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Texas Chili Recipe WITH Beans

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Exploring Texas-Inspired Chili with Beans: A Versatile and Hearty Delight

We know, we know, mentioning a Texas Chili recipe WITH beans can stir a huge emotional and vehement argument in Texas. And yes, we are okay with that. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy argument. Or in our defense, a healthy bowl of chili. So we are going to stand by adding beans to our Texas Chili recipe. While traditional Texas chili often leans toward beef and no beans or tomatoes, our take embraces the essence of adaptability without compromising on taste or Texan pride.

Understanding Texas Chili

Authentic Texas chili embodies bold flavors, boasting a meat-centric base with a medley of chilies, offering a savory and robust profile. Our take on the history of Texas chili is that chili came about due to what was available and on hand on the range — meat and chilies. This resourcefulness is at the heart of our recipe. Use what you have in the essence of the recipe and you will come out with a great Texas chili.

If you are further interested about the history of Texas Chili — check out some of these Texas History articles:

Our version of Texas Chili takes some liberties on the more recent beans/no beans or tomatoes/no tomatoes arguments, as we are inspired by tradition and open to adaptation based on resourcefulness. And we typically have a pantry with beans and tomatoes, so we are going to use them!

Why we Use Red Kidney Beans and Tomatoes

As stated, in our recipe, we’ve included red kidney beans and crushed tomatoes which add texture, flavor, and nutrients. We believe beans and a small amount of tomatoes enhance the overall experience of chili, with beans complimenting the earthy chili powder flavors and the tomatoes contrasting this earthiness. Beans provide protein, fiber, folate, iron, potassium and magnesium without adding more fat. Tomatoes bring a hit of acid and sweetness and round out the flavors as well as supply the antioxidant lycopene, plus several vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and folate. Both elements bulk up the chili with more plant based ingredients which make it more economical as well. Please note, however that there should not be too many tomatoes nor paste in a chili; this is chili, not spaghetti sauce.

Meat Choices

Traditionally, a chuck roast is the go-to for Texas chili. However, we enjoy using ground meat— and we’ve found that a slightly higher fat lean meat, like 93% lean offers a better results than non-fat options which can compromise texture and depth. We’ve even *gasp* made this recipe using lentils and walnuts when we do not have or want to use meat. Lentils and walnuts are something we always have on hand in our pantry or freezer whereas meat is a special occasion for our family.

Further Ways to Adapt our Texas Chili Recipe

Choose From a Variety of Mexican Chilies

Mexican chilies like guajillo, pasilla, ancho, and arbol lend distinct flavors and heat levels. Fresh chilies like hatch or habanero can also enhance the flavor and spice profile. Feel free to experiment—each chili brings its unique character to the dish.

  • Guajillo: Mild to moderate heat; fruity, tangy, and slightly sweet with hints of green tea and berry.
  • Pasilla: Mild heat; rich, smoky, and earthy flavor with notes of cocoa, raisins, and dried fruit.
  • Chile de Árbol: Moderate to high heat; grassy and slightly nutty with intense, fiery heat.
  • Ancho: Mild heat; sweet and smoky, with a raisin-like taste and subtle earthiness.
  • Cascabel: Mild to moderate heat; rich and nutty with a slight tang and a deep, earthy flavor.
  • Morita: Moderate heat; smoky, similar to chipotle, but smaller in size and a bit sweeter.

Spice Dynamics and Adaptations

Cinnamon, a secret ingredient in our recipe, provides a subtle warmth and depth. Beyond cinnamon, consider additionally exploring variations with cacao powder or espresso for added complexity.

Make This Texas Chili Recipe Your Own

Our Texas-inspired chili invites creativity and resourcefulness. Embrace variations, experiment with chilies, spices, and meat choices. Let your palate and your pantry guide you—add your personal touch and savor the joy of a uniquely delicious bowl. In the spirit of Texas chili, our recipe celebrates tradition while welcoming innovation. So gather your ingredients, adapt, and savor this heartwarming chili—a perfect blend of tradition and resourceful adaptation.

photo of bowl of Texas inspired chili with beans topped with corn chips and avocados

Texas-Inspired Chili WITH Beans

A hearty and flavorful chili inspired by Texas traditions, with a variety of chili powder, spices and yes, even beans. We feel that the red kidney beans added to this Texas style chili give it an added heartiness and compliment the earthy flavors. But if you are a purist, you of course can choose to not include them. Texas chili, in our minds, is about embracing local ingredients and traditions as well as being resourceful and adaptable with what you have on hand. Like many soups and stews, this recipe is even better the next day after the flavors further have time to develop and infuse. Make a double batch and freeze some to have on hand for a future meal.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: American, Texan
Keyword: adaptable, comfort, freezer meal, high protein
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 350kcal
Author: juiceofsevenlemons
Cost: $15


  • 1 tablespoon pure olive oil
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • 3/4 cup carrots diced
  • 1/2 cup celery diced
  • fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic minced
  • 1 pound ground meat meat of choice: ground 93% fat turkey, ground meat or chuck cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons guajillo chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons Hatch chilis roasted and diced (or one small can)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bottle brown ale or lager nothing too hoppy or malty as it will make the chili too bitter
  • 2 1/2 cups kidney beans cooked, with liquid (can use canned)


  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add diced onions, carrots, celery and a large pinch of salt and sauté until translucent and then start to brown the vegetables slightly.
  • Increase the temperature to high and add salted meat to the pot, stirring to brown.
  • Stir in guajillo chili powder, ancho chili powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, and cinnamon. Cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant and spices are incorporated.
  • Add garlic, roasted Hatch chilis, and sauté for another minute.
  • Pour in the beer to deglaze the pot, scraping up any bits from the bottom.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, and salt to taste. (the tomatoes and beans are optional, if omitting add extra liquid in form of broth or water). Bring the chili to a simmer.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and let the chili simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning as needed.


  • Meat choices: Feel free to use your choice of meat—ground beef or chuck roast are typical, but we like to lighten it up by using 93% lean turkey. If using grass fed or lean meat, make sure it is not too lean or the meat will be very dry.
  • Chili Powder: Adjust the spice levels by adding more or less chili powder to suit your taste. Guajillo is a medium heat chili and ancho is mild. Passilla is another great chili powder to incorporate and is medium heat as well. You can add a chile de arbol to increase the heat. If you want a smokier chili, try cascabel or moritas.
  • Spicy peppers: If you want a spicy floral kick, minced Habanero adds a great depth of flavor and can be added alongside the Hatch chile.
  • Accompaniments: Serve with your favorite toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro, or sliced pickled jalapeños/radishes.
  • Serve with: Cornbread or corn chips are a great way to round this into a full meal.


Serving: 300g | Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 700mg | Potassium: 900mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1000IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 5mg

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