Fast and Easy Chili

I'm sure there have been lots of people in your life who have promised something then reneged on it, but I'm going to deliver on my title's promise. So tell those people to go screw and come hang out with me! We're having chili.

Before we went gluten-free for shared meals (and important sidebar: I know my family's all in agreement but can the rest of us agree that "meal" is a gross word? Like, just the sound of it is gross. Say what you mean instead: dinner [NEVER supper unless you're my grandmother in which case it's cool and also pronounced  "suppah" so totally different], lunch,  breakfast or a snack. You are what makes America great. Thank you, PSA over), I did a lot of at-home chili experimentation. I'd pull up a long list of recipes that looked good and try to combine what seemed like the best elements for my own recipe. So basically every time I've made chili it's totally different. Some of the standbys are a basic spice mix, chilis in adobo sauce, and beer.

Since the Celiac diagnosis though we haven't had any chili at home. It's also been surprisingly warm for winter in New England and chili's really only a once-a-month deal, so a few days ago was our first venture into the gluten-free chili world.

A word of advice here: my lovely mother does not like things spicy. At all. Normally when I make chili I throw in a few red pepper flakes, some cracks of black pepper, and as previously mentioned, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. The amount of chipotle peppers you actually put in is totally negotiable and based on your ability to manage heat, but a few spoonfuls of the adobo sauce that they hang out in is an absolute must. My ideal chili is basically just meat and cheese, served with tortilla chips or - better yet!  - nachos with salsa, sour cream and guac on the side. This particular chili though is a bit more, how should I say? Worldly? It has more vegetables, more life, and won't leave you feeling completely bloated and bed-ridden as you recover from the epic amounts of salt you just inhaled. Normally tortilla chips are a must for me, but here we went for the Trader Joe's cornbread mix I posted about yesterday and it was delish. We considered adding a gluten free lager, but with everything we had we decided it wasn't necessary in the end. Let me know if you've added gluten free beers and had any success so I can test them out next time!

Serves: 4 with leftovers

Total Time: 1 hour


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound 85% ground beef
  • 2 small onions
  • 1 carrot (untraditional and not my favorite! Feel free to skip. My mom insisted)
  • 2 14.5 oz cans of Diced, Fire Roasted Tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 turns of a black pepper shaker
  • 1 can Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce using at least the sauce if not 1-4 peppers (depending on how much heat you want/can manage)
  • 2 15oz cans beans - I go for kidney and usually like one can red and one can white
  • Cornbread or tortilla chips and shredded cheese for serving


  1. Heat large pot with cover to medium heat. Add olive oil, and when sizzling add diced garlic (or run through a garlic press). Dice onions and chop carrots into fine pieces.
  2. Once garlic is fragrant, add ground beef, breaking up and cooking through. As beef starts to brown add in onions and carrots, stirring until beef is entirely browned. Dice chipotle peppers if using.
  3. Once beef is fully cooked add in both cans of tomatoes, diced chipotle peppers, and at least 3 tablespoons of adobo sauce (or as much as you can get out of the can) with cinnamon, chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cover for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir chili, and add both cans of kidney beans. Here I've found that breaking down about half the beans, either with clean hands while adding them in or with the back of a spatula or potato masher while they're in the chili, results in a thicker and more substantial chili. Cook for at least 20 minutes on medium-low.
  5. Taste chili and add additional spices, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, or gluten free beer as you'd like. I'd recommend letting this come together on a low setting for as long as you can, but if you're in a rush bring it back up to medium heat for 5 minutes and serve! It'll still be delicious, especially with lots of cheese on top and salty or savory sides!

How do you make gluten free chili at home? Do you have a favorite gluten free beer to cook with?