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NQM Awesome Beef & Bean Chili Recipe

Prep time: 15-20 minutes (see shortcuts section; skip shortcuts = longer prep time)
Serves: around 6 people
Suggested toppings: grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado, picked jalapeños, hot sauce
Cook time: 8 hours on low — Fills 3–4 Q Slow Cooker.
For larger capacity 6.5 Q Slow Cooker, you can double the recipe but reduce the chicken broth by 1 cup.
Serve with: tortilla chips or cornbread


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. beef chuck steak/roast cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil, plus more as needed (vegetable oil is okay)
  • 1.5 tbsp. Kosher salt and 1.5 tbsp.  ground pepper (+/- to taste)
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 8-10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. chili powder (optional 1-2 tbsp. more for extra spicy)
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 16-oz. cans of kidney beans, rinsed
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 14-oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 28 oz. chopped fire roasted tomatoes

Optional if you like hot to extra hot:

  • 4 dried chilis New Mexican or arbol
  • ½-1 cup pickled jalapeños
  • 5 dashes +/- hot sauce like Franks or Tabasco

Cooking instructions:

  • Cube chuck steak, salt & pepper cubed beef (lightly–moderately depending on personal state).
  • Brown steak in 1–2 tbsp. olive oil, transfer browned meat to crock-pot.
  • Brown ground beef in same skillet, add to crock-pot, wipe skillet for next step.
  • Chop 2 onions, brown in skillet using 2 tbsp. olive oil, once translucent add chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, & garlic and stir.
  • Transfer onion mixture to crock-pot.
  • Add to crock-pot: chicken broth, rinsed beans, tomato sauce, tomato paste & tomatoes. Stir well.
  • Do not open lid to stir until there is about an hour left.
  • For hour of cooking, remove lid and allow the chili to thicken. Crock-pot brands vary some in heat levels so you may need to adjust this timing to a bit. If you prefer thinner soup like chili, skip this step.


  • Can cook on high setting but it won’t be as flavorful and steak cubes won’t be quite a tender.
  • Use cornbread mix (Krusteaz is my favorite).
  • Chop onions & grate cheese topping in food processor.
  • Use jar minced garlic (quantities vary depending on brand, most are ~ 2 teaspoons = 1 clove) 10 tbsp. = 1/5 cup so I often grab the ¼ cup scoop and fill it a bit below the top.


  • When buying the beef, look for better quality, grass fed and/or hormone free that’s lean to moderate (extra lean often ends up dry when slow cooking).
  • If you like a more rustic, chunky style whole-canned tomatoes and chunk them with your hands instead of buying pre-chopped tomatoes.
  • Non-fire roasted tomatoes work fine, the fire roasted ones are just a bit more flavorful.
  • If you prefer pinto beans, sub them for the kidney beans.
  • If you want hot spice level, mixed the crushed dried chilis with tomato paste before adding to crock-pot. For XX hot, do the tomato paste/chili step plus right before serving, add ½ cup up to 1 cup pickled jalapeños and hot sauce to taste.
  • If you have a larger 6 or 6.5 Q crock-pot, make a double batch and freeze one batch.
  • For left overs, make chili dogs or chili nachos.


Featured Photo by Nicole Vaughn