Picky-Approved Chili

By Angela Bates, Current ASU Nutrition Student

I’ll admit it, I was the pickiest eater as a child. My dad caved into my pickiness and I’m finding myself trying new foods as an adult that I refused as a kid. My youngest sister followed in my footsteps and even she loves this chili recipe I’ve honed over the past few years.

Some people prefer different things in their chili. I’ve seen recipes with cocoa, beer, peanut butter, soy sauce, and more, but I like my traditional but zingy chili. That’s not to say you can’t play around with the ingredients. Part of the fun in chili is the room for experimentation! Some changes I make occasionally are ground turkey substituted for the beef, pinto beans in addition to or instead of the kidney beans, and adding diced potatoes and a bit more broth to make a more stew-like chili. I recommend the slow cooker or instant pot method of cooking for best (and much easier) results.

No matter how you choose to cook, change, or eat this chili, I assure you it’ll be well-accepted, even by the picky eaters!


1 pound ground beef

1-2 tablespoons oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1-10 ounce can diced tomatoes and green chilies

1-14.5 ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes

1-15 ounce can tomato sauce

1 cup beef or vegetable broth

1-2 teaspoons Cholula or similar hot sauce

2 cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Toppings (optional; such as shredded cheese, sour cream/plain Greek yogurt, crackers, tortilla chips, hot sauce, chopped cilantro, etc.)



In a large cast iron or heavy pan, brown the meat over medium heat, being careful not to overcook it. Remove meat to a crock pot, instant pot, or large cooking pot.

In the same pan, put oil, onion, and bell pepper. Once the onion and pepper are almost soft, add

the garlic and cook 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, sugar, and spices. Stir well and allow to cook together for a few minutes.

Add the vegetable mixture to your cooking vessel of choice, then add the canned tomatoes, broth, and hot sauce. Stir ingredients together well. Add the beans and stir gently.

If cooking in a pot on the stove, place on very low heat and stir every 15-30 minutes for 2 hours minimum.

For the slow cooker method, place on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours and stir 1-3 times.

The instant pot method can be done the same as the slow cooker method using that setting, or, if pressed for time, you can use the pressure cooking chili/stew setting. When using the pressure cooking setting, allow the pressure to release naturally at the end of the cooking cycle and your chili will be perfect serving temperature.

Top your chili as desired with cheese, sour cream, crackers, tortilla chips, or hot sauce.


For more recipes be sure to take a look at the Fill Your Plate recipe section. If you liked this article, then you will love the Fill Your Plate blog.

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