All-American Beef Chili Recipe | Fresh Tastes Blog | PBS Food

Stay Warm with All-American Beef Chili This Fall

All-American Beef Chili is a hearty dinner with a secret ingredient - coffee!

All-American Beef Chili is a hearty dinner with a secret ingredient - coffee!

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This is your traditional all-American beef chili.

The chili you make during football season, the chili you make on the first day it snows and the chili you make, freeze, then pull out for dinner on a rainy day. This is it.

All-American Beef Chili is a hearty dinner with a secret ingredient - coffee!

As a kid, I grew up eating my mom’s Midwestern-style turkey chili over elbow noodles. The chili had a touch of sweetness in it and almost resembled a thick ragu sauce. To this day, my mom’s turkey chili holds a special spot in my heart.

About three years ago, I met my Texan boyfriend who also grew up eating chili —- only his was extra thick and spicy with lots of ground beef and beans.

I like to think that this recipe combines the two. Like my mom’s recipe, this chili has a touch of sweetness to round out the flavor of the tomatoes. And like my boyfriend’s Texas-style chili, this contains a heavy hand of beef and beans.

The ingredient that pulls it all together? Coffee. It rounds out the flavor and adds a little depth to the bowl.

All-American Beef Chili is a hearty dinner with a secret ingredient -- coffee!

I think you’re going to love this chili. It freezes wonderfully and tastes even better the second or third day, after the flavors have time to meld together a bit.

All-American Beef Chili with Beans



  • 3 16-oz cans chili beans (pinto beans in mild sauce)
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 10-oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
  • 10 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef, 85% lean
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup brewed coffee
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • For Serving
  • sour cream
  • sliced or pickled jalapenos
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • cornbread wedges


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. When hot, add the onions and sauté until translucent --- about five minutes. Add the ground beef and garlic and cook until browned.
  2. When the meat has browned, add the mushrooms and stir well. Cook for five more minutes, until mushrooms become tender. Then, stir in the beans (with sauce), tomato sauce, Rotel and brewed coffee.
  3. Bring chili to a boil then reduce heat and simmer. Add the sugar, bay leaf, chili powder, cumin and salt. Continue simmering on low heat for 45 minutes, stirring often. Adjust seasonings according to your taste preference ---- I added a little cayenne pepper here but you’ll want to taste it before going crazy.
  4. Serve chili in big bowls topped with sliced jalapenos, crumbled cornbread, cheddar cheese and dollops of sour cream.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Jenna Weber, food blogger for PBS Food's Fresh Tastes blogJenna Weber is half of the Fresh Tastes blog team. She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2008 and, since then, has worked as a pastry chef, bread baker and freelance food editor. Currently, Jenna blogs full-time on where her delicious daily recipes and quirky culinary musings appeal to thousands. She lives in Northern California and, when not in the kitchen, can usually be found on her yoga mat.

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