Baked Bean Chili

Baked Bean Chili -- wonderfully satisfying on a cold night

Baked Bean Chili. Brown-sugary baked beans, chunks of ground beef, diced tomatoes, and a giant chili pot! Throw in some cornbread or toasted garlic bread, and a side salad, and you’ve got a very satisfying meal. Baked bean chili is one of my favorite variations of the beef-and-bean-based chili theme. Rich and sweet, unlike regular chili, it warms you up on a cold day. Several colleagues have taken this chili on camping trips with them, and loved it!

Baked Bean Chili -- wonderfully satisfying on a cold night
Baked Bean Chili — wonderfully satisfying on a cold night

This is a hearty sweet chili that my parents used to make for dinner when I was a child. To this day, it’s one of my favorite comfort foods. You can certainly substitute ground chicken or turkey or buffalo to lighten or change it up. If you use baked beans that are already seasoned with brown sugar, you can adjust the amount of brown sugar, too. And for a vegetarian version, omit the meat and use vegetarian canned baked beans.


From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight……………

Baked Bean Chili


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 lb lean ground beef (7% fat)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T chili powder
3 large (28 oz) cans baked beans
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
½ cup molasses
3/4 cup light brown sugar


1. Heat olive oil in stockpot or chef’s pan over medium heat until warm.
2. Add diced onion. Sauté onion in olive oil until transparent.
3. Add ground beef, breaking up into small chunks with a cooking spoon. Cook until beef has browned.
4. Add garlic and sauté for a minute.
5. Add chili powder and stir into the meat mixture.
6. Add baked beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, molasses, and brown sugar and stir everything together.
7. Simmer over low heat, stirring often, until chili has reduced and thickens, about 1 hour.

Serves 4 – 6 depending on serving size. Chili flavors meld better when refrigerated overnight and then reheated and eaten on the second day. Serve with hot crusty bread or cornbread.

Variations: Substitute ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground buffalo for the ground beef. Use chunks of meat instead of ground meat. Substitute 1/2 cup agave syrup for the brown sugar. For a vegetarian version, substitute vegetarian canned baked beans and omit the meat.

Baked Bean Chili simmering in a pot (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)
Baked Bean Chili simmering in a pot (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals) (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2012)

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