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Eight-Ingredient Beef and Bean Chili

4 to 6 Servings

40 minutes

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To create a flavor-packed, pantry-friendly, weeknight chili using just eight ingredients, we’re not shy about the seasonings. We add ¼ cup of chili powder and a full tablespoon of cumin, plus a surprising addition: cocoa powder. It imparts amazing depth and complexity without tasting like chocolate. We also include a generous amount of tomato paste and cook it until deeply browned, a trick that develops rich, concentrated flavor. Chili loves garnishes; see the list below for our favorites.

4 to 6


40 minutes



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Amy A.
January 28, 2023
Mild but packs a lot of flavor
The chili is delicious. I was hesitant about the cocoa, but it balanced the flavors. I’d like to try it again and switch up the ingredients for a different variety.
Scott T.
December 21, 2022
Simple, yet delicious!
Followed the recipe as written and was pleasantly impressed! The amount of spices keeps it from being under flavored. The chocolate adds a great touch! Will definitely make again!
Margaret H.
January 24, 2023
Looking forward to this! Hoping to up the stars!
I want to give this 5 stars, but am wondering how much cumin to use! In the head paragraph, it states a full tablespoon of cumin. In the recipe, it calls for 2. That's quite a difference even for cumin lovers like me! I suppose I could start with 1 tablespoon and add more if I feel it needs it, but am concerned about the spice being properly incorporated through the cooking process. Thanks for the information!
Diana L.
January 31, 2024
Good chili and quick to put together
The best part of this recipe is that it’s quick. I’ve made this chili twice now, once with impossible meat and once with real beef, and both times it tasted really good. However, it definitely needs more salt, and I think it needs less water. Next time, I’ll add 1 1/2 cups of water and see how it goes. I’ll definitely make this recipe again. Thanks for another great recipe, Milk Street!
Renee H.
August 30, 2023
This recipe came out great. I love its super dark, vibrant color and flavor. I did change a few things. Instead of 1 lb of ground beef, I used 1/2 a pound and it was more than enough. I'm trying to cut back on my meat consumption. I only used one tablespoon of the oil to saute the onion and spices and instead of water, I used low sodium, low-fat beef broth. Will keep this one in my rotation for sure.