Beef Chili

5 stars
(7 ratings)
Beef Chili

My kids’ Halloween here in SoCal is very different from the Halloween of my childhood in New England. Let’s start with the weather: the current forecast for Tuesday is a high of 75 with bright sun. When I was a kid, we had to double up on layers underneath our costumes before trick or treating. And those were the years there wasn’t cold driving rain, forcing us to cover our costumes with waterproof gear! But the other thing that stands out for me is the sense of community - a benefit of suburban living, I guess.

Now, on Halloween night, my front door is always open – neighborhood kids come and go, and friends of friends stop by for a bowl of chili (my Halloween tradition!), buttery cornbread, a glass of wine, and some Halloween cookies. I love to see the costumes (but many adults show up in “normal clothes” too). However, for me, the best part of Halloween isn't the costumes or the candy, it's the celebration of community. And nothing anchors it better than this recipe for chili, with all its classic toppings. 

3 Reasons why chili makes the perfect Halloween meal (served 10 years and counting):

– If Halloween does bring cold temps and rain, this hearty recipe is sure to warm you up – and fill you up –  before you start trading for Twix. 

– It’s the ideal make-ahead dish (it even gets better the next day!)  

– It feeds a crowd – or just your goblins who get leftovers in their post-candy-crash lunch the next day. 

Feed a crowd with this cool-weather staple, with a rich flavor thanks to a kick of cocoa powder!

  • Active Kitchen Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings


  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • optional toppings: sour cream, cheese, green onion, avocado

Supper Smarts:

  • Serving Suggestions: Serve up cornbread or corn muffins (try serving alongside a simple honey butter!)

  • Speed it Up: Timesaving tip — cut up onions ahead of time and freeze them in a plastic bag so chopped onions are ready anytime.

  • Mix it Up: Chili is the most forgiving recipe — add in veggies, like corn and zucchini, or sub in other beans if you don't have kidney beans on hand.

  • Leftover Love: Use chili to dress up nachos.


Stir 2 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp cumin, 2 Tbsp cocoa powder, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp ground black pepper, and 1 tsp kosher salt in small bowl. Set aside.
Peel one onion, cut away ends, cut into strips, and dice. Add to medium bowl.
Cut tops away from 2 carrots. Cut into rounds, then into quarters. Add to onion.
Smash and peel 4 cloves garlic. Mince and add to onion and carrots.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in pot over medium-high heat.
Add onions, carrots, garlic, and 1 tsp kosher salt. Cook until very soft, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 min.
Add 1 lb lean ground beef and spices.
Use a wooden spoon to break beef into small pieces. Cook 5 minutes.
Add 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes and 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce.
Drain 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, and 1 (15 oz) can black beans in colander.
Add beans to chili. Bring to boil.
Reduce heat to simmer. Cook 25 minutes. Serve with your favorite chill toppings. TASTE & SHARE!

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Sarah February 21, 2024 @ 10:02 AM
Suggestions for a substitute for the cocoa powder? We have a chocolate allergy. :(
Danielle December 11, 2023 @ 07:06 AM
This dish was really good. My husband and I love chili and this was a nice change from our usual recipe. The seasoning was spot on for us and the cocoa powder definitely added a great flavor! We will definitely make again!
Supper Club December 7, 2023 @ 08:25 AM
@Talia Sorry to hear this didn’t turn out for you! Our team of testers found that this was the right amount because of needing to season the meat and beans, but know that sometimes this comes down to personal preference. We also just wanted to check that you’re using kosher salt, not table salt — table salt in that amount would be much saltier.
Talia December 7, 2023 @ 08:15 AM
This recipe has way too much salt. The directions tell you to add 1 tsp salt in two different steps (step 1 and step 6) and the resulting chili is WAY too salty. I used twice as much meat as it calls for and it was still way too salty.
Raddish Supper Club November 6, 2023 @ 01:11 PM
@Rosa Cromwell thanks for the question — this yields about 6-8 servings!