Low carb chili served steamy hot in a bowl.

Is Chili Low Carb? Low Carb Chili with Beans

Chili is one of those dishes that people in my area have very strong feelings about. Beans or no beans is the biggest thing people can get into arguments about. Texas chili is a “no beans” allowed thing. Finding a low carb chili with beans recipe isn’t as easy as it should be. Most recipes include noodles and a ton of beans. These ingredients up your carb count a lot. Beans and noodles can make something that could be healthy into a dish that makes up your carbs for a whole day.

Of course, what is chili without crackers? Well, if you add crackers or a peanut butter sandwich with your chili you’ve eaten your entire week’s worth of carbs in one sitting. Thankfully, we’ve come up with this low carb chili recipe with the taste and texture of beef chili but keeps the carb count fairly low. Feel free to leave out the beans if you like.

For this recipe, you’ll need: canned whole tomatoes, canned red kidney beans, chili powder, and ground beef.

Low Carb Chili in a colorful bowl.
Low Carb Chili with beans, so tasty !

Are kidney beans keto?

I know what you are thinking. Are kidney beans low carb? Are kidney beans keto? Well unfortunately no. Kidney beans have 22.8 grams of carbs per 3.5 ounce serving. The good news is they have a low glycemic index. That’s good news is your are concerned about high blood sugar. Kidney beans release their carbs slowly.

Is chili okay on keto?

We consider ourselves keto chili recipe experts. My husband often wins homemade chili cook-offs and both of our families each have their secret recipes. We’re that family that spreads out all the toppings on the side to satisfy everyone’s preferences. We even make peanut butter sandwiches to go along with the keto chili recipe. You aren’t alone if this raised your eyebrows as some guests find this really odd too. The minute the weather cools here we’re ready for a big batch of our low carb chili recipe.

Is chili on keto okay?

When I started on a low carb eating plan, I decided to get my carbs as low as possible. Many days, I am more at a keto level with my carbs these days, so 20 grams and under. I’d let my carbs get a bit higher on some days, up around 50 to 60 g. I knew I wanted a low carb chili recipe that I could make easily. It had to freeze well and that it’s fairly low in carbs.

I first tried different low carb recipes without beans but I didn’t find one I liked. Most were too meaty for my taste buds and they didn’t have the texture of the beef chili I grew up with. It also wasn’t soupy enough. I like my homemade chili a little soupy and not so thick. The keto chili recipe I used called for tomato paste, which made it too sweet and added to the carb count.

After several attempts, I’ve perfected my “keto chili con carne” recipe for my tastes. I recommend you start with this recipe or our recipe for Texas Chili . Then you should experiment. Try to tweak the recipe until it has the taste and texture your family loves. For example, you can try beef broth to help with that rich beef flavor. Or you can reduce the fluid by draining the beans or leaving the lid off and cook off the liquids. It helps to concentrate the flavors. You can also try to add less beef broth too.

I add just one can of chili beans to a large pot of chili to give it texture but keep the carbs low.

Low Carb Bowl of Chili With Big Spoonful of Chili.
I add just one can of chili beans to a large pot of chili to give it texture but keep the carbs low.

Low Carb Chili FAQs

How do I make low carb chili?

This low carb chili recipe is so simple that you’ll want to make a huge pot of it. Don’t worry, if there are just a couple of you eating, it’s easy to freeze and it reheats perfectly. Homemade low carb chili actually tastes better a second time around (or third, fourth, or fifth time).

Low Carb Chili Served Steamy Hot in a Bowl.
You can use any type of tomatoes you prefer to change the taste of this chili.

You can use any type of tomatoes you prefer to change the taste of this chili.

  1. Brown ground beef and onions, drain and pour into a large pot or slow cooker.
  2. Add 1 can of red kidney beans.
  3. Pour in two large cans of diced tomatoes.
  4. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper.
  5. Simmer on stove top for 2-3 hours or in a crock pot for 5-6 hours on low.
  6. Top with sour cream and shredded cheese.
  7. Enjoy!

How can I thicken homemade low carb chili without using flour?

As I mentioned above, this chili recipe is a bit more watery than what you might be used to. I like it that way, but if you want a thicker chili, you can add tomato paste without changing the flavor much. However, it will up the carb count slightly. People that are aren’t on a low carb diet often use flour to thicken chili. That doesn’t fit into a low carb or keto lifestyle, though, so I’d avoid flour.

If you want to thicken your chili without the carbs that flour or cornstarch will add, try mashing some of your beans. This releases the starches and helps thicken the recipe.

How can I make my low carb chili spicier?

I like to use two different products to make my chili spicier. I either sprinkle in some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Personally, I think the cayenne tastes best with chili but use this with caution. A little bit of cayenne goes a very long way. Start with one or two quick shakes of the spice and taste test before adding more! Remember that the longer you cook red pepper flakes, the more heat they release.

How long does low carb chili keep in the refrigerator?

As with most meats, three days is a good guess on how long you should keep chili before freezing or eating it. The USDA recommends refrigerating cooked ground beef within 1-2 hours and consuming within 3-4 days. Cooked ground beef can be frozen for up to four months safely.

My chili is too sweet, what can I do to fix it?

Unfortunately, you can’t easily fix chili that’s too sweet. What you can do is add more ingredients in an attempt to lessen the impact. Tomato paste is sometimes the culprit and some tomato brands taste very sweet to me. Experiment with different brands until you find the one that works best for your chili. You can try adding a splash of lemon or lime juice. This helps balance the sugar from the tomatoes. Try 1/2 a teaspoon, mix well and simmer for a few minutes. Taste your chili and add more if you need.

How do I freeze low carb chili?

Allow the chili to cool completely. I usually let it sit in the fridge overnight. Then, portion it up into the typical amount you’d eat in a meal and portion into gallon size freezer bags with the zip tops. I prefer these because you can lay them flat and they are easier to store in the freezer. They are also easy to label with the contents and date with a black permanent marker. Lay flat and freeze. You can then stand them up or rearrange as you’d like.

If you want to keep it for several months, try vacuum sealing them. What? How do you vacuum seal something that has so much liquid? I didn’t think it was possible until I read the manual and found the “liquid” setting on the machine.

Variations to Chili Recipe Lower Carb

There are so many ways you can make this lower carb chili your own:

  • Add a chopped bell pepper and cook along with the onions and ground beef.
  • Smoked paprika adds an exotic, rich flavor.
  • Use a different variety of beans – black, pinto, canned chili beans (watch carb counts!)
  • Use tomatoes with green chilies for more spice.
  • Add a pinch of cinnamon for a unique taste.
  • Use ground turkey for a low carb turkey chili recipe. I like to add some beef Better than Bouillon and my family never knows it isn’t ground beef.
  • Reduce the amount of beef to make the chili more soupy.
  • Add more beef to make the chili meatier and thicker.
  • Reduce the amount of beef broth and/or drain the beans to make it thicker.
  • Toppings ! Add some shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onion, some crumbled bacon, or chopped jalapeno.

You May Need

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Thanks so much for being a part of Lowcarb-ology!

I save a ton of money by buying in bulk and freezing or preserving groceries and left overs. This “Amazon Choice” Foodsaver brand vacuum sealer is well built, easy to use, and is worth it’s weight in gold. For example, if I buy a big block of cheddar cheese, I cut it into 3 equal parts, vacuum seal 2 of them and use the first block. By sealing out the air, the cheese doesn’t go bad or get moldy because there isn’t any air to help the growth of the mold. It has a dry and moist setting so you freeze leftover chili. The best thing about freezing vacuum sealed foods (like a steak) is that they don’t get freezer burned nearly as quickly. The best feature I love is that you can create your own bags of whatever size you need.

FoodSaver V4400 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine with Automatic Vacuum Sealer Bag Detection and Starter Kit, Safety Certified, Black and Silver
FoodSaver V4400 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine with Automatic Vacuum Sealer Bag Detection and Starter Kit, Safety Certified, Black and Silver

I use this Instapot slow cooker at least three times a week. I love it because it has clips if you need to transport a dish to a gathering or keep the cats out of your food. It also is programmable and 7 quarts, which allows me to make a huge batch of chili.

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker, Warmer & Sterilizer, 3 Quart, Stainless Steel/Black
This Instant Pot Duo is 7 different cooking tools in one !

Low carb chile with beans ingredients

When I was a kid my mom always had bouillon cubes in the pantry. I never realized how amazing they were. That is until I tried to use ground turkey or ground chicken instead of ground beef in my recipes. My family didn’t let me hear the end of it. Then I found beef flavored Better than Bouillon. Wow. Just add a teaspoon and no one can taste the difference.

Better Than Bouillon Roasted Beef flavored
Better Than Bouillon Roasted Beef Flavored transforms your recipes.

Chili powder is chili powder right? Well, try this dark chili powder by Mccormick for a little extra flavor. Try it in your favorite recipe.

McCormick Dark Chili Powder
McCormick Dark Chili Powder adds rich flavor !

Low Carb Homemade Chili Recipe

When you simply have to have some chili to ward off the cool weather, turn to this easy keto recipe that is much lower in carbs than a conventional recipe. If you enjoyed this delicious recipe please give it 5 stars.

Bowl of low carb chili perfect for fall.
Print Pin Recipe

Low Carb Chili with Beans

When you need comfort food that takes you back to meals grandma used to serve, this low carb chili recipe will satisfy your cravings.
Course Low Carb Main, main dish, Soup
Cuisine American – low -carb
Keyword chili, ground beef, slow cooker
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 309kcal
Author Lori Soard

Ingredients

  • 2.5 pounds ground beef
  • 30 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 14.5 ounces beef broth
  • 1/2 diced yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1.5 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 14 oz kidney beans

Instructions

  • Dice onions fine.
  • Add onions and ground beef to a skillet and cook until beef is browned.
  • Drain off the excess grease.
  • Add meat and onion mixture to a large pot or a slow cooker.
  • Pour in cans of tomatoes (juice and all) and beef broth.
  • Add dry seasoning.
  • Stir all ingredient together.
  • On a stove top, cook on simmer for 2-3 hours. In a slow cooker, cook on low for 5-6 hours. Keep warm as long as desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 616mg | Potassium: 643mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1200IU | Vitamin C: 10.5mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 4.1mg

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