This Stew Meat Chili recipe is simple for even the non-cook—you only need a few knife skills. With this easy small-batch recipe, you can make chili for two or as much as you need.
With tender chunks of beef, this chili with stew meat has multiple taste levels with various chili peppers. It will make this your new favorite chili—perfect for the weekend or tailgating on game day.
This chili recipe fits a 2-quart mini crock pot and makes four servings but scales down or up seamlessly for larger needs. Uses simple ingedients, you can make it in a crock pot or on the stovetop.
Some people call this Texas chili with beans, which is incorrect since Texas chili does not have beans. This recipe is more Chili Con Carne, a northern Mexican chili similar to Texas chili but can have beans—sometimes called Texas Chili Con Carne.
👨🍳How to Make Chili with Stew Meat
- Brown the meat in a skillet with vegetable oil if you have time. A dusting of flour on the meat will help to brown the meat.
- Trim and chop the peppers and onion. Rinse the beans.
- Add all ingredients to a 2 to 3-quart crock pot. A double recipe needs 4-quart or larger. Larger crock pots can be used for small recipes but may cook faster.
- Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for about 4 hours.
♨️How to make on the stovetop
- If you have time, brown the meat in a Dutch oven with vegetable oil. Dry the beef with a paper towel before browning, and a dusting of flour on the meat will help to brown the meat.
- Trim and chop the peppers and onion. Rinse the beans.
- Add all the ingredients to the meat in the Dutch oven and bring it to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to simmer and cover—cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
- Beef—Precut beef stew meat, or trim your own from a well-marbleized chuck roast or other pot roast type beef.
- Chili peppers—A jalapeño and a Poblano pepper are recommended. Add an Anaheim if you want. Keep the jalapeño but skip the others if you wish.
- Tomato products—Diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Do not skip the paste; it adds an excellent sweet and more intense tomato taste.
- Seasoning—chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper
↕️How to make this a "for two" or "family size" recipe
This is an easy recipe to cut in half, double, or triple. The recipe, as written, makes 6 cups which is four 1 ½ cup servings.
- Use the recipe card and adjust the number of servings you want
- Use the amount of ingredients in the ingredient list, not the instructions—those do not adjust.
- Minimum crock pot size: A half recipe (two servings) will work even in a 1-quart crock pot. For the whole 4 servings, use a 2-quart mini crock pot. For a double recipe, a 4-quart minimum size crock pot. And a triple recipe fits a 6-quart or larger crock pot.
- Cook for the same amount of time.
How to store leftover stew meat chili
Seal in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 4 days or in the freezer for 3 months.
To reheat, thaw completely overnight in the refrigerator if frozen. Reheat in the microwave or stovetop.
I like my chili thick; if you are a thinner chili person, add a cup or two of low-sodium beef broth. Please account for the extra volume in the crock pot size or add it before serving.
This is not a very spicy chili—only 3/10 hot. You can kick that up by doubling the jalapeno or a little cayenne pepper.
In addition to trimming the beef, I like to brown it to create great flavor with a Maillard reaction. A few minutes in a skillet with vegetable oil on the stovetop will add nice flavors.
Use a skillet or Dutch oven with a few teaspoons of oil. Pat dry the beef with paper towels before starting, and a light dusting of flour will help the browning.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
NOTE: All images are for a double recipe which I highly recommend.
Trim a small chuck roast or 1 to 1 ½ pounds of pre-cut stew meat. If using stew meat, check the stew meat and cut bigger pieces in half. I suggest browning the meat over medium-high heat with a few teaspoons of oil. Give the beef a light dusting of flour before browning.
Chop ½ large onion. Dice ½ Poblano pepper and mince ½ jalapeno pepper. Skip the Poblano pepper if you want.
Drain and rinse 1 can of light kidney beans (or beans of your choice.)
Add meat, onion, peppers, and beans to a small crockpot. Add one 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, 3 oz tomato paste, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper—stir well.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for about 4 hours. You may add some low-sodium beef broth to thin but wait until near the end of cooking.
Stovetop instructions are above in the post and also in the recipe card below.
Stew Meat Chili
- 1 to 1 ½ pounds stew meat - or trimmed chuck roast
- ½ large onion
- ½ jalapeno pepper
- ½ poblano pepper - optional
- 14 oz light kidney beans - rinsed and drained
- 14 oz diced tomatoes
- 3 oz tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- low sodium beef broth - to thin if desired.
- Trim a small chuck roast or 1 to 1 ½ pounds of pre-cut stew meat. Combed through the stew meat for additional trimming and cut bigger pieces in half. I suggest browning the meat over medium-high heat with a few teaspoons of oil. Give the beef a light dusting of flour before browning.
- Chop ½ large onion. Dice ½ Poblano pepper and mince ½ jalapeno pepper. Skip the Poblano pepper if you want.
- Drain and rinse 1 can of light kidney beans (or beans of your choice.)
- Add meat, onion, peppers, and beans to a small crockpot. Add one 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, 3 oz tomato paste, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper—stir well.
- Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for about 4 hours. You may add some low-sodium beef broth to thin but wait until near the end of cooking.
Your Own Private Notes
- A full-size recipe needs a 2-quart mini crock pot. A double recipe fits nicely in a 4-quart or larger. A triple recipe needs 6 quarts or larger.
- I suggest buying a nice chuck roast for the meat if you don't have a good source of pre-cut stew meat.
- Adjust the chili peppers to your taste. This is about a 3/10 heat, as written. Many will want to double the jalapeno or a little cayenne pepper.
- This is a thick chili, and you may thin it with 4 to 8 ozs of low-sodium beef broth if you wish.
- This is good in the refrigerator for 4 days and the freezer for 3 months.
- This makes about 6 cups. Most people will eat a serving size of about 1 ½ cups.
Stovetop InstructionsStart with a heavy pot like a Dutch oven over medium-high heat with a few teaspoons of oil. Give the beef a light dusting of flour and brown. Add all the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Then, turn the heat down to simmer and cover—cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published February 15, 2018. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.