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Beef Chili with No Beans

Hearty, flavorful, and lightly spicy Beef Chili with No Beans recipe for family dinner, a party, or a good old cook off! 

David and I entered a chili contest recently against six other entrants. We didn’t win. Whomp whomp! It was the only chili with no beans. It was also one of only two completely empty pots by the end of the evening (and it was a larger batch than at least two of the other entrants). So I think people accidentally voted for the wrong number!

Award-winning or not, this is a no beans chili recipe that I make often. We both prefer chili with no beans, and this chili lends itself beautifully to any topping or accompaniment you can imagine. Most recently I had mine with tater tots, bacon, and shredded cheese! 

Corn chip scoops are another favorite combination of mine, sometimes with a dash of hot sauce. You can’t beat a chili cheese dog with a squeeze of mustard. I’ve been known to enjoy a chili baked potato a time or two. Are we sensing a theme here? Chili plus carbs is the name of the game over in this house.

To set up your own chili cook off, you’ll need at least five willing chili creators, even more taste testers, and a whole bunch of accompaniments. Below are some accompaniment ideas and chili category ideas for judging.

Of course, if a cook off isn’t your style, you can always invite all your friends over for a laid back chili bar party. You can also find this recipe as part of our Family Dinner Book Club menus for Junkyard Wonders and Thank You Mr. Falker.

Chili Cook Off Accompaniments
hot dogs
baked potatoes
shredded cheddar cheese
diced raw white onions
diced green onions
sliced jalapeƱos
tortilla chips
sour cream
hot sauce

Chili Cook Off Categories
Don’t put too many limits on each category.
Allow people to interpret each category as they prefer.
Chili with Beans
Chili with No Beans
Vegetarian Chili
White Chili

Large bowl of chili with no beans, topped with chopped scallions
Yield: serves 8-10

Beef Chili with No Beans

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Hearty, flavorful, and lightly spicy Beef Chili with No Beans recipe.


  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 (4 ounce) cans diced green chilies
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef stock


  1. In a deep skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook to brown on all sides, breaking up with a spoon or spatula. About 7 minutes.
  2. Reserve the beef on a plate, and leave the oil in the skillet.
  3. Add the diced onions to the hot oil, and saute until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly.
  4. Lower the heat the medium low. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, and salt. Stir to combine well, and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the beef back to the skillet, along with the green chilies and beef stock. Stir to combine, lower the heat to simmer the chili, cover, and simmer at least 20 minutes, or up to 2 hours.

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3 thoughts on “Beef Chili with No Beans”

  1. Beautiful, and again, just what I needed. I’m fighting the whole idea of leaving out the beans, because I love the beans, but they add up carb-wise way too fast and I’m supposed to be limiting the tomatoes and beans in chili. i’d rather get the carbs from the bread or crunchy chips that I eat with this chili! You’re always opening my eyes to new ways of eating!


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