Best 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.
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
- Start by searing the beef. This extra step will take you about 10 minutes, but I promise that it is well worth the effort.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!
- 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)
- 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
This was very tasty! I added some bell peppers and a jalepeno for a little extra kick.
Made this yesterday for dinner it was delicious
I’m a chef and a busy business owner, was looking for a great but simple recipe knowing my grandkids were coming over ages 2 and 4 (so nothing spicy). This recipe did not disappoint!! It has some very nice subtle flavors, nothing that is bold or exotic, just a beautiful bowl of steak chili. I’ve never seen my picky eater grandson eat so much, going back for 2nds and 3rds! Way to go, a home run!!
Made this tonight!! Was wonderful!! Thank you for sharing!!
Great chilli recipe! I added a Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce for a lil more heat. I also love the mini lil videos and ingredient portions underneath.
I really love the way the recipe is written with the directions and then the ingredient list with amounts below it. It really saved me time in scrolling back to the top to check how much of each ingredient. Making this tonight on a cold winter evening. Thanks!
Made this recipe many times now. Can’t go back to my old ground beef chili. This one is amazing! So thicknamd hearty. It’s a huge hit in my house. Thank you!
Not bad. After making this according to recipe, I think that either you should use less broth, or at least simmer with the lid off, as it wound up way too soupy for me. I added a second can of beans in order to try and bulk it up at bit more.
I have left over smoked beef roast. Would it be good in this recipe?
I think that sounds delicious!
I made this wonderful steak chilli recipe yesterday and it was fantastic. The best steak chilli dish ever.
I used passata sauce and 2 tins of diced tomatoes plus the other ingredients, however my chilli powder only needs two teaspoons not two tablespoons. I simmered for 2 hours in the oven and it came out beautifully. Thank you so much for this recipe. I love your recipes and l live in Australia.
Too much tomato paste
I love this chili, I made it in my insta pot and it cooked for 30 mins. I will keep this recipe and make it again.
I like less sweet and more heat. Would cut down or omit honey, and add some heat. Taste was pretty good.
Is it better than make the chili the day ahead?
Chili always tastes even better the day after it’s made!
Haven’t cooked it yet but will soon as winter moves in here in Ontario. Do you have an Instant Pot version or can i just adjust the timing?
We don’t have an Instant Pot version yet, but it should work just fine!
this looks awesome. I Will make this as soon as it gets really cold! I love your visual step-by-step cooking. So much easier for me to comprehend. Thank you!
Definitely keeping in my back pocket!!!
Yeah, its alright, but lets be honest, this is not chili. Its sort of like a thick birria with beans, but its nothing like chili. I mean I could put beans in my cheerios but it doesn’t make it chili.
can this be cooked in a crockpot?
Yes! After you sear the steak and saute the veggies you can transfer everything to your slow cooker. 4-5 hours on high or 8-10 on low. 🙂
I don’t know what happened… I followed the recipe to the letter… Number one, the color is very red and tomatoey unlike yours which is more brown and number two, I guess I shouldn’t of used round steak! I cut the steak in smaller pieces, cooked it for three hours and it did not get tender. I did add cocoa powder maybe less than a teaspoon. I used better than bouillon and added B-V broth and sauce concentrate. It’s not bad, just not great.
Depending on how big your pieces of steak are, it may take longer to cook. We cut ours quite small. My guess about the color is that you didn’t sear yours as long as we do. To get that brown color, you need to sear the meat really well then the dark bits on the bottom of the pot will transfer to the sauce.
I made this last year and was thinking about the other day. I love chili but this is a whole new level!!! Cooking it now and almost can’t wait the 2 hours.
I put my in the crock pot after searing then cooked onions, garlic and celery. I don’t really like meat sweet so I added chopped carrot matchsticks and a couple small red peppers!!
I liked this recipe. Easy to follow, but I felt like something was missing while I was eating. I’m going to make it again, and instead of celery, I’m going to use jalapeños.
This was in fact the best chili I have ever had! We now have this on a frequent rotation, it’s just so full of flavor. Thank you for sharing.
I love your creative recipes! but… Your site is a little bit slow and full of pop-ups which distracts me when reading your recipes. Hope this won’t offend you 🙂
No offense is taken. I appreciate the feedback!
Lord have mercy this is the best chili ever! I followed the recipe almost to the letter, give or take. Fantastic.
Terrific recipe–best chili I’ve ever made. Thanks so much for the explicit, detailed instructions (“dry the beef well…”) and tips. What a difference in the result! Meat cooked perfectly, terrific taste…loved it!
I loved this recipe but I prefer strong flavours so I increased the cumin to 2 tbsp and I added fresh ground and fresh coriander plus fresh chillies too and some 100% cocoa powder. it was fantastic and everyone loved the it. Great recipe. I even made it, in smaller quantities, t a vegan family member by replacing the beef and stock for chickpeas and vege stock. the flavours were still amazing but i definitely prefer the beef option. PS: it tastes even better the following day.
This really IS the best steak chili recipe! I’ve experimenting with different chilis since the start of the pandemic, and nearly all recipes have just been fair to middling….until now. This one’s a keeper. Thanks so much!
You’re so welcome!
Delicious! I got in the mood after having some of Costco’s Beef Chili, and your recipe really kicks it up a notch! I love the unapologetic use of beans, they’re awesome and so many people have a problem with them.
This recipe cooked up as well as it read. I would appreciate a recommendation for a good chile powder since I used what I had on hand but it did not have the depth of flavor that we get when we go to Houston’s (Hillstone now) for their chile. Thank you for the recipe and the additions from others.
This was really delicious. I made some modifications with adding extra ingredients both taste wise and also to add a variety of meat types and beans. However, I used this as my base recipe so thank you for the great steps and inspiration!
Really awesome recipe! I made it for our church small group and it was a big hit. I’m also entering it in a chili contest tomorrow. The only adjustment I made was that I added diced green peppers, a little bit more honey, and some cacao powder. I added the cacao and additional honey at the end because it was a tad bit too tomatoey and acidic. That mellowed it out a bit and gave it an awesome flavor! The second time I made it, I doubled the recipe but still only used 1 can of tomato paste. That made it not so acidic.
All around it was really awesome though! Steak chili blows chili with ground beef or turkey out of the water in my opinion.
This is the first chili recipe I’ve ever tried and it was a HUGE hit! Even the kid who said he’d never eat chili ate it! It was wonderful.
Am sitting in the kitchen right now, just having completely put all of the workings and parts of this recipe together an hour ago. I can’t help but keep sipping it- even though it won’t be finished for another hour.
What an amazing recipe. I even decided to pull my own tomatoes from the garden for this one, and crushed about 13 purple cherokee and a handful of cherry tomatoes.
I ran out of chili powder at around the 2 tablespoon mark (I always realize I’m short when I’m in the kitchen cooking), and decided toss in a pinch of cayenne pepper, roast 1 pablano and dice up an anaheim pepper, too.
The flavor has NOT been compromised, and think these ended up being worthwhile substitutions, since I wasn’t able to get to the store.
Thank you for sharing this recipe, the flavors are superb.
You are very welcome!!
Can this be made in a slow cooker? If so, are there any modifications to be made?
I haven’t tried it before but I would suggest browning the meat and cooking the veggies before putting everything into your crockpot to finish cooking. 🙂
Love this! Those big chunks of beef all soft and melty.
I always have to add some cocoa powder or dark chocolate squares to mine. It just works!
Yes! I’ve added chocolate to a vegetarian chili before and it’s really good. I bet it would be great in steak chili, too!
I’ve put cacao powder in chili but never even thought of adding dark chocolate squares! What a great idea. Especially when I don’t have any of the dark high fat cacao powder at home that I’ve only ever found at the bulk store. The commercial brand I have at home (Fry’s that we use for hot cocoa) is just not dark and rich enough IMO. Almost always have some dark chocolate lurking in the cupboard though. Thank you!!