3 Bean Chili Recipe

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Our 3 Bean Chili recipe is bursting with vibrant colors and robust flavors, this plant-based delight features a trio of kidney beans, black beans, and navy beans in a rich tomato sauce. Fresh vegetables and aromatic spices create a hearty dish that’s nutritious, filling, and kid-friendly!

three bean chili after cooking in a pot

Sometimes, I hear other home cooks say making chili seems intimidating or overwhelming, but you can cook chili fairly fast in your own kitchen, and it is much easier than you think! Of course, chili can bubble away all day on the stove, but it doesn’t have to.

This vegetarian chili recipe is ready in 30 minutes. It’s so quick and easy to make and has so much bold flavor that you’ll definitely add this chili recipe to your regular meal rotation.

If you need more quick and easy dinner ideas, you’ll love these hamburger steaks in gravy, warm and cozy Cajun sausage pasta, or these juicy baked chicken thighs.

Why You’ll Love 3 Bean Chili

We make chili pretty often around our house, and this easy recipe is one of my favorites.

  • It’s Quick To Make – This recipe comes together in 10 minutes and just needs to simmer away for another 30 minutes. Dinner on the table in 40 minutes is always a win!
  • So Much Flavor – All your favorite chili seasonings give this recipe a classic flavor.
  • Vegetarian Option – This meatless chili is still filling and delicious.
  • Economical – Canned beans, veggies, and seasonings are affordable and make this meal convenient to make.

What To Serve With Chili

This warm vegetarian chili is perfect for a cool night or an easy weekend lunch or dinner. If you want to pair it with other foods, try:

  • Crusty bread or dinner rolls with fresh butter
  • Cornbread for dipping
  • Tortilla chips for scooping
  • Side salad (with or without meat)
  • Egg noodles or rice – just scoop your chili right on top!

You can also add bowls of toppings on the side. Here are our favorites:

  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  • Tortilla strips
  • Thinly sliced green onion
  • Hot sauce
  • Lime wedges
  • Corn kernels
  • Sliced jalapeños

3 Bean Chili Ingredients

Making vegetarian chili is so simple with canned beans and some seasonings. Here’s what you need (and some ideas for substitutions, if necessary):

  • Olive oil – You can substitute with any cooking oil, such as vegetable or canola oil.
  • Yellow onion – Red or white onion works just as well, so choose your favorite.
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic tastes best, but garlic powder can be used in a pinch. Replace with about 1/4 teaspoon per clove.
  • Jalapenos – For a milder chili, use green bell peppers or omit them entirely if you aren’t a fan.
  • Bell peppers – Any color bell pepper works, or try poblano peppers for a different flavor.
  • Diced tomatoes – I used canned diced tomatoes, but fresh tomatoes can be used if you prefer, about 3 cups chopped.
  • Black beans – Pinto beans make a great substitute.
  • Navy beans – Cannellini beans or great northern beans can be used instead.
  • Kidney beans – Red or white kidney beans, or even chickpeas, can be used.
  • Beer – For a non-alcoholic option, use vegetable broth.
  • Cumin – Coriander can be used as a milder alternative.
  • Chipotle chili powder – Use regular chili powder or smoked paprika if you don’t have chipotle chili powder.
  • Paprika – Substitute with smoked paprika or even cayenne pepper for an extra kick.
  • Salt – Sea salt or kosher salt are good alternatives.
  • Freshly cracked pepper – Ground black pepper works just fine.
  • Red pepper flakes – Red pepper flakes will add heat. Use cayenne pepper instead, or omit it if you don’t want your chili to be as spicy.
  • Cinnamon

How to Make 3 Bean Chili

Once you see how easy it is to make this 3-bean chili, you’ll be making it all the time! Here are the step-by-step instructions:

STEP ONE: Cook the vegetables. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan or dutch oven, then add the chopped onions. Saute until translucent. Add the garlic, jalapenos, and peppers, and cook until they’re soft, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn.

STEP TWO: Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer. Add the bottle of beer, tomatoes, beans, cumin, chipotle chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and the cinnamon. Stir well then simmer for 10 minutes.

STEP THREE: Serve. Serve hot topped with your favorite chili toppings such as crackers, cheese, or onions.

Tips and Recipe Notes

  • Take the time to chop your veggies, open your cans, and measure out your seasonings before you begin to cook. It’ll make cooking smoother and faster.
  • Adjust spices to taste. If you like it spicier, add more jalapenos or red pepper flakes.
  • Use a good quality beer. It adds great flavor, so use a beer you enjoy drinking.

Can I Make This Recipe Ahead of Time?

Absolutely! This chili tastes even better the next day. Make it a day ahead, let it cool, and store it in the fridge. Reheat it when you’re ready to eat. You can also reheat it on the stove, then transfer it to a crock pot. Keep it on warm while you serve it, which makes it convenient for a party.

Can This Recipe Be Made Gluten-Free?

Yes, it can! Just make sure to use a gluten-free beer or substitute with vegetable broth. You can check your other ingredients for any traces of gluten.

FAQs

How can I make this chili less spicy?
Leave out the jalapenos and red pepper flakes, or reduce the amount as desired.

Can I use dried beans instead of canned?
Yes, but cook them first. You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups of each type of cooked beans.

Can I add meat to this chili?
Sure! Cooked ground beef, turkey, or chicken would be delicious. Just add it to the mix before you allow it to simmer for 20 minutes.

Can I make this chili in a slow cooker?
Yes, just sauté the veggies first, then add everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Is this chili vegan?
Yes, it’s completely vegan if you use vegetable broth instead of beer.

How many servings does this recipe make?
This recipe serves about 6-8 people.

Can I add other vegetables to this chili?
Absolutely! Corn, zucchini, or carrots would be great additions.

How do I thicken my chili if it’s too watery?
Let it simmer uncovered to reduce the liquid.

a wooden spoon stirring three bean chili

How to Store Leftovers

Got leftovers? Lucky you! This chili is even better the next day!

Store your chili in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll stay good for up to 4 days. The flavors get even better as the chili sits in the fridge.

Can I Freeze Leftovers?

Yes, you can freeze this chili. Let it cool completely, then transfer the leftovers to a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag. It will keep well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.

How to Reheat

To reheat your chili, warm it on the stove over medium heat until hot. You might need to add a bit of water or broth to thin it out a touch. You can also microwave it in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every minute until heated through.

More Recipes To Love

If you love this chili recipe, you’ll also enjoy:

Bush’s Easy Chili Recipe
Sloppy Joe Sweet Potatoes
Red Lentil Chili
Sheet Pan Teriyaki Chicken
Ground Turkey Soup

a wooden spoon stirring three bean chili

3 Bean Chili Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Course Dinner
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Our 3 Bean Chili is bursting with vibrant colors and robust flavors, this plant-based delight features a trio of kidney beans, black beans, and navy beans in a rich tomato sauce. Fresh vegetables and aromatic spices create a hearty dish that's nutritious, filling, and kid-friendly!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 jalapenos seeded and minced
  • 3 bell peppers any color, diced
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can navy beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pinch of cinnamon

Instructions

  • Cook the vegetables. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan or dutch oven. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the garlic, jalapenos, and peppers cooking until softened.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer. Add the beer, tomatoes, beans, cumin, chipotle chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon. Stir well then simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve. Serve hot topped with your favorite chili toppings such as crackers, cheese, or onions.

Notes

  • Take the time to chop your veggies, open your cans, and measure out your seasonings before you begin to cook. It’ll make cooking smoother and faster.
  • Adjust spices to taste. If you like it spicier, add more jalapenos or red pepper flakes.
  • Use a good quality beer. It adds great flavor, so use a beer you enjoy drinking.

Nutrition

Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 438mg | Potassium: 828mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1045IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 5mg
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