This is The Best Taco Chili recipe you can make at home. Full of spicy flavor with tender ground beef, beans, and thick tomato broth. Scale it down to make it "for two" friendly.
Instead of using packaged taco seasoning, which has fillers, you can make this chili with taco seasoning spices from your pantry. You can adjust the heat or spices, change the size, and even the cooking method using a crock pot or stovetop.
Ground beef—leaner preferred
Canned ingredients—green chiles, black beans, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth
Pantry ingredients—chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper
Ranch dressing powder—optional
Featured Comment from Karen: "We love, love, love this recipe!"
It is the best taco chili you can make at home. It is like Taco Tuesday in a bowl. Easy and quick to make—done in less than an hour with only one pan if you cook on the stovetop or crock pot.
You won't believe this fits your diet. It will fit a healthy diet like a low-calorie or low-fat diet or even a low-carb keto diet. You can decrease the salt by using low-sodium products and reducing the salt.
👨🍳How to Make Taco Chili
Use the ground meat and beans of your choice. Lean ground beef with black and kidney beans are suggested.
Prep a medium onion with a medium chop and one jalapeno pepper by mincing (optional.)
In a large pan, cook 1 pound of lean ground beef with diced onion. Use a Dutch oven if finishing on the stovetop.
While the beef is starting to cook, combine the spices: 3 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon oregano, ½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper.
When beef and onion have been cooked for 6-8 minutes and just browned, drain the fat. Add the spices and about half the can of tomato sauce. Continue to cook until beef is well browned–about 10 minutes total cooking time. Add the beef to a 5-quart or larger crock pot, or leave it in the Dutch oven if stovetop cooking.
Rinse 1 can of black beans and 1 can of kidney beans, and add to the pot. You may substitute any beans you want.
Add all remaining ingredients: 1 small can of green chilies, 2 cans diced tomatoes, the remaining tomato sauce, the diced jalapeno, ½ envelope of dry ranch dressing mix (optional), and a 14 oz can of beef broth. The beef broth may be omitted if you want this thick.
Cook on low in the crock pot for 6 hours or 3 hours on high. Or bring to a boil on the stovetop, turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes, but 1-2 hours is better.
For more details, keep reading. See the Recipe Card below for complete instructions and to print.
✔️Tips and variations to make it right every time
This recipe requires ground meat—leaner is preferred. Usually, use beef, but ground turkey or ground chicken will be fine.
The heat level is 6/10 on the heat meter with a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one jalapeno. Without the jalapeno and cayenne pepper, the heat level will be 1-2 out of 10. Add more or less spices or jalapeno to adjust the heat level.
The optional dry ranch dressing adds an interesting taste and is an excellent counterbalance to the hot spiciness if you crank up the heat.
Optional additions are bell pepper and corn.
Simmering longer will let the flavors come together. So you can heat it through and eat in about 10-15 minutes—it will be good but not great.
This chili is based on my Ground Beef Taco Meat, like my Taco Casserole. Or check out some other crock pot chicken recipes like Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas, Crock Pot Chicken Enchiladas, Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Crock Pot Chicken Tacos.
⬇️How to make this a "for two" friendly recipe
A full recipe makes about 14 cups of chili, which makes 8 large servings and needs a 5-quart or larger crock pot.
- A half recipe will fit nicely in a 3-quart crock pot or smaller pan on the stovetop and make 4 servings.
- Use the recipe card and adjust the number of servings to half.
- Use the amount of ingredients in the ingredient list, not the instructions—those do not adjust.
- Cook for the same amount of time.
Serve topped with some shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Other possible toppings are tortilla strips, jalapeno, avocado slices, cilantro, and green onion or avocado slices. Or your favorite taco toppings.
Side dishes would mostly be tortilla chips and salsa, but Mexican rice, refried beans, or a green garden salad also work for me.
Store leftovers sealed in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days or frozen for 3-4 months. Good in the fridge for 3-4 days and good in the freezer for 3-4 months.
You "can," but you will miss out on most of the great taste.
No. You will have clumps of meat and all the fatty drainage in your dish.
The ground meat must be browned, spiced, and drained before adding it to the pot. Crock pots are great for many things, but cooking ground meat is not one of them.
Adjust the amount of broth to thin it more like soup. If you know you want very thick chili, leave out the broth.
But if you need to thicken, use one tablespoon of cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of cold water. Mix well to make a smooth slurry, then stir into the chili. It will take 15-20 minutes to thicken; you can repeat it if needed.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
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The Best Taco Chili—Crock Pot or Stovetop
- 1 lb ground beef - lower fat preferred
- 1 onion - medium chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper - optional, minced
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper - optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 oz green chilies
- 14 oz black beans - drained and rinsed
- 14 oz light kidney beans - drained and rinsed
- 28 oz diced tomatoes
- 14 oz tomato sauce
- 14 oz beef broth - Optional-leave out if you want very thick
- ½ envelope ranch dressing powder - Optional
- Use the ground meat and beans of your choice. Lean ground beef with black and kidney beans are suggested.
- Prep a medium onion with a medium chop and one jalapeno pepper by mincing (optional.)
- In a large pan, cook 1 pound of lean ground beef with diced onion. Use a Dutch oven if finishing on the stovetop.
- While beef is starting to cook, combine the spices: 3 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon oregano, ½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper.
- When beef and onion have cooked for 6-8 minutes and just browned, drain fat. Add the spices and about half the can of tomato sauce. Continue to cook until beef is well browned–about 10 minutes total cooking time. Add the beef to a 5-quart or larger crock pot, or leave it in the Dutch oven if stovetop cooking.
- Rinse 1 can of black beans and 1 can of kidney beans, and add to the pot. You may substitute any beans you want.
- Add all remaining ingredients: 1 small can of green chilies, 2 cans diced tomatoes, the remaining tomato sauce, the diced jalapeno, ½ envelope of dry ranch dressing mix (optional), and a 14 oz can of beef broth. The beef broth may be omitted if you want this thick.
- Cook on low in the crock pot for 6 hours or 3 hours on high. Or bring to a boil on the stovetop, turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes, but 1-2 hours is better.
Your Own Private Notes
- As written, this needs a larger crock pot of 5-quarts or more. The half recipe will fit in a 3-quart.
- This is a relatively easy recipe to cut in half. See the recipe post for instructions.
- Use the beans and ground meat of your choice.
- Please do not use packaged taco seasoning.
- This is 6/10 on the heat-o-meter with the jalapeno and the 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
- If you want less heat, cut back the cayenne pepper and/or eliminate the jalapeno pepper. You will still have great taste without the heat.
- When browning the meat, when you get it all broken up and starting to brown, drain and add the spices. This will lock the flavor in the meat and not drain off with the fat.
- You can cook for a shorter period of time since everything is safe, but it is better if cooked for full time so the flavors come together.
- The optional ranch dressing powder adds an interesting taste of cool vs. spicy heat. Recommended if you have elected higher heat with the jalapeno and max cayenne pepper.
- Good refrigerated for 3-4 days and frozen for 3-4 months.
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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Publishing Note: Originally Published: January 13, 2012. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.