A Low-Carb, Meaty Chili

Low carb chili recipe

​The Spruce

  • Total: 2 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Servings: 12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
629 Calories
25g Fat
37g Carbs
65g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 629
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 168mg 56%
Sodium 391mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 11g 40%
Protein 65g
Calcium 171mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you like your chili thick and mostly meat, then this recipe is for you. With five pounds of ground beef, this chili is a hearty dish–sure to please any meat-eater as well as chili-lovers–ready to serve a hungry crowd. Chock full of traditional chili ingredients–such as onion, garlic, bell peppers, pinto beans, and spices–this recipe is flavorful and rich, perfect for a filling one-dish dinner. 


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion (diced)
  • 5 pounds ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (seeded and chopped)
  • 1 green bell pepper (seeded and chopped)
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomato puree
  • 2/3 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups water (or as needed)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans (drained)
  • Optional Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado, chopped scallions

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for low carb chili
    ​The Spruce
  2. In a large pot, warm the oil over medium heat; add the onion and beef and sauté until the meat is browned and broken into small pieces. Pour off any excess grease and return the pot to the stove.

    Onion in pot
    ​The Spruce
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

    Add garlic to ground beef in pot
    ​The Spruce
  4. Add all of the remaining ingredients—except the beans—and simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. 

    Add remaining ingredients to pot
    ​The Spruce 
  5. As the chili cooks, add water if needed so it doesn't become too thick or dry.

    Chili in pot
    ​The Spruce
  6. Add the beans and cook for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

    Add the beans to chili in pot
    ​The Spruce 
  7. If desired, serve with your favorite chili toppings such as shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado, and chopped scallions.

    Chili over rice in bowl
    ​The Spruce 
  8. Enjoy!


  • When buying the ground beef for this recipe, you want to choose a package that lists a high-fat content on the label, such as 15 percent fat/85 percent lean. The fat helps tenderize the meat as it cooks, so if you use a ground beef that is quite lean, it will tend to be tough and chewy and dry out.
  • Although the meat is ground up (vs. in big chunks), it still needs time to soften and become tender, so the 90 minutes of simmer time is important.

Recipe Variations

  • If you would like to try this recipe with different cuts of meat, there are three other types that are ideal for chili. Beef chuck, brisket (and burnt ends), and short ribs are all good choices when it comes to the slow cooking and spicy flavors of this well-loved dish. Diced beef chuck will result in a chili with a beefier flavor, and brisket will shred while it cooks (and may need a little longer cooking time); short ribs will have to be removed after cooking so the meat can be taken off of the bones.
  • If you like your chili spicy, you can increase the amount of cayenne pepper, or add a few drops of hot sauce at the end of cooking time. Just remember this recipe serves a dozen people, so make sure everyone is on board with the added heat. (To play it safe, you can simply offer a bottle of hot sauce on the side.)