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Chili Without Beans

Chili without Beans is full of beef, peppers, tomatoes, and spices—it’s so flavorful and just right for game day or a family night at home! This make-ahead and freezer friendly chili recipe with no beans is great for parties and to store in the freezer for busy weeknights. 

Overhead photo of a bowl of chili recipe no beans with green onions on top.

**Cook’s Tip: I usually make this chili for a pretty large crowd, so this recipe is about a third of what I use. But this makes enough for 6-8 people, depending on how big the appetites are and what you serve with it.

Ingredients for the Chili Recipe No Beans

  • A mixture of ground meats: sausage, ground chuck, ground sirloin
  • Onion
  • Lots of peppers—that’s what makes this no bean chili recipe shine: jalapeno, Anaheim, green bell pepper, serrano, and chipotle
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Dark Beer
  • Seasonings: salt, pepper, ground cumin, chili powder, ancho chili powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper

For your game day celebration, you may also like…
Baked Chicken Wings with Honey Garlic Sriracha Sauceeveryone loves these sweet and spicy wings!

Tools for Making Chili Without Beans

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As far as equipment, I like to use a large Dutch oven like this one, and if I’m making enough for a big crowd then I use my huge stockpot.

You can also make this spicy chili without beans in the slow cooker. See my cooking tips below for instructions.

How to Make No Bean Chili

Step 1. Start with a couple of pounds of sausage, ground chuck, or ground sirloin and brown in a large Dutch oven.

**Cook’s Tip: This recipe works well in a large stainless steel stockpot or an enameled Dutch oven.

Step 2. Once the meat is browned, removed from the pot and drain any excess grease and then add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil or canola oil to the pot. Heat the oil for a minute or so, then add chopped onion, garlic, and peppers to the pot.

**Cook’s Tip: You can use any combination of chile peppers, depending on how spicy you want the chili. I typically use a jalapeño, maybe an Anaheim or serrano, and a chipotle—or maybe 2 jalapenos and one chipotle or whatever I have on hand.

Jalapenos and serranos are hotter, so be careful of those. Check out this guide to Chili Pepper Types to help you decide!

We like our chili pretty spicy!

Step 3. Once the vegetables are soft and just starting to brown a little, put the meat back in the pot and add a can of crushed tomatoes, a can of diced tomatoes, a bottle of good flavored beer, 1 cup of water, and spices.

**Cook’s Tip: For seasoning, I use several tablespoons of chili powder, cumin, ancho chili powder, and a little crushed red pepper and cayenne.

Step 4. Bring the chili without beans to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Those chunks of tomato will cook down and blend in and you won’t even know they’re there, but they will add nice flavor.

Step 5. Taste and add salt and pepper and additional seasonings as needed.

**Cook’s Tip: The chili needs to simmer for at least an hour or two and you can leave it on the stove on low for quite a while, which makes this the perfect party dish.

Overhead photo of a pot of chili without beans.

More Tips:

  • Toppings: Top your no bean chili with grated cheese, sour cream, some chopped green onions, or whatever you like.
  • Serving: Around here we just have cornbread, but you could have a side dish of brussels sprouts or maybe even a kale salad.
  • Slow Cooker: After browning the meat and vegetables, combine those with the other ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. 
  • Make Ahead: This chili gets better with age so you can make it several days in advance if you need to. 

How to Freeze:

  • I use these restaurant-style containers to freeze soups and chilis. They’re the perfect size and they’re cheap so if you want to give your chili to a friend you don’t have to worry about losing your expensive storage containers
  • You can also freeze the no bean chili in gallon-sized freezer bags. This recipe should fill at least 2-3 bags. Allow the chili to cool completely and then fill the bags and lay the bags flat on a large baking sheet and place in the freezer. Once frozen, you can store the bags flat or upright

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A bowl of chili without beans on the grey counter.

Chili Without Beans

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Chili without Beans is full of beef, peppers, tomatoes, and spices—it's so flavorful and just right for game day or a chilly night at home!

Ingredients

  • 2.5-3 pounds mixture of ground sausage, ground chuck, ground round
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 Anaheim or serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped (Anaheim is mild, serrano is hot)
  • 1-2 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 bottle dark beer
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt or salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Brown meat in large Dutch oven. Remove to strainer (strain over a bowl, not in the sink).
  2. Add olive oil or vegetable oil to the Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat.
  3. When oil is hot, add onions, peppers and garlic and saute over medium heat until vegetables are soft and just starting to brown a little. Add meat back into pot.
  4. Add tomatoes, beer, water, and seasonings. Depending on how spicy you like chili, you might want to start with half the seasonings listed and then taste later to see if you want to add more. If it looks a little dry (higher proportion of meat and peppers) then you might want to add another half bottle of beer. 
  5. Bring chili to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.
  6. Cook for at least an hour or two, stirring frequently. Taste halfway through because you might need to add more seasonings.
  7. Serve with grated cheese, chopped green onions, sour cream or other toppings.

Notes

Tips for Making the Best Chili Recipe with No Beans:

  • You can easily double or triple the recipe for a large crowd.
  • Use an enameled Dutch oven or large stainless steel stockpot with heavy bottom.
  • Any combination of chile peppers works, depending on how hot you want the chili. I typically use a jalapeño, maybe an Anaheim or serrano, and a chipotle—or maybe 2 jalapenos and one chipotle or whatever I have on hand. Jalapenos and serranos are hotter, so be careful of those.
  • For seasoning, I use several tablespoons of chili powder, cumin, ancho chili powder, and a little crushed red pepper and cayenne. This is a taste-as-you-go recipe! Don't be shy with seasonings but be sure you taste after it's had a while to cook before you start adding more. 
  • Toppings: Top your no bean chili with grated cheese, sour cream, some chopped green onions, or whatever you like.
  • Serving: Around here we just have cornbread, but you could have a side dish of vegetables or maybe even a salad.
  • Slow Cooker: After browning the meat and vegetable, combine those with the other ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. 
  • Make Ahead: This chili recipe with no beans gets better with age so you can make it several days in advance if you need to. The chili needs to simmer for at least an hour or two and you can leave it on the stove on low for quite a while, which makes this the perfect party dish.
  • Freezer: I use these restaurant-style containers to freeze soups and chilis. They're the perfect size and they're cheap so if you want to give your chili to a friend you don't have to worry about losing your expensive storage containers. 
  • You can also freeze the no bean chili in gallon-sized freezer bags. Allow the chili to cool completely and then fill the bags with chili and then lay the bags flat on a large cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Once frozen, you can store the bags flat or upright. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 8 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 403Saturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 781mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 25g

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Update Notes: This post was originally published September 29, 2011, and on October 11, 2018, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

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Suzanna

Friday 22nd of May 2020

Oh my gosh, I improvised with some ingredients and the Chili was delicious 😋 I was so excited to eat it, l forgot to take a photo....it was beautiful and chunky!

Lucy Brewer

Monday 25th of May 2020

Thank you! So glad you enjoyed.

Heather

Sunday 26th of January 2020

When you simmer it for 1-2 hours do u do it with the lid on or off? Thank you

Lucy Brewer

Friday 31st of January 2020

I leave the lid off, or at least vented to the side.

Sarah J

Saturday 23rd of February 2019

I'm a dialysis patient & per nutrition we're not allowed to have beans. I'm not huge on spicy since my gallbladder removal but I did add garlic & a extra can of diced tomatoes with the green chili's. I didn't add bear I substituted this with extra tomato sauce...

Kim

Wednesday 22nd of August 2018

Best chili ever! Thanks for the recipe

Elizabeth

Saturday 10th of June 2017

I loved this recipe. Love! The only thing i changed was i swapped the water for beef bone broth.

Lucy

Monday 12th of June 2017

Thanks, Elizabeth! So glad you enjoyed the chili.

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