A hearty beef chili recipe made with lots of beef chuck, flavorful spices, and a variety of chili peppers. When it comes to beef chili, this is the "beefiest". This one is made in the crockpot.
The Best Beef Chili with Thick Chunks of Beef
Where we live it gets cold. I mean COLD. It was in the negative digits last night, bottoming out around -8 degrees, and that is without the wind chill factor.
What is a person to do on a cold night? Make a classic chili recipe. Homemade chili is such a wonderful comfort food. Don't you think? One major thing we both love about chili is that it can be made in so many different ways. One of my favorites is beef chili.
I Love Hearty Beef Chili
Chili can be hearty, it can be healthy, it can be decadent, it can certainly be flavorful. You can play around with flavors and the chili pot is usually very forgiving.
AND...it's just so good.
There is nothing like curling up near the fire with a big bowl of satisfying chili to warm the bones. This particular recipe brings in a Chuck Roast that makes this beef chili extra "beefy". The roast breaks apart nicely in the slow cooker and the flavors really mingle.
You won't get a beefier beef chili.
Make sure to get a nice sear on the spice rubbed beef before it goes into the pot. I also used a variety of chili peppers for this one. I wanted heat, personally, but I also had some peppers that needed to be used, and what better way to flavor a huge pot of chili?
Let's talk about how to make beef chili, shall we?
Beef Chili Ingredients
- Beef Chuck Pot Roast. You can use other cuts of slow cooker beef.
- Chili Seasonings. Chili powder, ancho powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper.
- Chili Peppers. I'm using a mix of fresh peppers (jalapenos, aleppos, habanero, and senise peppers). Use your favorites, or use bell pepper for a milder version.
- Bacon. For added flavor.
- Chili Beans. I'm using a mix of light and dark red kidney beans. Pinto beans or other beans can be used.
- Fresh Tomatoes. I used fresh chopped tomatoes, but you can use canned crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, or tomato sauce.
- Beer. I used Negra Modelo, but you can use your favorite. I like a darker beer for this beef chili. Use beef broth as an alternative.
- For Serving. Sour cream or crema, or Greek yogurt. Bonus points if it is chipotle crema!
How to Make Beef Chili - the Recipe Method
Heat the Oil. Heat the oil in a large pan to medium-high heat.
Season the Beef. Rub the beef chuck with 2 tablespoon chili powder, garlic, salt and cumin.
Sear the Beef. Sear each side of the beef in the hot pan to get a nice brown crust, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the seared beef and set it aside.
Cook the Onion and Bacon. Reduce the heat to medium heat and add the onion, and minced bacon. Cook for 5 minutes to soften.
Deglaze the Pan. Pour a quarter of the beer into the pot to deglaze, then dump the mixture into a slow cooker. Add the rest of the beer to the slow cooker as well.
There is lots of flavor in those bits stuck to the pan. It's best to use it.
Beef and Beans. Add the reserved beef and kidney beans. Cover.
Roast the Tomatoes and Peppers. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Chop the tomatoes and peppers in half then set onto a large baking sheet, skin sides up.
Roast 20 minutes, or until skins are charred. Remove from heat, slightly cool and peel.
Add to the Slow Cooker. Chop the tomatoes and peppers and add to the slow cooker, along with the ancho powder. Stir to incorporate.
Slow Cook the Beef Chili. Slow cook on HIGH for 4 hours, or simmer the chili until the beef is fork tender.
Serve! Serve into bowls with sour cream swirled over the top, along with your favorite chili toppings. Don't forget the hot sauce, my friends!
Recipe Heat Factor
I used Senise chili peppers, jalapeno peppers, Aleppo peppers and the awesome habanero chili peppers for this recipe, though you can vary it up for different flavor profiles.
If you're looking for a milder version, go with bell peppers, which will bring in LOTS of flavor without any heat.
Looking forward to the leftovers! I love this stuff! Such a great recipe.
Recipe Notes & Tips
- Searing the beef in a hot pan is an essential flavor building step. I encourage you not to skip it.
- Refrigerate the chili overnight to let the flavors mingle. Reheat and serve it the next day. It's always better the next day.
What is the Best Beef for Chili?
Different types of beef will affect the final flavor of your chili. I enjoy using beef chuck, which breaks down from low and slow cooking in the pot of chili. Short rib and brisket are excellent choices as well.
However, if you're looking for an inexpensive alternative that has great flavor, you can't beat ground beef. 80/20 lean ground beef makes great chili.
Storage and Leftovers
You can freeze beef chili. Make yourself an extra large batch. Just cool the chili. Transfer it to an airtight container and freeze it for up to 3 months.
When you're ready to eat it, thaw, reheat and enjoy.
You can also store leftover beef chili in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
What To Serve with Beef Chili?
I always top my bowls of chili with fresh sliced chili peppers and some type of chopped fresh herb. Sometimes I like to roast the peppers first, then slice them. Green onion works nicely, as does chopped cilantro or parsley.
Other favorites include crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, crumbly white cheese, sour cream, spicy chili flakes.
Diced avocado is nice, too. So many options!
Also, instead of serving your chili in a bowl, try spooning it over hot dogs or grilled sausages. Use it to make chili mac and cheese. Yum! Get creative! This is some dang good chili.
Try Some of My Other Popular Chili Recipes
If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you'll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don't forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I'll be sure to share! Thanks! -- Mike H.
Beef Chili Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or more as needed)
- 20 ounce Beef Chuck Pot Roast cubed
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 large onion chopped
- ¼ pound bacon minced
- 12 ounces beer I used Negra Modelo
- 1 can light red kidney beans 15.5 ounces
- 1 can dark red kidney beans 15.5 ounces
- 3 pounds tomatoes
- 3 jalapeno peppers (I used a mix of Senise peppers, jalapenos, Aleppos and habaneros. Use 1 large bell pepper for a milder version)
- 3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
- Sour cream or crema for serving. Bonus points if it is chipotle crema! Don't forget the hot sauce!
- Heat the oil in a large pan to medium-high heat.
- Rub the beef chuck with the chili powder, garlic, salt and cumin.
- Sear each side of the beef in the hot pan to get a nice brown crust, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the seared beef and set it aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped onion, and minced bacon. Cook for 5 minutes to soften.
- Pour a quarter of the beer into the pot to deglaze, then dump the mixture into a slow cooker. Add the rest of the beer to the slow cooker as well.
- Add the reserved beef and kidney beans. Cover.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Chop the tomatoes and peppers in half then set onto a large baking sheet, skin sides up.
- Roast 20 minutes, or until skins are charred. Remove from heat, slightly cool and peel.
- Chop the tomatoes and peppers and add to the slow cooker, along with the ancho powder. Stir to incorporate.
- Slow cook on HIGH for 4 hours, or until the beef is fork tender.
- Serve into bowls with sour cream swirled over the top, along with your favorite chili toppings.
This recipe was updated on 2/28/19 to include new recipes and info. It was originally published on 1/8/2015.
I made so many modifications that I didn’t think this would be anything like the chili I was hoping for. Surprise! So good!
We are having meatless December to get ready for Christmas so I used a pound of plant based “ground meat”. I subbed a few dashes of liquid smoke for the bacon and used only one half the spice amounts, since I wasn’t rubbing on beef. Otherwise, followed all your other instructions. Corona beer. Poblano, Fresno, Anaheim and jalapeño chilis roasted along with lots of tomatoes. I’ve never made anything like this before and wasn’t so hopeful until that first taste. Just the right amount of heat and amazing flavor!
Mike Hultquist says
Glad you enjoyed it, Sandy! Thanks!!
I'm simmering my own pintos right now. I found out that 1 cup dry=2-15 oz cans. Can't add these to slow cooker until they a fully soft.
My homemade chili powder is gone, and I have about 6 guajillos and a couple puyas, older, dried. Going to make them chili paste (with garlic).
I read at another site that chili paste/powder is 4 parts paste to 1 part powder. (4 tb paste to 1 tb powder, for instance.)
I didn't find these ratios at your substitution page. Fact-check them and use the equivalency info here if you want. It'll help someone. Then feel free to edit this part out.
Other than that I'm keeping this recipe the same.
My only questions is:
Do you stand by the 12 oz of liquid (beer)? Because I like the consistency of your picture and I don't have any masa.
If you stand by the 12oz for the slow cooker then I'll drink half the beer and add more of the bean liquid 'cause I love the taste. If you had any comment/thoughts about liquid amount, chili, and slow cookers please share at your convenience. Thank you for your time and your great website.
Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness says
Thanks, Brent, and yes, 4:1 ratio for paste to powder is common, though I'm more of a "to taste" sort of person after I've made the recipe a few times. For the beer, yes, I did use the whole bottle (12 ounces). If you are concerned, you can use only half and add some water later if needed. Or use the whole thing and cook it down a little if it is too liquidy for your tastes. Let me know how it turns out for you. I hope you enjoy it.
I crocked it all night, got home from work a while, and I'm eating with some cornbread right now. Everything blended well and the tomatoes had their own liquid I wasn't considering.
Always loved guajillos but the puyas burn nicely. So no 2lbs of fresh chili for me. Just some serranos.
Good ratios of everything. Would do your beef chili again.. Graci-
Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness says
Excellent, Brent. Glad you're enjoying it.
Germaine Breault says
I want to know about the chili powder that you used to rub the beef chuck in the number 2, in the cooking directions, because in the number 10, you say to add dark chili powder.So is there a light and a dark chili powder, because I just know about the dark chili powder. I need clarification, please, or is it all the same chili powder?
Germaine: There are a number of chili powders you can purchase either online or at your store, particularly blends meant for making pots of chili. I like to make my own with a focus on ancho chili powder. If you can, find a blend with an ancho focus, or powder with a deep red color. The chili powder seasonings you choose will affect the overall flavor, so feel free to experiment with blends you prefer. In future recipes, I have been much more specific about the blends I use. This recipe is open to your personal tastes and can be used more as a template. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.