Traditional Chili with beans and beef


Beans are a truly versatile food. They can work well in whatever dish you want to use them in, with different kinds of beans bringing something a little different. Unless you are from Texas and see it as blasphemous – one of the most popular bean dishes is chili, hands down.

But with so many different kinds of beans out there, what kind is the best to use in your chili? Truth be told, there really is no wrong answer!

Depending on your own taste and the type of chili you are preparing, you can use any beans you desire. However, when it comes to preparing a classic pot of chili like Quick Kidney Bean Chili or Dark Red Kidney Bean Chili, kidney beans are king. Kidney beans have been a long-standing element of countless chili recipes, but have you ever wondered why? Find great chili recipes here!


Kidney beans hold up under heat

One of the top reasons kidney beans make the best chili is that unlike some beans, kidney beans keep their form and stay together even under extreme heat. We all know chili tastes better when it has had a chance to sit and stew together in the pot for awhile over heat. This process allows everything to cook to perfection and lets all the flavors and spices mingle together. Throughout the process, kidney beans remain firm and refuse to become mushy or soggy.

Let’s face it, nobody wants that in their chili. Good, firm beans add a nice texture to chili and help break up the meat, spices and veggies with a creamy finish. The ability to keep their shape comes from the fact the kidney beans cook exceptionally evenly.


Kidney beans are hearty

When it comes to hearty dishes, they don’t come much heartier than chili. A thick base, meaty hamburger, steak or sausage – sometimes all three – and in some cases thickly chopped vegetables, chili is a dish that sticks to your ribs and warms up the soul. Therefore, it’s only fitting that the bean used fits the bill. Kidney beans are a particularly meaty bean and fit right in with the rest.


Kidney beans take well to other spices

Chili can be a complex dish of flavors. Cumin, chili powder, oregano, garlic, the list of spices and herbs that you can use in chili go on and on. Kidney beans are ideal for chili because of their versatility.

Whether your chili is mild or extra spicy, traditional or with a different twist, kidney beans adapt and taste just as good. Of course, just because kidney beans are a traditional bean doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself.

Other beans work great in regular chili as well and you can always find inventive new recipes to use different kinds of beans, like great northern beans in Southwest White Chicken Chili, black beans in Chorizo Chili or mixed beans in Sweet Potato Chili. That’s the beauty of beans: there’s no limit what you can do with them! These recipes can be made with either Randall Great Northern Beans or the Randall Beans Organic products.


What goes in your chili?  Beef or no beef? Beans or no beans? 

Well, if you ask a Texan, you don’t need beans but you do need beef in your chili.  And if you ask a vegetarian, you don’t need beef, but you do need beans. So who’s right?  Well, we have to admit we are partial to beans in our chili. Without them, all you have is meat sauce. So whether you like a rich red beef and kidney bean chili or a white chicken chili , or a simple vegetarian chili, we don’t think you really have a chili dish without the beans. Hungry yet?


Browse some of our favorite chili recipes and you will be!

What Bean is Best for Chili?

When it comes to a traditional chili recipe, kidney beans are considered the best beans for chili. They retain their firmness and shape under heat, are very hearty, and absorb spices and flavors nicely. Different kinds of chili can be made with all different kinds of beans, however.