This no bean chili is so hearty, savory and flavorful! It is easy to make and can be made on the stovetop, in the Instant Pot or in a slow cooker. This beanless chili is thick, saucy and so comforting. Great for a quick weeknight dinner, leftovers and meal prep!

No bean chili in bowl

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This no bean chili is healthy comfort food!
  • It can be made in as little as 30 minutes or can simmer all day long.
  • This is the best chili and has the perfect spicy kick!
  • Commonly referred to as Texas chili, this is made without beans.
  • The chili is even better as leftovers!
  • As written, this recipe is Whole30 approved, Paleo, gluten free, dairy free, nut free and sugar free.
  • Check out this Whole30 Sweet Potato Chili for another great recipe!

What is No Bean Chili?

Chili is made with ground meat, tomatoes, onions, chili peppers, beans, peppers and a multitude of spices. It is commonly spicy, thick, saucy and savory.

No bean chili is oftentimes called Texas chili or chili con carne. It is made without beans. Beanless chili still has all of the traditional flavors of chili, but made without beans.

Ground beef with veggies

Ingredients & Substitutions

Lean ground beef is at the heart of this dish. I suggest using 85% lean or 90% lean. This beef has enough fat to be flavorful without yielding an excessive amount of grease. Ground turkey, ground pork, or even ground chicken can be used in its place.

The chopped sweet onion adds a hint of sweetness and flavor. White onion or even red onion can be substituted if necessary.

Chopped poblano pepper brings the heat! Feel free to use as much or as little of the pepper as desired. It is spicy! For a more mild taste, replace poblano pepper with a green bell pepper.

The spices add a spicy and hearty flavor to this chili. Cumin, chili powder, paprika, cayenne powder, salt and pepper combine for one delicious spice blend! Feel free to adjust the spices to suit your taste. I usually end up adding more spices for an extra flavorful chili.

The fire roasted diced tomatoes are spicy and flavorful. Do not drain this can. For a much more mild flavor, use diced tomatoes.

Tomato sauce adds both flavor and liquid. I used a canned tomato sauce (just tomatoes) that was very thin and it worked well.

Spicy seasonings in bowl

Type of Meat

Chili is typically made with ground beef. Both 85% and 90% lean beef work really well. They have some fat which adds flavor, but they are not overwhelmingly greasy or fatty.

If desired, ground pork, ground turkey or ground chicken can be substituted.

Taste & Texture

This beanless chili has the taste of regular chili. It is bold, a little spicy, flavorful and savory. It slightly resembles these Whole30 Sloppy Joes in taste.

The texture is thick, rich and saucy. For a thinner chili, add water, chicken broth or more canned tomato sauce to chili.

How to Make – Stovetop Method

Step 1

First, add ground beef to a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Cook until meat is brown and crumbly, breaking apart with spatula.

Ground beef in Dutch oven

Step 2

Then, drain all grease from pot. Remove beef to a plate. Add in chopped onion and pepper and all spices to pot. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until onions have softened, stirring occasionally.

Onions, peppers and spices in pot

Step 3

Add cooked ground beef, fire roasted diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to pot. Stir to combine.

Beanless chili in pot

Step 4

Bring chili to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Then reduce heat to medium and simmer for at least 20 minutes, up to 3 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

No bean chili in Dutch oven

Step 5

Finally, ladle into bowls and serve!

Instant Pot Method

This is how to make no bean chili in an Instant Pot.

  • First, press sauté. Add ground beef to Instant Pot. Cook until brown and crumbly, breaking apart with spatula.
  • Press cancel. Then, drain all grease from pot and remove beef to a plate. Add in chopped onion, chopped pepper and all spices.
  • Press sauté. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until onions have softened, stirring occasionally.
  • Press cancel. Add in cooked ground beef, fire roasted diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to pot. Stir to combine.
  • Secure lid. Press pressure cook and set timer for 15 minutes. Once the timer goes off, allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes. Then manually release any remaining pressure.
  • Finally, ladle into bowls and serve!

Slow Cooker Crockpot Method

Here is how to make beanless crock pot chili.

  • First, add ground beef to a skillet over medium heat. Cook until brown and crumbly, breaking apart with spatula.
  • Drain all grease from skillet and transfer beef to slow cooker.
  • Add in chopped onion, chopped pepper and all spices to skillet. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until onions have softened, stirring occasionally.
  • Then, add veggies, fire roasted diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to the beef in slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  • Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. Check occasionally and stir if needed.
  • Finally, ladle into bowls and serve!
Chili without beans in bowl

Expert Tips & Tricks

Use a high quality ground meat for best results.

Drain grease from ground meat completely.

The longer this chili simmers on the stovetop, the more rich in flavor it will become. I highly suggest simmering at least an hour if you have time.

Taste as you cook. Then, adjust seasonings to suit your taste preference.

How to Serve & Store

Serve chili fresh and hot! Top with chopped green onions, sour cream, and cheese if desired. It is great with Whole30 Sweet Potato Fries dipped in!

Store chili in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, add chili to a skillet or pot over medium heat until warm.

Freeze for up to 1 month.

Beef and tomatoes in bowl

Toppings

The toppings are endless when it comes to chili!

Chopped green onions

Sour cream

Cheese (I love this dairy free Vegan cheese)

Jalapeños

Chopped red onions

Sliced avocado

Crispy bacon bits

Variations & Add Ins

Here are some great ideas to add to your chili!

Crispy bacon bits

Use two types of ground meat

Add in cubed sweet potaoes

Add in cubed butternut squash

Green chiles

Corn

Frequently Asked Questions

What is chili without beans called?

Chili without beans if often called Texas chili or chili con carne.

Can you use ground turkey?

Yes! Ground turkey is great in chili.

Is it low carb?

This chili is somewhat low in carbs, but not Keto.

Does it freeze well?

Yes! Freeze for up to 1 month.

Can I use beans?

Sure! Feel free to add beans to your chili.

No bean chili in bowl

You May Also Like

If you make this recipe, I would really appreciate a review! You can find me on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest. I would love for you to follow along!  For more ideas, check out these Lunch and Dinner Recipes.

No bean chili in bowl

Get the Recipe: No Bean Chili (Beanless Chili)

This no bean chili is rich, saucy, and thick! It is easy to make and can be made in a Dutch oven on the stovetop, or in an Instant Pot or slow cooker. This beanless chili is easy, healthy and delicious!
5 from 18 votes

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds ground beef, or ground turkey
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped poblano pepper, about 1 medium pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • salt, to taste
  • ground pepper, to taste
  • 28 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes, do not drain
  • 28 ounces tomato sauce

Instructions 

Stovetop Method

  • First, add ground beef to a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Cook until brown and crumbly, breaking apart with spatula.
  • Drain all grease from pot and remove beef to a plate. Add in chopped onion and pepper and all spices. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until onions have softened, stirring occasionally.
  • Add cooked ground beef, fire roasted diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to pot. Stir to combine.
  • Bring chili to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Then reduce heat to medium and simmer for at least 20 minutes, up to 3 hours. Stir occasionally. If chili becomes too dry, add in water, chicken broth or more tomato sauce.
  • Finally, ladle into bowls and serve!

Instant Pot Method

  • Press sauté. Add ground beef to Instant Pot. Cook until brown and crumbly, breaking apart with spatula.
  • Press cancel. Drain all grease from pot and remove beef to a plate. Add in chopped onion and pepper and all spices.
  • Press sauté. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until onions have softened, stirring occasionally.
  • Press cancel. Add cooked ground beef, fire roasted diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to pot. Stir to combine.
  • Secure lid. Press pressure cook and set timer for 15 minutes. Once the timer goes off, allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes. Then manually release any remaining pressure.
  • Finally, ladle into bowls and serve!

Slow Cooker Method

  • First, add ground beef to a skillet over medium heat. Cook until brown and crumbly, breaking apart with spatula.
  • Drain all grease from skillet and transfer beef to slow cooker.
  • Add in chopped onion, pepper and all spices to skillet. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until onions have softened, stirring occasionally.
  • Then, add veggies, fire roasted diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to the beef in slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  • Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or low for 3 to 4 hours.
  • Finally, ladle into bowls and serve!

Notes

  • Ground turkey or ground pork can replace the beef.
  • I used 85% lean beef.  I recommend using 85% lean or 90% lean.
  • Drain off all grease from pot, Instant Pot or skillet.  
  • This chili can be simmered on the stovetop for as little as 20 minutes, but I highly recommend at least an hour for best results.
  • These spices are a great starting point!  Feel free to taste and adjust as you go.
  • I would classify this chili as medium heat.
  • This freezes well!
Calories: 581kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 46g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 15g, Trans Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 154mg, Sodium: 1097mg, Potassium: 1263mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 2116IU, Vitamin C: 22mg, Calcium: 121mg, Iron: 8mg

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