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Simmer a pot of easy taco chili on the stovetop or in the Crock Pot for a cozy, satisfying dinner with just 15 minutes of prep! The ground beef, chili beans, and tomatoes come together in a zesty broth that’s flavored with taco and ranch seasonings. Garnish each bowl with your favorite toppings, and serve the hearty chili with a side of crunchy tortilla chips for scooping and dipping!

Overhead image of a bowl of taco chili with a side of tortilla chips on a dinner table
Table of Contents
  1. Easy Taco Chili
  2. Is taco seasoning different from chili seasoning?
  3. Ingredients
  4. How To Make Taco Chili
  5. Serving Suggestions
  6. Storage
  7. Recipe Variations
  8. Tips for the best taco chili recipe
  9. Taco Chili Recipe

Easy Taco Chili

This easy taco chili recipe is a delicious way to embrace the cooler temperatures. Each pot boasts the zesty flavors that you love from a classic plate of tacos, with the rich, hearty texture of a warm bowl of chili. The dish is perfect for game days, potlucks, or cozy weeknight suppers!

Make it your own by using ground turkey or chicken instead of ground beef, by throwing in an extra can of beans in lieu of some of the meat, or by adding more veggies like diced green bell peppers. Prepare it on the stovetop or in the Crock Pot (whichever is more convenient); and don’t forget the toppings! Just like tacos, you can finish off each bowl with grated cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, and chopped fresh herbs.

Is taco seasoning different from chili seasoning?

These two seasoning blends have a lot in common, which is why you can use taco seasoning for chili. While they both typically include about 5-8 different ingredients, chili seasoning tends to have more chili powder and paprika, while taco seasoning boasts more cumin.

Skillet of ground beef and onions.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a pot of taco chili. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Ground beef: or substitute with ground turkey, ground pork, or chicken.
  • Onion and garlic: for savory flavor.
  • Taco seasoning and Ranch dressing mix: these seasoning packets are convenient shortcuts that add major flavor to your pot of chili!
  • Brown sugar: just enough sweetness to cut through the acidity in the tomatoes and give the chili more depth of flavor.
  • Crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and petite diced tomatoes: give the dish bold tomato flavor and a rich, thick tomato-based broth.
  • Chopped green chiles: add Mexican flavor and a little bit of kick.
  • Chili beans: any variety will work. I typically use chili pinto beans in a mild sauce, but you can pick up chili red beans, kidney beans, or black beans, for example. Just make sure that they have that flavorful chili sauce.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: taste the chili before adding any extra seasoning, because it might not need anything at all.
Adding taco seasoning to a slow cooker

How To Make Taco Chili

Each hearty, satisfying bowl of this easy taco chili recipe tastes like a plate of tacos in scoopable form! I’ve included both the stovetop and Crock Pot instructions, so use whichever method is most convenient for you. Best of all, you only need a handful of pantry staples to bring this meal together.

  1. Brown the ground beef, onion, and garlic in a Dutch oven or large skillet until the meat is no longer pink. Drain off the fat.
  2. If using a Crock Pot, transfer the meat mixture to the slow cooker at this time.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours.
  5. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  6. Ladle into bowls and garnish with your favorite taco toppings.
Side shot of a bowl of taco chili on a table

Serving Suggestions

If you’re looking for some additional sides to round out the meal, try one of these options:

Storage

Leftover chili will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The flavors just get better as the chili sits! If you prefer, store the cooled chili in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Thaw the chili in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat gently on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through.

Front shot of a spoon scooping up a bite of taco chili

Recipe Variations

  • Less Meat: if you prefer a chili with more beans and less meat, use just one pound of ground beef and add a 16-ounce can of drained and rinsed black beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans.
  • No Beans: swap out the chili beans and add a can of sweet corn. You may need to thin the chili with some water or broth, since you won’t have the extra sauce from the can of beans.
  • Substitute ground turkey or ground chicken for the ground beef.
  • Chicken Taco Chili: sauté the onion and garlic as instructed, and add 4 cups of cooked, shredded or diced chicken to the pot along with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Use a homemade taco seasoning mix and some dried herbs in lieu of the prepared seasoning packets.
Square image of a spoon in a bowl of easy taco chili

Tips for the best taco chili recipe

  • Use a can of chili beans — not regular canned beans. The chili beans add a thick sauce to the pot, and also give the chili tons of extra flavor and kick.
  • If you’re preparing a slow cooker taco chili, you probably will not need to add any extra water, beef broth, or chicken broth to the chili. If you’re making the dish on the stovetop, you may want to add an extra cup of liquid to thin the chili as it cooks.
  • Stir the pot occasionally while it simmers on the stovetop to prevent anything from sticking or scorching on the bottom.
  • Wait to season the chili with additional salt and pepper until the end of the cooking time. The seasoning packets include plenty of salt, so you might not want any more.
  • Garnish with your favorite toppings, or set up a “toppings bar.” The options are endless, including: sour cream or Greek yogurt, sliced green or pickled red onions, grated cheese, sliced black olives, fresh cilantro, guacamole or diced avocado, and corn chips.
Overhead image of a pot of a bowl of taco chili with cheese and other toppings
Square image of a spoon in a bowl of easy taco chili

Taco Chili

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings 12 cups
Calories 264 kcal
Simmer a pot of easy taco chili on the stovetop or in the Crock Pot for a cozy, satisfying dinner with just 15 minutes of prep!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed (about 3 teaspoons total)
  • 1 (1 ounce) packet taco seasoning
  • 1 (1 ounce) packet Ranch seasoning and salad dressing mix
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can chopped green chiles, not drained
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans, not drained
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional garnish: sour cream, diced avocado, grated cheddar cheese, sliced green onion, fresh cilantro, Fritos or tortilla chips

Instructions

STOVETOP:

  • Brown the ground beef and onion in a large Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute. Drain off the fat.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer gently for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary (it might not need any).
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with toppings of choice.

CROCK POT:

  • Brown the ground beef and onion in a large Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute. Drain off the fat.
  • Transfer the beef mixture to a slow cooker. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW heat for 4-6 hours or on HIGH heat for 2-3 hours. If you want a thinner chili, you can always add extra water or beef broth to the pot as the chili is cooking. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary (it might not need any).
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with your favorite taco toppings.

Notes

  • Use a can of chili beans — not regular canned beans. The chili beans add a thick sauce to the pot, and also give the chili tons of extra flavor and kick.
  • If you’re preparing a slow cooker taco chili, you probably will not need to add any extra water, beef broth, or chicken broth to the chili. If you’re making the dish on the stovetop, you may want to add an extra cup of liquid to thin the chili as it cooks.
  • Stir the pot occasionally while it simmers on the stovetop in order to prevent anything from sticking or scorching on the bottom.
  • Wait to season the chili with additional salt and pepper until the end of the cooking time. The seasoning packets include plenty of salt, so you might not want any more.
  • Garnish with your favorite toppings, or set up a “toppings bar.” The options are endless, including: sour cream or Greek yogurt, sliced green or pickled red onions, grated cheese, sliced black olives, fresh cilantro, guacamole or diced avocado, and corn chips.
  • Less Meat: if you prefer a chili with more beans and less meat, use just one pound of ground beef and add a 16-ounce can of drained and rinsed black beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans.
  • No Beans: swap out the chili beans and add a can of sweet corn. You may need to thin the chili with some water or broth, since you won’t have the extra sauce from the can of beans.
  • Substitute ground turkey or ground chicken for the ground beef.
  • Chicken Taco Chili: sauté the onion and garlic as instructed, and add 4 cups of cooked, shredded or diced chicken to the pot along with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Use a homemade taco seasoning mix and some dried herbs in lieu of the prepared seasoning packets.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 264kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 18gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 1035mgPotassium: 821mgFiber: 5gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 609IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 4mg
Keyword: easy taco chili, taco chili, taco chili recipe, taco chili with ranch dressing mix
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this recipe for the vendors at our little local flea market. It was a huge hit. I have made chili before for this crowd and there is always leftover. Not yesterday. I did manage to scrape up half a spoonful. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Hi, Kay! You’ll need about 2 tablespoons of the taco seasoning mix and about 2 tablespoons of the ranch seasoning mix. Hope you enjoy!