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Easy Beef Chili

This easy beef chili may be controversial because of the carrots. But when you have to clean out the crisper, this chili recipe is the perfect vehicle for veggies about to go bad.
4.34 from 3 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 5


  • Large pot
  • Skillet


Spice mixture:

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Cobanero chili flakes or use crushed red pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika


  • 2 teaspoons neutral oil plus more as needed
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
  • 1 red Fresno chili pepper trimmed and diced
  • 3 small carrots peeled and small-diced
  • 1 ½ cups water or beef stock plus more if needed
  • 7- ounce can diced green chiles
  • 15- ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 28- ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes excess liquid drained off
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Corn chips:

  • Neutral oil
  • 5 corn tortillas cut into 2'' strips
  • Flaky sea salt

For serving:

  • Crème fraîche or sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  • Cilantro


Prepare the spice mixture:

  • Gather the spice mixture ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.

Brown the beef:

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the beef and cook for 6–7 minutes, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Add half the spice mixture and toss to coat. Continue cooking until the ground beef develops a golden-brown crust around the edges, 8–10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to a bowl.

Cook the aromatics:

  • If needed, add a touch more oil to the pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, red Fresno pepper, and carrots, and cook for 6–7 minutes until they begin to sweat and just start to soften. Season with salt.

Bloom the spices:

  • Add the remaining spice mixture to the onions and carrots and toss to coat. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

Simmer the chili:

  • Pour in the water or beef stock and bring to a boil. Add the beans, green chiles, and tomatoes. Add the cooked beef back to the pot. If needed, add a bit more water to ensure the ingredients are covered—taste and season with salt. If you like, add brown sugar.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes until the chili is thickened and the carrots are very tender. Stir the chili occasionally to prevent it from sticking, and add more liquid as needed. Mash the carrots against the side of the pot as the chili cooks. Taste and season once more to your preferences before turning off the heat.

Fry the corn chips:

  • In a skillet or pot, add 1/2''–1'' of oil to the pot. Turn the heat to medium-high. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the sliced corn chips and fry, occasionally turning, for 3–4 minutes or until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate. Immediately sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

To serve:

  • Ladle the chili into bowls and garnish with the corn chips, crème fraîche, and shredded cheese if you like. Enjoy!
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