Black Bean Chili

Chili is a Christmas tradition and this year it’s a black bean chili with bacon, bell pepper, and tomatoes. Some green chile gives it a little kick making it a cozy winter warmer.

a bowl of black bean chili garnished with onions, sour cream, and fresh cilantro

Two years ago, I shared a recipe called Chili {Like My Mom Used to Make} as a little tribute to my mom and the chili she made for me and my brothers every Christmas Eve. Making chili this time of year grounds me and reminds me of what’s to love about the season – family, coziness, and love.

So last weekend, in honor of tradition, I hauled out my favorite pot, diced up some veggies, and stirred a pot of gently bubbling black bean chili. I thought about my mom, Christmases growing up, and all the warm fuzzy feelings a simple pot of chili represents this time of year. I took comfort in the idea that no matter what happens each year, chili at Christmastime holds strong. Its familiarity wraps around me like a blanket of love and comfort.

Ingredients for black bean chili: chopped onion and green pepper

Ingredients for Black Bean Chili.

This black bean chili has mostly pantry ingredients with a few fresh ones and all of it simmers on the stove for about 30 minutes and it’s ready to go.

  • It starts with some thick-cut bacon which gives the chili a smoky flavor and a little richness from the fat. If you check the comments you’ll see a reader substitutes turkey bacon with great success, so keep that in mind if you want something a little leaner.
  • Once the fat is rendered from the bacon add some red onion, garlic, and green bell pepper. I like to cook them together just until they start to soften.
  • You’ll need two cans of black beans that you’ll want to drain and rinse before adding them to the pot.
Black beans being rinsed under running water
  • Chili seasoning: I like a mix of chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, and salt to season the chili.
  • Some canned green chile adds an earthiness and warm flavor without adding a lot of spice and heat.
  • I add some tomato sauce to the chili which helps thicken it as it simmers. This chili is not an all-day simmer recipe so the tomato sauce helps speed things along.
  • Add some chicken stock and simmer it all together for about 30 minutes.
black bean chili in a white pan

Chili Garnishes

Top the bowls of chili with a few garnishes…

  • A dollop of sour cream
  • Some red onion
  • A sprinkling of chopped fresh cilantro

During this in-between-time when we close out the year to welcome the new one, I wish you all a season of peace, love, and joy. I’ll be back with more recipes in January, so until then I hope you enjoy the holidays and have a wonderful New Year.

Happy chili-making,

one bowl of black bean chili

More Chili Recipes

Roasted Poblano-Tomatillo Chili with Pork | Warm and cozy poblano-tomatillo chili with pork that cooks in the slow cooker for an easy hands-off cold-weather dinner.

17 Hearty Chili Recipes | Browse some of my favorite chili recipes plus others from around the web.

Three-Bean Chili | This three bean chili packs a nutritional punch with black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans plus lots of fresh veggies.


Black Bean Chili

Black Bean Chili |

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5 from 4 reviews

This black bean chili is a winter warmer with a little kick of green chile heat. Start with some bacon (because what is life without bacon?) followed by bell pepper, onion, garlic, tomatoes, and a generous helping of black beans. Simmer it all together on the stove until it thickens. Ladle it into big bowls and garnish with slivers of red onion, a soft dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro. Share it with people you love.

  • Author: April @ Girl Gone Gourmet
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


  • 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 large red onion, diced (generous cup and ½)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (one generous cup)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 ounce can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice from 1/2 lime

For the Garnish

  • Sour Cream
  • Thin-sliced red onion
  • Chopped cilantro


  1. Cook the bacon over medium heat in a large pan or stockpot. Cook it until the fat is rendered and the bacon has started to get crispy. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Stir and let it all cook for a few minutes, just until the veggies start to soften.
  2. Add the black beans, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt. Stir until everything is coated in the spices. Add the diced tomatoes with chiles, tomato sauce, and chicken stock. Stir and bring it to a simmer. Add the cilantro and let the chili cook for at least 30 minutes, or until it thickens.
  3. Before serving, add the lime juice and stir. Check the seasoning and add additional salt, if needed. Garnish each serving with some red onion slices, sour cream, and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro.


  • Calories: 279
  • Sugar: 5.9g
  • Sodium: 1407mg
  • Fat: 9.4g
  • Carbohydrates: 36.1g
  • Fiber: 12.1g
  • Protein: 14.8g

Do you love this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment and your recipe star rating!


  1. Ok, I’m the Mom in this story, and yes, we always had chili on Christmas Eve. This is a different twist on an old favorite, but I think it will will be better, tastier and more comforting than the ones from long ago. Memories grow, love continues through the years and chili gives us warm hugs on cold winter nights. Merry Christmas to all!

  2. Congratulations on your decision! I always changed jobs whenever going to my car to go to work made me depressed, and a little voice in my head would say, “I don’t want to to there.”

    This chili looks delicious April and I love the memories you have of Christmas.

  3. This is a staple in my household – even in the summer! I make it with turkey bacon and a packet of frozen onions/green peppers so I don’t have to worry about chopping onions. Thanks for a simple but satisfying recipe.

  4. This recipe is a favorite to every single person in my house. I probably don’t have to tell you how rare that is with kids! When you find one this good be sure to keep it!

  5. This chili is sooo good! Black beans are my favorite, and I love how warm and comforting this recipe is.

  6. This has become a fast favorite in our house! Everyone loves it and I love that it’s easy to make!

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