Mushroom-Beef Chili

Mushroom-Beef Chili Hero

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This mushroom-beef chili is filled with tons of spices with depth from cocoa powder. It’s finished with crunchy cabbage slaw to give you a big bang of textures and flavors in every bite.

Autumn is the perfect time to break out all the chili recipes. This one is even tastier thanks to meaty mushrooms, perfectly browned beef, tons of spices, and cocoa powder to round out the flavors.

If you’ve never added cocoa powder to chili, I highly recommend it. You can also use espresso powder or a strong cup of coffee. They both add a similar depth and bring out the deeply savory notes of chili.

This chili uses mushrooms, and it is the perfect vehicle for any of those old mushrooms you have lurking in your crisper. I’m not keen on using old mushrooms for sautéing because they tend to not brown as well. They do, however, work perfectly minced up and added to soups and chili like this one.

I also use ancho chile powder which is ground up, dried poblano peppers. It has a really nice, deep earthy flavor that works so well with all the other ingredients in this mushroom-beef chili.

Mushroom-Beef Chili

How to make this mushroom-beef chili:

This chili is super versatile, so don’t feel like you need to go and load up your cabinets. If you don’t have some of the ingredients, make swaps or omissions as needed based on the substitutions listed below.

What you need

  • Beef and mushrooms: These add a nice meatiness to the dish. Use any mushroom you like. If you have old ones lurking in your crisper that you don’t know what to do with them, throw them in!
  • Spices: You’ll use chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and ancho chile powder. If you don’t have chili powder but are missing one of the other spices, simply increase the chili powder.
  • Cocoa powder: You want to use unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder. I use Dutch process cocoa powder because that’s what’s in my cabinet. Just be mindful that whatever cocoa powder you use doesn’t contain sugar.
  • Chili aromatics: The chili uses just onion, bell pepper, and a minced jalapeño.
  • Canned goods: You’ll also need canned black beans, crushed tomatoes, and canned green chilies for the chili.
  • Garnishes: You’ll use red cabbage, lime juice, simple syrup or sugar dissolved in water, cilantro, and jalapeño for the crunchy cabbage topping. I serve the chili with more lime wedges and cilantro along with diced avocado. You could also serve with cheese, sour cream, minced red onion, or crunchy tortilla strips if you like!

How to make it

  • Step 1: Start by browning the beef. Take it out of the pot and add the minced mushrooms. Cook them until they release the water. Add the mushrooms to the bowl of beef.
  • Step 2: Fry up the aromatics–onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño–until softened.
  • Step 3: Bloom the spices. Add just a touch more oil to the pot and fry all the spices and the cocoa powder until fragrant.
  • Step 4: From there, simply add water and the canned beans, tomatoes, and chili peppers. Add the cooked beef and mushrooms back to the pot and simmer for 30–40 minutes.
  • Step 5: Prepare your garnishes and the cabbage slaw while the chili simmers.

Once all that’s done, simply serve it up! Ladle the chili into bowls and pile the garnishes on top, and you’re ready to dig in.

Mushroom-Beef Chili

Mushroom-Beef Chili

This mushroom-beef chili is filled with tons of spices with depth from cocoa powder. It's finished with crunchy cabbage slaw to give you a big bang of textures and flavors in every bite.
5 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Inactive time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 408kcal



  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 8 ounces baby Bella mushrooms, minced in a food processor
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, plus a bit more for blooming the spices
  • 1 red bell pepper, trimmed, seeded, and diced
  • 1 jalapeño, trimmed and diced
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne powder, more or less to taste
  • 1 cup water, plus more if needed
  • 2 14.5- ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 7- ounce can diced green chilies
  • 14.5- ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper

Cabbage slaw:

  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons simple syrup or use 2 teaspoons granulated sugar dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, trimmed and minced
  • Salt

For serving:

  • Diced avocado
  • Lime wedges
  • Minced cilantro


Brown the beef:

  • Turn the heat on a large pot to medium-high. Add the beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks, until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Cook the mushrooms:

  • Add the mushrooms to the pot and cook for 6-8 minutes until all water releases from the mushrooms and evaporates. Season with salt and pepper. Add to the plate with the beef.

Sauté the chili aromatics:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons neutral oil in the pot and add the onion, bell pepper, and minced jalapeño. Cook for 6-8 minutes. Season with salt.

Bloom the spices:

  • Mix spices–chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, ancho chile powder, cocoa powder, and cayenne–in a bowl.
  • Make a well in the middle of the vegetables and heat 1-2 teaspoons more neutral oil. Add the spices and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Toss to coat the vegetables in the spices.

Simmer the chili:

  • Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, green chilies, and black beans. Bring to a boil. Return the beef and mushrooms to the chili. Reduce heat and add salt and pepper. Simmer for 30-40 mins. Taste and season. If you like, you can add a pinch of granulated or brown sugar to the chili as it simmers.

Make the cabbage slaw:

  • Combine the shredded red cabbage with simple syrup, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl. Add salt and refrigerate as the chili finishes simmering.

To serve:

  • Ladle chili into bowls and pile cabbage on top. Serve with avocado, lime, and cilantro. Enjoy!


Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 525mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin C: 82mg
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