Easy Black Bean Chili Recipe (Chili Cook-off Winner)

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Last Updated on May 16, 2023

Are you looking for the best black bean chili recipe? My easy chili recipe using black beans recently won a chili-cook-off! Not only is it super-easy to make and cooked in one pot, it’s thick, hearty, and delicious.

black bean chili recipe

Black Bean Chili

This black bean chili is hearty and flavorful without being too spicy.  It’s also easy to prepare and can be changed around to suit your tastes.  For instance, should you prefer a vegetarian version, just forgo the meat and, if you like, add chopped bell peppers, celery and carrots in its place.

Back in our pre-grain-free days, I sliced fresh corn off the cob and added it to this recipe.  Truth be told – this time around we didn’t even miss it.

Black Bean Chili Recipe

Black beans are obviously the staple in this chili.  However, not everyone can digest this bean, especially during an episode of intestinal inflammation. You can decide upon pinto beans vs black beans if you prefer.

We have strictly been using white navy beans for the last 6-8 months, as this type of legume or bean is easier to digest, and there are a lot of health benefits of white beans.  Since we have seen such an improvement in our daughter, I thought it time to venture out and try black beans.

She tolerated them beautifully, but waiting until she was out of intestinal distress and then soaking the beans 24 hours was essential.  If you are unsure of your ability to handle them, just substitute cooked white navy beans for safety.

black bean chili

Chili Cook-off Winning Recipe

This past weekend this recipe won a chili cook off at our church’s fall festival.  I had no idea it was a contest but just thought we were signing up to add a pot of chili to the dinner…true story!  And to our friend, Andy, who is not competitive” – there’s always next year.

Black Bean Chili Ingredients

This black bean chili uses simple ingredients, but packs a punch and makes a flavorful chili. You can make an easy vegetarian chili by swapping out chicken broth for vegetable broth and leaving out the meat.

  • dried black beans
  • garlic cloves
  • extra-virgin oilve oil
  • onions
  • ground beef
  • italian chicken sausage, casing removed
  • roasted tomatoes, diced (optional but highly recommended)
  • crushed tomatoes
  • chicken broth or water

If you like your chili spicy, feel free to jazz it up with some green chilies, jalapenos, or cayenne pepper.

Chili Seasoning Blend

  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • ground oregano
  • smoked paprika
  • ground cumin
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Are Dried Beans Better Than Canned Beans?

Using dried beans in your black bean chili recipe is a better way to go, nutrition-wise. Dried beans are more nutritious and contain more fiber, protein, and other minerals like magnesium and potassium. There is also less sodium in dried beans than canned beans.

black beans

How to Make Black Bean Chili Recipe

This easy black bean chili recipe is cooked on the stove and uses just one pot like a Dutch oven. If you prefer, you can also use a pressure cooker or slow cooker.

Here’s an overview of how to make this black bean chili recipe, but you can print the recipe card to make it easier.

1.) First, you will need to be sure to soak your beans overnight in a large pot. This helps to reduce lectins and improve cooking. If you prefer, you can substitute canned beans for the dried beans.

2.) Next you will cook your beans in fresh water . You’ll be adding some smashed garlic to the water to impart a nice flavor to the beans.

3.) Proceed to bring the beans to a boil, then lower the temperature to a simmer. Cook beans until soft, about 2-3 hours.

4.) Next, drain the black beans set aside.

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5.) Heat the same stockpot to medium heat. Add olive oil, then saute diced onion until soft.

6.) Add ground meat and sausage and brown, breaking apart with a spoon.

7.) Add fire-roasted tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, broth (or water) and spices. Stir to combine well.

8.) Place the lid on the pot tilted, allowing steam to escape. Cook on medium low for about 30 minutes. If you want a longer cooking time, simmer it on low.

Favorite Toppings

These optional toppings are a personal preference and impart extra flavor for your black bean chili.

  • tortilla chips
  • cheddar cheese
  • fresh cilantro
  • red onion
  • hot sauce
  • lime wedges
  • sweet corn
  • fresh onion
  • dollop of sour cream

I love this chili topped with scallions, chopped avocado and coconut yogurt used as a dairy-free sour cream.

My family loves to eat chili alongside my AIP pulled pork.

How to Store Black Bean Chili

You can store leftover black bean chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. This chili recipe also freezes very well for up to 6 months.

Chili Recipe With Black Beans FAQ

If you are new to making black bean chili, you might have some questions.

What Beans Are Best for Chili?

Chili is one of those things that lends itself to any type of bean. Kidney beans are the most widely used beans for chili, but you can also use black beans, white navy beans, or pinto beans. You can also use any combination of beans.

Are Black Beans Good for Chili?

Black beans are a great bean to use for chili. You can mix black beans with any other type of bean, or just make chili with only black beans. Kidney beans are what most people think of when chili comes to mind, however they can be somewhat mealy.

You can swap black beans with a 1-1 ratio for any other type of chili bean.

Do You Have to Rinse Canned Beans?

It’s best to rinse canned beans because this helps the beans retain flavor and improve texture. It also reduces the starch and sodium if salt was added to the canned beans. Be sure to use a colander and cool water and rinse until the water runs clear.

Are Black Beans Paleo

Black beans contain a high amount of lectins and phytic acid, and like all other legumes are not allowed on a paleo diet.

What Meat Can Be Used in Chili?

The most common meat to use in a chili recipe is ground chuck, however, ground sirloin or brisket is also an option. If you want to use something other than beef, you can substitute ground turkey or even shredded chicken! If you prefer a vegan chili, omit the beef all-together.

black bean chili with scallions

Black Bean Chili

Personally, I think this is the best chili recipe that uses black beans. Chili is a great comfort food in our home and we enjoy leftovers in a variety of ways. One of my favorite ways to eat leftover chili is by topping tortilla chips and eating it like nachos.


Easy Black Bean Chili Recipe (Chili Cook-off Winner)

  • Author: Jen/ My BIG FAT Grain Free Life


Units Scale
  • 2 (14 oz.) pkgs black beans, rinsed and soaked 24 hours
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. Italian chicken sausage, casing removed
  • 2 recipes Roasted Tomatoes, diced (optional but highly recommended)
  • 2 (28 ox.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 68 cups chicken stock or water
  • Spice Blend:
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper


  1. Drain soaked beans, place in large pot and cover with fresh water about 2 inches above beans.
  2. Add smashed garlic to beans and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.
  3. Cook 2-3 hours or until beans are soft. Drain and set aside.
  4. Heat the same stockpot to medium. Add olive oil, then saute diced onion until soft.
  5. Add ground beef and sausage and brown, breaking apart with a spoon.
  6. Add roasted tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, broth (or water) and spices. Stir to combine well.
  7. Place the lid on the pot tilted, allowing steam to escape. Cook on medium low for about 30 minutes.
  8. This chili freezes well.


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