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Chipotle Chili (Easy Recipe)

Known for its smoky aroma and fiery flavors, chipotle chili is a beloved dish in many households.

Rooted in Mexican culture, it’s a delicious Tex-Mex meal. It features vibrant colors, intense heat, and robust flavors. 

Bowl of Chipotle Chili Topped with Cilantro, Sour Cream and Cheese
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It combines chili powder’s bold warmth with the smoldering essence of chipotle peppers. The result is a tantalizing treat perfect for colder months of the year.

Chipotle chili is warm, comforting, hearty, and delicious. And the best part? You can make it in your slow cooker for a convenient, fuss-free meal. 

Chipotle Chili 

If you aren’t familiar with chipotle chili, you may be wondering how it got its name. Is it a copycat recipe for chili from Chipotle? Actually, no. 

Chipotle chili is named for a primary ingredient used to prepare it: chipotle peppers. The word “chipotle” originates from the Nahuatl language spoken by the Aztecs. 

And chipotle peppers give this chili its distinctive, smoky flavor. They add plenty of spice, as well. And they’re only one of the many flavorful ingredients in this chili. 

You’ll also catch notes of chili powder, garlic, onion powder, cumin, and more. It’s a wonderful blend of meat, spices, tomatoes, and beans.

Luckily, it’s just as nutritious as it is delicious. It’s naturally grain- and gluten-free, a good source of protein, and not fatty or overly carb-heavy. 

Chipotle Chili Ingredients - Meat, Seasonings, Onion, Diced Tomatoes, Kidney Beans, Chipotle Peppers and Tomato Paste


Here’s what you’ll need to make this chili: 

  • Meat – This chili recipe includes two types of meat: hot Italian sausage and ground beef. The sausage adds heat and spice as well as heartiness. The ground beef is juicy, flavorful, and filling. 
  • Seasonings – Add chili powder, cumin, coriander, minced garlic, salt, and pepper to season your chili. All of these bold flavors ensure it tastes fantastic. There’s nothing bland about a recipe with this many seasonings.
  • Onion You can use white, yellow, or red onions for the chili. Dice them into small, uniformly sized pieces to help them cook more evenly. 
  • Diced tomatoes and tomato sauce These saucy additions act as the base for the chili. 
  • Kidney beans I know some people don’t like beans in chili. I don’t think chili is the same without them. If you don’t like kidney beans, add pintos or black beans instead. 
  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce You can’t get that smoky chipotle flavor without these! 
  • Tomato paste Add the tomato paste near the end of the cooking process. It makes the chili heartier, chunkier, and more filling. 

How to Make Chipotle Chili 

This chili is so easy to make, and your house will smell incredible!

1. Brown and season the meat. Heat a large pot on the stove using medium heat. Add the sausage, ground beef, and a little olive oil. 

Cook the meat until it starts to brown, stirring frequently. Then, drain the grease and season the meat with chili powder, cumin, and coriander. Cook it for another minute. 

2. Add the garlic and onions. When you start smelling the spices, add the garlic and onions. Cook the mixture for another 4 minutes or until the onions soften and are translucent. 

3. Add everything else (except the tomato paste). Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the tomato paste. Stir it well and bring the chili to a simmer. 

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4. Cook in the slow cooker. Transfer the simmering chili to the slow cooker. Cover it with the lid and cook on low power for 8 to 10 hours. 

5. Add the tomato paste. When you have about an hour left, stir in the tomato paste. Then, let the chili finish cooking. 

6. Finish, top, and serve it. Remove the finished chili from the slow cooker and top it with your desired toppings. Serve it and enjoy! 

Homemade Chipotle Chili with Cheese, Sour Cream and Cheese

Tips for the Best Chipotle Chili 

Keep these tips in mind if you want to make the very best chipotle chili: 

  • Experiment with different toppings. I’ve listed some of the most common chili toppings in the Serving Suggestions section below. But don’t stop there. Experiment with roasted peppers, hot sauce, lime juice, and other ingredients. 
  • Dial up the heat. This particular chili recipe has a good amount of heat already. You can add more by dicing up jalapenos, poblanos, and other peppers and tossing them in. A dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper will also increase the heat. 
  • Make it thicker and/or chunkier. If your chili is too thin, don’t worry. Mix some of the chili “juice” with a tablespoon of flour and add that back into the chili. It’ll help thicken it up without altering the flavor. You can also make it chunkier by adding more beans and veggies. (Extra meat works, too, but don’t overdo it!)
  • Thin it with broth or water. If, on the other hand, your chili is too thick, you can fix that, too. Add beef broth or water tablespoon-by-tablespoon until it thins to your desired consistency. 
  • Add some sweetness. Two tablespoons of brown sugar work wonders in chipotle chili. If you accidentally got your chili too hot, add a little honey. It’ll also help tame the heat and add a dash of sweetness. 
  • DO NOT add an entire can of chipotle peppers. Notice the recipe only calls for 2 teaspoons of these peppers. Don’t pour in the contents of an entire can. You won’t be able to eat it if you do. 

Serving Suggestions 

When you serve your chili, lay out any toppings people might want. Cheese, sour cream, onions, jalapenos, and tortilla strips are standard. 

You can also serve it with crackers, rolls, cornbread, or tortilla chips. 

Other serving suggestions include the following: 

  • Queso dip and chips
  • Guacamole
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Jalapeno poppers
  • Avocado slices

Storing, Freezing, and Reheating Chili

To Store: Store any leftover chili in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

To Freeze: You can also freeze it in an air-tight container for up to 4 months to extend its life. 

To Reheat: Let it thaw in the fridge overnight (if frozen). Then, transfer it to a pot and reheat it over medium-low heat for about 15 to 25 minutes. (Or until it’s warmed through.) 

Chipotle Chili (Easy Recipe)



Prep time


Cooking time







This chipotle chili is easy, smoky, and delicious! With meat, onion, beans, and plenty of seasoning, it’s such a delightful treat.


  • 1 pound bulk hot Italian sausage

  • 2 pounds ground beef

  • 5 tablespoons chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1 (14-ounce) can kidney beans (optional)

  • 2 teaspoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ground black pepper

  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste


  • Heat a large pot over medium heat on the stove. Add the sausage and ground beef. Cook until the meats become crumbly and lightly browned; stir frequently.
  • After the meat browns, drain and discard the grease. Season the meat with chili powder, cumin, and coriander. Cook it for another 1 minute, stirring it constantly.
  • Once the meat is fragrant, add the garlic and onion. Cook it for approximately 4 minutes until the onion becomes soft and translucent. Stir it frequently.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans (if adding), chipotle peppers, salt, and pepper. Stir to incorporate everything. Then, bring the chili to a simmer.
  • Transfer the chili to a slow cooker once it begins simmering. Replace the lid and cook for 8 to 10 hours on low power.
  • In the last hour of cooking, add the tomato paste. Stir to incorporate. Cook it for a final hour, then turn off the heat. Transfer the chili to serving bowls, add any desired toppings, serve, and enjoy!
Chipotle Chili

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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