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Crazy Easy 3 Ingredient Chili

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When I say this 3 ingredient chili is easy, I really mean, it’s EAZY. (See what I did there? lol). Seriously, it’s savory from the beef, the beans have those fantastic chili flavors and the Rotel helps ‘sauce it up’ and gives it a kick!

No more million-ingredient chili recipes for you! This recipe is perfect as a base to eat just as is, or you can add other things to bring your twist to it. Bring on the tailgate party!

3 ingredient chili in a glass bowl on a white plate. A wedge of lime sits on the upper right corner of the bowl. Garnishes are in the center of the chili.
3 Ingredient chili with all the fixin’s!

Why This 3-Ingredient Chili Recipe Works

  • I’ll bet it’s the easiest chili recipe you’ve ever made.
  • The key is the chili beans. They give a lot of the chili flavor because this recipe uses only 3 ingredients.
  • The recipe is easily customizable depending on how many people you’re cooking for.
  • It’s delicious, filling, and can easily feed a crowd economically.

Groceries Needed

  • Ground beef – I used lean ground beef for this recipe but if you’re wanting to save even more money, choose regular ground beef and simply drain the fat. Extra lean works as well if you want to go with a leaner chili with lower fat content. Ground chicken can work for this recipe if you’re avoiding red meat.
  • Beans – The key here is to use tinned/canned beans that have flavors already infused into them. I used this brand of beans, but use any brand that has chili flavors cooked into the beans. Remember NOT to drain them!
  • Rotel – The Rotel adds a few other ingredients that would normally be added to chili, but in one easy go. Tomatoes and also the green chilis. You can lightly drain the can, but don’t drain it completely as it helps add moisture to the chili.

EAZY TIP: If you can’t find any brand of beans that have chili flavors infused into them, you could use this inexpensive chili packet flavoring to get the same results!

Pantry Ingredients

  • Salt & Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Garnishes: *optional* – avocado, sour cream cheddar, fresh or pickled jalapenos, hot sauce, cilantro.

Eazy Tip: Remember, salt, pepper, garlic, oil, sugar and water don’t factor into the ingredient count because most people have those pantry items in their kitchen.

A spoonful of chili with shredded cheddar, avocado and cilantro garnished on top.
Delicious zesty chili

How to Make This Zesty Chili

This chili recipe is made quickly so it can be eaten right away, or you can let the flavors melt together over warm/low heat for a few hours.

Brown the ground beef. Drain any excess fat you don’t want. Season the beef with pepper and garlic powder. Leave the salt until the end.

Browning the beef in a large pot
Begin by browning the beef.

After the beef is browned, add the chili beans. Then add the Rotel. Do not drain any excess liquids from the can.

Rotel is added to the ground beef in the pot.

Mix well and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low/medium. Taste the chili and then adjust for seasoning. Add the salt at this point.

Serve as is, or add extra garnishes on top. (See a list of garnishes in the recipe card).

The finished chili in the pot.

What Makes Chili Taste Like Chili?

First and foremost, it would be the chili powder that’s used in chili making. This recipe relies on chili powder and other seasonings both in the Rotel and the canned beans. There are other spices such as cumin, garlic, and oregano.

If you have these spices on hand, try adding some of each, in small increments until you are satisfied with the flavor profile. Some people even have ‘secret’ ingredients that they add to their chili pot. These are things like cocoa powder, chocolate, soy sauce, and liquid smoke.

Chili with cheddar cheese, sliced avocado and lime wedges in bowls surrounding it. There is an orange and polka dot napkin under the plate.

How to Put a Twist on this Three-Ingredient Chili

While this easy chili recipe is great as is, there are always ways to put a twist on things by adding extra ingredients to make the recipe your own. Take a peek at a few ways you can do this.

  • Spice it up! – Hot chili flakes can add that extra kick to this chili recipe if you like things hot and spicy. Add as much as you’d like, but remember that a little goes a long way. If chili flakes aren’t your thing, try adding some minced chilis in adobo sauce. Those will lend a really nice smoky, spicy flavor to the chili. You could also go with Tabasco or sriracha sauces, or a diced jalapeno.
  • Corn– Wanting to bulk up the chili? Add a can or two of corn! It adds a bit of sweetness and rounds out the volume of the chili. Plus it looks nice in the pot.
  • Sausage – Try mixing it up the protein a bit. Add half beef, half sausage. That will add extra flavor to the dish as well.
  • Green chilis and onions – Add a can of green chilis and saute some onions along with the beef in the first step of making this easy chili.
  • Extra beans – Who said you can only add pinto and/or kidney beans? Add ANY bean you personally like the taste of. While bulking up the chili, adding extra beans will add extra flavor as well.
A spoonful of chili above a bowl of chili.

What Do I Serve Chili With?

Well, you could certainly just serve it all by itself with the garnishes on top for the big game!
But if you wanted to add even more bulk to the meal, try serving the chili on rice, or add extra protein and serve it on cooked quinoa.

Making this 3 ingredient guacamole with tortillas would be delicious. Your guests could scoop the guacamole and the chili onto the tortillas, making it so delicious!

Adding a side of fresh cornbread is super yummy with chili. If making cornbread isn’t your thing, even heating up a loaf of garlic bread and serving it alongside the chili would be perfect!

Three ingredient chili with all the fixin's and a spoon on the right side of the bowl.

Storing Leftovers

Store any leftovers in a container with a tight-fitting lid. This three-ingredient chili will be great in the fridge for 5 days.
You could also freeze leftovers in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months.
When reheating, you can reheat in the microwave for a few minutes or put it in the fridge to thaw overnight.

Got extra chili to use? Try making this insanely easy 3 Ingredient Chili Cheese Toast or this quick 3 Ingredient Chili Stuffed Peppers for a busy weeknight dinner!!

Chili cheese toast triangles made with extra leftover chili.

Questions You Might Have

Can I make this in the CrockPot / Slow cooker?
Sure! In fact, this chili recipe would adapt perfectly to the slow cooker. The longer you can let those flavors mingle together at low heat, the more flavorful the chili will get. Look in the recipe card below for full instructions for using a crockpot.

Thanks for checking out the recipes here at EazyGrub! If you’ve tried this recipe already, please leave a comment and a star rating below! Have an awesome day!

Yield: 6 servings

Easy 3 Ingredient Chili

Easy 3 Ingredient Chili

This 3 Ingredient Chili recipe comes together super easily. One of the best parts is that it's easily adjustable to the amount of people you're feeding, can be served as is, or have additional ingredients to put your own twist on it1

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cans beans, chili style 14 oz (undrained)
  • 1 can Rotel, regular, spicy or chili style, (lightly drained), 10 oz.
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  • GARNISHES:
  • as desired - shredded cheddar
  • as desired - avocado slices
  • as desired - chopped or sliced tomatoes
  • as desired - sour cream

Instructions

  1. In a pot, begin by frying the ground beef. Season with pepper and garlic.
  2. When the beef is brown, drain the grease if you wish, and add the canned beans and the Rotel. Mix well.
  3. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Let the chili cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Taste for saltiness and adjust to your liking by adding more, or not.
  5. Serve the chili in bowls with sliced avocado, tomatoes, shredded cheddar and sour cream.


For cooking this chili in a crockpot
1. Saute the beef in a skillet and season. When browned, drain the grease, then add it to the slow cooker bowl.
2. Add the ingredients in step two above.
3. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
4. Garnish and serve.

Notes

Leaving the salt to the end helps with being sure you don't oversalt the chili. There is a lot of sodium in the cans of beans and Rotel, so better to taste and adjust for salt at the end.

If you want to add red chili flakes, do this while sauteing the ground beef.

Serve some cornbread alongside the chili, or serve with rice or quinoa to stretch the chili further.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1 cup

Amount Per Serving Calories 518Total Fat 29gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 100mgSodium 1014mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 7gSugar 9gProtein 36g

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands used, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

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