bowl of taco chili with toppings

One of Lincoln’s very favorite foods right now is tacos. If you ask him what he wants for dinner, 100% of the time he’ll tell you tacos. Ben gets a little sick of having the same thing every week though, so I thought I’d switch things up with Taco Chili!

I know, I know – living on the edge – but the second thing Lincoln will tell you he wants for dinner after tacos is soup or chili so this meal is a win-win at my house. Each spoonful of Taco Chili tastes like a big bite of a taco, but since it’s thick and hearty it’s perfect for this time of year when you need a dish that will warm you up on chilly (har) nights.

bowl of taco chili with crushed tortilla chips

Taco Chili Ingredients

Browned ground beef is simmered with pantry staples including my homemade taco seasoning (or a taco seasoning packet,) diced tomatoes and chilis, tomato sauce, chicken broth, pinto beans, and black olives. Yes, black olives!! A lot of Taco Soup or Chili recipes call for cans of black beans and corn – which is totally fine – but I wanted this chili to contain the ingredients that I actually eat in or with my tacos. That includes refried beans if I’m at a restaurant (aka pinto beans) and black olives always and forever, Amen.

That is to say, I love me some black olives.

I top each bowl with my favorite taco toppings like sliced green onions and sharp cheddar cheese, plus a crush of tortilla chips to mimic the crunch of a taco shell, but feel free to top yours with your favorite taco toppings! Diced avocado, sour cream, and fresh pico de gallo would be divine. Don’t forget the cornbread!

Crock Pot Instructions

Lastly, Taco Chili is crock pot friendly – whee! So, you can simmer the chili on the stovetop for 30 minutes, or add all the ingredients to your crock pot and slow cook anywhere from 4-6 hours. Tastes delicious either way, and like most chilis, leftovers just get better and better so you can enjoy this dish all week long for lunch.

spoon taking a bite of taco chili

How to Make this Recipe

If you’re going the crock pot route, brown ground beef with chopped onion then add it to a 6 quart crock pot with chicken broth, canned pinto beans, tomato sauce, canned diced tomatoes and green chilis (Rotel is not verified GF so I use Hatch brand,) sliced black olives, and taco seasoning then cook on low for 4-6 hours.

If you’re going the stovetop route, brown the beef and onions in a soup pot then add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally.

Both methods are super simple – just depends on when you want to eat!


Last step is to scoop the chili into bowls then top with your favorite taco fixins’. Like I said, I love lots of sharp shredded cheddar cheese and green onions, plus crushed tortilla chips for crunch and a side of homemade cornbread. Couldn’t be more delicious – enjoy!

bowl of taco chili with crushed tortilla chips

Taco Chili

5/5 (2 REVIEWS)


Change up taco night with Taco Chili! Each bite tastes like a hot and hearty taco in chili form. Serve with lots of toppings then dig in!


serves 4-6

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (I like Bush’s brand)
  • 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 10oz can diced tomatoes and green chilis
  • 3.8oz can sliced black olives, drained
  • 2 - 2-1/2 Tablespoons homemade taco seasoning (see note) OR or a taco seasoning packet
  • Toppings: shredded cheese, green onions, fresh cilantro, tortilla chips, cooked rice


  1. For the stovetop: Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat then add ground beef and onion and saute until cooked through, breaking beef up as it cooks. Add remaining ingredients, except toppings, then turn heat up to high to bring to a boil. Place a lid on top then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste then add more taco seasoning if desired, and then serve with toppings.
  2. For the Crock Pot: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat then add ground beef and onion and saute until cooked through, breaking beef up as it cooks. Drain if necessary then add mixture to a 6 quart crock pot with the remaining ingredients, except toppings, and stir to combine. Cook on low for 4-6 hours then serve with toppings.


This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

photo collage of taco chili in a bowl