This super easy Dutch Oven Chili is packed with flavor and made even better by being a one pot wonder. Flavorful ground beef and sausage with tender beans in a spiced up gravy is perfect for cooler months and summer barbecues alike.
Homemade Chili Beans are one of my family's favorite meals and a perfect comfort food. This easy recipe in particular is my lazy cooking fantasy. Ground meat cooks up so fast, and opening cans take all of the guesswork and time out of getting perfectly softened beans.
I have done this in larger batches and soaked the beans, and the money savings just isn’t worth it to me. If you happen to already have the dry beans or you really like to start from scratch I have included a full proof way to quickly soften pinto beans below.
This recipe makes such a big pot of flavorful chili that you can reinvent and enjoy it all week long.
Make this recipe, because…
It's a great recipe that tastes like something that cooked for days made up in a much shorter time.
Easy canned ingredients add great flavor while saving tons of time and money.
This recipe is large and is great for leftovers or large cookouts. The leftovers actually get better every day.
Making this chili recipe in a sturdy Dutch oven lets it cook up quickly on the stove or over the campfire without fear of burning.
Canned Beans- Using beans that are ready to eat is a great way to save time. There is no need to drain or rinse away the starchy water the pinto and kidney beans are sitting in. The extra starch will help thicken the gravy of the chili making it deliciously thick.
Stewed Tomato- These add loads of flavor and great texture overall. Again, using a canned item is just a huge time saver.
Prepared Salsa- This again is a great shortcut and adds spice and flavor that would otherwise be difficult to get from scratch.
Sausage- Adding full flavored sausage instead of just ground pork serves two purposes. The first is that mixing pork with the beef makes for a richer, fuller flavored chili. The second is that sausage has great spices that you may not have on hand and can be expensive to buy and store. A seasoned sausage can also add just the right amount of heat as you can choose a spice level from mild-spicy.
Step 1: Brown the Meat
- Heat a large Dutch oven on medium high.
- Add ground beef and sausage to the pot. Add water and brown meat using a large spoon to break it up into small pieces.
If you used sausage that is in link form, simply cut the casing away and add only the meat to the pot.
Step 2: Spice it Up
- Add garlic, yellow and red onions along with all of the dried spices to mostly browned meat.
Step 3: Cook the Veggies
- Cook until the onions are translucent and meat is well cooked and broken up into very small pieces.
Step 4: Open a Few Cans
- Next, add all of your canned pinto and kidney beans with the liquid.
- Then, add stewed tomatoes, crushing them in your hand as you add them, along with salsa picante and butter.
- Stir everything together and bring to a simmer. Let simmer on low heat for an hour and thirty minutes.
That's It! It really doesn't get any easier!
How to Serve Dutch Oven Chili Beans
Make it your own by adding your favorite toppings.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Diced Onion
- Green Onions
- Sour Cream
- Jalapeño Peppers sliced
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Hot Sauce
The first night I serve this hearty meal with all of my favorite toppings. I like shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, diced onions on top of the chili. I love to serve a side of corn bread or corn muffins.
After the first night, all bets are off. This delicious chili is great as a side dish for tri tip, toppings for tortilla chips to make nachos, and don’t forget Frito boats. Leftovers might even be the best part.
Pinto beans are the best for the bulk of chili beans. They are hearty and starchy and absorb all of the great chili flavor.
Adding a small amount of Kidney beans is great for texture. Unlike the pinto beans, kidney beans actually flavor rather than absorb it and they have a great sweet taste that goes well with a slightly spicy pot of chili.
Yes! You absolutely can use dried beans, however, the beans must be softened before adding to the chili. Dry beans will not soften properly added directly to the pot meat and sauce.
Start by cleaning the beans. Remove any damaged pinto beans and rinse your beans to make sure they are free of any rocks or dirt.
Next, pour them into a pot and cover with water. Make sure there is plenty of water by adding 3 cups of water for every cup of dried pinto beans. Boil them first for 1 hour. Then, drain through a colander and rinse again.
Return them to your pot and cover with water and boil for 45 minutes. Again the ratio of beans to water should be around 3 cups of water for every cup of beans. They should be soft after the second boil.
Don’t throw away the bean water the second time as it contains good starch that will help make a nice thick gravy for your chili.
Diana's Tips For Success
You can make this in either a cast iron Dutch oven or an enamel coated Dutch Oven.
Add a splash of water to browning meat to help make it easier to break up and keep it from sticking to the pan.
It is important when making this stovetop Dutch oven chili recipe that you avoid high heat. Your run the risk with an open flame of burning the of the pot.
Check on the chili every 20 minutes or so. Give it a good stir to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot and burns.
Storage and Reheating
The great thing about a big pot of hearty chili beans is all of the leftovers the next day. To store them properly, transfer the beans to an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator.
The beans will keep for 4-6 days in the fridge.
The best way to reheat leftover chili is to put the amount you would like to eat in a small pot. The gravy will have thickened with the starch from the beans. Add ¼ cup of water or beef broth to every 2 cups of chili being reheated. The water will thin out the gravy just a little and help you reheat without burning.
You can adjust your spice level by choose spicy, medium, or mild sausage and salsa picante.
Omit the cayenne if you are trying to keep it a bit more mild. I usually choose a medium level of spice across the board so that my entire family can enjoy it. Certain family members just can't handle spicy chili.
You can always punch it up with some hot sauce. It is important to have the best flavors come forward and not set everyone's mouth on fire.
Try these awesome on pot wonder recipes!
- Slow Cooker Pork Ragu
- One Pan Chicken Marbella and Rice
- 15-Minute Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce
- Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Bowls
- Sausage Green Bean and Potato Skillet
- Tender Pork Chili Verde
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Dutch Oven Chili Beans
- 8 quart Dutch Oven
- 1 Pound Ground Beef 80/20
- ½ Pound Italian Sausage medium or spicy
- ½ Cup Water
- 1 Yellow Onion diced
- ½ Red Onion diced
- 3-4 Cloves Garlic minced
- ½ Cup Butter one stick
- (2) 23 Ounce Cans Pinto Beans in Water
- 14 Ounce Can Kidney Beans
- 14 Ounce Can Stewed Tomatoes
- 1 Cup Salsa Picante medium
- 1 Tablespoon Granulated Garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Granulated Onion
- 1 Tablespoon Dry Parsley
- 1 Tablespoon Red Chili Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Ancho Chili Powder optional
- ¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Chili Powder optional
- 1 Teaspoon Paprika
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin
- 2 Teaspoons Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- Heat a large Dutch oven on medium heat.
- Add olive oil along with ground beef and sausage to the pot. If you used sausage that is in link form, simply cut the casing away and add only the meat to the pot. Add water and brown meat using a large spoon to break up into small pieces.
- Add onions and garlic to nearly cooked meat along with all of your dry spices.
- Then, sauté onion and garlic until the onions are translucent and meat is well cooked and broken up into very small pieces.
- Next, add all of your canned pinto and kidney beans with the liquid. Then, add stewed tomatoes, crushing them in your hand as you add them, along with salsa picante and butter.
- Stir the remaining ingredients together and bring to a simmer. For best results, let simmer for at least 1 hour 30 minutes. Give them a good stir every 20 minutes or so.
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