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Hearty, Mild 3 Bean Chili Recipe

Hearty, Mild 3 Bean Chili Recipe

This very mild and flavorful 3-Bean Chili Recipe is one of those comfort foods that just warms the belly and the soul too. Read on for our best mild chili recipe and a few of our recommendations for what goes with mild 3-bean chili.

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.

This switcharoo would not impact the flavor much. Today we went with the full recipe and added lean 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 mild 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, chopped fresh jalapeno, and/or crushed red pepper flakes to taste.

What goes with mild 3 bean chili

  • Cornbread is a classic side dish that goes well with chili. It’s made with cornmeal, flour, eggs, milk, and butter, and it has a slightly sweet and savory flavor.
  • White rice is a popular side dish for chili, especially in the Northeast. I grew up with a white rice mound that supported a very thick 3-bean chili con carne.
  • Fritos are a crunchy, salty side that can be used to scoop up chili or get crushed and sprinkled on top of a bowl of the “red.”
  • Mac and cheese is a comforting and cheesy side dish for hearty 3 bean chili that is sure to please everyone at the table. It’s made with macaroni noodles, cheese, and milk, and it can be baked or cooked in a slow cooker, or made from the famous blue box on the stove.
  • Chili-Cheese Fries. We taste-tested several kinds of cheese and chili to see which ones performed. See our final results here and decide for yourself how to load up your own.
    Store-bought Bagged Coleslaw Kits are easy, crisp, and make a refreshing side to hearty 3-bean chili.
  • Cheese nachos are another great way to eat chili, either eaten on the side of a bowl of 3-bean chili or ladle the chili over the cheese nachos. They’re made with tortilla chips, cheese, and your favorite toppings, such as sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.
  • Guacamole is a creamy, simple avocado-based dip and spread that is made with avocados, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. It’s a great way to add some extra flavor to your chili and to get your daily dose of healthy fats.
  • Air Fryer Tortilla Garlic Bread is an easy side we found on TikTok. Here’s our version of this easy, popular recipe. Go heavy on the garlic if it suits you.

The bottom line

This is a hearty yet mild three-bean chili recipe that is flavorful and customizable to your tastes. My recipe starts out super mild. Like it spicy? Add cayenne or chopped fresh jalapeno.

This chili is easy to make and can be customized to your liking. You can add different vegetables, such as corn, onions, and peppers, or you can add different types of beans.

The sides I suggested pair well with mild 3-bean chili because they offer different textures and flavors. Cornbread is a classic side dish that has a slightly sweet and savory flavor that complements the chili well. Fritos are a crunchy and salty snack that can be used to scoop up the chili. Nachos, chili cheese fries, white rice and coleslaw all make great sides, too. Mix and match a few for an even heartier chili meal.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for 3-bean chili and the sides I suggested. It is a delicious and satisfying meal that is sure to warm you up from the inside out.

More About Chili

Mild 3 Bean Chili Recipe

Mild 3 Bean Chili Recipe

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

This very mild 3-Bean Chili Recipe is a comfort food that just warms the belly and soul. Read on for our best mild chili recipe and what pairs best.


  • 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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