A full pot of awesome chili garnished with shredded cheddar cheese and green onions.

Dutch Oven Awesome Chili

If you’re looking for a hearty and meaty chili recipe that is great on its own or topped on a dog, then this Dutch Oven Awesome Chili is for you. 

Awesome Chili in a Dutch oven garnished with shredded cheddar cheese and green onion.

The Best Chili Recipe Ever

When I was in high school, my dad Dean and I decided we wanted to develop our own chili recipe. After many tweaks and batches, this is the recipe we settled on. You can tell I was in high school by the name I gave it…awesome!

This is a special recipe to me because I got to spend time with my Dad, one on one. As a dad now, I know this bonding experience means just as much to him as it does me.

Close up and side view of Awesome Chili in a blue-gray bowl garnished with sour cream, green onions, and shredded cheddar cheese.

I make this chili every Halloween; it’s now a tradition with my own family.

And this Dutch Oven Awesome Chili is award winning too.

I entered this recipe in a chili contest at work back in 2005 and won 1st place. Since then, I tease my Dad that when I make Awesome Chili, the name changes to Award Winning Awesome Chili whereas when he makes it, it’s only Awesome Chili.

No Garlic Chili Recipe

Super close up of a spoonful of dutch oven awesome chili.

Yes, you read that correctly. There is no garlic in this recipe. Garlic and I have a very stressful relationship.

Even though garlic and I don’t get long, I will occasionally cook with it, but this recipe was developed without any and I’ve left it that way. It’s still delicious, I promise.

If you find not having garlic in chili to be against your religion, please add some. You can add 4 cloves or 2 tsp granulated garlic.

How to Make Dutch Oven Awesome Chili

Raw and measured out ingredients for Awesome Chili: the Dutch oven, kidney beans, ground beef, spices, salsa, tomatoes, and bell peppers.

First off, this is a thick and hearty chili; really chunky and less like stew.

I want to be up front so no one gets mad at me when you make this and it’s done cooking: there is not as much liquid in this recipe as in other chili recipes you might have made. 

Once you have all your ingredients, including measuring out the spices, this recipe goes pretty quick-ish.

Lean ground beef crumbled into a hot dutch oven.

Heat the Dutch oven on medium-high and crumble in the ground beef.

Add the onions and bell peppers once the beef is in. Mix well and cook. 

You don’t have to fully cook the ground beef through at this stage; it will get completely done in the process of making the recipe. 

The ground beef, onions, and bell peppers cooking in the Dutch oven.

Once the beef has sufficiently browned and the onions and peppers have softened, drain off the renderings. Even thought I used 93% lean ground beef, it produced ample renderings with 3 pounds of meat. 

After the renderings have been drained, it’s time to add the seasonings. 

Seasonings being added to the browned beef, onions, and bell peppers in the dutch oven.

Tips for adding spices

To avoid clumping, don’t add them all at once.  Put the Dutch oven back on the burner over medium heat. 

Do a little dance and sing “sprinkle and stir,” “sprinkle and stir,” and “sprinkle and stir” until they’ve all been incorporated and mixed in well.

There is nothing worse than biting into a luscious piece of meat only to be greeted by a choking amount of chili powder. 

The salsa and tomatoes are being added to the chili base in the dutch oven.

Pour in the salsa then the tomatoes. I had already reduced the heat to medium but you can go to low. Tomato products hitting the hot pot can spit and HURT.

Gently fold in the kidney beans. Like your real kidneys, they’re fragile.

They will break apart if they are roughly stirred in.

The dark and light kidney beans are being added to the chili in the dutch oven.

Just remember how much it hurt when your brother would kidney punch you growing up…oh, he didn’t, just mine then?

Well it hurts and it hurts the beans if you’re too rough. So just hear your mom’s voice in your head, “no rough-housing” while you’re incorporating them. 

The Dutch Oven Awesome chili is simmering.

Increase the heat up to medium-high, or even high and bring it to a boil. Now, I put the lid on at this stage because, well, I don’t like scrubbing my walls. The splatter is real my friends and it will make a mess. 

Once this awesome chili has its boil on, reduce the heat to medium-low, allowing it to maintain a low simmer. Let it simmer away for 30 minutes or so, but stir it occasionally. 

How to use up leftover Dutch Oven Awesome Chili

If you have leftover chili and want a new way to enjoy it, here are 4 ways to use it up.

Skillet nachos topped with chili, tomatoes, olive, sour cream, cheese, and cilantro.
A bowl of roasted spiced cauliflower topped with chili, queso fresco, and cilantro.
Awesome Chili served up in bowls topped with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and green onions, Frito chips sprinkled around.
A full pot of awesome chili garnished with shredded cheddar cheese and green onions.
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Dutch Oven Awesome Chili

Award winning and full flavored meaty chili; it's going to be a family favorite.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Awesome Chili
Servings: 8
Calories: 418kcal
Author: Ned Adams
Cost: $20


  • 5 qt. Dutch oven or larger


  • 3 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 bell peppers diced
  • 2 tbsp chile powder
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • tsp salt
  • tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 29 oz stewed tomatoes 2-14.5 oz cans
  • 16 oz dark kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 16 oz light kidney beans drained and rinsed

Optional Garnishes

  • cheddar cheese shredded
  • sour cream
  • green onions sliced


  • Heat the Dutch oven over medium-high heat
  • Crumble in the ground beef; stir.
  • Stir in the onions and bell peppers; mix well.
  • Cook the beef until it has browned and the vegetables have begun to soften.
  • Drain off all the renderings.
  • Return to the heat and incorporate the spices while stiring.
  • Add the salsa and stewed tomatoes, mix well.
  • Gently fold in the kidney beans
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high or high heat.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer
  • Allow to simmer for 30 minutes, the chili will thicken and the liquid will be absorbed.
  • Serve with any of the optional garnishes and enjoy.


Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 1415mg | Potassium: 1489mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2013IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 9mg

This post has been updated from its original May 16, 2017 publishing with new content, clarified recipe card, and new photography.

Dutch Oven Awesome Chili


  1. 5 stars
    I would love to get this pot

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  3. 5 stars
    He went bonkers over all the meat! Awesome recipe!! Thanks!!!

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  6. Jennifer Sapp

    5 stars
    Can you slow cook the chili all day like I would a slow cooker? I have a lodge Dutch oven and like it so much more than my Nina crock pot

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  8. Michelle Hoffman

    5 stars
    Just one clarification needed on the recipe- it says 14.5 oz stewed tomatoes , then next to it says 2 14.5 oz cans??? I want to make it for 4 people.
    Thank you.

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  10. 5 stars
    It was a hit tonight !!! They liked how hearty it was !! Thx for sharing

  11. Hello Ned I’m fixing to make this Chili recipe today, it sounds delicious.

  12. I know the recipe calls for a 5 qt dutch oven….If I have a 3.5 qt, think it’d do the job or should I halve it and make two batches? Either way – can’t wait to try. Thanks!

    • Great question! You’ll definitely want to half it and make two batches. Can’t wait to see how it turns out for you! If you remember, take a picture and tag me on social media?

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