again tomorrow night. Tonight, I accidentally used chili PEPPER instead of chili powder. Whoopsie. But I can tell it’s going to be amazing. Thanks!

  127. stellanor

    After a halfdozen attempts I still cannot get the kidney beans not to be unpleasantly al dente without soaking, so I have given up and now soak my beans overnight before cooking. (Possibly I am the only person in my neighborhood who ever buys dried beans and they have been sitting on the supermarket shelf for a year and a half before I get to them. Apparently we have some tough beans around here.)

    I can, however, report that it freezes *extremely* well. Much like curry, the flavors actually tend to develop after a bit of a sit, even in the freezer. I usually make a double batch so I can freeze loads.

  128. Shannon

    Hi Deb – have you ever tried to double the recipe? And do you think it would work the same with dried beans? Have a large crowd coming over this weekend & want to try! Thanks.

  129. Shannon

    Worked out perfectly & compliments all around. One person thought there was meat in it! Thanks for the new favorite chili recipe.

  130. I am a Texan and just made this chili and think it’s really good! It’s usually those big chunks of tomato in chili that make me mad, but this recipe doesn’t have it. The flavor is also right on. I have loved and trusted your recipe for years, but am just now finally getting around to commenting on something…ha!

  131. Nate

    Not to offend anyone, but if I do want to add meat to this recipe which would be better to go with these ingredients…ground beef, chick sausage, or shredded chicken?

  132. c

    Hoo, I made this during the storm and it was SPICY. I used Morton & Bassett chili powder opened a few months ago. I think with enough sour cream / lime and maybe avocado it will be OK, but next time I’ll ease up on the chili powder (maybe 1 T). I can tolerate some heat, but not a lot.

  133. katheliz

    I love chili (and baked beans), and I use dried beans, cooking them an hour or so in the pressure cooker. Don’t fear the cooker! If it makes you nervous, just turn the heat down when the rubber vent plug rises. Then cook 15 or 20 minutes longer than intended. A pressure cooker is a wonderful tool, and you’ll soon accustom yourself to its time-saving nature and not be alarmed by its steamy noises.
    This recipe sounds delicious!

  134. Beth

    I made this today and loved the process of the recipe, adding the beer and reducing it.
    Though I believe Deb that she had no trouble adding tomatoes at first with uncooked beans, I waited to add them until my dried beans, which had been soaked for six hours, were half cooked, about an hour in. I think this is prudent as I have had acids impair cooking more than once , and it seemed to have no ill effect.
    We are having this with cornbread and shredded cheese . I am sure it will be even better tomorrow.

  135. Jen

    photo at top needed – and the “two years ago” seems to have been linked to the prior recipe.

    also, i love the new redesign and THANK YOU for not changing the surprise me button… work would become so much more sad if i couldnt poke around the (1000+!) posts.

  136. Mara

    Made this today in an Instant Pot pressure cooker… I let the beans (black, small red, and Great Northen) soak for about 20 min while I did everything up to adding them. They needed to cook for 32 min to get all the way tender (22 wasn’t quite enough, even with an hour sitting to do a natural pressure release, so I turned them back on for another 10 min). Looking forward to this week’s lunches!

  137. Johanna

    I’d love to make this recipe with lots of extra veg – zucchini, mushrooms, carrots. When do you think is the best time to add so they dont go mushy??

    1. deb

      You’ll want to add them towards the end — none should need much longer than 10 minutes to soften, a little more or less depending on the size.

  138. maria

    FYI – don’t cook tomatoes with dried beans as it hinders the bean cooking process. “do NOT try using an acid. Acids can actually toughen the seed coat, making the beans take longer to cook and soften. This is one of the reasons chili recipes (for example) often recommend cooking the beans first, before adding to acidic ingredients like tomatoes.”

  139. Amber

    Thank you for this recipe. I have long thought the same thing: chili seems the perfect type of thing to be made in a slow cooker or pressure cooker, of which I have both. I have used your recipe countless times, using both the aforementioned methods, with different mixes of beans, with and without the addition of ground meat, and using the guidelines you’ve laid out for these infinite varieties of combinations, it always turns out good. With minimal effort. Sometimes even with minimal time (pressure cooked of course). Thank you again. At the risk of sounding melodramatic: the world needs more flexible, adaptable recipes such as this master.

    1. Hello! Cooked this last night in a pressure cooker– worked out well. After sauteeing aromatics, spices, & ground meat (for carnivore husband), added the dried beans & water. In 22 mins, the beans were still a bit tough (but could be ok for some of you, so check); put it under pressure again for another 10– went a tad over but perfect texture for me & my family. I added apple cider vinegar since I didnt use beer, & added 2 tbsp cocoa. Served with carabao cheddar & pickles & muffins/rice–awesome. This morning, husband put them in burger buns to bring to work. :)

  140. Hello! Cooked this last night in a pressure cooker– worked out well. After sauteeing aromatics, spices, & ground meat (for carnivore husband), added the dried beans & water. In 22 mins, the beans were still a bit tough (but could be ok for some of you, so check); put it under pressure again for another 10– went a tad over but perfect texture for me & my family. I added apple cider vinegar since I didnt use beer, & added 2 tbsp cocoa. Served with carabao cheddar & pickles & muffins/rice–awesome. This morning, husband put them in burger buns to bring to work. :)

  141. Oh and I added the tomatoes/acid after their time in the pressure cooker, just to be safe. I, too, have had problems before with hard beans in chili (not due to this recipe particularly) so played it safe this round.

  142. Krutika

    I made this to pair with the goat cheese & carmelized onion cornbread for today & it hit the spot. We went with a bell pepper, a poblano and two serranos with some chili powder and all flavors came through without anything overshadowing another. This is a hearty meal that will please all of them!

  143. Rachael

    Hi Deb–planning on making this for the vegetarian boyfriend. RE canned beans: when you say skip the water, how much do you mean to skip? All but that last half cup? I appreciate the large water amount is for the benefit of plumping up dried beans, but I wary of cutting all of it as I don’t (think) I want a beer ft. chili flavouring. How much do you recommend cutting it by? Thanks! Love your site!

    1. deb

      You’ll want to eyeball it a little (maybe your canned beans will drink more, etc.) but the last 1/2 cup should be all you need. However, you can use less beer proportionally too so it’s less beer-heavy, i.e. the original has 12 ounces beer to 3 1/2 cups + water, maybe you just use a glug or two here instead.