My Favorite Chili Recipe

In sixth-grade English, our class read a story about a Native American tribe in the Southwest. I’ve forgotten all but one fascinating detail of that story: the family ate meat cooked with chocolate. Thanks to my dad’s rule that we must at least try everything once, I ate a lot of weird stuff as a kid—raw lamb in kibbeh, chicken livers, capers—but this was something I simply couldn’t fathom. Chocolate! With meat! Now, I’m a sucker for anything that’s sweetly savory, and every time I reach for the cocoa, I smile at the memory of 11-year-old me. This chili is spicy but not hot. Reminiscent of mole, the flavors are rich, mellow, and deep.

Chocolate Chili |

Chocolate Chili from Well Fed

Prep 20 min | Cook 2-3 hours | Serves 6-8 | Whole30 compliant

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)

  • 2 pounds ground beef

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted, chopped tomatoes

  • 2 cups chicken or beef broth

  • 1 cup water


Heat a large, deep pot over medium-high heat, then add the coconut oil. When the oil is melted, add onions, stir with a wooden spoon and cook until they’re translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and as soon as it’s fragrant, about 30 seconds, crumble the ground meat into the pan with your hands, mixing with the wooden spoon to combine. Continue to cook the meat, stirring often, until it’s no longer pink.


In a small bowl, crush the oregano between your palms to release its flavor, then add the chili powder, cumin, cocoa, allspice, and salt. Combine with a fork, then add to the pot, stirring like you mean it. Add tomato paste and stir until combined, about 2 minutes.


Add the tomatoes with their juice, beef broth, and water to the pot. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the chili enjoys a gentle simmer. Simmer uncovered for at least two hours. Do not skimp on the simmer! Serve in deep bowls with big spoons.

  • Try a meat combo by mixing ground beef with ground turkey, pork, or bison.

  • Make a double batch and freeze half so you have chili-on-demand.

  • Top with sliced olives, diced onions, and/or avocado slices.

In a Slow Cooker

I haven’t made Chocolate Chili in a slow cooker myself because I don’t love stew-y things cooked in the slow cooker. But if the slow cooker is your thing, here’s the way one reader adapted this recipe for their crockpot. Proceed at your own risk; I haven’t tested this version myself.


Sauté onions in fat in a cast iron or nonstick skillet, followed by the garlic; place in the crockpot insert.


Put 2 pounds ground beef in the skillet (without cleaning it out) and sauté until just no longer pink. Place that (and the juices) in the crockpot.


Add all the spices briefly to the hot skillet to bloom the flavors, then add the tomato paste; stir to combine and cook about 1 minute. Add the beef broth and stir to combine. Transfer to the crockpot.


Add the chopped tomatoes to the crockpot; do not add the water listed in the recipe. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Note: I also heard from another reader who said she just “plopped” everything into the slow cooker and let it do its thing. My recommendation is use the step-by-step method, but if you’re not fussy about texture or you’re in a hurry, I suppose you could try the “plop” technique.

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  • Melissa says:

    Made this last night and it ROCKS!!

    • Kirsty says:

      Mel – Thank you from the UK!
      I made this last night and it was voted, hands down the best chili ever! I used good local beef, added a few bell peppers and plenty of raw cacao powder and spices. I even left out the stock because I hadn’t any made in the freezer so I just topped up with water, but the flavours were so good it didn’t matter. After bringing to a simmer, it was chucked in a low oven for 3-4hrs. Ate it with spring onions, extra chopped chilli and roasted squash. Heavenly.

      • Dawn Gilmore says:

        WOW! You just used water & it was still flavorful?? That’s awesome. I haven’t found any prepared beef stock that didn’t have a bunch of added crud. So, now I can make this!

    • Kate says:

      This chili kicks a$$!! I am new to this way of living and get so excited when I find a winner like this! I put some of the leftovers in with my scrambled eggs the next morning DEELISH!! I can’t wait to get my hands on your cookbooks (one is already in shipping status!)

    • Justin says:

      Is there supposed to be so much grease/fat after it’s done cooking?

    • Adela E says:

      Why does it need to simmer for at least 2 hours? The chili I’ve made in the past usually takes me about 1 hour from start to finish.

      • Mel says:

        The flavors get mellow and rich with a longer simmer time because the liquid is reduced, the spices become more concentrated, and the tomatoes caramelize. The meat will be cooked after just 30 minutes, but the chili doesn’t taste as good if you cut the simmer time. If you don’t want to wait, eat it anytime after 30 minutes of simmering. But you’ve been warned: it won’t taste as good as it could.

    • jen says:

      I have made this recipe many times and love it every time. My husband and step kids have it on their favorites list. I like to put it on a bed of sliced red cabbage with avocado on top. Very filling.

      • Joleen says:

        Wow, I have a pot of this cooking right now and that is exactly how I planned on eating it. With red cabbage and avocado. Now I can’t wait to dig in.

    • I made this w elk burger, sweet potatoes, carrots, and organic vegetable broth, loved the coco flavor

    • RachelReyes says:

      Omg! Wow! My husband and I are on day 4 of our whole30 and I made this tonight for dinner. My husband devoured it and so did I! I will definitely make this a few times during our whole30. I made it into lettuce tacos, added pico de gallo and avocado. Yum! Oh, I also added some Portobello mushrooms because I had them on hand.

    • Laurie says:

      So delicious! It’s 90 degrees outside but this chili is hitting the spot on Day 2 of the Whole 30….thanks so much!

    • Tara says:

      My family Loves this Chili, I even won a chilli competition with it! I was doing a Whole 30 and wanted something to eat at the competition, so I entered this!?

    • Lindsay says:

      Made this last night and it was really amazing. I oured mine over spaghetti squash and added avocado! Really yummy. Going to make again and add some green peppers!
      PS I have made chili with chocolate and did not enjoy it, but adding coca powder really was quite wonderful. My 2 and 7 yrs both enjoyed it as well.

    • Kate says:

      Has anyone ever tried making this in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker? If so, any recommendations?

      • Jo says:

        I tried it in the Instant Pot a few weeks ago when I didn’t have time to do it on the stovetop. It was OK, but nowhere near as good as the proper version.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Awesome! I'm glad you like it!

  • Cait says:

    I want to make this but am doing strict paleo, any good substitution for the beer??

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    For strict paleo, you can just eliminate the beer. No biggie.

    • Robin says:

      Where is the beer in the recipe?

      • Mel says:

        When I made this recipe Whole30 compliant, I removed the beer from the ingredients list. If you want to add it, it’s one bottle, and you add it along with the other liquids, and omit the water.

        • Michelle says:

          Ooooh. I’m making it tonight for my first time, but I was actually thinking that this might taste really good with beer. I may have to try that the next time just to do a comparison.

  • Matt F says:

    So I finally got around to trying this recipe and it was…wait for it…Amazing!!! I elminated the beer cause I'm in the middle of a challenge but next time I will probably add it back in.

    I used grass-fed ground beef and for good measure added about 1.5 lbs of grass-fed stew meat.

    Thanks for the AWESOME blog. you ROCK!!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Matt! I'm really glad you like it! I was tempted to take the beer out of the recipe so it would be 100% compliant — but it does add a nice touch if you're not in a super-strict time of life. I bet the stew meat tasted awesome. I might try that next time. Thanks for posting!

  • duckus says:

    Sounds delicious ! Any recommendations for something crunchy to lay on top?

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hmmmm… how about… slivered romaine lettuce, chopped raw onion, and a little avocado, then top with a squeeze of lime juice.

    • Dana says:

      Food is a source of growth…Chili is warm and cool so it was great that you shared your recipe….Always remember M. that the bitter cuts the sweet!!

  • anichka says:

    My husband and I started the Whole30 on 29 December and I saw some of your posts there. When I came across this recipe on your blog, I knew we had to try it. I am not sure whether I regret it, though, because my husband devoured more than half of it within 2 hours! Great flavor, the cocoa really does something magical here.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Anichka –> That is a great story. Thanks for letting me know — I'm glad to hear you liked the recipe. And congratulations on your Whole30. I hope it goes really smoothly for you!

  • Judi says:

    I have this simmering on the stove right now and I can't wait until it's done because it smells amazing. I call it payback for my roommate making pancakes in front of me this morning 🙂
    I'm on day 7 of the Whole30 and I love your blog. Thanks so much for taking the time to create it! Take care!!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Judi –> It does smell awesome, doesn't it?! Did you eat it yet? How was it?

    I can't imagine the agony of someone making pancakes in my house. You are made of tough stuff.

    Congrats on your Whole30. I hope the entire thing is smooth sailing!

  • Shelly says:

    I'mma make this soon! Maybe tomorrow! Can't wait. I might adapt it for a crockpot as I am lacking in large pans that are chili-worthy.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Shelly –> I think if you reduce the liquid by half, you should be fine in a crockpot.

  • Emma C. says:

    I'm starting the Whole 30 on February 1st and am scared because I have two roommates, both of whom have no interest in doing this with me. Their food shelves are in the same pantry as mine and are filled with processed, sugary foods that I know will drive me crazy.

    I am so glad I found your blog – and your recipes – so that I can have really delicious food to distract me from theirs.

    I'm doing a quasi Whole 30 right now to get used to cooking and to save money for the real deal (poor college kid here)..I think I'm going to try this Chili recipe next week!! Can't wait.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Emma C –> Congratulations on making the decision to try a Whole30. I love the idea of a 'warm up' before you start the real deal! My pal Christie has a blog post on her blog about living with people who aren't doing the Whole30… maybe it will give you some ideas:

    This chili is really tasty and you can double it easily and pop it in the freezer. I love when I can cook once and eat many times!

  • Anonymous says:

    Would this work thrown into a slow cooker for 8 hours on low do you think?

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hey, Anonymous! Yes, this will work in a slow cooker, but you'll need to reduce the liquid so it's not too liquidy.

    Follow the same instructions for cooking the onions and browning the meant, then replace the liquids with this:

    14.5 oz. can chopped tomatoes
    6 oz. tomato paste
    1 cup beef broth

    Let me know how it comes out… I haven't tried it in the slow cooker.

  • Anonymous says:

    Doesn't the beef broth contain gluten?

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Anonymous –> ALWAYS read labels carefully. It is possible to find broth with no garbage in it. Alternately, you can use water or additional canned tomatoes for the liquid.

  • Anonymous says:

    ok, thank you. I was surprised to find out some broth contained gluten. Awesome site!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Labels are fascinating, aren't they?! Why does corn syrup need to be in salad dressing or broth?! Why? WHY? And yeah, gluten shows up in a bunch of unwelcome places, too.

  • Anonymous says:

    how about in a pressure cooker?

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Sorry, Anonymous. I have ZERO pressure cooker knowledge. Let me see if I can find some science from Christy Tracie. I'll post back here if I find anything.

  • Chris says:

    Thanks Melissa! I love the pressure cooker. Helps us impatient/lazy guys. 🙂

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    OK! I talked to my pressure cooker expert. I don't have a pressure cooker, so I haven't tested this myself, but Christy has excellent taste.

    According to her expeirence, if you reduce the liquid a bit, you're good-to-go.

    Follow the recipe as above, except:

    1. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker on medium.Cook the onions and garlic, then brown the meat.

    2. Stir in the spices, then deglaze the pan with the broth, using just enough broth to cover the meat.

    3. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, but do NOT add any water. Stir well.

    4. Place lid on the pressure cooker, and increase heat to high. Bring up to pressure, and then reduce heat, but maintain pressure. Cook for 15 minutes under pressure. (Don't start timing until your cooker comes up to pressure – this could take 10-15 additional minutes.)

    5. Remove from heat and let pressure come down naturally (depending on cooker, may take 10-15 minutes).

    6. Once Pressure is released, remove lid and serve!

    Good luck!

  • Chris says:

    Thanks Melissa! I'll give it a shot this weekend and report back!

  • MW says:

    I just want to thank you! I love your blog and am a big fan of the creative ways you make recipes! I have made this chili now 2 times, and this time I am taking it to a Super Bowl Party! I am sure it will be gone and no leftovers for us after the game. But it is wonderful and just had to let you know I am a BIG fan (and so is my Bfriend!)

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hey, MW –> Hooray! Love that you're taking my chili recipe to your Super Bowl party. Awesome! Have fun watching the game!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey! Help!!! I just made the chili and it is simmering…but when do we add the 12oz of water?? It looks pretty juicy already, and I haven't added any water yet.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Anonymous –> If you think it looks liquid enough, don't worry about the water. If you're planning to simmer it for a long time, you might want to add some water so it doesn't get too dry. However, it's totally up to you how much sauce versus meat you want… and when you re-heat, you can always add a little water. Water is your friend, and you can't mess this chili up. Anyway you do it is great!

  • allison says:

    I just found your blog and am in LOVE!! I'm a poor grad student trying to go paleo/primal in a house with 4 other non-paleo people… so I am pumped to try all these ideas.


  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hi, Allison! Good luck eating cavewoman style with modern roommates 🙂 Hope you like the chili!

  • SnazzyGina says:

    I'm making this tomorrow so we can nosh on it all weekend. LOOKS AMAZING.

  • Bethann says:

    Oh, Mel, I made this this weekend and it was to DIE for! I'm like you, though…have to tweak a recipe. I didn't have everything you mentioned, so mainly in the liquids department, I changed it up a bit. I used a 29 oz can Meijer organic petite diced tomatoes and ditched the additional water you mentioned. I also used a can of organic tomato sauce in place of the paste. It's just what I had on hand, but it still turned out FABULOUS! I actually like this BETTER than my chili with beans that my whole family adores! This is my new favorite meal. Hubby liked it too. Thanks!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hey, Bethann! I'm so glad you liked it. And I'm glad you made it your own by changing up the liquids. I have some in my fridge right now… maybe that's what I should have for dinner 😉

  • Paula says:

    I love this recipe! To get in some more veggies I shred a small zucchini squash in it plus some diced red bell pepper and green chiles. Then it becomes red-and-green chili! Sometimes serve it over cauliflower-rice.

  • Mel says:

    Hey, Paula! Thanks! I’m glad you like it — and I love the mods you made! I bet the zucchini gives it a really nice texture. Have you tried it on spaghetti squash yet? SO good.

  • Dee says:

    I just tried this recipe. I did not include onions (don’t like them) and I used chicken broth instead of beef broth. It came out great! I see the value in simmering. The flavors meld together nicely. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Chili is so much fun ’cause you can really play around with the ingredients. I used mushroom broth a few times, and it gave it a rich, earthy undertone. And yes, simmering is magic. Thanks for commenting!

  • Sarah says:

    Hey Mel,
    Just wondering if it is best to simmer it with the lid on or off?

    • Mel says:

      Sarah, I like to simmer with the lid off so some of the liquid evaporates. I like my chili pretty thick and without the lid, it cooks down a bit and the sugars in the tomatoes carmelize. If you like it soupier, you might want to leave the lid on or at least halfway cover it so the escaping steam condenses back into the pot.

  • Tracy says:

    I made this tonight and it was amazing. Even my kids loved it! This is going to be our only Chili recipe from now on.

  • Kim says:

    I keep seeing the reference to beer in this recipe. I’m not seeing it in the ingredients list? Where is it?

    • Mel says:

      Well-done, Eagle Eye!

      When I made this recipe Whole30 compliant, I removed the beer from the ingredients list. If you want to add it, it’s one bottle, and you add it along with the other liquids, and omit the water.

      Hope you like it!

  • Emily says:

    Oh my, it’s summertime but I don’t care! This chili is DELISH! Another fantastic recipe!!
    P.S. My husband and I completed our first Whole30 last week and we basically survived on your recipes. Everything I cooked came from your website! THANK YOU!!!

    • Mel says:

      Hooray! I always like eating chili in the summertime — I don’t care if it’s hot outside.

      Congratulations on your Whole30. BRAVO! And thanks for letting me know I was part of your meals. That makes me so happy!

  • Shari says:

    What a great recipe. I made it this morning and even added a little pumpkin to it. Can’t wait to eat it!

  • GT says:

    Made this for the SECOND time while doing the Whole30 V5.0, and it was just as delicious — tried it with lamb and beef, and that was a great combination.

    • Mel says:

      I was *just* thinking the other day that I bet it would be great with lamb… I might try it and bump up the cumin a little bit. YUM! So glad you like it — thanks for letting me know.

  • Phoebe says:

    Hi Mel,

    I started my Whole30 5 days ago and have been scouring your site for the last few days. This is the first recipe I tried. Mind blowing! I tasted it as soon as all the ingeredients were assembled and thought “Meh, boring.” But after 5 hours in the slow cooker, Oh My Goodness! Devine! Thanks for all the awesome recipes.


  • Hailey says:

    I made this in the crock pot today with venison instead of beef, a few different types of chili powder (trying to use up the kinds I have), and fire roasted tomatoes. SO delicious!! I got everything ready last night and mixed it all up, let it sit in the fridge overnight, then just popped it in the crock for 6 hours on low today. This is now my new go-to chili!

    • Mel says:

      Glad to know it works in the crockpot — and I’m with you: I like the fire-roasted tomatoes the best. Yum!

    • Steph says:

      I prepped everything tonight and put it all in my crockpot insert so I can let this cook away while I’m at work tomorrow! I was thinking 6 hours on low, but glad to hear someone else has already experimented with temp/time. Thanks!

  • Rachel says:

    Seriously good. Wow! Thanks so much for sharing this gem of a recipe!

  • Margaret says:

    First time I made this was in my slow cooker. Yesterday I made it on the stove top with turkey and it was better. DELICIOUS! Love it when I make recipes from my “weird” diet and my whole family loves them.
    Thank you for another winner.

    P.S. Just ate left overs for breakfast.

    • Mel says:

      I’m so glad you tried it again. The slow cooker is great in a pinch, but I agree: the best flavor comes from a slow simmer on the stove top so the excess moisture can evaporate and the flavors get concentrated.

      OMG! Leftovers for breakfast with an egg are the BEST!

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  • Donna says:

    My husband and I had this for dinner tonight. He is not paleo and was quite skeptical without the beans but I won him over!!!! Served in a bowl with a topping of fresh cilantro, shredded romaine, diced red pepper, sliced avocado and fresh lime juice. This is AMAZING.
    Thank you for a great recipe!!!!!

    • Mel says:

      Love that it made your husband a believer — and your toppings sound super yummy and refreshing. Thanks for stopping by to let me know!

  • Madigan says:

    Um. This chili was amazing. I have to say that the first couple of bites were only *good* but then the flavor seemed to build. I will be making this one again, and soon! Thanks so much!

    Here’s what I did:
    (Taken from my blog.)

    Dino-Chow Chili over spinach. This stuff is to die for. I even almost pretty much followed her recipe. I used local ground beef, local, pasture raised pork sausage (totaling about 1.5 pounds of meat). Typically I don’t like to use canned tomato products due to the BPA, but I did have the fire roasted tomatoes that she mentions on hand, so I used them. (I have yet to find a good jar of diced tomatoes. I have tomato paste and crushed tomatoes in a jar.. guess this can easily be a DIY thing.) I upped the Chili powder by about 1 tbl and used Garam Masala in place of the allspice, cause I felt like it. I also added about 2 tbl of almond butter. She is totally right about the simmer… and eat it slowly. The flavors actually get better as you eat.

  • Campbell says:

    I made this last night, on the recommendation of a friend at my Crossfit box, and it’s delicious. But I wanted to get your opinion: The grassfed beef I got is 85% lean, and I used at least 2T of olive oil, and the result is a pretty thick layer of fat on the top. Do you think I should try to scrape it off, or would that reduce the flavor too much?

    I also made the Svetlana bigos and it’s in the slow cooker right now and smells amazing. Thanks so much for all these great recipes!

    • Mel says:

      Hey, Campbell.

      It’s a personal choice. If you’re training really hard and the extra fast would be good for you, and you like the taste of the extra fat, go ahead and eat it. Because it’s grassfed beef, that fat is nutritious and healthy. However, if it’s too much fat for you, or you don’t like the “greasier” taste, you can scrape it off when it’s cold. The flavor of the chili will still be awesome.

      Oooooh, Svetlana! Love it!

  • Leah says:

    Made your chili on Sunday and it was a huge success. Next time I know I need to double the recipe as it didn’t last very long!

  • Nikki says:

    What brand of tomato paste do you use that’s Whole30 compliant? I’m having such a hard time finding one that doesn’t have something bad in it.

  • Samuel says:

    I love your site! This chili was so delicious!!

  • Erika says:

    Made this recipe from you cookbook this past week and it was delish!! So far loving EVERYTHING in your book!

  • Donna says:

    Made your mayo today also….hopefully Tuesday your book will arrive. Just realized that Monday is a holiday (darn)….

  • Jackie says:

    This is simmering away on the stove, and I can’t help myself from stealing spoonfuls! It is delicious! I will be freezing portions for lunches/dinners throughout the week. Might even be able to convince my picky kids to eat it…mmmmm…the hint of cocoa is magical. Thanks again – love your book!

  • Jamie says:

    I just bought Well Fed and made this chili… FABULOUS. I added one chipotle pepper in adobo for some heat. Yum yum yum yum…

  • N says:

    Oh m g. Such delicious chili! That unsweetened cocoa powder was the secret ingredient. I cannot wait to get your cookbook!

  • Angela S. says:

    This is so good! I love chili with beans but my husband hates beans. Now that im doing my first whole30, I cantuse beans and I dont even care. This is perfect the way it is!

    I also purchased your online version of your cookbook and its lovely. Ive made the mayo twice. Its so good!

  • mary says:

    This is the best Chili:)
    My husband has wanted it two weekends in a row:)

    I think I need to omit a little of the liquid as it is a little more runnier then I would like.However still hands downthe best chili ever.


    • Mel says:

      Are you simmering uncovered? That should help with liquid. I just let mine bubble until it’s thick enough…

      You can also just leave out the water, and you should be in good shape.

      • mary says:

        leaving it covered.

        • Mel says:

          Ah, mystery solved! With chili, soups, and stews, if you want to make it thicker and intensify the flavor, simmer UNcovered. If you want to keep the liquid, simmer covered.

          • mary says:

            perfect 🙂 amazing how much this brought out the spices. I had it at a simmer at a 6 but looked at it at 45 minutes into the two hour simmer. and was very thick, so turned down to a three and put the lid on for the remainder. We have a gas stove so what should I have the simmer at a 3? You so rock:)
            You need to come to my neck of the woods 🙂 Mill Creek in Washington State:)
            I feel like I have so many question for you:)

  • Sharon says:

    Hello–I made this the other night and it was FANTASTIC! 2 kids and 2 adults lapped it up! Thank you!!

  • Sari says:

    Hi. I am relatively new to “dino-chow” as you call it and I’m loving it. My husband is still missing the side dish component. Any ideas what I could serve alongside the chili that would complement the flavors, or anything he could dip in it. I tried to make your caramelized coconut chips but I cant find any around here and the thinnest slice in my mandolin doesnt seem to be thin enough so they came out soggy.

    • Mel says:

      Congrats on making the switch to Dino-Chow!

      A salad is great along with the chili — or a side of cauliflower rice would be good. As for dipping… Paleo Comfort Foods includes a recipe for coconut flour tortillas. That might be a good go-along from their cookbook.

      For the coconut, use shredded coconut instead of flakes and eat it with a spoon.

  • Kimberly says:

    Really tasty, great flavor, easy peasy. Thanks!

  • Heather says:

    The best paleo chili ever! Its made once a week at my house and it’s the perfect paleo lunch the next day!

  • Heather says:

    Btw Mel I cannot wait to buy your cookbook, are you going to make it electronic so I can buy on my kindle app?

    • Mel says:

      We’re working on the Kindle version right now. In fact, I’m editing the text files tomorrow. Having said that, it’s going to be a few weeks until we get it coded and into the Kindle store. I’d guess 2-3 weeks?

  • Emily says:

    Thanks so much for this fantastic recipe – its part of my weekly routine! I made my non-red meat eating mother try it yesterday and she loved it so much she’s now on a paleo kick. pretty impressive stuff! Thanks for sharing it!

  • Amy C. says:

    I made this for our chili cook-off at work and won 2nd place out of 15 entries!!! I know it was the healthiest entry there. And, so many people asked me for the recipe, so I just directed them to your website. My plan to convert my coworkers to a paleo lifestyle has begun. 🙂

  • Cj says:

    I made your chili today for my family of six. I am sort of a celebrity right now in my house. My 6 year old gave two thumbs up and then smiled and put two big toes up. My two year old kept demanding more. My two oldest kids ate dinner twice! Putting chocolate in chili… Genius!

  • Aimee says:

    I made this the other night and bribed my 5 year old daughter with the chocolate part! she LOVED it!! We all did. I think next time I might add some more veggies to it like mushrooms and peppers or something. Thanks for all of your awesome recipes!!! 🙂

  • Wow, Wowie, Wowzers!!! Great recipe! Thanks!

  • MarkES says:

    Hi Mel,

    I recently bought your cookbook and really like how the same recipe has different spice options to change it up.

    I was curious about your thoughts on the cocoa powder in this chili recipe and this info on it’s high phytic acid inhibits iron/zinc/magnesium absorbtion?

    Off the top, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to add the cocoa powder, but maybe I’m missing something.

    [Disappointing side note for chocolate lovers: Raw unfermented cocoa beans and normal cocoa powder are extremely high in phytic acid. Processed chocolate may also contain significant levels.]


    • Mel says:

      As always, that’s a personal call. I did some research on cocoa powder, and it’s actually a decent source of both iron and magnesium… so Chris K’s info and the other kinda cancel each other out. Nutrition is annoying, no?!

      Here’s how I look at it: in a serving of chili, we’re talking about 1/6 of a tablespoon of cocoa powder, which is 1/2 a teaspoon… which is a very small amount. I really like what the cocoa does to the flavor, and that small amount doesn’t seem like a big deal health-wise. However, if you’re concerned, you can leave out the cocoa without “ruining” the chili.

  • Amber says:

    I found your recipe on Pinterest. I made it tonight, and I have to tell you it is the best chili I have ever had! The cocoa powder is genius! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Kate says:

    Tonight was the 2nd time I’ve made this chili and it’s the BEST. By far my FAV paleo meal…it’s filling and satisfying. I added diced celery and carrots, next time I’ll have to remember the olives. It was a big hit with my neighbors (I’m a sharer)…they wanted to know what made it taste so good! Thank you for the great recipes!!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for stopping by to let me know you like it! I’m making a batch tomorrow, and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s been a while… and it’s my husband’s favorite recipe. Happy eating to you! Nice of you to share with your neighbors!

  • susan says:

    I just made a batch and took the first bite. It is wonderful and moist! I wanted to serve it over spaghetti squash, but forgot to make it in time. Wonderful with sliced avocado on top!

  • Patti says:

    This looks wonderful, Melissa. I’ve nixed the plans for a hamburger cookout and I’m planning on making chili dogs for our Memorial Day Pool Party with the family, but I have a couple of questions. I’m going to serve chili dogs using this recipe and chicken sausages. Have you done this before? How were your results? Will the combo of chili/chocolate/chicken sausages taste good together?

    Looking forward to the holiday weekend! 🙂

    • Patti says:

      I should have added that I LOVE mole. I was just curious if the Chocolate Chili and chicken sausages would work together. Thanks.

      • Mel says:

        If the sausage has specific seasonings, for example, Italian, the flavor might be a little weird with the chili. If it’s just garlic, or jalapeno, or chicken hot dogs (that taste like regular hot dogs) it should work great.

  • Patti says:

    Thanks for writing me back, Mel. They are regular chicken sausages with some red and green pepper in them. It should work out just fine.

  • Ludona H. Smith says:

    I use O’Doul’s since its only the alcohol content that bothers me about beer and it is AMAZING!
    I learned about using beer in chili while I was in college and I’ve never made it without, since. It makes all the difference in the world to the flavor to me.

  • PCOSGirl says:

    I l-o-v-e loved this chili. So did my husband! It’s also pretty darn perfect for my PCOS related food issues.

  • Michelle says:

    I’m just eating my chili now. So good! I love the touch of cocoa. Thanks for posting your recipes, stories and inspirations! I’ve been vegetarian most of my life and loved to cook. When I switched to eating meat (for health reasons), I lost interest in cooking because I don’t enjoy working with meat. But … your blog is bringing the joy into cooking with meat for me. Thanks so much. I just ordered your book too!

    • Mel says:

      Welcome back to the Carnivore Team — glad you like the chili! Thanks so much for ordering Well Fed. Wishing you many happy cooking adventures!

  • Stefanie says:

    YUMMO! I made this last night with some homemade guacamole and it was beyond delicious!! My husband (who was very skeptical when he heard chocolate) loved it as he ate 3 bowls full! This is certainly a keeper recipe and I look forward to making it over and over again. Thanks Melissa 🙂 [I’m even more excited because Well Fed is coming in the mail today. Looking forward to more yummy and satisfying meals to help me on my 30 day Paleo/WHole30 challenge]

    • Mel says:

      I do love hearing stories about converting skeptics! Really glad y’all liked it. Have fun with Well Fed — and best wishes for a smooth Whole30.

  • Jessica says:

    I just made this to bring to work for our July 4th “picnic”. I figured that the best way for me to eat Paleo/W30 today was to be in charge of the main dish. Overall it got rave reviews! I love mole chicken/pork anyway so this wasn’t a stretch for my tastebuds, but the grain eaters here enoyed it too! Thanks!

    BTW: Do you know of any good overnight hikes (other than just along the AT) in your old PA stomping grounds? We’re looking for a quick backpacking getaway.

  • grace says:

    i decided to try this before i had all the ingredients, so i just did some quick substitutions. i had 1/2 can of tomato paste left and didn’t have the fire roasted tomatoes. the chili still turned out pretty good, except my little guy (4) says he “didn’t like the smell of it.” i’m guessing its the cumin. can i reduce it or if i try it again with the right proportions, would it change the “cumin-y-ness” of it? or is there a different spice/substitute that would take away from the cumin smell? (i like cumin so i’m not sure what to substitute….)

  • keturah says:

    YUM! I usually hate chili, but 🙂 this totally rocked..SO GOOD! I had it last night and this am for breakfast with avocado and a fried egg on top. Thanks Mel!

  • Cavequeen says:

    Big hit at my house! My eight year old asked if we could have it every week. I love well fed. Thanks for making my whole 30 easier, the only problem it is so delicious that my family keeps eating it all up.

  • Kate A says:

    Oh. My. I just made this from your Well Fed book. I’m in love. I made it in my pressure cooker, so a little bit too much liquid, but going to let it simmer until dinner. I’m in Houston, cloudy and windy and threatening some much needed rain, but if I look outside and squint past the thermometer, I can pretend it’s a perfect Fall day for chili….lol.

    • Mel says:

      HA! I do that, too. Crank the A/C to make it chilly in the house, look out the window, and pretend it’s a perfectly blustery day that requires chili 🙂

  • Jenn says:

    Just made the chili and really enjoyed it! Will definitely be making this again soon! Completely forgot spaghetti squash so I just ate it with a little leftover avocado that was about to go bad. Any other ideas what I could serve this with, other than squash and cauliflower rice?

  • Jenny says:

    Made this with half fresh venison and half ground beef and a smidge more cocoa powder and it was TO DIE FOR!!!

  • Morgan says:

    Just made this earlier with a few alterations! I could not find broth with clean ingredients so I used Apple Cider Vinegar. I used around a 1.5 cups of the vinegar and .5 cups of water. Turned out amazing! You get this sweet and spicy apple taste then a little hint of cocoa!

    Great recipe and I highly suggest trying the Cider Vinegar if you like sweet and spicy things – or can’t find broth with clean ingredients like myself.

  • Mike says:

    Making this chili for the third time this summer. It is one of my new go to dishes! So easy to make and stretches out over the week nicely. I vary it by changing up the veggies I serve with it, and even have put some in an omelet. If you are thinking of making it, do so now!!

  • Janet says:

    OMG! I made this today and it is fabulous!!! Just finished my 1st week of Whole30 and your recipes are making it easy to vary my menu. Thank you!

  • SophieE says:

    I get reflux from too many cooked tomatoes- do you think this would work without the fire-roasted tomatoes? Also, the pre prepared beef broth in Australia sucks (it’s basically diluted soy sauce) and whenever I try to boil some beef bones for broth it tastes like feet- do you have a good beef broth recipe or will the choc chili work well without beef broth? Could I use red wine instead?

    • SophieE says:

      I have since worked out how to make good beef broth (just saved cooked bones rather than buying bones specifically for making broth).

      What I wanted to add is that I make this all the time now- it’s a favourite recipe and freezes really well! I use a tsp of smoked paprika instead of the fireroasted tomatoes and I throw in a few chopped pressure-cooked beef tendons- YUM!

  • Robin says:

    Recently bought your cookbook after losing 30lbs and desperately wanting to keep it off this time around. Hoping and praying that paleo/primal will do the trick this time around, as I can’t keep doing this yo-yo thing!
    Have made several recipes from your book and while all were good, the chili was an absolute standout. I’ve had a chili recipe that I’ve used for years that was pretty good, using cubed beef, but decided to try this, even tho I was somewhat put off by the cocoa in the recipe. (I’m never going back to the old recipe!) I made it using 4lbs of grass fed ground beef, served with cauliflower rice (sauteed with CO oil and chopped onions) and after my 3 kids, 1 of their friends, DH and I finished dinner, we were scraping the bottom of the pot. My 13 yr old son had 4 servings! I was pissed that there were no leftovers……….
    Love your blog too – so much fun to read. Makes me smile while reading – always a good thing. Thanks for putting the time into this and contributing to the paleo scene.
    My only disagreement is that Smudge doesn’t hold a candle to OBE (short for Ol Blue Eyes), our slightly neurotic, lovable, gorgeous, curtain destroying kitty……

    • Mel says:

      Congratulations on your weight loss and on making the switch to paleo. Good for you! So glad you like the chili… yay!

      And thank you for the sweet words about my blog. We should have a cute cat-off 😉

  • Sarah S. says:

    What would you think about stuffing some veggies in this? Like cauliflower, perhaps? Would it ruin the perfection?

    Either way, this is happening asap. Chili + chocolate = love.

    • Mel says:

      I usually add veggies when I eat it — either spaghetti squash or cauliflower rice UNDER my serving of chili for two reasons:

      1. You get more veggies that way. I can easily add 1-2 cups of veg separately when I eat it. If you added that much during cooking, it would throw off the proportions of the chili seasonings.

      2. Raw veggies contain a lot of water, so adding them directly to the chili will, again, mean changing the proportions of liquids and spices.

      Having said that, when my mom makes it, she usually adds a few bell peppers while cooking. But that’s mostly for flavor because adding 2 bell peppers would only increase the amount of veggies per serving by 1/2 a pepper, which isn’t much in the paleo world 😉

  • Sarah S. says:

    So, just finished pigging on this. Thank you! What a great way to kick off Football Sunday over here. We are on day 6 of Whole30, and definitely missing the beer today – at least this made us feel special. SO delicious. I knew it would be 🙂


  • Patti says:

    Melissa—-I made this chili for the first time last Sunday as part of our 29 yr. old daughter’s birthday. She requested a snack-type dinner and family game night. Everyone LOVED it! After leftovers last night, hubby said, “This just keeps getting better and better.” I’ve got the ingredients for a double batch on my shopping list for today. Thanks for sharing the delicious recipe.

    • Mel says:

      I’m so glad everyone liked it… yay! And yes, it does get better as it “cures” in the frige, so I always make a double batch and either freeze half, or just eat it all week long. YUM!

  • Alli V says:

    I made this yesterday; it was so good! Today I sauteed an eggplant with oil & a splash of wine and added the chili leftovers==delicious!

  • Sara says:

    I made this today but didn’t want to run to the store so I used some chicken breasts I had in the freezer. I also had a green pepper that needed to be used and added some apple cider vinegar. Delish!

  • Dana says:

    Out fav non-paleo chili calls for dark brewed coffee, dark stout, chocolate, and brown sugar. It also has ground beef and cubed steak in it for extra texture. It’s awesome! I plan to remove the sugar and maybe the beans. Might want to give a few of those flavors a try in your next batch!

  • Stacy Coody says:

    I made this yesterday for the grown-ups at my sons birthday party. It was a huge hit. I did use all turkey instead of ground beef. Which I had a mother on weight watchers that did not get any until she heard it was made with turkey. I got rave reviews from all. Thank you so much for the recipe. It will be a keeper and I will use half turkey and lean ground beef next time for my hubs sake. You Rock!!

    • Mel says:

      Glad you like the recipe and are playing around with it. This is a good one because it’s so flexible. Try it with pork, too… YUM!

  • Samantha says:

    Do you think if I use the special dark cocoa powder the taste will still be good? should I use a little less?

  • Steph says:

    This was great in my crockpot. What I did:

    – Sauteed onions in fat in a cast iron skillet, followed by the garlic. Dumped this in the crockpot insert.
    – Put 1 lb. ground beef in the skillet (without cleaning it out) and sauteed until juuuust no longer pink. Dumped that (and the juices) in the insert.
    – Next pound of meat in the skillet. I actually used stew meat, but you could do the same with another pound of ground, I bet. Same deal. Barely brown, dump in insert.
    – Added all spices briefly to the hot skillet to “cook” a little, then added the beef broth. Stirred to mix up, then added the cocoa and let that incorporate. Scraped that into the insert.
    – Last, added the paste to the skillet. Let it cook about a minute or two, added the chopped tomatoes, made sure everything was soupy, scraped that into the insert.

    I ultimately added a can of El Pato because I didn’t quite have enough tomato paste. I skipped the water because of that.

    I cooked it on Low for 6 hours. It held for about 5 more hours on “Warm” cuz I was at work. 🙂 Turned out great. Loved it with the proper garnishes!

  • Tracey says:

    Simmering!! So excited to try this it smells AMAZING!!!! I use to make a bean chili but haven’t had beans since starting paleo. Excited to have a new chili recipe that I can eat!;) Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Caitlin says:

    This chili is awesome! I made it this afternoon and am eating it as I type this comment. Some chilis I’ve tried are too spicy for me, but this has just the right amount of kick. I just finished my first week of Whole30 and am loving it! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  • Erin says:

    OMG. This is amazing! I am on day 2 of my Whole30 and this is really hitting the spot. Thank you! I served it over diced, roasted sweet potato. A definite keeper!

  • Made your chili with bison and topped it with coconut milk cream. You are a smarty pants and I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  • Leigh says:

    Made this chili last night with grass fed beef and home canned tomatoes. Followed recipe exactly, and it is INEDIBLE due to using 2 Tablespoons of chili powder and cumin. Is there any way I can fix it? Anything I can add to mitigate the fire? Hate to throw it out but need to keep my mouth from burning.

    • Mel says:

      Here’s what I would do…

      Brown a pound of ground beef in a saute pan, then add a can of diced tomatoes, and cook for 5 minutes or so. Then add that to the big pot of chili, stir until combined, then re-heat the whole thing. The extra meat and tomatoes will dilute the spices.

      • Stephanie says:

        My husband is not a fan of spicy things and I was hopping this recipe wasn’t too hot but the comment above is kind of scarring me. Should I maybe use one teaspoon each of cumin and chili powder instead of two? Or should I go ahead and use two? This is the first comment I read where anyone said it was too hot for them… Also, I’ve never made chili… Do I not drain the beef from the fat? Thanks!

        • Mel says:

          The heat of the chili is 100% dependent on the heat of the chili powder you use. If you use a mild chili powder, it will be flavorful but not hot. If you use a chili powder that’s got a lot of hot chiles in it, it will be hot. The cumin won’t make it hot, but does make it spicy. If you don’t like spicy food, cut the seasonings in half.

          The best way to skim the fat is to cook the chili, refrigerate it, then remove the solid fat from the surface.

  • Leora says:

    Can’t wait to try your chili! What do you recommend serving with it?

  • AKM says:

    AHH. Finally made this last night, and am I ever glad I did! It is THE perfect Cincinnati-style chili, which is my absolute favorite kind. My notes:

    1) I used grocery-store ground beef and ground turkey — the food budget was just tight this month! Yuck! — and if I use it again, I will probably want to drain it before adding the spices and other ingredients. The chili still rocks, but the fat isn’t the good grass-fed kind, obviously. If there’s solid fat on top when I get home, I’ll just take it off.

    2) I love cinnamon in my chili, so I may add 1 t next time along with the allspice. Since I didn’t add it to the whole pot, I just sprinkled a bit on my bowl and chowed down. Perfect!

    I got my copy of WELL-FED last night, and I love it. I think I’m going to have to do a Julie/Julia thing with it and make every last recipe. Just by chance, you and I seem to have the exact same taste buds — ethnic foods, spices, savory over sweet — AND the same way of eating, so I can’t go wrong. Thanks! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Love it! Did I tell you I’m working on Cincinatti Chili recipe for Well Fed 2? I’m super excited about it.

      I would be so honored to know you’re cooking through Well Fed. Hope you have lots of fun in the kitchen!

  • Alexandra says:

    I made this yesterday for the first time. I didn’t have time to brown anything. I just piled everything in a crockpot except the water. (The beef was just left in a block, frozen.) After 6 hours on low, I skimmed off the fat for my dogs. It was the best chili ever! My stepson, who is a known chili hater, had seconds. I’m really glad I got your book!

  • nancy m. says:

    This is SO GOOD!!

  • Catherine says:

    I’m really loving your site, thank you! My family and I are on the paleo path and I’ve discovered how wonderful it is to feed three different palates, intolerances, allergies, with one meal instead!

    In my past life, my chili had 2 bean varieties. I thought, like sushi, it was gone forever from our lives. Imagine my delight and surprise to find your recipe.

    I’m making this for our upcoming busy week -with some variations to bump up the veggie count. Using beef and turkey as I don’t have enough of one or the other. Do you htink that will work? Also, I’d like to add lots of Roasted peppers (bell and hot), mushrooms, and zucchini which I will season with ancho chili, roasted garlic ( soooo love!), salt and cilantro and then bang into the blender with the fire roasted tomatoes to make a lovely, zesty but chunky salsa. Add all that into the browned meat and simmer on the stove or crockpot. Have you ever baked it in the oven? What temp? Sometimes my crockpot gets too full with all the add-ons!

    Top with your suggested toppings from the comments (avacado, minced onion, etc) and voila! For underneath fireplace the rice, I thought to try your roasted cauliflower rice but my hubby hates cauliflower ( all brassicas actually)! Any other subs you can think of that would mimic rice?

    Ok, I’ve hogged the comment section…sorry! Just really excited to be somewhere I feel I’m meant to be!

  • Catherine says:

    I’m really loving your site, thank you! My family and I are on the paleo path and I’ve discovered how wonderful it is to feed three different palates, intolerances, allergies, with one meal instead!

    In my past life, my chili had 2 bean varieties. I thought, like sushi, it was gone forever from our lives. Imagine my delight and surprise to find your recipe.

    I’m making this for our upcoming busy week -with some variations to bump up the veggie count. In my pre-paleo life, i used to add lots of fire roasted peppers (bell and hot), mushrooms, and zucchini seasoned with ancho chili, roasted garlic ( soooo love!), salt and cilantro and then banged into the blender with the fire roasted tomatoes to make a lovely, zesty but chunky, salsa. Added all that into the browned meat and simmered on the stove or crockpot. Have you ever baked it in the oven? What temp? Sometimes my crockpot gets too full with all the add-ons!

    Top with your suggested toppings from the comments (avacado, minced onion, etc) and voila! We used to eat with rice, so I thought to try your roasted cauliflower rice but my hubby hates cauliflower ( all brassicas actually)! Any other subs you can think of that would mimic rice?

    Ok, I’ve hogged the comment section…sorry! Just really excited to be somewhere I feel I’m meant to be!

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t ever baked it in the oven… anyone else tried that? Any recommendations for temp and timing?

      Instead of cauli rice, serve it on top of roasted spaghetti squash!

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  • Amy Gray says:

    This is seriously SO GOOD!! omg. In love.

  • Annie says:

    Yummy !!!!! Many thanks!! :))

  • Dina says:

    I only had one pound of meat so I added a container of sliced baby Bella mushrooms. Really tasty!

  • Judy says:

    OMG! Made this last night. Added diced green and red bell pepper and some mushrooms. I also added cayenne pepper since I like spice. SO VERY YUMMY!!! I will definitely be making this again!

  • Maggie Cain says:

    I thought nothing could possibly make this any better, until I purchased chocolate balsamic vinegar and used 1/3 of a cup in place of some of the water. Oh. My. God.

    • Mel says:

      Wow… cool! I never heard of chocolate balsamic vinegar, but I bet that little note of acid makes the chili taste awesome. Thanks for sharing!

  • Anna says:

    I love this chili! I put it over crispified cubed sweet potatoes. Oh. My. Gawd. It’s awesome for the cold weather! My husband hasn’t tried it but I had him at chocolate + chili. I’ve made this with and without beer. Both ways are awesome.
    You’re great!

  • Chelsea Wallis says:

    Any recommendations on what type/flavor beer to use?

  • Anon says:

    Is this chili sweet?

    • Mel says:

      Nope. It’s spicy and rich — like a mole. The cocoa adds depth but not sweetness.

      • Ginger says:

        Great!I can’t wait to cook it! I’m serving at my Christmas Eve party. I’ll be having a chili bar. I’m leery about serving something I’ve never personally tried myself but after reading the reviews I feel better about doing it. Was wondering if I could add some beans for those who like beans. I was thinking about adding a couple cans. What do you think? Another thing…. I was thinking about making it sometimes this week but leaving it in the fridge or do you think I should freeze it?

        • Mel says:

          This chili is a crowd-pleaser, so you should be in good shape! If you want to add beans, I would go with pinto — although you might want to just offer them on the side? That way people can add them to their bowl as they ladel in the chili. Avocado is a really good garnish with this, and so are diced red onions and cilantro.

          It tastes better as it sits. If you make it more than a week in advance, freeze it, then let it defrost in the fridge before gently reheating over low heat. If you only make it 4-5 days in advance, I’d just keep it in the cold part of the fridge.

          • Ginger says:

            You are awesome and such a pleasant lady! You are so generous to respond so quickly and share this recipe with everyone! Merry Christmas to you!

      • heather says:

        Do you know how many kcal per serving for this recipe? Thanks!

  • Mel says:

    Merry Christmas to YOU, Ginger! Hope your Christmas Eve celebration is SO MUCH fun!

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  • Made this today and it is wonderful. The cocoa powder really adds a lot of depth. I ate mine on top of a bed of spinach. Health in a bowl! Thanks! I might add chopped carrots and zucchini next time to get more veggies.

  • Kristin W. says:

    I made this yesterday and couldn’t let it simmer on the stove as I had to leave so I stuck it in my oven at 250 degrees for 3 1/2 hours uncovered and it was perfect! So good, my kids cleaned their bowls. I will be making a big batch of this to portion into individual containers for the freezer on days I have nothing for lunch. Great Recipe!

    • Mel says:

      Sweet! Good to know that the oven method works. Thanks for sharing! And I’m glad your kids liked it, too. That’s always a big win, right?!

  • Shirin says:

    Chili is one of my favorite foods and I used this recipe for my first attempt making it at home (now paleo, I’ll need to be doing more of that). It’s sooo delicious, but letting it simmer is really key!! just wish the cocoa was stronger for me

  • Cristina says:

    I’m starting on this Paleo journey. I LOVE Chili, and mole. I’m excited to make this. Thinking of adding a cube of my homemade chipotles in adobo to make up for not having these fire roasted tomatoes! I do think after sautéing everything I’m throwing it ALL in a crock-pot and letting it go to town! I am going to try these meat mix as you suggest. I rescued a pork chop from another meal and figure I’ll chop it up and throw it in. What the heck. The more the merrier right!
    I’m very excited to have found your site! I’ve found a few sites that will get me through this Paleo period. Who knows, maybe I’ll get to liking it. Do you find you miss yogurt, beans, cheese, or cottage cheese??

  • Thank you for this great recipe! I’m enjoying it as I go through my second Whole30 this month!

  • Konnie says:

    This is my new go to chili. My non-bean eating 6 year old LOVED this, as did the rest of the family.

  • Christine says:

    This chili is so delicious.

    Could it be made with stew meat instead of ground beef? Would that change the cooking time?

  • Jen says:

    Thank you for this recipe! My husband says if we could have this ready in the fridge everyday he would be happy 🙂 We’re following a Paleo diet (and doing a Whole30 at the moment) to help heal his Crohn’s disease. It makes me so happy to be able to make recipes he loves that are also healing for him!

    • Mel says:

      Best wishes to you both for an awesome Whole30 experience. My husband always says “You can make this every day” when I make this chili 🙂 I guess it’s “man food.”

  • Jen says:

    Oh my.. this was SOOO good! I had a go-to chili from Smitten Kitchen before I went Paleo, but I’m doing my first Whole30 and thought I would try this one. I’m sold! Will be eating this all week. YUM!

  • Nick says:

    A friend turned me on to this recipe and I had to go out and buy your book. I made it and am in LOVE with the flavors. My one problem is that I was left with a layer of grease on top. Am I doing something wrong, is it the meat I’m using, should I drain the meat next time?? Please help!!!!! I have to have this chili again.

    • Mel says:

      You have a few options if the meat you used was a little fatty.

      1. After you brown the meat, chill it in the fridge and remove the hardened fat layer from the top, then proceed with the rest of the recipe (adding the spices, liquids, etc.).

      2. Make the chili, then refrigerate the whole pot and remove the hardened fat from the top before reheating to eat.

      3. If you’re using grassfed beef, that fat is totally healthy and awesome, so you can just eat it — unless you don’t like the taste of the extra oil.

      Hope this helps.

  • Mary says:

    This is amazing! Thanks for a great recipe. About to make a double batch, since we inhaled it!

  • Hope says:

    After following your blog for over a year and not having made any of your recipes, I made this today on day 7 of my first whole30. Super yum! My non-paleo boo who said ‘no beans?’ while it was cooking exclaimed ‘mmmm!’ after tasting.

    I used a can of Trader Joe’s fire roasted tomatoes with chilis to give some extra kick, homemade chicken broth, added a bell pepper, and topped with cilantro, olives, more raw bell pepper, avocado, and tomato.

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  • Janet S says:

    Whole30,second time around. This chili was my lifesaver first time around. Tonight, the whole family ate this. I am a little put out I do not have leftovers, but thrilled the whole family LOVED it!!

    Thank you!

  • Cathy says:

    Thank you! Delicious recipe. I am sharing it with anyone who will listen.

  • Liz says:

    We just ate this chili and it was AMAZING!! I added a roasted poblano pepper and two diced apples. This is my new go to recipe 🙂

  • tchudson says:

    I’ve done this off and on with chili over the years. Another thing – try adding a tsp of cinnamon.

  • melissa says:

    Finally around to making this. I have it on the stove tonight, to eat tomorrow night when my parents come to town. So excited!

  • Jessica says:

    Yup, just heated this up over spaghetti squash and my coworkers are dying to know what I am eating because it smells so darn good. This is my go to recipe for chili.

  • Judy says:

    Made this for my company pot-luck. They LOVED it!!! None left!

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  • Emily says:

    Also my favorite chili recipe, and now my two-year-old son’s! It doesn’t hurt that I can tell him it’s CHOCOLATE chili … 😉 We serve it over fresh baby spinach leaves and it is delish.

  • charisse says:

    Just had my cook-a-thon and made this. My husband wouldn’t go away with his spoon. He said it’s the best chili he ever had! Also my picky 2 year old kept wanting more and more. The only change I made was using 1lb of beef and 1 lb of lean ground turkey. It’s awesome!!!

  • annie says:

    I hope this is as nice with ordinary diced tomatoes…. I’ve never seen the fire roasted ones here in the UK.

    • Mel says:

      Regular diced tomatoes will be just fine. Enjoy! If you want to add a little smokey flavor, you could toss in a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, if you have those. One should do the trick.

  • Wendy A. says:

    I know it may sound bizarre but, I cannot have cocoa in way shape or form! It is a huge trigger for a migraine. Do you think I could skip the cocoa and still enjoy?

    • Mel says:

      This will still taste very good without the cocoa. You might want to add a little chipotle powder (maybe 1 teaspoon?) to add a smoky flavor since you won’t have the underlying cocoa. Enjoy!

  • Lee Shelton says:

    I just made this tonight. I wanted to follow the recipe exactly, but found I was out of tomato paste. I substituted a 15-oz. can of tomato sauce and eliminated the 1 cup of water. Delicious and very filling!

  • Maya says:

    Hi Mel! So… I’m excited to make this awesome recipe for my family this weekend! We are on day 26 of our Whole30! My question is…. Since the canned fire roasted tomatoes at my local fresh and easy had sugar in the ingredients… What can I use as a replacement? I have lots of regular, canned diced tomatoes! Can I use those and add some spices or herbs to them?

    • Mel says:

      Congrats on 26 days of Whole30 — that is awesome!

      You can use regular canned, diced tomatoes; it will still taste great! No need to add anything else… hope you like it!

  • Eric Keller says:

    I had this tonight, and Hurt and Mercy’s house. Deeeelicious!

  • Melissa V. says:

    Wow, I made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing! My mom had it (I bought her crusty bread – none for me), and was surprised there were no beans, as it tasted like there were. I’m doing Whole30 and it was a nice break from chicken cacciatore and beef stew. Really delicious, and I did not even miss having bread, as the sauce thickened up quite a bit.

    • Mel says:

      So glad you enjoyed it! And yeah, the bread just gets in the way of the meat 😉 I like to eat it over cauliflower rice or spaghetti squash to catch all the juice… serves the purpose of bread but with more flavor AND bonus nutrients. YUM!

  • craftycarnivore says:

    This was amazing. I did not have w30 compliant beef broth on hand so I just omitted. Also used cinnamon instead of the allspice. Served it over spaghetti squash noodles with plantain chips and pickled jalapeños on top. Crazy!

  • Rachel says:

    I own your cookbook and I made this dish last night using leftover bison. As somebody who doesn’t even like chili, I found myself stealing bites out of the pan while it cooked. Delicious, and I loved that it wasn’t a cumin/bean overload like most chilis I’ve had.

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  • Melody says:

    Melissa –
    Everytime I bring leftovers in to work, I get teased this chili will disappear from the toaster oven. Not only does it smell heavenly, it is delicious! One of my fav meals.
    Thank you so much.

    • Mel says:

      Love co-worker food envy! YAY! Thanks for letting me know you like it. Happy cooking!

      • Melody says:

        This is one of our go-to dinner recipes. LOVE that we have leftovers for days. By the time the last drop is eaten, I am yearning for something different. Another one we love from Well Fed is the carnitas. HEAVENLY smell. 😉

  • Sari says:

    I made this the other night, it’s a “must have” on the weekly menu. We usually have plenty of leftovers that we eat all week… Chili eggs, chili salad or just plain chili!
    As we sat down to dinner, a few unexpected guests arrived. Let’s just say the pot was scraped clean. We were sad not to have leftovers but happy that more people got to taste and rave about your chili!

  • Angela says:

    This is our new favourite Chili recipe! I don’t even care for Chili but this is killer! I have been so scared to start my first Whole 30 because I was afraid I couldn’t still cook exciting, robust meals. Your site is officially carrying my family and I through our first Whole 30…day 11 and going strong! Thanks lady!

    • Mel says:

      Congratulations on Whole30-ing! You’re in the stretch now when you just keep feeling better and better. Enjoy! Glad my recipes are helping you along!

  • MRSO says:

    My family made our first batch of this chili two weeks ago. We’ve made 3 batches since then! We tweaked the spices and added a few more vegetables, but we now use this as our base recipe. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  • Leslie says:

    This was THE BEST chili Evea!

  • I made this for my family. 6 out of 6 kiddos liked it!!! This does not happen often, so your recipe is a winner here!

    I added some grated carrots and zucchini. Yum!

    Can’t wait to try some more Well Fed recipes.

    Thank you,

    • Mel says:

      Kid-approved is high praise, indeed! Glad you liked it, too. Happy cooking & eating! Thanks so much for letting me know you like it.

      • You are welcome. It’s going to be a weekly thing for a while. I doubled the recipe and we had it for lunch too.

        I completed the Whole30 and now 2 of my children are going through it. Thank you so much for your awesome book, “It Starts With Food” my absolutely favorite book. I recommend it to everyone as I believe everyone should read it and go through the Whole30 😉


  • Timothy says:

    I’m a bit confused by the cocoa… is this a powder? I have a 100% cacao bar of baking chocolate that I need to use. Will this work?

    • Mel says:

      Maybe? The recipe uses cocoa powder, but you could probably use the baking chocolate… if you try it, I’d recommend grating about 1 ounce and adding it when you add the tomatoes.

  • Melissa says:

    I made this for a work luncheon, since I am doing Whole30 and the entire premise of the luncheon is picnic with the main course being hotdogs. I just tasted it and my office will be lucky if any of it makes it there. OMG! So yummy!

    • Mel says:

      I hope it’s a hit! Congrats on Whole30-ing!

      • Melissa Sheldon says:

        It was a huge hit! I took the entire batch and am taking less than a cup home.

        Well Fed is my go to cookbook on the Whole30. Thank you and I am patiently waiting on Well Fed 2. 🙂

  • Natalia says:

    Hi Melissa, what size of a pot (how many quarts does it hold) do you use to make this recipe? I have a really large stock pot (16 quarts) and a 5 quart skillet, but think that either of those might be too big or too small. Thanks for your help.

    • Mel says:

      A skillet won’t work — it’s too shallow.

      There are 4 cups in a quart, and the recipe includes 6 cups liquid, so the liquid is about 1 1/2 quarts — plus the meat/onions. I’m not sure what size my pot is, but it’s a standard size soup/chili pot. Sounds like maybe you need a large sauce pan or smaller stock pot? You can also use the large stock pot and make a double batch 😉

      • Natalia says:

        Thanks for the response:) Would the size of pot that I cook the chili in make a difference in how the chili turns out depending on if there was a lot of leftover space in the pot (cooking in the 16 quart) versus cooking in a pot that has only a little space left over (5 quart). Also just curious, do you use a stainless steel or cast iron pot? I’ve heard that cast iron is great for flavor but that you’re not supposed to cook tomato products in it b/c they would take on an iron-like taste. Not sure if that’s true.

        • Mel says:

          The taste won’t change, based on the size of the pot, but in the larger pot, you might not need to simmer it quite as a long… just keep an eye on it.

          I cook in a non-stick pot — I don’t recommend cast-iron for chili.

  • I just won a chili competition at my office with this recipe- a restaurant company, no less!

    It’s a staple at our house, so I couldn’t wait to make it for my coworkers. I’ve already shared this recipe several times with friends and family, and now with them as well. Thanks for helping me show the world that paleo really isn’t crazy!

    You’re fantastic, and a shining light in our community. Thank you for all you do!

    All my best,

    Natalie Christine

    • Mel says:

      WOOT! Congratulations on winning the chili competition — so much fun! And you are very kind, with the compliments. Thank you! I’m really glad you like the recipes.

  • Natalia says:

    Hi Melissa:) I haven’t been able to find a clean beef broth that I’m able to have – they all have at least 1 ingredient that I can’t have (caramel color, yeast extract, etc.) Have you ever made this recipe with chicken stock? Was it still good or is the flavor not right with this recipe? Thanks:)

  • Erin says:

    Good lord – this is my kids’ (ages 9 and 5) favorite thing in the entire universe to eat. They beg for it in August (here in Austin). So good. It’s become a house standard (along with many others from Well Fed).

  • thewyrdwoman says:

    OMG! I know you’ve heard it a bazillion times, but the chili is knock-me-down amazing! I just had to add one teeeeeensy thing (please don’t hate) — sweet potatoes. Chunks of 1 inch or so added about halfway through the simmer. Crazy good with the something the cocoa brings. =)

    Love Well Fed and your “cookups” are making it easier for me to do my first Whole30. Can’t wait for WF2 — keep rockin’ it!

    • Mel says:

      HA! Great minds think alike! I like to eat mine with roasted sweet potatoes in the bottom of the bowl.

      Congrats on Whole30-ing! Glad Well Fed is making it tasty!

  • Allison says:

    I’m super excited to try this. Do you think if i threw it in the crock pot to simmer for a few hours it’ll be fine? or should i stick with stove?

    • Mel says:

      It *can* be done in the crockpot, but it won’t caramelize the way it does on the stove. I prefer the slow cooking on the stove because some of the liquid evaporates, which concentrates the flavor. In in the crockpot, it will be “soupier” and the flavors won’t be as rich. Totally up to you. Enjoy!

  • Rebecca says:

    I made this last night with leftover shredded chicken and leftover beef, and it was diviiiiine! I didn’t have Allspice, so I had to leave it out but I can only imagine how much more intense the flavors would be with it. Thanks for posting, I can’t wait to buy your book!

  • Veronica says:

    Holy amazeballs!! My four year old, who for some unknown reason dislikes ground beef (texture maybe?), is in love with this chili because it has the word CHOCOLATE in it. So regardless of the fact that it tastes amazing and is so easy to make when you’re tired after a long day, the fact that you’ve managed to convince a four year old that they’re eating some sort of dessert as a main course is absolutely fantastic!

    • Mel says:

      There are time when I’d rather eat another bowl of chili than eat dessert, so that kinda makes sense 🙂

      Glad it’s a hit! Thanks for letting me know!

  • Diane says:

    Wow, got the chili simmering now, followed recipe to a T, love sampling it as it simmers. My kids will be thrilled, one hates beans, so this was perfect for her, said she wouldn’t even miss the cheese on top since there is no beans. I told her she was secretly a paleo person before all of us. Keep up the great work. New to the paleo stuff, aka Dino Chow, but am finding your ideas/recipes some of my favorite.

  • Sarah W. says:

    Hubby and I eat this over spaghetti squash. He dubbed it “spaghetti squash chili mac”. I only wish I had remembered avocado and onions to bring to work. 🙁 wah!

    • Mel says:

      I really like it on top of spag squash, too! A bed of sweet potato is pretty awesome, as well. Thanks for letting me know you like it!

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  • Janine says:

    I don’t eat red meat. Can I use turkey or chicken? And would I use veggie broth or chicken?

  • Janine says:

    I don’t eat red meat. Can I use turkey or chicken? And would I use veggie broth or chicken? And am anxiously waiting for my copy of Well Fed 2 from Amazon!!

  • Ghibligeek says:

    I made this a few times when your book came out and am wanting to try again this weekend. When I made it before it was greasy – even when I cut the oil in half. Would turkey and less oil eliminate the grease film?


    • Mel says:

      The amount of grease on the chili has nothing to do with the coconut oil used to cook the onions — it’s from the mean. Turkey will have less fat, yes. You can also cook the ground beef first, chill it, remove the excess fat, then make the chili according to the rest of the instructions.

  • Stefanie says:

    I tried this chili receipe yesterday, yay! I used homemade beef broth und I also put some dried tomatos in. And it was delicious for lunch today.

    But I can’t help it, I feel like I need to put 1/4 pear (diced) in it next time, after adding the spices. This way it could rock my taste buds even more.

  • Lisa O says:

    Seriously the best chili I have ever had and I make award winning chili. Move over, this chili recipe is here to stay!!!!

  • Randomly Fascinated says:

    Thank you soo much for this recipe! My 23 mo old loved it! I have never been able to get him to eat meat but he was willing to eat this on bread as a sandwich (planning to do whole 30 in January so I know it would be better without bread but right now I am just thrilled that he ate meat at all!) thank you!

    • Patricia Bolt says:

      Just started Whole 30…I’d like to try this chili recipe. What brand of fire-roasted tomatoes do you use?

      • Mel says:

        Congratulations on Whole30-ing!

        I use Muir Glen tomatoes because they’re delicious and the cans are BPA free. And if you can’t find fire-roasted, regular canned tomatoes will work just fine.

  • One of my favorite recipes since the food (life) revolution that is primal.

    Especially when it starts to get cold. And Im bad so usually with paleo biscuits. Enjoy the love everyone.

  • DJDeeJay says:

    Hi Mel,

    I love this recipe and have made it many times. If I wanted to double it, would I need to simmer it for twice as long (4 hours)? Or would 2 hours still be okay?


  • Treasure says:

    Me & the hubster are trying this recipe this week… do you think this would be good with just ground pork? Also, what kind of cocoa powder do you suggest (I have Hershey’s regular chocolate and special dark – both unsweetened). Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Yes, I think it would be pretty tasty with ground pork. I really like darker cocoa, but you might also try half regular, half special dark. Play around with it!

  • Sally T says:

    Making this right now. Seemed like the thing to do in Austin on this cold morning! Thanks!

  • Makeda says:

    So if I was going to do this in the crock pot, how would I modify this recipe? I am not a big cook so in my head, I dumb all the ingredients in the crockpot but surely something else has to be done first 🙂 Thanks for the help!

  • MH says:

    Thank you for this recipe! I made this tonight using grassfed chili meat (courser grind)and added a tsp of smoked chipotle peppers. It was so good! My kids gobbled up two bowls each and the three year old declared that we should eat chocolate chili every night. They haven’t been this happy since we tried your Baba Ganoush recipe last week. Thanks for helping to make my Whole 30 a successful family affair!

    And for those asking about beef broth, I just make my own. Ask the butcher at your grocer for some bones (I get mine with the rest of the cow we purchase once a year, but you can get them in the meat dept if you ask). Roast them in the oven for about a half hour, then dump them in your crock pot with a bunch of filtered water and let them cook on low for a good 24 – 48 hours. Done. Additive free beef broth.

  • Jenna says:

    I need a recipe like this but with four servings, can I reduce the yield?

  • laura says:

    My whole family raves about this chili.

    I used chunks of stew meat, omitted the crushed tomatoes, and simmered it in the crock pot for about 5-6 hours. AMAZING.

    My favorite way to eat it is hot with half an avocado on top. It’s also really good cold straight out of the fridge.

    I can’t bring myself to do anything else with stew meat now!

  • Dana Luterman says:

    I made this chili for the first time last night and it is delish! Also got rave reviews from the husband. It also made a great addition to my eggs this morning!

  • Natalia says:

    Hi Melissa,
    I was wondering if the cook time or anything else would change with this recipe if I trippled it? Have to make enough to serve 12 hearty eaters.

    • Mel says:

      When I make double or triple batches, I usually let it simmer a bit longer. I think it tastes better the longer it simmers, so if you can just leave it on a back burner on a very low flame for half a day, it will taste awesome.

  • My family is breaking tradition this year by having a potluck of a variety of soups and sandwiches. I’m skipping the sandwiches and contributing this chili to the holiday table. I love this recipe and have made it so many times. I usually set it up in the slow cooker so I can come home from class and have deliciousness waiting for me.

  • Christine says:

    Could you do this in a crockpot? Would you change anything?

    • Mel says:

      It *can* be done in the crockpot, but it won’t caramelize the way it does on the stove. I prefer the slow cooking on the stove because some of the liquid evaporates, which concentrates the flavor.

      However, if you want to try it in the crockpot, here are suggestions from other readers. (I haven’t tried this myself.)

      “- Sauteed onions in fat in a cast iron skillet, followed by the garlic. Dumped this in the crockpot insert.
      – Put 1 lb. ground beef in the skillet (without cleaning it out) and sauteed until juuuust no longer pink. Dumped that (and the juices) in the insert.
      – Next pound of meat in the skillet. I actually used stew meat, but you could do the same with another pound of ground, I bet. Same deal. Barely brown, dump in insert.
      – Added all spices briefly to the hot skillet to “cook” a little, then added the beef broth. Stirred to mix up, then added the cocoa and let that incorporate. Scraped that into the insert.
      – Last, added the paste to the skillet. Let it cook about a minute or two, added the chopped tomatoes, made sure everything was soupy, scraped that into the insert.
      – Skipped the water.
      I cooked it on Low for 6 hours. It held for about 5 more hours on “Warm” cuz I was at work. 🙂 Turned out great. Loved it with the proper garnishes!”

      “Made this yesterday for the first time. I didn’t have time to brown anything. I just piled everything in a crockpot except the water. (The beef was just left in a block, frozen.) After 6 hours on low, I skimmed off the fat for my dogs. It was the best chili ever!”

  • Gaby A. says:

    This looks something very doable for me (let’s face it, I’m a grown man who doesn’t cook much). I was wondering, at step 3, once everything has been browned and is ready for the liquids, can I put everything in my slow cooker instead and keep it on low for 6-8 hours (or another setting you’d recommend if doable in the slow cooker at the final step)?

    • Mel says:

      You can do it… even if you don’t cook much 🙂

      If you want to try it in the crockpot, here are suggestions from other readers. (I haven’t tried this myself.)

      “- Sauteed onions in fat in a cast iron skillet, followed by the garlic. Dumped this in the crockpot insert.
      – Put 1 lb. ground beef in the skillet (without cleaning it out) and sauteed until juuuust no longer pink. Dumped that (and the juices) in the insert.
      – Next pound of meat in the skillet. I actually used stew meat, but you could do the same with another pound of ground, I bet. Same deal. Barely brown, dump in insert.
      – Added all spices briefly to the hot skillet to “cook” a little, then added the beef broth. Stirred to mix up, then added the cocoa and let that incorporate. Scraped that into the insert.
      – Last, added the paste to the skillet. Let it cook about a minute or two, added the chopped tomatoes, made sure everything was soupy, scraped that into the insert.
      – Skipped the water.
      I cooked it on Low for 6 hours. It held for about 5 more hours on “Warm” cuz I was at work. 🙂 Turned out great. Loved it with the proper garnishes!”

      “Made this yesterday for the first time. I didn’t have time to brown anything. I just piled everything in a crockpot except the water. (The beef was just left in a block, frozen.) After 6 hours on low, I skimmed off the fat for my dogs. It was the best chili ever!”

  • Alyson says:

    Hi! I love that you answer all the questions here. Thank You!! Yesterday, I made the italian pork roast. It’s a hit! Today, I’m making chocolate chili. My qustion…Do you drain off fat after browning meat? I’m worried my chili will be to fatty!

    • Mel says:

      So glad you like the pork roast… YAY!

      I don’t usually drain my ground beef because it’s grassfed and pretty lean. If you do want to get rid of some of the fat, I recommend that after the step where you cook the meat, you pop it into the fridge to let the fat congeal… then you can scrape the fat off the top and proceed with the rest of the recipe. But if you use grassfed beef, the fat is actually a healthy addition to the chili.

  • Alyson says:

    Thanks! I ended up not draining it and it was sooo good. Had leftovers today and I did skim the top before I reheated it. I’m very new and this is my first WHOLE30. 1. I don’t know if I can afford grassfed beef. Any tips for buying?

    • Mel says:

      I usually compare prices at online retailers like US Wellness Meats, Rocky Mountain Organic Meats, Tendergrass Farms, and TX Bar Organics… then I buy a bunch in bulk to save money and get free shipping.

  • AnnaG says:

    Made this over the weekend — so delicious — the chocolate gives it a deep brown color and a fantastic flavor! My husband … who went Paleo a few months ago … ate two big bowls. We don’t need no stinkin’ beans … 🙂

  • AKiteFlier says:

    OMG amazing – we love it – thank you!!!

  • BrynnH says:

    As I’m posting this on my laptop from the kitchen the chili has basically taken over the entire house, and I can’t believe how incredible it smells. My dog has been pacing around sniffing for the past 20 minutes.

    Even though it’s my first time making this I switched out the tomato paste for some canned 100% pure pumpkin I needed to use from the fridge, added a tbsp of cinnamon, and used 90% lean grass fed ground beef. I’m fifteen and I just recently started a whole 30 with my Mom this January (1/1/14, her first time, I’ve been paleo about a year now). I’m thinking this recipe should help her get through it. Only 1 and a half more hours of simmering to go! (;

  • Annie says:

    Just wondering if I can pop this in the oven for about an hour during the simmering time while I go to pick my kids up from school? If so, what temp? Lid on or off?

    We started our Whole30 on Sunday, it’s cold and rainy in Austin today, and I’m super excited to try this recipe!

    Cheers & thanks!

  • Ladonna says:

    I love love love this chili! Thank you for sharing!

  • My house smells amazing as this is simmering on the stove! I happened to make one mistake though, I threw all the measurements above in with only 1 pound of grass-fed beef not realizing the recipe called for 2 pounds.

    Should I just simmer it longer now to let the liquids evaporate? Or should I defrost another pound of beef and add that in later?

    Whooops. Day 10 Whole30 dizzy eyes lol.

    • Mel says:

      You have two choices for adding another pound of meat after the chili is done simmering: 1. Brown the ground beef separately and add it to the pot — let it simmer 30 minutes or so for the flavors to meld. 2. Bring the chili to a serious simmer, crumble the raw ground beef with your hands into the pot, and let it simmer until the meat is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

  • Renee says:

    I am dying to try this! I’m a Texas girl too and I miss chili terribly…. I am loving Paleo, but I am also forgoing nightshade veggies due to fibromyalgia so that includes tomatoes (sniff sniff)… is there anything you can suggest to sub for those in this recipe? Thank you for your work and inspiration!!!!

  • Ok, so we’ve made this twice this week…what a hit!! I made it with fresh ground deer with brisket. So tasty! And the mayo too, made our second batch today. We are on day 15 of our whole30 and your recipes and helping out!! Thanks again!

  • Stephanie M. says:


  • Stephanie M. says:

    I made this for the first time last night and I just have to say THANK YOU!! Usually my husband is the better cook but I got the biggest compliment from him over this chili last night. I am doing Italian Pork Roast tonight and can’t wait to see if that is a hit too.

  • Mary says:

    SOOOOO good! Just made this for the 2nd time and I loved it again. This is my new go-to.

  • Bridgette says:

    This is on the stove as I type, cannot wait to try it, but trying to be patient for the 2 hour simmering! I omitted the beef broth and water (am monitoring as I cook it covered to see if it needs more liquid, but I like it thick!)… I didn’t have any whole30 compliant broth which is why I didn’t add it. My main reason for posting however is to thank you for sharing a recipe from your cookbook! I have NEVER seen someone with a published cookbook (even an ebook) post a recipe online that is in the cookbook. It is much appreciated and I assure you I will be buying your cookbook as soon as I have the cash 🙂

    • Mel says:

      I hope you like it! It’s hard to find Whole30-compliant broth, it’s true!

      I have a ton of recipes from my cookbooks on my site — I like that you can test them before you buy the book to make sure my tastes align with yours. Glad you like this idea!

      • Bridgette says:

        I loved it! I did up the seasonings considerably though (and perhaps just a tad too much) as I like my food absolutely full of flavour. When I first saw your recipe for Cocoa Chili just before I started my Whole30 I thought it sounded very weird… 9 days on Whole30 changed that though and I’m glad it did! I shall look around on your site for something to try for dinner today, thanks again!

  • Kirsten says:

    I just made this since I’m doing the Whole30 for January. It is my new favorite chili recipe! It really comes close to a good Michigan Coney Island chili, just top with some mustard and chopped onions.

  • Denise says:

    AWESOME! I made this while I was doing the Whole30 and my whole family scoffed. CHOCOLATE in chili, gross! Then ate those words along with my whole pot of chili!! I had no leftovers at all!! Thank you so much! I am making this for our Chili cookoff here at work and will make sure to give you all the credit!

  • Amy says:

    I just made this for the first time and I love it! This is going to be on my weekly cook list until the weather warms up. I also like your idea to reheat for breakfast. Yummy!!!!!

  • Karen says:

    I made this last night for myself with a few subs-ground venison instead of beef, lard instead of coconut oil, and I halved all the ingredients except the tomatoes and broth. It was absolutely delicious! So delicious that my somewhat picky 6 year old daughter wanted to taste it because it smelled so good, and wound up eating 2 bowls of it. Love that!

  • Dallas McIngvale says:

    This chili is delicious! I am on day 28 of my first Whole 30 and I’m making it for the 2nd time. I found this on a blog and the writer does not credit you for the chili receipe, which I think is pretty uncool.

    Thanks for your great website!

  • Twinkle says:

    I made this last night for dinner and was blown away at how much flavor was packed into two hours of simmering. It’s so simple and foolproof. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  • Tasha says:

    I made this last night. My whole family, (none are doing the whole 30 except for me), licked their bowls clean. My husband wanted me to make it again tonight. It was that good!

  • K8 says:

    My husband said it’s a MAN chilli. And, he LOVED it. Oh, I liked it too. A dollop of sour cream was pleasant in it. I’m wondering what it will be like with a bit of heat added next time.

    Delicious, thanks for sharing.

  • Debra says:

    Delicious and very spicy (and I like spice!). I used chipotle chili powder and 2 tbsp seemed very spicy! Made it last night and today’s even better. I love the simplicity of the ingredients too. I put it on top of creamed cauli tonight and it was wonderful. Thanks for all your hard work. I have Well Fed 1 and can’t wait to buy WF2!!

    • Mel says:

      I be the chipotle tasted really good! Glad you like this recipe! And yes… you should get Well Fed 2; there are some really good new recipes in there! Thanks for taking the time to say hi!

  • Kim says:

    I’m about to make this for the second time during my whole30. It’s just that. good. !

  • loni chalfie says:

    Hey! Can you make this in a crockpot? Also, I don’t eat red meat. Could I make this with ground turkey instead and chicken stock?????

    • Mel says:

      Yes, you can use ground turkey and chicken or vegetable stock.

      I haven’t made it in the crockpot, but other readers have. Here’s what they recommend:

      “- Sauteed onions in fat in a cast iron skillet, followed by the garlic. Dumped this in the crockpot insert.
      – Put 1 lb. ground beef in the skillet (without cleaning it out) and sauteed until juuuust no longer pink. Dumped that (and the juices) in the insert.
      – Next pound of meat in the skillet. I actually used stew meat, but you could do the same with another pound of ground, I bet. Same deal. Barely brown, dump in insert.
      – Added all spices briefly to the hot skillet to “cook” a little, then added the beef broth. Stirred to mix up, then added the cocoa and let that incorporate. Scraped that into the insert.
      – Last, added the paste to the skillet. Let it cook about a minute or two, added the chopped tomatoes, made sure everything was soupy, scraped that into the insert.
      – Skipped the water.
      I cooked it on Low for 6 hours. It held for about 5 more hours on “Warm” cuz I was at work. 🙂 Turned out great. Loved it with the proper garnishes!”

  • Taylor says:

    I’d like to try this for whole30 but I’m trying to avoid FODMAPs… Any suggestions for avoiding onions and garlic? Or would it just ruin the whole thing?

    • Mel says:

      The chili has so much flavor from the spices, I think it will still taste pretty good without the onions and garlic. You might cut the recipe in half to try it, just in case you don’t love it.

  • Gina says:

    It’s in the pot simmering right now. Wow! Smells amazing. I made your cottage pie last week- also amazing. Thank you for these great recipes. I look forward to trying many more!

  • Melissa says:

    I made this last night and fell in love! So did my husband. It was glorious. Thank you so much!

  • Sue says:

    I never post on blogs, but I had to tell you that I’m on the Whole 30 and my church was having a chili cookoff today (they have voting and always announce a winner) and I decided that I wanted to bring a chili that I could eat! So I googled and your chocolate chili recipe popped up and I thought now this sounds like a “unique” chili! I won 2nd place!! Out of approx 25 chili’s!! One young man told me he ate 4 bowls of this chili. Thanks for a delicious recipe, I will be making it from now on!

    • Mel says:

      Woohoo! We’re all winners… YAY!

      Kidding aside, I’m glad you liked this recipe and that it was a hit with your community. Thanks for letting me know!

  • Noelle says:

    I made this with a beef-turkey combo, and my chili-hating (so he claims) 6-year-old ate FOUR helpings! I had to turn right around and make it again! Thanks for the great recipe–and the slow-cooker instructions worked like a charm. I set everything up last night and we had chili for breakfast this morning.

  • Natalie says:

    I searched for this recipe – even though I have the book it was easier to find it online, and I found your recipe uncredited on Dr. Perlmutter’s (Grain Brain)website. It even lists the recipe as Well Fed Chocolate Chilli but the credit says recipe courtesy of Carole Berube.
    This is a great chili recipe, I’ve made it the long way and in the slowcooker – both are good. But I hate to see it copied uncredited.

  • kate says:

    Love this at our house. We double up the spices and sauce and add a whole container of mushrooms and some veggies too. I love that the recipe is so adaptable- I like to play around with adding cloves and even cinnamon. I have some simmering now. Getting ready to roast up a gang of sweet potatoes to serve alongside/underneath. I’ve even used it to fill a cabbage “taco” with great results.

  • Kelli says:

    This is one of my favorite recipes! Can I sub cacao powder for the cocoa powder?

  • Michael Glass says:

    I used this recipe and added about a 1/2 cup almond butter and 1 whole lime for freshness… IF you want to try it with this variation it is pretty good I like em both though ^_^ ! The almond butter comes from a recipe for chili where I use to use peanut butter haha!

  • Donna Endres says:

    I made this per the crock pot method. AMAZING! It was just totally tremendously delicious. I used stew meat instead of ground beef. Hubby is in love with it as well.

  • )eannie )oseph says:

    This is simmering in the pot as I speak but I already know this will be a winner. I did make one tiny adjustment by adding smoked paprika and it smells delicious. Will serve it with cauliflower rice and avocado. Having just started Whole30 yesterday, this will definitely be a staple in my Paleo recipe collection. Thanks for the great and healthy dish!

  • Michelle says:

    MMMMM, this chili over a baked sweet potato equals HEAVEN! I love chili and sweet potatoes. Thanks for this awesome recipe!

  • Brett says:

    mmmmmmmm . . . a double recipe is 30 mins into the 2 hour simmer in my dutch oven. 3 lbs ground grass fed beef and 1 lb ground grass fed Berkshire pork..

  • Kristi says:

    Hi Mel. We are primal, so we eat dairy. Would you happen to have a good recommendation for what type of cheese might work well as a topper? Never had chili with chocolate in it, so I wasn’t sure if traditional cheddar would work or not. I will probably have to stir in a bit of sour cream, too! Either way, can’t wait to try this – thanks! 🙂

  • julie says:

    I read through a bunch of the comments looking for a vegetarian question but didn’t see one (there’s a lot of comments!!) Planning to make this but my husband is vegetarian. Any recommendations to substitute the beef? I have used TVP before in other chilli recipes so I’m wondering if you have any knowledge or recommendations? Thanks!

  • Theda says:

    I found this recipe a couple of weeks ago and in the past week, I’ve made it twice! The first time there were no leftovers (three of us ate it like we were starving). The second time it was just my husband and I and we did have leftovers – and enjoyed even more the next day.

    Thank you for some fabulous recipes they have certainly made our transition much easier.

    • Tierney says:

      Try adding a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. I add the green beans and carrots to a chili recipe I make, which makes up for the lack of beans.

  • Susanna Gum says:

    Have made this recipe three times in the last month! My favourite mince recipe to date! So much flavour and tastes even better the next day. I put half the amount of chilli as I can’t handle the heat! We’ve enjoyed it with sliced lettuce, tomato, red onion & avocado as well as topped with mashed avocado & crumbled sweet potato hash! BEST CHILLI EVER!! (It’s my partner’s favourite too!)

  • Sara says:


    Here’s the bad news: My husband has always loved MY chili. It’s been a easy go-to for lots of kitchen praise. But, YOUR chili is even better.

    Here’s the good news: He is the one who made it. Now, he’s forever on chili duty….though I suppose I could stir while catching up on the Real Housewives.

    It’s delish! Thanks!

  • Jen says:

    This has become my new favorite recipe! I swear I could eat it every day!

  • Michelle says:

    Have you ever tried adding sweet potatos in this? I have been craving chili lately (weird cause it’s 100+) and envisioned it with sweet tater chunks . Dying to try this (it’s tomorrow nights dinner, tonight’s is your Bora Bora fireballs)

    • I’ve served it with sweet potato home fries but have never put them directly in the chili. If you want to do that, i recommend you put them in about 30 minutes before it’s finished simmering.

  • Caroline says:

    I made this chili for my family this week- They loved it and had no idea it was a paleo recipe 🙂 I had the leftovers this morning over spiraled zucchini noodles (um, by the way, obsessed with spiraling vegetables..) and topped the chili with a fried egg and avocado. AMAZING BREAKFAST!

    • Suzanne says:

      That sounds like a great breakfast idea, thanks! I love this stuff…it’s like crack chili for me!

  • Susan says:

    I really like the sound of this chili, and am especially pleased that it meets the nutritional profile I like including a calorie count that allows for some mesquite cornbread to go with (I do not eat paleo, I just like healthy recipes). I’m looking forward to making this.

    • Susan says:

      Just to let you know, I made this tonight and it got rave reviews. My usually unenthusiastic husband deemed it tasty, and hopes I’ll make it again. One of the features we both liked is the way the flavors blend so nicely. Living in El Paso, where we get lots of Mexican flavors, it struck me as being a little odd to put allspice in. And in truth, I was concerned about using the full amount of cumin. But I made the recipe as written, and am very glad I did. Thank you for giving us a keeper chili recipe.

  • Mary says:

    I’m making this for a second time right now. I used 50/50 beef and bison. This time I added jalapeños with the onions to give it a little spice. So yummy!

  • Hope says:

    I am eating this chili as I am typing this. It is delicious!! I made half a batch and added 2 teaspoons of chili powder. Other than that I followed the recipe as written! This I definitely going into rotation!

  • Rayne says:

    Thank you so much for your blog and this recipe. I just started my Whole30 (day 3!) and I have never been a cook so your week by week plan is SO helpful. I did chicken as part of my big cook up and made the spinach and meet muffins to have breakfast ready every morning as I run out the door. I’m going to have to sit on my hands for the two hours this takes to simmer!

    • Congratulations on Whole30-ing! Hope you liked the chili — and I hope you start to feel the Whole30 magic soon.

      • Rayne says:


        That chili was SOOO good. My picky 14 year old son got himself a huge bowl when I wasn’t looking but I thankfully was able to escape with my dinner and 3 lunches for work packed up. I have to say again that your blog and Well Fed 1 and 2 are making this task a lot less daunting. Thanks for cooking instructions I can understand!

  • Teearn says:

    Thankyou for a great recipe! We are doing whole30 for the first time and my 3 yr old is so fussy I was terrified she would starve. I put your Chili in front of her on a bed of mashed sweet potato, with grated cheese and avacado, she said it smelled like ice cream and scoffed the lot!! I cannot ever remember her eating a healthy meal better. I intend to buy your book this week, im offto make sunshine sauce!

  • Janice Dimond says:

    OH MY GOODNESS! Chocolaty Chili goodness!! I just made this and I can’t wait for it to cool enough to have a bowl full. I didn’t change a thing!!!

  • Frances says:

    I would like to make this for my brother-in-law tomorrow night and he is doing the W30 program; however, he is a vegetarian (only eats eggs – no other meat products). I think he can have beans on the W30 but do you know what I would add to this recipe if I didn’t add the ground beef so he gets his protein in? Any suggestions would be great. BTW love both your WellFed cookbooks – bought them both in a matter of 2 weeks 🙂

    • This recipe really won’t work without meat — and beans are NOT allowed on the Whole30. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

      Since he eats eggs, maybe you should make an egg-centric dish. What about a nice Thai vegetable curry with fried eggs on top?

      If you want to experiment with the chili, you could follow the recipe, but just exclude the meat. Make a chili-flavored tomato sauce — maybe add some potatoes and chunks of carrots in place of the meat to add body, then serve it on top of fried eggs, sort of like a huevos rancheros/chili combo?

      Hope this helps.

      • Frances says:

        Thanks Melissa. I`ll make the recipe, exclude the meat and add a couple potatoes and a carrot. And serve over eggs.

        Thanks for your suggestions!

  • Ashlee says:

    I made this recipe for the first time last night. I served it on top of fried plantains and then topped with lettuce, diced tomato and sliced avacado. To. Die. For. I could eat this every week.

  • Colleen says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I’ve been scouring the web looking for a chocolate chili recipe that includes meat. I like it both ways 🙂

    I do have a question though. Is there room for black beans in your chili? If so, how much and would I have to increase the quantity of any of the other ingredients?

    Thank you!!

  • Ileana says:

    Hi Melissa! This recipe was YUMMY! I’m just getting truly started on my paleo journey and was in the mood for chili. I made enough to have leftovers for a couple of lunches. Unfortunately, for me, my not so on board with paleo husband and extremely picky eater 11 year old finished my left overs while I was out! This chili will be in regular rotation at our house. I’m thinking of kickstarting myself with a Whole30 and I can’t wait to get your cookbooks! Thank you!!

  • Michelle says:

    Melissa, this recipe is fantastic.
    It is the end of the week and I had a remaining sweet potato and fresh tomato so I diced those up and threw them into the pot. What. A. Combo.
    Thank you for sharing!

  • Andra says:

    Made this for my family – absolutely fabulous!!! Unfortunately, no leftovers!! too yummy. Better double the recipe next time!

  • marie says:

    Just curious, did anyone drain the meat? It doesn’t say to so wasn’t sure…


    • I use grassfed meat, which is naturally pretty lean, so I don’t usually skim off the fat. If you want to drain the fat, the easiest way to do it is to cook the chili completely, then refrigerate it. The fat will turn solid on top and you can pick it off and discard it. But that’s an extra step that you don’t have to do if you use either very lean or grassfed meat.

  • Shannon says:

    Hands down favorite chili recipe! Wanting to try it with the beer this time. Was there a particular kind you used to use….dark…light? Also, do you replace the cup of water with a cup of beer or use it in addition to everything?

  • Andrea says:

    I made this recipe with a bottle of Hard Cider instead of water. It was amazing. I used StrongBow Gold Apple Hard Cider.

  • Faith Dwight says:

    We. Love. This. We had it our first week of Whole30 and it gave us the strength to make it through. Don’t tell The Pioneer Woman, but this is now our go-to chilli recipe. Whole30 or not, it just tastes awesome.

  • Ashley says:

    This is the best thing ever! My hubby and I started the Whole 30 this week and your site is pushing us through. I wasn’t convinced I could do it until I looked at your delicious recipes and raving comments. I poured this chili over some spaghetti squash…Magic! 🙂

  • Melinda says:

    I’m so glad I found your blog! I’ve made this recipe twice now, and it is just perfect for these cold WI nights we’ve been having lately! I have a couple more of your recipes lined up, and if they’re anything like this chili, I’m sure I won’t be disappointed!

  • Jordy says:

    Thanks to Melissa I get to enjoy a tasty bowl of this all week long 🙂

  • Jamie LaRue says:

    This truly is the best chili recipe ever. I make it all winter, and change it up slightly each time by adding different veggies. My favorite combo is carrots, celery, and red peppers. I’ve directed so many people to this recipe… it never disappoints!

  • Amy says:

    I made this last night, and added some roasted butternut squash cubes… All I can say is AMAZING!
    I’m eating the leftovers for breakfast.

  • Stephanie Holloway says:

    This was absolutely delicious! I’ve decided to make it again, however, we’ve found my son to be allergic to coconut oil, and suggestions on a replacement?

  • Emily H says:

    I’ve been meaning to try this recipe for awhile, and finally did it for my whole family tonight. It was a huge hit, even making it low-sodium. (I used only half the can of fire roasted tomatoes and half a can of regular diced tomatoes, and then added no salt. Still delicious!)

  • Kat says:

    I tried making a double batch of this mixed of ground beef and ground buffalo and used homemade buffalo broth. I did it in the crock pot so I could go on a hike before the party I was bringing it to. It was a hit. Everyone I talked to said it was great, and my dad pretty much demanded that I put it on the list of things to make again preferably soon. When I make it for myself though I’m going to add a can of jalapenos or something because it needs some heat. Frankly though I think that just about everything can use some more heat.

  • Barbara says:

    This is the first day of my first Whole 30 and this is what I am making for dinner. OMG, my house smells divine! I tasted it when it first came to a simmer and love the flavor. I can only imagine what it will taste like in two hours! I ran out to B&N and bought Well Fed 2! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Janine says:

    I am a chili LOVER!!! I have changed my diet a lot and am watching my sugar intake. I am basically doing whole30 all the time! I have made this chili twice now and I loved it!!!! The only thing is that I did not add the coco or allspice. Im a little nervous to, because I want my chili to be savory. I added sweet potatoes once and was still amazing!!!

    This time I am going to add more veggies…. diced carrots, celery, zucchini and garlic!!

    I’ll be brave once and add the coco 🙂 thanks for sharing!

  • Evelyn says:

    this recipe also works great if you sub half the meat with freshly ground beef heart. Anti-organ meat eaters can’t even tell! I just told my fam I put extra love in it!

    Have also done this recipe in slow cooker, just plopping it all in but breaking up the meat nicely and it was excellent.

    This is an almost weekly meal at our place,

  • Jessica says:

    Love this!! My first time using chocolate in chili and it.was.divine. My kitchen smelled heavenly. I used 1lb beef, added a bunch of veggies (zucchini, yellow squash, orange bell pepper), multiplied the spices by 1.5 and omitted the extra water. Yummmmmm!! My non-paleo family had multiple servings and gobbled it up. There were no leftovers. My mother told me to save this recipe and to “definitely make this again”… She never says that about any paleo recipes I tried! You just made my January Whole30 so much tastier and fun 🙂 I will be trying out your other recipes. Thank you for creating & sharing this recipe! Kudos.

  • Beth says:

    This is by far the best I have ever had and my hubby loves it because it has NO beans. So rich and flavorful!

  • Emily says:

    I want to thank you for posting this recipe. It’s one of our favs. I always used to think, “what’s chili without the beans?!” But the flavors in this make me not miss the beans at all!
    When I make this I omit the water and add more beef broth in its place. Delicious dish! Thanks!!!

  • Lisa says:

    This is sooo yummy! My kids love it and think it is hilarious that it is chocolate! They like it so much that they have demanded it be in the fridge at all times. I drain some of the extra liquid so they can use it like taco meat to make tacos, taco, salad and nachos!

  • Nicole says:

    I have made this before, when I wasn’t doing whole30 and it was so good. However I can’t find beef broth without sugar. Can I substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth? Thanks! I will also be using 1 lb pork and 1 lb ground beef. Only have 1 lb of beef.

  • Stephanie says:

    Do you actually use raw cacao powder or just cocoa? I was not sure if these were considered the same or not. What do you recommend? Thanks, Stephanie

  • Holly T says:

    Sounds delicious! Is this recipe in one of your cookbooks? If so, which one?!?!?!

  • Liz says:

    Won 3rd place today at my chili cook-off at work (and day 19 of Whole30!) Ate it over a baked sweet potato to keep me from diving into the cornbread 🙂

    Thank you for this incredible recipe! While I was doubtful a few minutes into it, it really really transforms after 2 hours! WOW!


  • Adrianne says:

    What is the nutritional value of this chili? It seems yummy and I want to make it, but I would also like to know calories and serving size other than a deep bowl and heaping spoon lol. That is waaaayyyyy too tempting for me. Thank you!

    • I don’t calculate the nutrition info for my recipes because I follow an “eyeball it” system, based on the meal template found here

      But you can always plug my recipes into a recipe calculator like this one if you prefer to know specifics.

      Hope you like the recipe!

      • Adrianne says:

        OMG! This is so yummy!I entered into myfitnesspal where I track of calories since floods a paleo recipe the serving size a bowl it was 280 calories (it of said 208) I’m looking it. I will be purchasing your book!

      • Pamela says:

        Can’t wait to try this recipe and get your books!!!!

        Figured this out using your recipe calculator link above for my 15-year-old daughter who was recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and carb counting is our new normal. Sorry to take up so much space but wanted to save someone else from having to take the 30 min it took me to input all ingredients for just this one recipe. Doesn’t sound like much time to some people, but everything related to this disease seems to take increased amounts of time. Not sure our family of 5 is ready to tackle the Whole 30 yet but I’m looking forward to trying your recipes!!!

        Used 6 servings because she is a very hungry high school athlete!

        Nutrition Facts

        User Entered Recipe
        6 Servings
        Amount Per Serving

        Calories 337.0
        Total Fat 16.1 g
        Saturated Fat 6.9 g
        Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
        Monounsaturated Fat 0.6 g
        Cholesterol 93.3 mg
        Sodium 875.1 mg
        Potassium 457.9 mg
        Total Carbohydrate 14.0 g
        Dietary Fiber 4.1 g
        Sugars 6.1 g
        Protein 33.8 g
        Vitamin A 24.2 %
        Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
        Vitamin B-6 9.2 %
        Vitamin C 15.0 %
        Vitamin D 0.0 %
        Vitamin E 7.2 %
        Calcium 3.5 %
        Copper 8.3 %
        Folate 1.6 %
        Iron 28.8 %
        Magnesium 5.7 %
        Manganese 9.6 %
        Niacin 5.5 %
        Pantothenic Acid 0.4 %
        Phosphorus 4.1 %
        Riboflavin 3.9 %
        Selenium 2.6 %
        Thiamin 1.8 %
        Zinc 2.3 %

        *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

  • Jude Fiszel says:

    I made this recipe with one lb. of Angus lean hamburger, combo of Penzey’s hot and mild chili powder; one-half green pepper cut into strips; fresh mushroom thick sliced and I must say that I will make this or a variation of the same, again. This is a tasty recipe that I highly recommend everyone trying~!

  • Chaundra says:

    BEST Chili ever! I got 1st place at our work chili cookoff with this recipe! love your stuff. 🙂

  • Lauren says:

    DELICIOUS! I added some green and red peppers, as well as a few chopped carrots but overall, this is amazing chili! Thank you for all the great recipes! Looking forward to making the Lizard Sauce as well!! 🙂 Thanks again!

  • dawneva sasse says:

    Love love this!! Flavors alive in the mouth

  • Dave H says:

    This is wonderful. We usually make a double batch so there are plenty of leftovers.

  • Mandy says:

    A friend recommended your book, so I thought I’d try a recipe before purchasing the whole cookbook. Made this because I had all the ingredients here for Whole Food’s Turkey Pumpkin Chili already. I added some green pepper to use them up and wow was this better than that recipe. I have now bought the whole first “Well-Fed” book.

    Question – I love getting my veggies in an easy way, and I love the texture pumpkin adds to chili. Do you think this recipe would be good with a can of pumpkin? (I don’t know if that’s Paleo… please correct me if I am wrong).

    • I’m so glad you gave my recipe a try… yay!

      Yes, I think adding pumpkin to this would be great! It will make it somewhat creamy, I’d think. And the pumpkin should taste really good with the cocoa and chili powder. Go for it! If you try it, let us know how it comes out.

      YES! Pumpkin is paleo. All veggies are included in the paleo framework except corn (grain), peas (legume), and other legumes like lima beans, kidney beans, etc. Green beans and snap peas are OK because they’re more pod than bean.

  • Erika says:

    Oh my goodness!! This stuff was amazing. Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much!

  • Tara says:

    Oh, this is so good! I cut the recipe in half because I’m just cooking for myself and I ended up eating half of it in one sitting. I’ll have to make the full recipe next time so it will last longer.

  • Jeni says:

    Made this for the fourth time tonight – used the black cocoa from the quarterly box and kimchi chili powder – sooooo good!! Thanks for this 🙂

  • So Says Lisa says:

    My only problem with this recipe is HOW it’ll ever make it to dinner time. I keep stealing (big, hearty) spoonfuls as it simmers. Thanks for another delicious and easy recipe.

  • Annalea says:

    O.M.GOSH!!! this chili is simply stunning!!! i’m singing it’s praises on instagram and facebook! had it tonight topped with roasted cauliflower that i seasoned with nutritional yeast, garlic, tumeric and a bit of salt. SO GOOD!!! thank you for taking care of our bellies!!!

  • Angie says:

    I looooove this recipe! I tried it when I did a Whole 30, and I am using it again while on Weight Watchers. I tripled the recipe and replaced some of the meat with pinto beans and veggies, and it still rocked my face off. I’m recommending this recipe left and right. I miss using your recipes exclusively! You were a lifesaver when I was on W30, but, sadly, I didn’t lose any weight, whereas Weight Watchers helped me lose 60 lbs. post-pregnancy, and I’m at it again, post-pregnancy. I’ll keep coming back for more, of course. You’re so gifted, and endearing! 🙂

  • Kim says:

    Amazing!! Will use some tonight as the meat in a “taco” salad. Thank you for all of the great recipes!

  • Michelle says:

    Do you have (or can you share) the basic nutrition facts for this recipe? Just curious about serving size, calories per serving, carbs, fat, protein, fiber, etc. Sounds delicious…

  • Jennifer says:

    Made this in the slow cooker yesterday and it was absolutley amazing!

  • Hi there! I featured this recipe on my healthy fall recipe round up today. Thanks for the great inspiration!

  • Jenny says:

    I made this this morning, I added green, orange and red peppers as I like those in my chili. I also use a quart of my canned tomatoes instead of the fire roasted, used about a teaspoon or so of chipotle chili pepper to spice it up and omitted the extra water, then threw it into the crockpot after it boiled. It smells wonderful in here! Mine did turn out more soupy but that’s alright as I will make some macaroni for the kids to throw in theirs as we do here in the Midwest. Thanks for the recipe!

  • J says:

    well, my plan A crock-pot meal became my plan B “venison” chili., Double batch because I have 2 crock-pots that like to tag team. MAN! that was some GOOD chili. Love it. Very satisfying. We are doing Whole30 Jan ’16 & have started cooking some of my planned meals and have lost 3 lbs w/out trying. How cool is that! I ate 1 bowl of chili and was very satisfied and did not want to snack later. 2 Thumbs UP !

  • Ali says:

    I made this tonight for Christmas Eve dinner. It is AMAZING! I loved it so much! I made a traditional Christmas dinner for my husband, who is not Paleo, and made this as my Whole 30-compliant meal. I didn’t miss the traditional foods one bit. I added sides of grape tomato slices, avocado bites, and black olive rings, along with some homemade mayo. All of the mix-in toppings were wonderful additions, although the chili solo was amazing. Today is Day 28 of my third Whole 30. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Meran says:

    This was a GREAT recipe! My husband and I ate it over baked potatoes. So good!

  • Beth R says:

    Mel this is. Another winner! We have made your carnitas a few times now and decide to try a new chili, so glad we found this one! Cincinnati chili will be next! Thanks for sharing such amazing recipes!!

  • I made this tonight and I am CRAZY for it! I added Red Pepper and Black Pepper because that is just what we do to most food items! I am not a fan of Cincinnati Chili but this tastes like an amazing version of it!!! I also used ground turkey. Thanks for the recipe! Love it!!!!

  • sue says:

    Doing a Sunday cook-up and I had 2 pounds of ground beef and a hankering for chili. I was going to do my usual throw-what’s-in-the-fridge chili, thenI remembered you had a recipe for one with chocolate. So I dashed over here and grabbed my cocoa powder (actually carob powder) and got cooking. I’ve just gotten to the simmering part, but I broke down and gave it a quick taste.
    OMG – I could eat the whole batch right now!! I can’t wait till we actually eat the chili on Tuesday!! Thanks for the recipe! So far, all of yours that I’ve (or my son, the kid learning to cook the Bigos,) made have been excellent.

  • Jordan Zehr says:

    We love to make this at least once a month. We eat it on top of sweet potatoes with a little greek yogurt and it is always a winner.

  • I like the comment about putting water in the empty beer bottle and adding that 🙂 I bet most people could not taste the difference with/without adding beer to any chili recipe. It’s so easy to make foods Paleo compliant and they are still tasty. Thanks for the recipe!

  • JD says:

    After almost 7 years do you ever get tired of being told how awesome this recipe is?

  • Karl Meyer says:

    Really spectacular chili. Like, reeeeaaaallllllyy goooooood. A couple chili tricks I always use to amp up the flavor is to substitute the chili powder with 4-5 rehydrated dried chilis (I like anchos) blended into a paste and also to throw a dash of fish sauce in towards the end to bring out the beefy flavors 🙂

  • Michelle says:

    Do you have any suggestions for adapting this to use with the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker? Thanks 🙂

  • Emilie says:

    Love your work Mel and can’t wait for the next cookbook! Wondering if you could make this with half diced beef and half ground? Thanks!

    • Absolutely! You might want to brown the meat cubes first, then remove from the pan, proceed with the rest of the recipe, then add the cubes back to the pot after the ground meat is cooked. Let me know how it turns out!

      • Emilie Reynolds says:

        So excuse the fan-girling but..ZOMG! Browned the chunks of grassfed beef the added the ground beef, threw in some green capsicum and zucchini and swapped the cup of water for coffee…topped with some avocado, this is hands down the best chilli ever!!!
        Just to let you know, I absolutely ADORE my copy of Well Fed 2 (I even read it in bed) and am waiting on my ordered copy of Well Fed to arrive. Holding my breath for Well Fed Weeknights and my boyfriend goes apes*** for your Awesome Sauce!!! Keep up the amazing work!

        • Hooray! I’m glad you’re happy with how it turned out! Sounds delicious!

          Thank you for the love for Well Fed 2; there are some really good recipes in WF, too. Enjoy! And YAY! Less than a week until the Well Fed Weeknights presale. WOOT!

  • Phil says:

    While on the Whole 30, most of the meals we’ve made have rated a: “That was fine. Probably wouldn’t make it again if we weren’t on Whole 30.” This chili though was ranked as a “Yum!” by both my wife and I and our four kids. Thanks so much!
    (p.s. made the stove top version.)

  • Seraphina Chew says:

    Hi Mel, I think I left a comment on this before but anyway, I just wanted to say how much the simmer helps. I found this out because I over-simmered the chili when I was watching movie and tv-show trailers with my little bro, and we only remembered the chili when we finished (which was like… 1.5h after the recommended 2h). Good news: most of the chili was edible, and it tasted really amazing. Such a depth of flavor. Bad news: there was a pretty thick burnt crust at the bottom. Bad news for him because he had to wash the pot but I didn’t hahaha.

    Anyway, just saying. I’ve made it with the pressure cooker and the slow cooker, and I must say the stove top method is the best in terms of flavor!

  • Rebecca says:

    I’m doing my third Whole 30 and my husband and I are having one of those days with our toddler where I feel like there is not a wine bottle big enough. BUT! We made your chili and just tasted it after it simmered for a bit and my husband immediately said, “Who needs alcohol?” This chili is that good: It can cure cranky toddler parents of a wine craving. Just thought you should know!

  • Elaine says:

    This week I made the chili in my Instant Pot and since they are so popular now, thought I would share. (Side note – since I think this needs to be made a day ahead so the flavors can do their thing – it is just as easy to make this stove top – but I am trying to sell a house and my stove top is a bear to clean)
    I used the saute function on the Instant pot until it says “Simmer for 2 hours” – then I used the bean/chili button to finish cooking. It was a bit soupy, so I added a tablespoon (ish) of Arrowroot starch at the end to thicken it up.
    for a “You know how you can do that” – if you omit the fire roasted tomatoes your spouse might think he is eating Texas Chili! Worked for me.

  • Beth says:

    I’d really like to make this and take it to a super bowl party. How do I transfer it when I live 40 minutes away from the party? Should I cook it like normally in a Dutch oven and then transfer it to a slow cookers or start it in a slow cooker? Willl it be ok to transfer in the car?

  • Alexis says:

    I was leery to try (and fail) at yet another chili recipe. Previous endeavors were edible, but not what I’d call “kick azz” chili; however, given you’ve yet to let me down in all the years I’ve followed your blog, I persevered. O! M! G! Best. Chili. Ever. I topped it with “slaw” (thinly sliced cabbage tossed in garlic paleo mayo) or a dallop of the paleo ranch (it gives the sour cream twang while remaining W30 compliant). I even used leftovers as a topping over fried plantains with a fried egg for breakfast and as “taco” filling within red leaf lettuce . Delicious.

    Thank you again for another ‘weapon’ in my culinary arsenal. <3

  • Michael says:

    I never considered myself a Chili person before, but wow. I think you’ve converted me. I don’t understand how it can taste so good! I’m struggling not to plaster my name all over the leftovers in the fridge with a Sharpie. And speaking of – do you think this would freeze well?

  • Anne says:

    I love this recipe!! I made it for our chili cookoff and won!! Now I’m sending the link to all my friends. It’s so delicious and so easy, thank you for the recipe!!

  • Christina says:

    Made this last night – I’m doing Whole 30. Pretty much the best chili I have ever had.

  • Ferrin says:

    Wow, this was so delicious, no one would ever think they were missing anything on whole30 if they ate like this every night! We added some paleo sour cream and avocado and YUM!! Thank you for this awesome recipe! Your website is great and your recipes have all been wonderful, but this is my favorite so far. It is going into our weekend rotation for sure, even when our whole30 is a distant memory! I made it 2 nights ago and I am ridiculously excited for the leftovers tonight 😉