how to make the best easy keto chili

Making delicious keto chili is easy, and that’s a good thing—because chili is always fantastic, obviously, but also, the rampant popularity of the ketogenic diet shows no signs of abating any time soon. Witness the proliferation of MCT oils on the market, the popularity of bulletproof coffee, and the existence of keto fast food options when you’re out and about. Strict keto diet adherence is still easiest when you make your own keto-compliant food at home, and there’s definitely a bit of a learning curve, but it’s not hard to make satisfying keto meals. Take the aforementioned chili, for example—the perfect centerpiece of a keto Super Bowl menu or March Madness viewing party, or just the thing for a comforting weekend dinner. Follow a few simple guidelines and you can whip up a pot of keto chili that everyone will love (well, maybe not vegetarians).

Use Plenty of Meat

While the keto diet isn’t an excuse to eat mountains of meat with total abandon, it does allow for high meat consumption, and high-fat meat consumption too. So skip the super-lean ground beef and load up your pot with fattier ground blends and/or well-marbled cuts like rib eye. A mix of ground meat and firmer, bite-size pieces makes for a more interesting texture. (That said, there are meatless keto options too; more on those later.)

ButcherBox, $129/box

Get grass-fed beef, heritage pork, and organic chicken delivered to your door every month.
Try It

Say Bye-Bye to Beans

If you’re already a Texan, or an otherwise devout member of the church of chili con carne, making keto chili won’t be too much of an issue for you, but if you love chili with meat and beans, you’ll have to make some big adjustments—namely, you’ll have to cut out the beans, which are high-carb. If you can’t bear to do it, you can substitute soy beans, which provide vaulable texture, flavor, and nutrients but only one net gram of carbs per serving.

Eden Organic Black Soy Beans, 12 cans for $36.31 on Amazon

Can't quit beans? Stock your pantry with these low-carb alternatives.
Try It

Watch Out for Hidden Sugar

Lots of processed foods include a high amount of sugar (plus plenty of other things you don’t need), so beware cans of tomato sauce. Tomato paste is slightly better, and generally acceptable in keto chili recipes since you use a fairly small amount of it in relation to the total volume of other ingredients. And canned tomatoes in their juice are commonly called for, but make sure there is no added sugar in them.

Feel Free to Top It Off

Fear of fat is incompatible with the keto diet, so you can crown your bowl of keto chili with generous amounts of sour cream, cheese, and avocado! But…

Skip the Chips

Yes, chili is fantastic with corn chips and tortilla chips, but you’ll have to skip them if you’re keeping keto. If you’re really craving that crunchy finish, though, try some pork rinds! They’re basically just fat, protein, and salt (as always, be sure to check your labels). Alternatively, you can make keto cheese crisps for a little crunch.

Utz Pork Rinds, $6.49 on Amazon

Pork rinds are keto-approved substitutes for tortilla chips, breadcrumbs, and even pizza crust.
Try It

Of course, if you’re more of a cornbread-with-chili person, you can try a keto cornbread recipe that uses gluten-free flour (in this case, almond flour).

Best Keto Chili Recipes

Ready to get cooking? Check out some of these easy and delicious keto chili recipes.

Paleo Keto Chili

best keto chili recipe

Gnom Gnom

This keto chili does call for beer—low-carb and/or gluten-free beer, of course—plus brewed coffee for a little secret ingredient kick. The flavor gets further complexity from lightly caramelizing the onions and browning the ground beef well. Get the Paleo Keto Chili recipe.

Instant Pot Paleo Keto Bacon Chili

Instant Pot keto bacon chili recipe

Paleo Running Mama

This beefy chili adds bacon to the mix, plus bone broth, bell pepper, garlic, smoked paprika, and chipotle—and it can be made in your Instant Pot. Get the Instant Pot Paleo Keto Bacon Chili recipe.

Low-Carb Chili con Carne

Keto Low-Carb Chili con Carne recipe

Jennifer Banz

This keto chili uses both ground beef and chunks of stew meat for great texture and extra beefy flavor. (You could also try adding crumbled sausage in place of ground beef.) Get the Low-Carb Chili con Carne recipe.

Creamy Pumpkin Keto Chili

Creamy Pumpkin Keto Chili recipe

The Castaway Kitchen

This keto chili is totally tomato-free, but it does contain some surprising ingredients in addition to the usual ground beef, onion, and garlic—like diced radish, pumpkin puree, a little garam masala, and even avocado oil mayo to enrich the bone broth. Maybe not one for traditionalists, but what if you just called it soup? Get the Creamy Pumpkin Keto Chili recipe.

Vegan Keto Walnut Chili

Vegan Keto Walnut Chili recipe

Abbey’s Kitchen

While keto does usually mean meat, vegetarian and even vegan keto adherents do exist! Walnuts are heart healthy and said to help kick cravings, but they also mimic the texture of ground beef surprisingly well when finely chopped. This vegan keto chili is truly satisfying. Get the Vegan Keto Walnut Chili recipe.

Vegan Keto Chili with Soy Beans

Vegan Keto Chili recipe with black soy beans

Compassionate Keto

That said, if you have a nut allergy (or just think nuts in chili sounds too odd), try a vegan keto version that uses faux meat and black soy beans. Get the Vegan Keto Chili recipe.

Keto White Chicken Chili

Keto White Chicken Chili recipe

Hey Keto Mama

Another tomato-free keto chili, this white version relies on chicken, cream, and cream cheese—it’s a rich, comforting bowl with a kick from cumin and green chiles. And best of all, it can also made in the slow cooker. Get the Keto White Chicken Chili recipe.

Keto Concerns

Is the Keto Diet Bad for Your Heart?

All featured products are curated independently by our editors. When you buy something through our retail links, we may receive a commission. For more great hand-picked products, check out the Chowhound Shop.

Jen is an associate content producer at Chowhound. Raised on scrapple and blue crabs, she hails from Baltimore, Maryland, but has lived in Portland (Oregon) for so long it feels like home. She enjoys the rain, reads, writes, eats, and cooks voraciously, and stops to pet every stray cat she sees. Continually working on building her Gourmet magazine collection, she will never get over its cancellation. Read more of her work.
See more articles