Chipotle Chili is a smoky simple meal that can be made on the stovetop, in the crockpot, or in the Instant Pot! No matter how you prepare it, this spicy dinner is one that screams for your favorite chili toppings. Serves 4.
I LOVE CHILI.
Chili is just the best. It’s the ultimate comfort food for me. I can vary the toppings, there are endless recipe options, and it’s a one pot meal that never takes too long (or too much effort).
Lately, the weather here in Denver has been so up and down, so I wanted to squeeze in ONE MORE warm and comforting soup before completely leaning into the spring recipes I have planned.
I’m sure there’s a least one more snowstorm in our future here…
So I reached for the chipotles in adobo that are always lingering in my pantry. Chipotles are such an easy way to add flavor to soups, marinades, sauces, and more. They are smoky and spicy, giving an added depth of flavor to whatever you are cooking.
In combination with the beef, beans, tomatoes, and spices, this chipotle chili is savory, spicy, and totally addictive. I can tell you with confidence, if you are a chili fanatic like I am, you are going to be making this recipe over and over again.
onion – I use white onion for this recipe, but you can also use yellow onion if that’s what you have on hand.
bell pepper – the bell pepper gives so much flavor to this chili! I used red, but you could also use yellow or orange.
ground beef – for this recipe, I use lean ground beef (80-90%).
beans – a combination of chili and kidney beans.
tomatoes – I highly recommend using fire-roasted tomatoes! The flavor is more robust than regular diced tomatoes.
chipotles – both the chipotles and adobo sauce from the can are used in this recipe to make it smoky and spicy.
spices – I use a combination of salt, pepper, cocoa powder, ground cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, and dried oregano.
this recipe’s must haves
The beauty of this recipe is that it can be made on the stovetop, in the slow cooker, or in the Instant Pot!
If you are making it on the stovetop, I like to use a Dutch oven.
here’s how to make chipotle chili
Start by sautéing the vegetables in oil until they begin to soften. This takes about 3 minutes or so.
Once the vegetables are cooked down a bit, add the beef and cook it until it’s browned. This will take about 4 to 5 minutes or so.
Depending on the cooking method you choose, here’s the way to do it!
Instant Pot – add all the other ingredients to the instant pot after cooking the vegetables and beef on the Sauté setting. Stir it all together and cook on High pressure for 20 minutes. Manually release pressure and serve.
Stovetop – after sautéing everything together, add the rest of the ingredients and bring it to a simmer. Cover and cook on a simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Serve.
Crockpot – after sautéing the vegetables and browning the beef in a skillet on the stove, add the ingredients to the crockpot with everything else. Cook on High for 4 hours. Serve.
tips for success
use fire-roasted tomatoes. I love the flavor that fire-roasted tomatoes bring to the party for this chili (really for ALL chilis, to be honest). However, if you don’t have them handy or can’t find them, you can use regular diced tomatoes.
if you are doing it on the stovetop, let it simmer as long as possible. Definitely make sure to simmer this chili for 30 to 45 minutes! I recommend going the full 45 minutes if you can because the flavor just gets better. Heck, you can even let it simmer for a couple of hours if you want to!
meal prep for the win. Chili will stay good in the freezer for 4 to 6 months! An easy way to meal prep is to double this recipe and store the extras in the freezer for a quick meal when you are in a pinch. Pro tip: store them in individual servings so you can also grab and go for lunches!
can I use ground turkey instead of beef?
If you are looking to lighten this chili up, or if you just don’t like beef, you can substitute turkey out for the beef. Brown it in the same way you would brown the beef and proceed with the recipe as listed.
can I make this chipotle chili ahead of time?
You sure can! This chili can be made up to 2 or 3 days ahead of when you plan to serve it. Cool it after making it, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Want to freeze it? Cool it down and store in individual servings in freezer bags! All you have to do is defrost it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat the following day.
Need some more inspiration for soups? Check out my soup recipes page.
what to serve with chipotle chili
For chipotle chili, make sure you have alllllll the toppings! This includes sour cream, your favorite shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, Fritos or tortilla chips, sliced jalapeño, and whatever else you can think of. But don’t forget about…
- The cocktail! A simple and straightforward chili lime margarita is the ideal pairing for this smoky and savory chili.
- Want a festive dessert to close out the meal? These churro cheesecake taquitos are a sweet take on the traditionally savory recipe! The cinnamon sugar on the outside is the tastiest finishing touch.
This is just one of those cozy chili recipes you just have to try!
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 16 oz can chili beans
- 1 16 oz can kidney beans
- 1 16 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
- 3 chipotles in adobo, chopped
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp adobo sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- Sour cream
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Instant Pot - Add oil to insert and set on Saute setting. Once hot, add onion and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add beef and cook until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off Instant Pot.
- Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Cook on High pressure for 20 minutes. Manually release pressure. Serve warm with your favorite toppings.
- Stovetop - Add oil to a Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onion and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add beef and cook until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Bring the chili to a simmer and cook for about 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve warm with your favorite toppings.
- Slow Cooker - Add oil to a medium skillet and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onion and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add beef and cook until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to slow cooker insert.
- Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Cook on High for 4 hours. Serve warm with your favorite toppings.