Spicy Ground Beef and Pinto Bean Chili

Spicy ground beef and bean chili
Diana Rattray
Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1665 Calories
43g Fat
208g Carbs
116g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 1665
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 43g 56%
Saturated Fat 12g 58%
Cholesterol 151mg 50%
Sodium 2734mg 119%
Total Carbohydrate 208g 76%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 116g
Vitamin C 19mg 95%
Calcium 710mg 55%
Iron 19mg 103%
Potassium 3171mg 67%
*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.)

This spicy chili is made with ground beef, beans, and tomatoes, along with chile peppers and seasonings. The recipe makes a big batch of chili, enough for at least 8 people. It's a stovetop recipe, but you can transfer it to the slow cooker to keep warm for serving. It's great for a tailgating crowd!

Jalapeno peppers add a kick to this chili but feel free to use any hot chile pepper you like or have on hand. Serranos, poblano, even a bit of finely minced habanero can be added.

This chili is fantastic with cornbread, but you might prefer biscuits, crusty bread, or crackers.

For a less spicy version, try this Ground Beef and Pinto Beans recipe.


  • 2 medium onions, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1/2 to 1 hot chile pepper (e.g., jalapeño, serrano, or habanero), seeded and finely minced

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 5 tablespoons pure mild chile powder (e.g., New Mexican chile powder)

  • 3 pounds ground beef (coarse grind, if possible)

  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, or Italian leaf oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

  • 2 cups beef broth

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

  • 1 leaf bay leaf

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

  • Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, and canned nacho-sliced jalapeno peppers, for optional garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large Dutch oven or kettle, cook the onions in the oil, covered, over medium heat.

  3. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden, but not browned, about 5 minutes longer.

  4. Add the garlic, minced chile peppers, and ground cumin. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes.

  5. Add the chili powder and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 more minutes.

  6. Add the ground beef, oregano, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the ground beef is no longer pink, about 8 to 10 minutes.

  7. Add the crushed tomatoes, beef broth, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf.

  8. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer with the cover slightly ajar, for about 1 1/2 hours.

  9. Add the pinto beans, crushing some of them against the side of the pot to help thicken the chili. Season with additional salt and cayenne to taste.

  10. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Good or better when reheated and freezes well for up to 3 months. Top each serving with shredded cheese, a teaspoon of sour cream, and pickled jalapeno pepper rings or sliced green onions, if desired.

Serve with hot baked cornbread.

Recipe Variation

  • If you like, use a can of chili style tomatoes.