Grandma's Meat + Bean Chili |

I grew up eating this hearty chili. There was always ground beef. There was always red beans. There was always, always a side of rice.

Sometimes this chili would be found housed inside a green bell pepper. Sometimes it would be by itself in a large piping hot pot.

Piping hot pot, say that 5 times fast…

This recipe comes from our family cookbook that was put together as a little gift for everyone at our family reunion in 2008. At that time, I didn’t appreciate food as much as I do now so none of my recipes will be found there.

Now that I do cook, it’s great to have around to refer to when I need an old recipe that I’m accustomed to eating yet have no idea how to make. When I was younger you wouldn’t find in the kitchen with the grown-ups.

The original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of sugar. I get why you would add it, I just can never bring myself to do it. While I’m sure I’ve had the version with sugar added I never noticed a difference between the two dishes.

I know, I know. The addition of the sugar brings out the flavors of the other foods and helps to tone down the spice but I like it spicy! Go ahead. Add sugar to your chili if you want.

You either won’t notice or it will be better. Win/win?

The recipe is titled “Babe’s Chili” and when I saw that, I broke down into tears. My Grandma’s nickname was Babe and seeing that name in writing brought back so many emotions that have been tucked away for quite some time.

I miss you, Grandma! I hope you don’t mind my additions of sour cream, chives, and cheddar cheese. I think you would like it. I also think all of you will like this recipe. I have enjoyed it for at least 20 years!

Grandma's Chili
Yield: 6-8

Grandma's Chili

Make this recipe a day in advance because chili is always better the longer it sits. Add a dollop of sour cream, cheddar cheese and chives to the top.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 14 oz can kidney beans


  1. In a large pot, brown chop meat and drain fat.
  2. Add tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes.
  3. Mix garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, salt and chopped onion into tomato mixture.
  4. Simmer on low for 45 minutes.
  5. Drain the kidney beans and add to the pot.
  6. Continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.
  7. Optional: Serve with rice, shredded cheddar cheese and garlic bread.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 348Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 1322mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 10gSugar: 13gProtein: 27g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate. You may want to spot check this information.

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