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Hearty Chili Dairy-Free

This classic, hearty chili has been a standby in our house for over 20 years. 

Before kids, we made it for friends and family, and it was always a hit!

After kids and food allergies, we were pleasantly surprised that our favorite chili was already super allergy-friendly and safe for our boys. 

Then, when our pickiest kiddo deems it his favorite soup…we know we’ve really reached the winner’s circle.

Basically, there’s nothing to change with this recipe. It’s withstood the test of time. Check it out below.

bowl of hearty dairy-free chili with meat and beans

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I love that this chili can be made in an hour on the stove.

But if you have more time, letting it simmer for quite some time will yield deep, delicious flavors. 

It’s very slow cooker friendly, as long as you cook the meat beforehand. Great for busy days.

When your own moms ask for the recipe? And both of ours have. It’s DEFINITELY a winner! 

This recipe has always been dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free…perfect for our food allergy family.

And even grandpa, who has wheat allergies, can enjoy it with us, too.

What’s even better, is that we can use a variety of meat and beans for this recipe, depending on what we have on hand.

Here’s the low-down on that and the recipe is below.


  • ground beef cooked
  • ground venison cooked
  • ground turkey cooked


  • black beans
  • pinto beans
  • kidney beans


Always double-check labels, ingredients can change.

Here are the dairy-free toppings we like.


Soup Crackers

Cheese Shreds 


Dairy & egg free cornbread topped with dairy-free butter.

Dairy-free grilled cheese is also delicious with homemade chili.

Or keep it simple and serve peanut, nut, or seed butter sandwiches on the side.


Ah, yes. This is the perfect hack for having company over or for a busy night.

First cook your meat and veggies on the stove.

Then move them to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients.

Chili is always best when it has plenty of time to simmer so this is a great way to yield the best flavor.

And you’re off the hook for standing over the stove all night.


Chili reheats really well, in the microwave or back on the stove.

You may just need to add a little water in as it’s typically pretty thick as leftovers.

If you have broth on hand, that’s even better.  

A great use for leftover chili is these chili dogs. Kids love them!

If you have friends or family needing a little help, this is also an easy meal to pack in a freezer bag and pass on to others.

They can reheat it easily when they need it, and you can be a blessing to someone else. 

Now for the recipe!

meat and bean chili in a bowl



12 ounce ground beef or ground venison
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
1 14-ounce can of cut tomatoes
1 15-ounce can pinto, kidney, black, or white beans
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
2-3 teaspoon chili powder 
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
pepper to taste


In a large pot, cook ground meat, onion, and pepper until meat is brown. Add in the garlic in the last minutes so it doesn’t burn.

Drain the fat from the meat.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot.

Cover and simmer on the stove (medium heat) for at least 30 minutes or in a slow cooker for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

Optional, add a little water as you’re cooking to keep the consistency you desire. Some like thick chili while others like to thin and stretch it further. Just don’t add too much or you’ll lose the flavor. Adding broth for thinning is a better option, if you have it on hand.

We hope you love this easy dairy-free chili recipe as much as we do!


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Wednesday 27th of January 2021

Hello! Sorry if this question was asked already, but can you recommend a seasoning brand that's dairy (and nut) free/ safe from cross contamination? I have a young daughter that has many food allergies and I'm still learning the ropes.

Thank you!

Jamie Kaufmann

Monday 1st of February 2021

Hey Christina! We love the Simply Organic brand but haven't called them for manufacturing info. Hope that helps!

Katie Lincoln

Sunday 5th of February 2017

Hello! Do you have a recommendation for a dairy free, gluten free etc processing brand of beans?

Thanks so much! Love your site and all your insight.


Sunday 5th of February 2017

Hi Katie! I get organic canned black and pinto beans from Aldi and they say gluten-free! :) Thanks for the question!

Katie Lincoln

Sunday 5th of February 2017

Looks awesome!! Is there a brand of beans that you can recommend that is dairy free, wheat free, nut free etc?

Thanks so much! Love your site and insight.

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