This wonderfully chunky no bean chili is ready in just 30 minutes, and it's as flavorful as if you've cooked it for hours!
Topped with cheddar and sour cream, it makes a filling, hearty meal. The leftovers are excellent, too. In fact, this chili gets better as it rests in the fridge.
My late father-in-law used to make amazing chili. He would make a huge pot of it, and we would all rave about how good it was and how it became even better the next day. His recipe did contain beans and was delicious.
Now that I'm on a low-carb diet, I decided to make my own version. This no-bean chili is such a classic comfort food. It's delicious, hearty, and filling. The best part: this recipe is quick and easy. It's ready in just 30 minutes!
Here's an overview of the ingredients needed to make this no bean chili. Scroll down to the recipe card for exact measurements.
- Seasoning paste: Cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, chili powder, cayenne, tomato paste, and minced garlic.
- Olive oil: I love cooking with this delicious oil. It adds so much flavor to recipes!
- Vegetables: Onion and diced tomatoes. I use canned diced tomatoes and leave them undrained.
- Ground beef: I normally use extra-lean ground beef (93% lean and 7% fat) in this recipe. It's fine to use lean ground beef (85/15).
- Kosher salt and black pepper: I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Beef stock: Store-bought is fine.
- Dried bay leaf: Adds an extra layer of flavor, but not mandatory.
- You can use ground pork, turkey, or chicken instead of beef. If using ground poultry, make sure to use dark meat. It's juicier and more flavorful than white meat.
- If you don't have fresh garlic, use a teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
- It's fine to use regular paprika instead of smoked paprika. You can also replace the dried oregano with dried thyme.
No Bean Chili Instructions
Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps for making this recipe:
You start by mixing together the ingredients for the seasoning paste.
Next, cook the onion and beef in olive oil with kosher salt. Add the seasoning paste and mix it in.
Add the beef stock, tomatoes, bay leaf, more salt, and black pepper. Simmer the chili, uncovered, until it thickens and the flavors meld, for about 20 minutes. Stir it occasionally.
Theoretically, chili is supposed to be cooked lovingly for at least an hour over low heat. But I'm too impatient for that. So this recipe is ready in 30 minutes - and it's intensely flavorful and absolutely delicious.
If anything, the meat is juicier because of the shorter cooking time. So don't worry about the short cooking time - it absolutely works.
There seem to be different opinions on what "real chili" is and whether it includes beans. I like both versions. But no bean chili is obviously the better choice for anyone who prefers to avoid beans (such as anyone on a keto or paleo diet).
It's often referred to as "Texas chili" since, in Texas, chili is usually prepared without beans. It's also made without tomatoes. "Chili con Carne" translates to "chili peppers with meat," so that's what the Texas-style recipes focus on.
There's no need to replace them. Simply increase the amount of meat you use. But if you must, chopped portobello mushrooms are a good option.
Many classic recipes instruct you to simmer it for at least an hour. However, I have found that 20 minutes is enough to thicken the chili and meld the flavors.
I usually serve no bean chili with any of the following on the side:
Good toppings for chili, shown in the photo above, include jalapenos, scallions, shredded cheddar, and sour cream.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to four days. Reheat them covered in the microwave. Like all chilis and stews, the leftovers improve as the chili thickens and the flavors have a chance to meld.
More Chili Recipes
No Bean Chili, Thick and Flavorful
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 ounces tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons fresh garlic Minced
- In a small bowl, use a fork to mix the cumin, paprika, oregano, chili powder, cayenne, tomato paste, and fresh garlic, creating a thick paste.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Add the onion, beef, and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Cook, stirring to break up the meat, for about 7 minutes, or until the onions are soft and the meat is browned.
- Add the seasoning mixture (use a small spatula to scrape it off the bowl) and cook, stirring to mix it into the beef and onions, for one more minute.
- Add the beef stock, tomatoes, bay leaf, the remaining salt, and the black pepper. Lightly mash the diced tomatoes while stirring them into the mixture. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the chili uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Garnish the chili with your favorite toppings, such as diced red onions, chopped scallions, sour cream, shredded cheddar, and guacamole. Serve immediately.
- Optional garnishes are not included in the nutrition info.
- You can use ground pork, turkey, or chicken instead of beef. If using ground poultry, use dark meat. It's juicier and more flavorful than white meat.
- Use a teaspoon of garlic powder if you don't have fresh garlic.
- You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to four days. Reheat them covered in the microwave. Like all chilis and stews, the leftovers improve as the chili thickens and the flavors have a chance to meld.
Add Your Own Notes
Nutrition per Serving
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