Basic Chili

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IMG_6914As I shared during the Tuesday Twister, I am in the mood for beans. Apparently, so is my family. We have enjoyed two chilis this week. Black bean chili is our favorite. Everyone says so every time.

Sometimes I make this chili by sprouting the beans for a day or two, to the point where they sport barely a sprout. Like this, they can be added to a dish and will cook up very quickly – in about twenty to thirty minutes. See Sprouted Bean Chili.

This week, I did not sprout these black beans, but rather cooked them like normal (soaked them and then cooked for 12 to 18 hours on low in the crockpot until tender) ahead of time and then added them to the chili-in-the-making.

There are many, many ways to flavor chili. This is our favorite. I think my husband would like a spicier chili, and perhaps C. would too, but none of us girls like spicy. So we’re all very content, satisfied, and happy with the following flavor combination. Feel free to share how you flavor your chili in the comments!

See all basic recipes.

I routinely double this recipe.

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 4 cups cooked beans – black beans pictured
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 4 cups water + additional as desired for consistency
  • 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon sea salt, plus additional to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus additional to taste
  • 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons cumin, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • garnishes: sour cream, diced onions, chopped cilantro, shredded cheese, etc.

Brown together in a medium or large stockpot over medium to medium-high heat: ground beef, onions, and garlic. I leave the meat somewhat chunky – this way everyone gets a few decadent-sized pieces in their bowl, rather than a million miniscule pieces. That’s just what we like.

Combine the tomato paste and water in a 4-cup measurer, and whisk until smooth. Add to the meat mixture. Add the beans and all spices. Bring to a simmer, then turn down heat and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes to develop flavor. Adjust seasonings.


Serve with desired garnishes. We ate our chili last night with rolls made from spelt sourdough (not gluten-free).

This post is part of Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet.

This post may contain affiliate links. We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. Thank you for supporting Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS with your purchases. Our family thanks you!


  1. says

    We eat chili often in the winter. I like to add a few other things to mine; green peppers, mushrooms, some basil. I have to agree that black beans are very nice in chili. My guys prefer spicier too so they add crushed chilis to their bowls afterwards. I’ll have to try adding cumin and using some garnishes. :)
    .-= Marg´s last blog post… Places a kitten will sleep =-.

  2. says

    Pickled peppers are incredibly easy to can, if not the most traditional food in the world. My grandparents like to add them to chili to spice it up. They usually add a whole half-pint jar to a pot but I imagine a few of the peppers minced and thrown into individual bowls would do the job nicely as well. It’s also a nice way to use up those miscellaneous peppers that i plant and then don’t know what to do with :)

    If we lived where we used to live (NW Wash.) instead of where we now live, I might be able to give you some of mine 😉
    .-= Lindsey in AL´s last blog post… Cake decorating 101 =-.

  3. says

    Looks and sounds delicious! I am going to have to make chili soon. We like it spicy, so I will add a little more kick to it, but thanks for the idea and the recipe.

  4. says

    lol…what a wonderful recipe..I have a confession to make, the first time i read it i didn’t have my glasses on and I thought it said that Jeff would like a spider chili, thought boy he is brave and she is brave for making it!
    Needless to say, i got it right with my glasses on..thanks for sharing..warm loving hugs

  5. Linda Z says

    I tried the chili recipe yesterday and the flavour was great, except I misread the recipe and I soaked the beans for almost 2 days, and then didn’t cook them before adding the other ingredients. I thought the extra soaking was enough. So my chili ended up being crunchy black bean, but my family gracefully ate it, but they loved the flavour, so I am trying again today.

  6. Leigh says

    I just made this last night. I had a frozen bag of chicken stock that sprung a leak in the freezer so I used that in place of the 4 cups of water. It was out of this world! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Leigh Anne says

    Sounds delicious :)

    Would this be fine to make it then freeze it?? (I’m trying to get together some freezer meals for post-baby)

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