Dutch oven chili—the only way to make chili! This smoky ground beef chili is flavorful, lightened up just a bit, and perfect for the cooler months ahead. 

Lean ground beef and a hearty amount of black beans keep this chili on the healthier side, while bacon and chipotles in adobo add just the right dose of decadence to keep everyone coming back for more.

Photo of a bowl of chili topped with avocado, lime, onion, cilantro and jalapeno set on a wood table with chips
Chili Bar Ideas:

It’s all about the toppings

Make it a chili bar party with these six categories of toppings! Offer a few toppings from each category so everyone can make their own unique bowl of chili! 

Cheese:

  • Shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Crumbled Cotija 
  • Crumbled Feta 

Veggies:

  • Corn kernels
  • Sliced chiles
  • Diced fresh tomatoes
  • Diced white onions 
  • Sliced scallions
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Sliced radishes 

Creaminess:

  • Sliced avocado
  • Sour cream 
  • Greek yogurt 

Crunch:

  • Cooked bacon bits 
  • Roasted and salted pepitas
  • Corn chips such as tortilla chips or Fritos

Herbs/Fresh:

  • Cilantro
  • Parsley 

Tang:

Photo of a bowl of chili topped with avocado, lime, onion, cilantro and jalapeno set on a wood table with chips
Have at least one side dish. A few ideas:

Keep your chili warm

Keep the chili in your Dutch oven on the stove over low heat, or transfer to a slow cooker so you can set it on a table. 

Consider who you’re serving

If you are serving a mixture of vegetarians and meat eaters, try to offer a vegetarian chili option, or simply leave the meat out of this recipe. If you choose to leave the meat out, double the beans and cook the meat in a separate pan. Offer the meat as a topping for those who want it. 

Make it a group effort

Most guests want to help if they can, so when people start to ask what they can bring, assign them a few toppings. Not only does get everyone involved, but it also takes a lot of prep work off of your shoulders.

Photo of a bowl of chili topped with avocado, lime, onion, cilantro and jalapeno set on a wood table with chipsMy favorite Dutch ovens 

There are so many options out there that it can be hard to weed through them all. Here are my favorite Dutch ovens, including a range in prices:

Make sure to tag me @ZESTFULKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM or comment below if you make this Smoky Dutch Oven Chili

To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can click the button on any of the photos, or the red button on the side bar or below the recipe. Happy baking!

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Smoky Chipotle Black Bean Chili

  • Author: Lauren
  • Total Time: 2½ hours
  • Yield: about 10 cups (serves 10–12) 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American/Mexican

Description

Lean ground beef and a hearty amount of black beans keep this chili on the healthier side, while bacon and chipotles in adobo add just the right dose of decadence to keep everyone coming back for more.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 slices bacon, chopped (optional *see notes)
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons minced chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons each chili powder and tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons each ground coriander and cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 2 cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes (14.5 ounces each)
  • 1 can low-sodium beef broth (14.5 ounces)
  • 2 cans low-sodium black beans (15 ounces each), rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Toppings:

  • Reserved cooked bacon
  • Avocado
  • Diced onion
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapeño

Instructions

Cook bacon in a pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in pot.

Heat reserved drippings (or 2 tablespoons olive oil) in pot over medium until shimmering. Add onions, bell peppers, chipotles, chili powder, tomato paste, garlic, coriander, cumin, and oregano, and cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high, add sirloin and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, 3–4 minutes.

Add tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Remove lid, stir in beans and water and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chili is rich, dark, and slightly thickened. Stir in lime juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with desired toppings.


Notes

Chili can be made up to 2 days ahead, just reheat in a pot on the stove over medium-low or in a slow-cooker on high.

Although delicious, the bacon is totally optional. If you choose to leave it out, use 2 tablespoons olive oil in place of the drippings in the second step of the recipe.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: ¾ cup
  • Calories: 263
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 449mg
  • Fat: 19g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 11g
  • Cholesterol: 38mg

Keywords: Dutch Oven Chili, Adobo Chili, chipotle adobo chili,

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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