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Pinto Bean Chili

Cumin and chili powder season this traditional chili from Sandy Dilatush of Denver, Colorado. Quesadillas on the side make this Southwestern soup a meal.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. + soaking Cook: 1-3/4 hours
  • Makes
    8 servings


  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
  • 12 flour tortillas (6 inches)
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 teaspoons canola oil


  • Place beans in a Dutch oven or soup kettle; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans, discarding liquid.
  • In a Dutch oven, cook the beef, onion and celery over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in water. Add the beans, chili powder, cumin and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Stir in the tomatoes, vinegar and salt; heat through, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, for quesadillas, spread about 1 tablespoon of chilies on half of each tortilla. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cheese; fold in half. In a large skillet, cook tortillas in 1 teaspoon of oil over medium heat until lightly browned on each side, adding more oil as needed. Cut each in half. Serve with chili.
Nutrition Facts
1-1/2 cups: 787 calories, 34g fat (15g saturated fat), 120mg cholesterol, 1373mg sodium, 72g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 18g fiber), 51g protein.

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  • Stwenter
    Feb 8, 2021

    This is a great 'week-night' type chili. I use 2 - 1 pound cans of pinto beans, drained, instead of dried if I don't have any dried on hand. I can get runny so play on cooking it down a bit, and sometimes I add extra spice or some taco seasonings. The cheese quesadilla is one of the best parts or sometimes I crush tortilla chips and put on top. It isn't as fancy as a specialty chili but it's tasty, easy to put together and cheap to make!

  • ms11145
    Feb 23, 2017

    I usually just wing it when I make chili, but I thought I would actually follow a recipe this time. This recipe intrigued me in many ways. 1. I have never had celery in chili before. 2. I have never put sugar in before. 3. Flour? I understand this one as it is used to slightly thicken. Cider vinegar also was new to me. Having said all of this, it works. I made this in my IP and it took 50 minutes of pressure time. After tasting it, I put in cayenne pepper to boost the flavor. We both put salsa on top for more flavor.

  • Rhett
    Jan 6, 2017

    i love pinto bean chilli wonderful filling inexpensive meal

  • silvipat
    Jan 31, 2015

    Cooked beans 3/4 of the way, in separate pot, then added to prepared meat mixture and finished cooking; also substituted @3oz tomato paste diluted w/ 1/2 cup of bean water for the tomatoes.

  • rjones8194
    Jan 19, 2015

    This recipe was fantastic. I did add a touch of garlic, thyme and increased the chili powder slightly. I have tried many chili recipes before this one and was disappointed every time. This is going to be my go to chili recipe from now on. Thank you for sharing!

  • ecedman
    Nov 24, 2014

    We found this chili a tad bland and to much liquid. I added garlic, black pepper and Sriracha sauce to give some additional flavor. It still tasted bland to us. Probably should have added some jalapenos, which I did not have on hand at the moment.

  • amotherof3plus2
    Dec 31, 2011

    It was good, I used some left over beans. I like recipe that help me use something left over from another meal. I need to save as much money as I can with three teenagers and a college student living at home.

  • hcora
    Dec 12, 2011

    I soak my beans all night.

  • hcora
    Dec 12, 2011

    Wow,This is a excellent recipe.I have made it 3 times in one month.Perfect :)

  • joycecoe
    Dec 6, 2011

    No comment left