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    Smoky Chipotle Chili

    This rich and hearty Chipotle Chili will keep you warm on frosty winter nights. It’s packed with the flavors you expect in a chili, but with the added bonus of chipotles in adobo sauce for that extra depth of smokiness.

    smoky chipotle chili in a white bowl garnished with shredded cheddar cheese and diced green onions

    Hi friends, it’s Jason again, back for round two of our February chili series. How did you like my white bean turkey chili last week? Today we are going with something a bit more conventional, but tweaking it with chipotle peppers. Though we don’t use them often, we like to keep a can around for days when we want something smoky. Some nice thick chili seemed like the perfect candidate.

    smoky chipotle chili in a white bowl garnished with shredded cheddar cheese and diced green onions

    What are chipotle peppers?

    Chipotles are specially prepared jalepenõ peppers. The green jalepenõs you are used to seeing in your produce department are immature. In preparing chipotles, these are left on the bush until Fall, when they ripen to a deep red color. They are then smoked for several days, taking the moisture content down from around 90% to 6%. The traditional wood used in Mexico is pecan, but fruit woods are popular as well. The process dates back to the Aztec times.

    You can find chipotles in several forms at your local grocery store. Sometimes we use powdered chipotles, or whole dried peppers. For this dish, we are using canned chipotles in adobo sauce, a marinade of tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, spices and salt.

    smoky chipotle chili in a dutch oven


    ingredients for smoky chipotle chili on a white background
    • Ground beef and pork – You can pick one or the other, but I like mixing meats in my chilis.
    • Beans – I used kidney and pinto for this one, but feel free to experiment.
    • Diced canned tomatoes – A chili staple.
    • Tomato Paste – For a more concentrated tomato flavor.
    • Chipotles in adobo sauce – Hence the name of the recipe.
    • Onion – You can omit it, you won’t hurt my feelings.
    • Garlic – A good bit of it.
    • Fresh jalepenõ – For a little more kick.
    • Beef broth – This chili has many layers of flavor.
    • Chili powder – A must.
    • Cumin powder – Another staple of chilis.
    • Salt


    This is going to be pretty easy. First, chop your onion, garlic and jalepenõ. Heat some cooking oil in a large dutch oven, add your veggies and sauté a few minutes. Next add the meats, along with 1 tsp salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is slightly browned.

    spices added to browned meat

    Add the chili and cumin powders and mix well, making sure the meat is nicely coated.

    browned, spiced meat mixture topped with diced tomatoes

    Finally chop your chipotles and mix in, along with beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, and broth.

    beans and chipotles added to meat and tomato mixture

    Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 45 minutes plus, uncovered. Taste periodically and add salt if you like, or more spices depending on your preference. As Alpana is fond of saying, taste and adjust.

    smoky chipotle chili in a dutch oven

    Frequently asked questions

    Can you use dried beans?

    Absolutely! Prepare ahead of time according to package. Remember, one pound of dried beans is equivalent to about 3 cans.

    How well does it store?

    Wonderfully. Refrigerate for up to 3 days, it makes great leftovers and gets better over time. You can also freeze in an airtight container for 3-4 months.

    Do I have to use both ground beef and pork?

    Nope. I like a combinations of meats, but pick one or the other if you prefer. If you are avoiding red meat, try it with ground turkey or chicken.

    Can I use my Crock Pot?

    Chilis are great in the crock pot! I am presenting this method because it is a bit quicker, but if you want to slow cook it just cook the vegetables and meat as described, then transfer to the crock pot and mix in the remaining ingredients. Cook 7-8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.

    How about an Instant Pot?

    Certainly. Set your instant pot to sauté and follow all the same steps up through adding the beans, tomatoes and such. Then seal the lid and cook for 20 minutes. Release the pressure manually or allow it to release more slowly on it’s own.

    smoky chipotle chili in a dutch oven

    Serving Suggestions

    smoky chipotle chili in a white bowl garnished with shredded cheddar cheese and diced green onions

    If you ask me, some nice cornbread is a must to accompany this chili… with lots of butter. I like to cook mine in a cast iron skillet with bacon grease. A green salad also goes well. I usually use a creamy dressing, such as blue cheese, to balance out the tanginess of the chili. Or you could try our
    zucchini carrot salad with Catalina dressing.

    As for garnishings, shredded cheese tops the list. Sharp cheddar is a great choice, or to accentuate the smokiness you can try smoked Gouda. Other options include sour cream, chopped onions, cilantro or avocado.

    smoky chipotle chili in a white bowl garnished with shredded cheddar cheese and diced green onions

    Please let me know how you enjoy my smoky chipotle chili. Next Monday I will be cooking up something for our vegetarian followers. In the mean time, I hear Alpana has a special Valentines dish coming up in the next couple of days. Stay tuned…

    Smoky chipotle chili, in our Gypsy Bowl… enjoy!

    smoky chipotle chili in the gypsy bowl, alongside a slice of cornbread
    smoky chipotle chili in a white bowl garnished with shredded cheddar cheese and diced green onions

    Smoky Chipotle Chili

    Yield: 6 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour
    Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

    Rich and hearty, with a layer of smokiness from chipotle peppers, this chili will keep you warm on winter nights. Make a big batch, it's even better as leftovers!


    • 1 lb ground beef
    • 1 lb ground pork
    • 2 15.5 oz cans beans (I used kidney and pinto)
    • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
    • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
    • 4 chipotle peppers, canned in adobo sauce
    • 2 cups beef broth
    • 1 small onion
    • 6 cloves garlic
    • 1 jalepeño
    • 3 Tbsp chili powder
    • 2 Tbsp cumin powder
    • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
    • Salt, 1 tsp + to taste


    1. Heat cooking oil over medium high heat in a dutch oven. Add chopped onions, garlic and jalepeño. Sauté about 5 minutes.
    2. Add meat, plus 1 tsp salt, and sauté until browned, about 10 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin and mix well.
    3. Chop chipotles and add to pot, along with remaining ingredients. Mix, and bring to low boil.
    4. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, at least 45 minutes. Taste occasionally and add additional salt or spices if desired.


    Serve with cornbread and a salad.

    Alternately, you can cook this chili in a crock pot. Sauté veggies, add meat and brown. Then add all ingredients to crock pot and cook for 7-8 hours on high or 4-5 hours on low.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 6 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 625Total Fat 36gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 20gCholesterol 138mgSodium 1319mgCarbohydrates 32gFiber 8gSugar 12gProtein 48g

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    long pin of smoky chipotle chili
    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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