Three Bean Chili

Three Bean Chili is a super easy recipe with just a 10-minute prep time! It combines pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans, along with a few other pantry ingredients for a low-fuss vegetarian chili that’s ready in about an hour. Plus, it keeps well in the fridge or freezer!

a bowl of chili garnished with crushed tortilla chips.

I love fancy chili recipes, but I also have room in my heart for this super easy three bean chili. It’s my no-time-to-cook chili recipe that takes all of ten minutes to prep and cooks in one pot. A little simmering and a few stirs later, it’s ready to serve – just add your favorite chili toppings.

During this time of year, I keep the ingredients on hand so that when a busy night or weekend rolls around, there’s something hearty, cozy, and easy to make. I mean, it doesn’t get easier than mix, simmer, and serve!

It just happens to be meat-free, but it’s still really hearty and satisfying, and it’s freezer-friendly. The last batch I made went straight to the freezer, so there are a few easy dinners on hand.

So today’s theme is easy! If you’re into that, I think you’ll be into this easy bean chili recipe.

the finished chili in a pan.

Ingredients

  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomato paste
  • Jalapeno
  • Fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Chili powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lime juice

Beans: I use drained and rinsed canned beans for this recipe, but which beans you use is up to you! I like pinto, black beans, and kidney beans, but feel free to swap in your favorites.

Onion: Sometimes I chop an onion, but most of the time, I use frozen chopped onion because we’re keeping things nice and easy.

Jalapeno: Fresh diced jalapeno is great, but canned diced jalapenos are just as good. If you want a kick, be sure to use hot jalapenos.

ingredients for three bean chili.

How to Make It

This recipe is so easy it’s almost not a recipe – once you have all of your ingredients, just combine them, except for the lime and cilantro, in a large pot.

the ingredients in a pan.

Cover the pot and simmer the chili over medium-low to low heat. It’s important to keep it covered, so only remove the lid occasionally to give the chili a stir.

It only takes about 45 minutes to an hour to simmer. Once it’s done, add the lime juice and cilantro. Voila! It’s ready to serve.

a pan of bean chili.

Recipe Tips

Be sure to keep the chili covered as it cooks. The condensation that builds up on the lid with thin the chili, so it’s not super thick. That said, the final consistency is on the thicker side, but you can thin it by adding a few splashes of water or vegetable broth if you prefer a thinner consistency.

If you prefer to make this in your slow cooker, you can! Combine everything but the lime juice and cilantro in the slow cooker, stir and cook it on low for a few hours. Add the lime juice and cilantro before serving it.

Toppings: Try it with some crushed tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, or a dollop of sour cream. I like a scoop of guacamole or diced avocado, too.

Storage: Leftover three bean chili will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator. Or, you can freeze it for several months. It will thicken when it’s cold, so add a splash or so of water when you warm it up.

I just love the flavors in this chili recipe – it tastes like it took much longer to make! Save it for one of those days when life gets crazy because you know it’s gonna happen.

Happy simmering,

April
a spoon in a bowl of bean chili.

More Meat-Free Recipe Ideas

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Three Bean Chili

a bowl of chili garnished with crushed tortilla chips.

Three Bean Chili is a super easy recipe with just a 10-minute prep time! It combines pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans, along with a few other pantry ingredients for a low-fuss vegetarian chili that’s ready in about an hour. Plus, it keeps well in the fridge or freezer!

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (4-ounce) cans diced jalapeno
  • 1 (15-ounce can) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce can) tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime

Instructions

  1. Place everything but the lime juice and cilantro in a large pot and stir to combine. Cover the pot and cook the chili over medium-low to low heat for 45 to 60 minutes. Stir it occasionally and adjust the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer.
  2. Remove the lid and stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Ladle the chili into bowls and top with your favorite chili toppings.

Notes

Be sure to keep the chili covered as it cooks and only give it a stir once in a while. The condensation that builds up on the inside of the lid with thin the chili, so it’s not super thick. That said, the final consistency is on the thicker side, but you can thin it by adding a few splashes of water or vegetable broth if you prefer a thinner consistency.

If you prefer to make this in your slow cooker, you can! Combine everything but the lime juice and cilantro in the slow cooker, stir, and cook it on low for a couple of hours. Add the lime juice and cilantro before serving it.

Toppings ideas: Crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sliced green onions, sour cream, guacamole, diced avocado – these are a few I like!

Storage: Leftover chili will keep in an airtight container for three to four days in the refrigerator. Or, you can freeze it for several months. It will thicken when it’s cold, so add a splash or so of water when you warm it up.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 188
  • Sugar: 8.7g
  • Sodium: 625.7mg
  • Fat: 1.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.3g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 36.5g
  • Fiber: 11.8g
  • Protein: 10.5g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: vegetarian chili, easy three bean chili, 3 bean chili recipe

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

The nutrition is an estimate only. It was calculated using Nutrifox, an online nutrition calculator.

Post, photos, and recipe updated from the archives. First published in May 2015.

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6 Comments

  1. I eat chili year round as well, and bean chili happens to be my ABSOLUTE favorite! I always have to make two different batches, because Boy “needs!” his meat. This chili looks like perfection. Already Pinned!! 🙂

  2. I adore chilli! This looks so perfect, chunky and rich and full of nourishing beans – my kinda meal!

  3. Eating chili all year round isn’t weird at all! I make it at the height of summer – I LUUUURV it so much!!

    I have a thing about finding meat free food that is so “meaty” that carnivores don’t miss meat and THIS is right up there! Pinning! I can’t lose this one!

    1. Thanks, Nagi! Comfort food is a season-less for me — can cook and eat it year-round! Glad I’m not the only one 🙂

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