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side angle shot of the best chunky chili in blue bowls with orange linen underneath. shredded cheddar cheese, jalapeños, and sour cream garnish the chili.
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5 from 3 votes

The Best Chunky Chili

This chili is hearty, loaded with chunky veggies, and has just the right amount of kick. Charred poblano peppers and espresso powder add incredible depth and flavor to this delicious chili!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American, Chili, Soups
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 397kcal
Author: Ashley Boyd


  • 1 medium poblano pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey, chicken, or plant-based protein*
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes with liquid
  • ½ - 1 cup vegetable or beef broth optional
  • 1-2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 15 oz can dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped jalapenos, and sliced green onions for topping


  • Char poblano pepper under oven broiler for 3-4 minutes per side until skin is black and blistered. Chop entire pepper, seeds and all, once it has cooled enough to handle and set aside.**
  • Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  • Add ground meat and cook until almost cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt, black pepper, chili powder, chipotle pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, ground mustard, and cayenne. Stir to combine.
  • Add tomato paste and cook while stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, poblano peppers, brown sugar, espresso powder, and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. If using, add vegetable or beef broth at this time. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper to taste if desired.
  • Add beans and stir to combine with the other ingredients. Continue to simmer for and additional 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve immediately and top with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped jalapeno and sliced green onions if desired.


*I used Impossible Foods plant-based ground burger.
**If you do not like quite as much heat, place the charred poblano pepper in a plastic zipper bag for 2-3 minutes to allow steam to help loosen the skin, then remove the thin skin. Slice pepper in half, remove seeds, and chop.
Store this chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
See blog post for other important tips.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 397kcal | Carbohydrates: 45.6g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3.4g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 769mg | Potassium: 1460mg | Fiber: 12.6g | Sugar: 7.8g | Calcium: 173mg | Iron: 9mg