THIS POST IS SPONSORED BY
the Minnesota Beef Council, with whom we’re thrilled to celebrate comfort food season this winter! As a Minnesota-based food blog, nothing makes us happier than supporting the cattle farmers & ranchers responsibly raising incredible beef right in our backyard. All thoughts & opinions are our own.
The Ultimate Hearty Dinner for a “Chili” Winter Night 😉
On a cold & gray Minnesota day, there’s nothing I’d rather cozy up to than a hearty bowl of chili. Throughout the winter months, I almost always prep a pot of chili on Sunday afternoon to enjoy for supper & reheat for lunch throughout the week.
Over the years, we’ve shared many of my favorite chili recipes here on PWWB – everything from Pumpkin Chili to Chipotle Chicken Chili to my Best-Ever Creamy White Chili. This Braised Beef Chili just so happens to be our first beef chili recipe, though, & I’m so excited to share it with you!
While many beef chili recipes use quicker-cooking ground beef, I opt for hearty Minnesota-raised beef chuck roast instead. The beef becomes meltingly tender as it slowly simmers with aromatic spices, sweet & spicy peppers, tomatoes, & beans, resulting in an especially rich braised beef chili that’s guaranteed to warm you up from the inside out.
Braised Beef Chili Recipe Highlights
While braising beef in chili isn’t a new or novel idea – it’s the technique used to make Chile Colorado, a delicious Mexican stew, & Chili con Carne, a classic Texas-style chili – the idea behind this chuck roast chili recipe was to create a beef stew-inspired version of the classic American chili that I grew up with here in the Midwest, complete with beans, tomatoes, &, of course, all the fixings.
You’re going to love it because it’s…
SUPER HEARTY. Use of hefty chuck roast (or stew meat!) & your choice of beans results in a totally satisfying, protein-loaded pot of chili. The perfect winter meal!
SLOWLY SIMMERED. Gently simmering the beef over the course of several hours creates the best fall-apart tender texture, all while developing a ton of rich flavor.
A SUNDAY SUPPER GO-TO. This braised beef chili is perfect for slowly simmering on Sunday afternoons for a cozy, cold-weather supper. Plus, leftovers are great to enjoy throughout the week!
Not officially award-winning, but it should be! 🏆 ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make Braised Beef Chili, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!
The magic of this braised beef chili recipe is that it coaxes so much richness out of a relatively humble lineup of ingredients. Aside from the beef chuck roast & some simple aromatic veggies, this recipe leans on flavor-forward ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.
Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
- Beef – For the ultimate flavor, I love making beef chili with Minnesota-raised stew meat or chuck roast. Minnesota is home to over 16,000 beef farmers & ranchers dedicated to raising cattle in a manner that is humane & environmentally conscious. As a result, Minnesota beef is not only versatile & nutrient-dense, but it’s also sustainable & absolutely delicious. Learn more! ⇢ All About Minnesota-Raised Beef.
- Aromatics – Aside from the beef, this braised beef chili recipe gets its flavor from ample aromatics like yellow or red onion, garlic, & peppers. Choose either bell peppers or poblano peppers depending on how much spice you like, keeping in mind that the chili gets a bit of kick from jalapeño pepper too!
- Beans – Use your choice of canned beans. Pinto beans, black beans, or dark red kidney beans all work beautifully – just be sure to drain & rinse them first!
- Tomatoes – A combination of jarred tomato sauce, diced fire-roasted tomatoes, & tomato paste add tangy flavor & give the chili velvety body.
- Spices – The chili seasoning is made with a blend of pantry staples like chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, smoked paprika, garlic powder, & cinnamon, creating a spiced & warming kick of flavor.
- Chili flavor-boosters – A splash of apple cider vinegar adds a bit of tang, pure maple syrup adds a hint of sweetness, & Worcestershire sauce adds rich umami flavor.
- Braising liquid – Feel free to use beef broth or stock, or opt for your favorite beer to create another layer of rich & earthy flavor.
Meal Prep Tip!
While cooking a pot of braised beef chili is nearly an entirely hands-off process, you can get things simmering faster by prepping your veggies ahead of time. Dice the onions, peppers, & jalapeños & store them in the fridge until you’re ready to get cooking. On Sunday afternoon, you can start building the beef chili right away – easy! Check the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance.
How to Make Chili with Beef Stew Meat
While braising may seem like an elegant or intimidating technique, it really couldn’t be simpler. This chuck roast chili recipe is assembled in one pot & the stove does all the work!
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Brown the beef. Heat some olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot like a large Dutch oven. Pat the chunks of beef dry with a paper towel, removing any moisture that will inhibit browning, then season it generously. From there, simply add it to the pot & cook a few minutes per side until it’s nicely browned. Why? ⇢ A magical process called the Maillard reaction develops tons of flavor as the meat browns. This results in an even more flavorful beef chili!
Cook the aromatics. Add the onion, peppers, & jalapeños to the same pot used to brown the beef. Soften the veggies in the beef drippings, then add in the garlic & tomato paste & cook until fragrant.
Build the beef chili. Here’s where the rest of the ingredients come into play! First, add the browned beef back into the pot. Then add the spices, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, beans, & beef stock or beer. Tip ⇢ I recommend opening your cans & measuring things out ahead of time so this step can work as quickly as possible.
Braise the chili. Bring the chuck roast chili to a boil, then reduce the heat under the pot to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover & braise for 2 ½ – 3 hours. Why? ⇢ Low & slow heat is key to braising; it helps gently break down the connective tissue in the meat, transforming tougher cuts like chuck roast & stew meat into succulent, fall apart-tender beef.
Alternate Cooking Methods
I love to cook beef chili on the stovetop because it makes the house smell amazing & frees up my oven for making cornbread. 😋 If another method works best for you, go for it! You can make this braised beef chili recipe using your oven, slow cooker or Crockpot, or Instant Pot.
Oven-Roasted Beef Chili
Start by browning the meat & cooking the aromatics on the stovetop. Once you’ve built the beef chili, transfer the pot to the oven to cook for 2 ½ – 3 hours. This is a great option if you don’t want to take over your stovetop for the whole afternoon – just make sure your chili pot is oven-safe! Check the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance.
Slow Cooker Beef Chili
If your Crockpot has a searing feature then you can do everything right in the slow cooker! Otherwise, build the beef chili in your slow cooker after browning the meat & aromatics on the stovetop. The beef chili will take between 4-8 hours to cook, which is awesome if you really want your house to smell fantastic all day. Check the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance.
Instant Pot Beef Chili
Using an electric pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot, takes the beef chili cook time down to under an hour – great if you’re in a rush! Just be sure to use the “sauté” setting to brown the beef & soften the aromatics for maximum flavor. Check the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance!
Beef Chili Toppings & Other Serving Tips
The best part about making braised beef chili is loading up a bowl with plenty of toppings. Add-ins are an easy way to bring some extra texture & freshness to chili. Have fun with it & choose your favorites!
Go-to beef chili toppings here at the PWWB house are…
- Shredded cheese. Sharp cheddar is always my favorite, but any melty cheese works great.
- Sour cream or guacamole. The creaminess of sour cream helps mellow the spicy flavor of this chili, but I love how a little bit of guacamole adds a pop of color.
- Tortilla chips, either whole or crushed, for amazing crunchy texture. Dunking corn chips in chili is fantastic too!
- Sliced jalapeño. A great way to use up any leftover slices you may have – just toss ‘em on top!
- Lime wedges. Perfect for spritzing the rich chili with a little brightness.
- A side of cornbread, of course! There’s nothing better than slathering homemade cornbread in butter – the perfect pairing for beef chili!
This beef chili recipe makes a big batch because I love eating leftover chili throughout the week. Leftovers are one of the biggest reasons I make a big pot on Sunday! If you don’t think you’ll be able to eat your chili within 5 days, try freezing some for later. Braised beef chili is incredibly freezer-friendly & great to reheat on a cold & lazy day. Check the Recipe Notes, below, for full Storage, Freezing, & Reheating instructions.
We can’t wait for you to try this Braised Beef Chili recipe! It’s especially hearty & delivers all of the rich, spicy flavors you crave out of a bowl of chili. We think you’re going to love it just as much as we do!
If you do give it a try, be sure to let us know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. We LOVE seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy cooking!
More Recipes Like This:
Cozy & Hearty Chili Recipes
Throughout the winter months, you’ll almost always find a pot of rich & hearty chili simmering on my stovetop on a Sunday afternoon. We love enjoying it for a cozy Sunday supper, & leftovers reheat beautifully for the easiest lunches during the week. This braised beef chili recipe is our newest obsession & I’m excited to share it with you!
While braising beef in chili isn’t a new or novel idea – it’s the technique used to make Chile Colorado, a delicious Mexican stew, & Chili con Carne, a classic Texas-style chili – the inspiration behind this chuck roast chili recipe was to use chuck roast or stew meat to create an extra-hearty version of the classic American chili that I grew up with, complete with beans, tomatoes, &, of course, all the fixings.
Braising may seem like an elegant or intimidating process, but it really couldn’t be simpler. Once the chili is assembled, the stove takes over & does all the work! After a few hours of slow simmering, the once-tough beef is meltingly tender & has infused all of its richness into the chili – so simple & so satisfying!
If you don’t have a few hours to let a pot of chili simmer on the stovetop, be sure to check out the Recipe Notes, below, for oven-braised, slow cooker, & Instant Pot directions. ♡ Happy cooking!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or high smoke point vegetable oil of choice, divided
- 2 pounds stew meat or beef chuck, trimmed & cubed into 1-inch cubes
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 2 medium bell peppers or poblano peppers, deseeded & diced
- 2 medium jalapenos, deseeded as desired & diced
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 28 ounces diced fire-roasted tomatoes with their juices
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 (two) 15-ounce cans beans of choice (pinto, kidney, black, etc.), drained
- 1 ½ – 2 cups beef stock or beer of choice
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- for serving, as desired: shredded cheese of choice, smashed avocado or guacamole, sliced jalapeño, chopped cilantro, tortilla chips, etc.
Prep Notes: About 20-30 minutes before you’d like to begin preparing your chili, transfer the beef from the refrigerator to the kitchen counter, allow it to come to room temperature for even searing. Gather & prep all ingredients according to Ingredients List, above – chop the onions & peppers, measure the spices, open the cans, etc. – & place them within an arm’s reach of the stovetop for easy chili assembly.
- Brown the beef: Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid over medium-high heat (I use a 5-qt Dutch oven). Use paper towel to pat the surface of the beef as dry as possible, then season generously with about 2 teaspoons kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Once the oil in the pot is shimmering hot, carefully add in the seasoned beef – work in batches as needed to avoid overcrowding the pot. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, until nicely browned. Transfer the browned beef to a plate & set aside.
- Cook the aromatics: If needed, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the same pot used to brown the beef. Once the oil is hot & shimmering, add in the yellow onions, bell/poblano peppers, & jalapenos, seasoning with 1 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened & fragrant, about 5 minutes. Once softened, add the garlic & tomato paste to the pot, stirring to coat the veggies. Cook until fragrant & browned, about 2-3 minutes longer.
- Build the beef chili & braise: Nestle the browned beef from Step 1 into the vegetables, then add all remaining ingredients into the pot – the chili spices, apple cider vinegar, pure maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, & beans. Stir in the beef stock – start with 1 ½ cups & increase to 2 as needed or desired. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cover & simmer 2 ½ – 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beef is fall-apart tender. The braised beef chili will be ready once the meat is fork-tender, or you can easily break it apart with a wooden spoon.
- Serve: Portion the braised beef chili into bowls, serving with your favorite chili toppings: shredded pepper jack or cheese of choice, smashed avocado or guacamole, chopped cilantro, thinly sliced jalapeño, crushed tortilla chips, etc. Enjoy!
- Storage & Freezing:
- Storage & Reheating: This braised beef chili is incredibly meal prep & make-ahead friendly – it stores so well & it’s one of those things that gets even better as it sits & its flavors meld together. Transfer cooled braised beef chili to an airtight container & store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through.
- Freezer Instructions: Braised beef chili is also incredibly freezer-friendly. Transfer the cooled chili to a freezer container or divide between multiple freezer containers for smaller portions. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place the frozen chili in the refrigerator overnight or submerge the freezer container in room temperature water for a quicker thaw. Easily reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through, adding in a splash of water or beef stock to thin everything out a little as needed.
- Alternate Cooking Methods:
- Oven-Braised Beef Chili: Prepare the recipe according to Steps 1-3, above, ensuring you’re cooking in an oven-safe pot. Rather than braising on the stovetop, transfer the covered pot to a 325 degree F oven. Braise 2 ½ – 3 hours, until the beef is fall-apart tender, then serve as desired according to Steps 4 of Recipe Directions, above.
- Slow Cooker / Crock Pot Beef Chili: Prepare the recipe according to Steps 1-2, above. Build the chili in the slow cooker as directed in Step 3. Slow cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beef is fall-apart tender. If your slow cooker has a searing/browning feature, you can use it to cook the entire beef chili recipe (Steps 1-3) in the slow cooker.
- Electric Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Beef Chili: Use your Instant Pot’s “Sauté” setting to cook the recipe according to Steps 1-3, above. Cover & seal the pressure cooker and cook on manual high pressure for 35 minutes. Allow the pressure cooker to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes before carefully flicking the valve to its “venting” position to vent out any residual pressure. Use the Instant Pot’s “Sauté” feature to thicken the chili sauce as desired.
- 10-Minute Meal Prep: Nearly all of the active prep work for this braised beef chili comes from prepping the veggies. Take care of this in advance – it takes 10 minutes, tops – & you can jump straight in to cooking during the week. Here’s what you’ll do:
- Dice 2 medium yellow onions, 2 medium bell peppers or poblano peppers, & 2 medium jalapenos. Transfer to an airtight container & store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (10 minutes active prep)
Keywords: braised beef chili, stew meat recipes, braised beef recipes, comfort food recipe, chili recipe, winter chili recipe
Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by KJ & Company, Kate Poskochil