Hearty Four Bean Chili

Mom’s four Bean Chili (Meal prep recipe)

My first memory of chili was when I was about 11 years old, at a church supper when my family lived in Louisville, Kentucky. On the menu that day was something called “Haystacks”, a delicious concoction that started with a base of corn chips, topped with chili, followed by all the fixings: shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, diced red onions, shredded cheese, all topped with sour cream. I still remember eating my first Haystack off a paper plate with a plastic fork. Yum! Fast-forward about twenty years, and I am a busy working mom, desperate for healthy recipes that can be made in bulk, be reheated easily, and can feed my family for days. Enter Mom’s Four Bean Chili. I have spent several years perfecting this recipe, and after I bought my Instantpot, I started doubling the recipe so that I could freeze half of it for another time when I needed a wholesome dinner on the table in a hurry. I make my chili using grass-fed ground beef because my family is not a fan of ground turkey, but you could use any ground meat that you like. The beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and potassium. An added bonus is that beans are mostly made up of resistant starch, which is prebiotic (supports a healthy gut!). This is a mildly spicy chili and is sure to please all the members of your family. Enjoy!

Hearty Four Bean Chili

Mom’s Four Bean Chili

Elizabeth Tague
This warm, hearty chili recipe makes a double batch that can be frozen and reheated later. This chili is sure to please everyone at your dinner table!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 10
Calories 235 kcal


  • Large Dutch Oven or heavy pot with lid
  • Cutting board
  • Chef's knife
  • Large spoon
  • Garlic press


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced or put through a garlic press
  • 3 bell peppers red, orange, yellow, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 lbs grass-fed ground beef
  • 14.5 oz diced fire-roasted tomatoes with medium green chilies, canned
  • 14.5 oz diced fire-roasted tomatoes, canned
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • ¾ cup water
  • 15.5 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15.5 oz white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15.5 oz red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15.5 oz pinto beans (including liquid)
  • salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste, extra chili powder and cumin if needed, to taste


  • Heat 2 TBSP olive oil in the Dutch oven. Add chopped onion and peppers and saute until softened. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add chili powder, ancho chili powder, and cumin, mix to coat vegetables, and cook an additional 3-4 minutes to "toast" spices.
  • Crumble ground beef into the Dutch oven with vegetables and brown ground beef, mixing as needed to cook the meat all the way through. Drain excess fat if needed.
  • Add both cans of tomatoes, tomato paste, water, and all the beans, including the pinto beans with their liquid. Stir until combined and bring to a simmer.
  • Continue simmering on low for 2 hours. Chili will thicken as it cooks. Check seasonings and add additional chili powder and cumin if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste, and add your favorite hot sauce if you like it a little more on the hot and spicy side.
  • I put half the recipe into a freezer-safe round container so that I have another meal ready for another time. Freezing the chili in a round container allows the frozen chili to fit into the instant pot while still frozen. ***see notes below***


This chili can be eaten right away but tastes even better the next day after the flavors have time to develop.
This is delicious served with crushed corn chips, chopped red onions, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, anything you would put on tacos! 
This is also delicious served with warm cornbread. 
I freeze half the recipe in a round plastic freezer-safe container so that I have a quick meal for another time.  I reheat it in my Instant Pot and dinner is ready in no time. Set Instant Pot to saute,  run the container with frozen chili under hot water to release the frozen block of chili, and put into the Instant Pot. Add 1/4 cup of water and keep it on the saute setting for 5 minutes.  When the 5 minutes is up, set the Instant Pot to the steam setting (or to your pressure cook setting) and set the timer for 20 minutes.  Natural pressure release for 10 minutes, release lid, stir and chili is ready to serve.  


Sodium: 817mgCalcium: 121mgVitamin C: 54mgVitamin A: 2436IUSugar: 8gFiber: 13gPotassium: 827mgCholesterol: 1mgCalories: 235kcalSaturated Fat: 1gFat: 4gProtein: 12gCarbohydrates: 39gIron: 5mg
Keyword Chili, Tex-Mex
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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1 year ago

5 stars
Easy and delicious! I followed this recipe exactly and it was very flavorful and has a great consistency. Recipe made a large batch so perfect for meal prep!