This steak chili is the best beef chili recipe ever. That's a big statement, but it's true. It has a rich flavor and the tender chunks of slow-cooked chuck steak are dreamy. We go easy on the beans, but you can either omit them or add extra as you like. You'll want to keep this steak chili recipe in your back pocket so you can pull it out every weekend.

Steak chili in a white bowl topped with corn chips, onion, and cilantro.

We've been eating A LOT of chili around here the past few weeks. We're taking new pictures for many of the chili recipes on the website so have been taste testing chili almost daily. Of all the chili recipes we've tried, this one is our favorite.

Why steak chili = the best beef chili

  • The flavor is unbelievably rich.
  • Think of a slow-cooked roast in chili form.
  • The big chunks of tender beef make us wonder why they're not in every beef chili recipe.
  • It's a simple chili that is all about the flavorful tomato sauce, the melt-in-your-mouth chuck steak, and a few beans.

How to make the best steak chili

  1. Start by searing the beef. This extra step will take you about 10 minutes, but I promise that it is well worth the effort.
  2. Now mince the onion and celery so that they are the same size. We don't want any big chunks of celery here messing with the beef. If you mince the celery, it will blend into the sauce and add flavor without turning this into a veggie-focused chili. Keep the focus on the steak!
  3. Caramelize the tomato paste. It's as easy as adding it to the pot and letting it cook until it becomes slightly darker and sweet-smelling. Big-time flavortown here.
  4. After you add the spices to the pot, pour in the beef bone broth and scrape the bottom of the pot so that every delicious morsel of that dark brown stuff on the bottom of your pot (vond) works its way into your chili.
  5. Now add some crushed tomatoes, a little honey (yes!), and that beautifully seared steak and let it gently simmer away for 2 hours. When you come back to your stove, stir some beans into the pot and be prepared to fall in love.
A pot of steak chili on a marble surface.

What kind of steak should I use for chili?

We like to use chuck steak which has lots of beefy flavor. But any cut of beef that is marked as ‘stewing beef' or ‘beef roast' will work well in this recipe. You want a tough cut of beef that will soften and become tender and tasty after a long cook.

Avoid any of the lean cuts intended to be served on a plate. Rib-eye, sirloin, and porterhouse are a few examples of steak NOT to use. You'll know which ones they are as they'll be the most expensive. They will dry out when simmered for hours and you'll end up with tough bits of meat in your chili. We don't want this!

Instead, look for the cheapest cuts of steak. The inexpensive cuts get better the longer that they are cooked.

A spoon taking a scoop of the best steak chili out of a pot.

Toppings for steak chili

Normally, we're all about adding some cheddar cheese and sour cream on top of our chili. But this steak chili is so unbelievably rich that we found that our go-to chili toppings distracted from the chili rather than added to it. We're not saying that you shouldn't test that yourself, but that's what we found.

The toppings we liked the best on this steak chili are:

  • Nacho chips. Specifically, these crunchy Beanfields Nacho Chips, but I'm sure that others are great, too.
  • Minced red onion.
  • Or pickled red onion. I use this recipe from David Lebovitz and had some on hand from a batch of carnitas I recently made and they go AMAZING with steak chili.
  • Cilantro. We love the flavor.
A white bowl filled with the best beef chili.

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Steak chili in a white bowl topped with corn chips, onion, and cilantro.

Steak Chili

This steak chili is the best beef chili recipe ever. That's a big statement, but it's true. It has a rich flavor and the tender chunks of slow-cooked chuck steak are dreamy. We go easy on the beans, but you can either omit them or add extra as you like. You'll want to keep this steak chili recipe in your back pocket so you can pull it out every weekend.

If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!

4.77 stars (102 ratings)
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Ingredients

  • 2 lb stewing beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 stalks celery , minced
  • 5.5 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder, see notes
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: oregano and cumin
  • 3 cups beef bone broth, see notes
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 14 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (omit for paleo chili)

Instructions 

  • Dry the beef well with paper towels then sprinkle the salt and pepper over the top.
    2 lb stewing beef, 1 teaspoon EACH: salt and pepper
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add half of the beef and brown well on 2 sides. Remove it from the pan and repeat with the remaining beef, adding more oil as needed. Remove the second batch of browned beef from the pot.
    2 tablespoons oil
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the onion and cook until it is soft and starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and celery and cook for 2 minutes.
    1 large onion, 4 cloves garlic, 2 stalks celery
  • Push the veggies to the side of the pan and add the tomato paste. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes, or until it becomes sweet smelling. Add the chili powder, oregano, and cumin to the pot and mix.
    5.5 ounce can tomato paste, 3 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon EACH: oregano and cumin
  • Pour the beef broth into the pot and scrape the bottom of the pot with your mixing spoon to remove any of the dark stuck on bits. Add the crushed tomatoes, honey, and browned beef and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Very gently simmer the steak chili for 2 hours. (See notes)
    3 cups beef bone broth, 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons honey
  • Just before serving, add the beans and let them warm. Season to taste with salt.
    14 ounce can kidney beans

Notes

Some chili powder is spicier than others. If you're not familiar with the brand you are using, and you're sensitive to heat, reduce the amount to 1 tablespoon. You can always taste and add more after you add the tomatoes.
Make sure that the chili is simmering very gently before walking away from the stove. If the heat is too high you'll risk burning the chili to the bottom of the pot.
If you're using store-bought beef broth I would recommend that you add some Better Than Bouillion to boost the flavor.
Serving: 2 cups, Calories: 608kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 36g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 16g, Trans Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 107mg, Sodium: 1161mg, Potassium: 1396mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 18g, Vitamin A: 1933IU, Vitamin C: 21mg, Calcium: 135mg, Iron: 7mg
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Steak chili in a white bowl topped with corn chips, onion, and cilantro with the recipe title on top of the picture.