Easy Three-Bean Chili

Decades ago, if there were beans in my chili, I pretty much turned up my nose. Somewhere along the line, my culinary senses “matured” and I realized that beans are a great source of fiber, and actually taste good. As you know—and I’ve blogged about—there are endless chili recipes. I like this one because it’s quick, easy, full of flavor and necessary fiber.

I mean, other than opening a can, making chili that’s ready in only a half hour and bursts with flavor (unlike the canned stuff), what could be easier? I found a similar recipe on thewholesomedish.com by Amanda Finks. But of course, I “Lynnyized” it to appeal to our eating preferences.

First of all, I doubled all of the ingredients to make a batch that would produce around eight servings. (You can always freeze any leftovers, if necessary.) Then, I swapped out the granulated sugar for brown sugar, increased the amount and colors of the beans, added red bell pepper, and included chipotle powder for a smoky kick. For an additional spicy jolt, serve with pickled jalapeños.

Trust me, it’s REALLY good!


Easy Three-Bean Chili

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 Lbs. 85-90% lean ground beef
  • 4 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. chipotle powder
  • 1/4 cup ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes, don’t drain
  • 1 (16 oz.) can each of dark red and light red kidney beans, and pinto beans (3 cans total) drained and rinsed
  • 2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • Optional garnishes: chopped chives or scallions, pickled jalapeños, sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar, diced red onion, or diced avocado


  1. Empty all 3 cans of beans into a large strainer, and rinse with cold water.
  2. Add the olive oil to a large dutch oven and place it over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and red bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the ground beef to the pot. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the chili and chipotle powders, cumin, brown sugar, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.
  5. Add the beef broth, diced tomatoes (with their juice), drained beans, and tomato sauce. Stir well.
  6. Bring the liquid to a low boil. Then, reduce the heat to low to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
  8. Ladle into bowls and top with preferred garnishes. Serve with your favorite brand of nacho chips.


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