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Hearty 3 Bean Chili Recipe

Chili is one of those comfort foods that just warms the belly and the soul too.

Everyone seems to have a favorite way to eat chili: beans or no beans? Meat or no meat? Such strong feelings. Where do you land?

I personally like chili with beans, and lots of them, so here’s what I’ve prepared today.

3 bean chili has enough vegetable protein in it that you could make it vegetarian and leave out the beef. In this case you would want to use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

The flavor would not be impacted by this switcharoo. Today we went with the full recipe and added ground beef.

What makes this recipe special for me is that it is truly homemade because there are no pre-mixed chili seasoning packets involved. I personally cut up the tomatoes that went into the recipe.

I love using a chili kit on a busy weekday and have nothing against them but this didn’t take that much time to prep.

What kind of beef should I use in chili?

We prefer to use a ground beef that is 90% lean or better in our chili. For our 3 bean chili recipe we used 93% lean / 7% fat.

The reason that we used this is that so that we don’t have to drain off excess fat before adding the remaining chili ingredients.

What kind of beans should I use in 3 bean chili?

In 3 bean chili we use kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and chili beans in sauce. You could substitute black beans or pinto beans for the chili beans if you would like.

This is a MILD chili, so if you want heat, add cayenne pepper and/or crushed red pepper flakes to taste.

Hearty 3 Bean Chili Recipe

Hearty 3 Bean Chili Recipe

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

3 bean chili has enough vegetable protein in it that you could make it vegetarian and leave out the beef. Today we went with the full recipe and added ground beef.


  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 3 T of chili powder
  • 1 t ground oregano
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 16 oz can chili beans (do not drain)
  • 1 16 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 16 oz can garbanzo beans (aka chick peas), drained
  • 1 14oz can chicken broth
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 lb ground hamburger meat (do not drain)


  1. Prep ingredients – Peel and dice the onion. Mince the garlic (or make it easy on yourself and use minced garlic from a jar). Dice the tomatoes.
  2. Saute the onion – Add pan to burner and set burner to medium high. Add olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is shimmering, add the minced onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the garlic – Add garlic to the pan with the onions and sauté for 1 minute.
  4. Cook the beef – Add the beef to the pan. Using a spatula, break the meat into small chunks and stir while cooking. Cook the beef until it is no longer pink. Pro Tip: If you like larger chunks of meat, leave about ten whole chunks of meat and don’t mince the meat until it’s about halfway cooked. For finely minced meat, use a potato masher to crush the meat when it’s still raw.
  5. Transfer all ingredients in the frying pan to a medium saucepan.
  6. Add remaining ingredients to the saucepan.
  7. Stir all ingredients thoroughly and bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  9. Remove lid and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  10. Tweak the spice to taste. I had to add a bit more chili powder and adjust the recipe after it was done. No shame. Make it yours. Garnish as desired and serve hot.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 447Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 1325mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 11gSugar: 9gProtein: 32g

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