Super warming, filling, and cozy, taco chili is the answer to what’s for dinner tonight.
If you love the flavors of tacos and the cozy spoonability of chili, you are going to fall in love with taco chili. This taco chili recipe is incredibly easy to make and the flavor pay off is huge.
Taco chili is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner, a weekend lunch, and is always a winner during game day party season. Taco chili is what would happen if tortilla soup and chili had a baby. All the flavors of taco soup with the heartiness of chili. It’s truly one of our go-to meals.
How to make taco chili
- Sauté – Start off by cooking ground beef until it’s crumbled and browned. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic, then cook until aromatic. When everything smells amazing, stir in the taco and ranch seasoning.
- Simmer – Simmer everything together develop the flavors and thicken. You can simmer on the stovetop, in a slow cooker, or pressure cook in an Instant Pot.
- Top – Once everything comes together into a thick and hearty chili, it’s time to serve by finishing off with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese, and cilantro. Bonus points if you add some Fritos!
Why this recipe?
Taco chili is pretty standard – it’s chili with taco and ranch seasoning. The reason this recipe is a stand out is because of the ranch seasoning (either homemade or store bought) and a can of refried beans. The ranch seasoning adds a tangy, you can’t quite figure it out but can’t stop eating it flavor. The hint of tanginess from the buttermilk powder in ranch really makes this chili addictive. The refried beans, while not traditional in chili, adds a creamy thickness that is spoonable and comforting.
Taco chili ingredients
- ground beef – go for lean ground beef, ground chicken, or ground turkey. It’s up to you! We almost always use lean ground beef.
- aromatics – a diced onion, green bell pepper, and plenty of garlic add aroma and flavor.
- seasoning – taco chili gets its seasonings from taco and ranch seasoning. You can buy the packets at the store (if you do, go for low sodium so you can adjust the salt to taste) or you can go homemade. If you’re doing homemade, you’ll need 2 tbsp of each seasoning mix.
- beans – there are two cans of beans in this chili to bulk it up, add protein, and nutrients. A can of refried beans adds creamy thickness and rinsed and drained pinto beans add texture.
- diced green chilis – this little can of chilis adds a mild and smoky flavor to your chili. You can choose between mild and hot, so pick according to your spice preference.
- tomatoes – we’re going to use a mix of fire roasted tomatoes and crushed tomatoes to make up the bulk of this chili. The fire roasted tomatoes add a huge amount of smoky flavor and the crushed tomatoes cook down into a thick, hearty base. If you have tomato sauce or regular chopped tomatoes on hand, you can use those instead.
Stovetop taco chili
For stove top chili, sauté the beef, onions, bell pepper, and garlic in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Stir in the taco and ranch seasoning, beans, green chilis, and both cans of tomatoes. Partially cover, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until thickened to your liking. Stir in extra water or chicken stock if it gets too dry. Taste, season, and serve.
Slow cooker taco chili
Use a skillet to brown the beef, onions, bell pepper, and garlic, then add to the crock pot insert. Stir in the taco and ranch seasoning, beans, green chilis, and both cans of tomatoes. Cook for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high, stirring in extra water or chicken stock if it gets too dry. Taste, season, and serve.
Instant Pot taco chili
Sauté the beef, onions, bell pepper, and garlic in the Instant Pot insert over high then stir in the taco and ranch seasoning. Add the beans, green chilis, and both cans of tomatoes. Stir well, put the lid on and set the pressure to high and cook time to 30 minutes. Quick release when the cooking time is complete. Stir, taste, and season.
This chili is delicious on its own, but when you add toppings it’s magical. Customize to your heart’s content with a topping bar. Try:
- shredded cheese
- sour cream
- chopped cilantro
- thinly sliced green onions
- diced onions
- tortilla chips or Fritos
If you love taco chili
Happy cozy bowl food season!
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- 1 lb ground beef lean preferred
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 bell pepper green preferred, seeded and diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 package taco seasoning or 2 tbsp homemade, see notes
- 1 package ranch seasoning or 2 tbsp homemade, see notes
- 15 oz pinto beans rinsed and drained, optional
- 16 oz refried beans
- 4 oz chopped green chiles
- 14.5 oz fire roasted tomatoes
- 15 oz crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat up the oil over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up, until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain off any excess fat, if needed.
Stir in the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring. When the vegetables are aromatic and slightly soft, stir in the taco and ranch seasoning.
Add the drained and rinsed beans,green chilis (with the juice), both cans of tomatoes, and 1 cup water. Stir everything to mix evenly, and bring to a boil over medium high.
Turn the heat down to low and simmer, with the occasional bubble popping up, partially covered. Simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until thickened to your liking. Finally, stir in the refried beans. Taste, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and enjoy!
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 2.4g15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.