Classic Beef and Bean Chili

Classic beef and bean chili

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Sometimes we need a dinner plan that can be prepped in advance, stay warm for hours without overcooking and is filling enough to not need lots of other side dishes. That’s when we eat classic beef and bean chili. It is a perfect weeknight dinner idea for the whole family. 

Loaded with protein from the meat and beans it’s a great source of energy for busy kiddos. This classic chili recipe also tends to lean to the sweeter side instead of being a heavy tomato or peppery flavor which is a big win for little ones.

About the Ingredients

As any good classic chili recipe does, this recipe calls for ground beef and a combination of a few different types of beans (three types to be exact.) The recipe calls for black beans, red kidney beans (I use the small ones if they are available at the supermarket that week) and one big can of baked beans. I use the 28oz can of Busch’s Original Baked beans.

The secret ingredient… brown sugar. The baked beans add some sweetness so you don’t need much but this is what evens out the tomato flavor and keeps it from being too acidic.

Classic beef and bean chili in a crock

How to Make Beef and Bean Chili

The prep time is only about 10 minutes to make this chili. Start by sautéing the onion and ground beef together. Then add the remaining ingredients, give it a good stir and let it simmer for 20 minutes. That’s it!

Recipe Substitutions and Variations

If you don’t have all of the seasonings on hand to mix up the full recipe for the “chili seasoning” there’s a simple solution. Rather than going out and buying the expensive individual spices that will sit unused in the pantry, just by the premixed packets. It will save you a little time and is much cheaper. I like McCormick’s Original the best. Two packets of this is a great substitute for the seasoning mix in the recipe below.

Beef chili served with sour cream and cheddar cheese

The Recipe for Classic Beef and Bean Chili

Classic beef and bean chili

Classic Beef and Bean Chili

A little sweet and not spicy at all, a great winter time family meal.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 large dutch oven if you don't have one, a stock pot will work fine


For the seasonings:

  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • tsp garlic powder
  • tsp onion powder
  • tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano

For the chili:

  • lbs ground beef
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 15 oz canned black beans
  • 15 oz canned kidney beans
  • 30 oz diced tomatoes
  • 28 oz canned baked beans
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • chili seasonings


  • Combine all of the chili seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
    2 tbsp chili powder, 1 tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tbsp all purpose flour, 2 tsp coriander, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1½ tsp garlic powder, 1½ tsp onion powder, 1 tsp oregano, 1½ tsp salt
  • In a large dutch oven, set over medium heat, sauté the beef and onion together. Continue cooking for about 7 minutes or until the beef is browned.
    1½ lbs ground beef, 1 onion
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and bring everything to a simmer. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot.
    15 oz canned black beans, 15 oz canned kidney beans, 30 oz diced tomatoes, 28 oz canned baked beans, 2 tbsp brown sugar, chili seasonings


For the seasonings: 2 packets of store bought seasonings are a good substitute if you aren’t making your own. Just be sure to check the label for temperature if you have sensitivity to spice. 
Keyword beef, one dish, soup, under 30 minutes

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