Best Beans For Chili: Recipe & Ultimate Guide

Best Beans For Chili

You can make the best vegetarian chili with basic ingredients. These basic pantry ingredients taste exceptional when starting with aromatics like onion, garlic, celery, and carrot.

How to Make the Best Vegetarian Chili

Some people add traditional chili spices and a few smoked paprikas for an extra-savory, smoky note. You can also use canned beans and tomatoes for delicious plant-based protein and heft.

Blending a little portion of the chili makes it look and taste sort of a chili that has been cooking all morning long. However, it only needs about 45-60 minutes of simmering. 

You can also spice up your vegan chili or beef chili with sherry vinegar or fresh lime juice and cilantro, making it taste vibrant and fresh.

Chili Toppings

Here is a list of chili toppings:

  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream or crème fraîche
  • Sliced or diced avocado
  • Tortilla chips (crumbled if desired)
  • Additional cilantro
  • Lime wedges

Leftover Chili

Vegetarian chili makes great leftovers that keep well for at least four days in the refrigerator. Reheat your chili in a microwave, and it’s good to go.

You can also serve this chili as a protein-rich topping on nachos, baked jacket potatoes, or over-baked fries. You can also stuff your burritos or quesadillas with chili.

Which Beans Are The Healthiest Choice?

Beans and legumes have several health benefits, including reducing cholesterol and blood sugar levels and increasing healthy gut bacteria.

Here are eight of the healthiest beans for your diet:

  1. Chickpeas
  2. Lentils
  3. Peas
  4. Kidney beans
  5. Black beans
  6. Soybeans
  7. Pinto Beans
  8. Navy beans

Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are common in Mexico. They’re often eaten as whole beans or mashed and fried. 

Pinto beans may help reduce blood cholesterol. Scientific research showed that pinto beans reduce LDL cholesterol and increase propionate production, a short-chain fatty acid produced by gut bacteria. Propionate is good for gut health. These beans can also reduce the sudden rise in blood sugar levels that happens after eating a meal. 

One cup (171 grams) of cooked pinto beans roughly contains:

  • Protein: 15.4 grams
  • Fiber: 15.4 grams
  • Calories: 245
  • Copper: 29% of the RDI
  • Folate (vitamin B9): 74% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 39% of the RDI
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1): 22% of the RDI

Black Beans

Black beans have fiber, folate, and plenty of protein. They are commonly found in Central and South America.

Black beans help turn down the blood sugar levels after eating a meal, which may help reduce the risk of diabetes and weight gain. Black beans have a lower glycemic index than other high-carbohydrate foods, which cause a smaller rise in blood sugar after a meal. 

One cup (172 grams) of cooked black beans roughly contains:

  • Protein: 15.2 grams
  • Fiber: 15 grams
  • Calories: 227
  • Folate (vitamin B9): 64% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 38% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDI
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1): 28% of the RDI
  • Iron: 20% of the RDI


Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans. These are a great source of fiber and plenty of protein. Many scientific types of research have shown that chickpeas can help reduce weight, risk factors for heart disease, and even the risk of cancer, especially when they replace red meat in the diet.

Chickpeas are particularly beneficial in reducing blood sugar levels. Eating them may also improve blood cholesterol levels.

Several scientific pieces of research have shown that chickpeas can decrease blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which can cause heart diseases. Foods containing chickpeas may also improve your bowel function and reduce the number of bad bacteria in your intestines.

One cup (164 grams) of cooked chickpeas roughly contains:

  • Protein: 14.5 grams
  • Fiber: 12.5 grams
  • Calories: 269
  • Folate (vitamin B9): 71% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 84% of the RDI
  • Copper: 29% of the RDI
  • Iron: 26% of the RDI

The Dried Beans Debate

People use dried and canned beans in chilies as per their convenience, taste, and cost. Concisely speaking, this decision comes down to your personal preferences. 

Here is a small comparison between canned and dried beans, but the decision is only yours.

Dried beans are more cost-effective than canned beans. They tend to be the tastier choice. However, this is partially due to their lengthy cook time, which is hardly ideal if you’re hoping to whip something up in under an hour. 

Although they require some extra effort for cooking, they need more preparation and cooking than canned beans. Dried beans are easier to clean because you don’t need to drain them from the juices stored in the can. 

Most dried beans need soaking overnight or at least 5-6 hours before you’re planning on cooking them. So it would be best if you thought of something else for your last-minute weeknight dinner.

The time you spent soaking and cooking dried beans is, of course, not time wasted, as you’ll end up with richly flavored, delicious beans that take on the taste of whichever herbs and ingredients you add into the pot.

Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are one of the most habitually used beans and are often eaten with rice. They have several health benefits.

Kidney legumes are rich in fiber and can help slow the absorption of sugar into the blood and reduce blood sugar levels. 

High blood sugar levels and weight gain are risk factors for diabetes and metabolic syndrome, but kidney beans can reduce these risk factors. Scientific studies showed that an extract from white kidney beans might help reduce body weight and fat mass.

One cup (256 grams) of kidney beans roughly contains:

  • Calories: 215
  • Protein: 13.4 grams
  • Fiber: 13.6 grams
  • Folate (vitamin B9): 23% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 22% of the RDI
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1): 20% of the RDI
  • Copper: 17% of the RDI
  • Iron: 17% of the RDI

Which Kidney Beans are best for Chili?

With so many different kinds of beans out there, it’s hard to tell what kind of bean is the best to use in your chili.

Depending on your taste and the type of chili you are preparing, you can use any beans you desire. However, kidney legumes are the best choice when preparing a traditional pot of chili-like Randall’s Quick Kidney Bean Chili or Dark Red Kidney Bean Chili. Kidney beans have been a long-standing ingredient of numerous chili recipes.

Are Chili beans the Same as Kidney beans?

Chili beans are not the same as kidney beans. Chili beans are usually canned beans in a chili-style sauce and chili seasoned gravy. They are dried beans cooked with a mixture of onions, garlic, chili powder, spices, and meat.

Kidney beans are used in a variety of traditional dishes. Kidney beans are usually eaten well cooked. Because raw or improperly cooked kidney beans are toxic, well-prepared beans can be a healthy component of a well-balanced diet. They come in various colors and patterns, including white, cream, black, red, purple, spotted, striped, and mottled.

What Beans are Best for Chili?

With so many different kinds of beans out there, there is no right answer to what kind is the best to use in your chili. Depending on your taste and the type of chili you are preparing, you can use any beans you desire.

All beans are delicious, and many of them are quite similar in some ways, but certain types do vary in taste, texture, shape, and size. 

Some of the most commonly known types of beans for chili are: 

  • Pinto 
  • Kidney 
  • Black beans
  • Fava 
  • Great Northern 
  • Chickpeas

Can You Freeze Chili?

You can freeze the chili or the leftovers whether you are making all meat or vegetarian chili. The texture of the chili might change slightly due to the veggies and beans; everything will reheat in one cohesive, delicious lunch or dinner that you can serve with your favorite toppings.

You can use freezer-safe bags, as well as glass and plastic airtight containers to freeze the chili. Once cooked, chili lasts up to 3 days in the fridge and will stay safe in the freezer for 4 to 6 months.

You can easily defrost chili in the following ways:

  • Place the container of frozen chili in a large bowl and refrigerate overnight. It would be softer and ready to heat up on the stove or microwave the very next day. 
  • Place the container of frozen chili in a sink full of room temperature water. Flip the container of frozen chili until it’s defrosted.
  • Place the pack or container of frozen chili under hot water so the frozen block detaches from the surface of the container. Transfer to a large bowl and heat on high for 5 minutes, often stirring until the chili is heated through. 

What is your Best recipe for quick and simple Chili with Beans?

The best recipe for quick and simple chili with beans is as follows:

You need 2 pounds ground meat (beef), 1 finely diced onion, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 can diced tomatoes, 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, 1 can tomato sauce, 1 cup water, 1 can kidney beans, 1 can pinto chili beans, 1-2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 2 tablespoons white sugar, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce.

In a deep pot, lightly brown the ground beef and drain if needed. Add onion, garlic to the pot and cook until the onion is translucent. Add tomatoes, diced tomatoes with chile peppers, tomato sauce, water, kidney beans, pinto chili beans, chili powder, cumin, sugar, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Simmer for 30-45 minutes and then serve.

When Should you add the Beans when Cooking chili?

You can add beans in chili when your meat is almost ready. Cook the ground meat with onions and tomatoes. Then add spices and beans to your bean chili dish and simmer for some time.  

How to Store Homemade Chili

Let the homemade chili cool for 20 minutes or so before packing it in plastic or glass containers to store for later use. Seal the chili in an airtight jar and store it in the fridge for up to three days. You can keep chili for up to three to four months by storing it in the freezer. Label the package with the date and time and store it in the deep freezer at 0 F. Set it in the refrigerator overnight to safely defrost it. To reuse the frozen chili, heat it on the stovetop or in the microwave until it boils, which will kill any bacteria.

Overview – Best Beans for Chili

Beans are a truly versatile food. They can work great in whatever dish you want to use them in, with different kinds of beans bringing something a little different.

With so many distinctive kinds of beans out there, it’s hard to tell what kind of bean is the best to use in your chili. Depending on your taste and the type of chili you are preparing, you can use any beans you desire.

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