Saturday, January 18, 2014

Crockpot (or stovetop) Recipe for Black Bean Chili with Lime and Cilantro (Gluten-Free)

I love this favorite slow cooker black bean chili, thickened with refried beans and flavored with lime and cilantro.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Chili with Lime and Cilantro found on

(This Black Bean Chili with Lime and Cilantro that can be made in a slow cooker or on the stove is today's pick for the month of  Daily Phase One Recipes.  I've have a very hard time choosing just one favorite chili recipe, but this is definitely on my list of faves.  You can see all the recipes from the month by clicking Daily Phase One Recipes.  Check after the recipe for Phase One Flashbacks from this day in 2012 and 2013.)

One thing that can be frustrating about food blogging is that the greatest recipe in the world won't get much attention if the photo is bad, so I was happy to finally take new photos for this favorite slow cooker chili with lime and cilantro.  The ultra flavorful chili includes a can of refried pinto beans as part of the base, which makes it extra thick, and I've been enjoying this the last few days with a dollop of low-fat sour cream on top.

Lime and cilantro are two of my favorite ingredients, but if you're not a cilantro fan I'd replace it with thinly sliced green onions, and if you don't have a crockpot, just skip the step of reducing the beef stock, and you can make this in a regular pot on top of the stove.  I hope lots of you will try this; it just might become your favorite easy chili recipe!

Start with two finely chopped onions which get sauteed in olive oil until they are nicely browned.  (This adds flavor, but if you're short on time you could skip browning the onions.)  Put onions in the slow cooker.  (While the onions and ground beef are cooking, simmer the beef stock on the stove until it's reduced to 2 cups.)

Add a tiny bit more olive oil and cook the ground beef until it's well done, breaking apart with the turner as it cooks.

Put ground beef into the slow cooker with the onions.

When the beef stock has reduced by half, mix it with the can of refried beans.

Put the black beans into a colander in the sink and rinse well with cold water.

Add the stock-refried beans mixture, beans, tomatoes, dried cilantro, chile powder, Ancho chile powder, and ground cumin to the slow cooker and start to cook.

The cooking time is pretty flexible for this recipe, but after 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on high it should be getting done.

Stir in the chopped cilantro (or sliced green onion if you're not a cilantro fan, and serve (with more lime to squeeze in when you eat the chili and a dollop of low-fat sour cream if desired.)

Crockpot Black Bean ChiliAnd just for fun, here's the original photo of this recipe from 2009, which I thought was really due for an update!

Crockpot Black Bean Chili with Lime and Cilantro
(Makes about 6 generous servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

(I used my 5-Quart Smart-Pot Crock-Pot to make this chili, but I think any size that's close to that will work. Be sure the crockpot is at least half full when you use it to make soup or chili.)

2 large onions, finely chopped
2 tsp. olive oil + 2 tsp. more for browning meat if needed
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 quart beef stock, simmer to reduce to 2 cups (I used my homemade beef stock, but you can use two cans beef broth. Don't reduce for stovetop cooking.)
3 cans (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) refried pinto beans
2 cans (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes
2 T dried cilantro
2 T chile powder (preferably New Mexico chile powder)
2 T Ancho chile powder (or 2 T more regular chile powder)
1 T ground cumin
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice, plus sliced limes to squeeze into chili if desired
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish if desired
low-fat sour cream for serving if desired (optional)

Heat olive oil in heavy frying pan, add chopped onions and saute 4-5 minutes, until softened and barely starting to brown. Add onions to crockpot. Add ground beef to same pan, adding more oil if needed, then brown beef well, breaking up with metal turner as it cooks. Add beef to crockpot.

While onions and beef are being cooked, put beef stock into saucepan and simmer until reduced to 2 cups. (Skip this step if cooking the chili on stovetop.) When stock is reduced, add refried beans and whisk to blend into stock, then add to crockpot.

While stock is reducing, place a colander in the sink and add canned black beans. Rinse beans well with cold water until no more foam appears. (This removes some of the salt from canned beans and makes them much more digestible.) Then add beans, stock-refried beans mixture, tomatoes, dried cilantro, chile powder, ancho chile powder, and ground cumin to crockpot. Cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 3-4 hours, or until beans are soft and flavors are well blended. When chili is done, stir in lime juice and chopped fresh cilantro and let cook 15 minutes. Serve hot, with slices of lime and additional chopped cilantro to add as garnish if desired.  I like this with a dollop of low-fat sour cream.

Cooking on the Stove:
For stove-top cooking, skip the step of reducing the beef broth, but follow all other directions, adding ingredients to large soup pot and simmering at low heat about an hour.

Click Here for Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
Chili is such a perfect South Beach Diet food, since dried beans of all types are very low-glycemic, and this would be great for any phase of the South Beach Diet.  (Beans are limited for Phase One, so use portion control, but for a dish like this with lots of other ingredients you can have a normal serving size.)

Phase One Flashbacks:
January 18, 2012:  Roasted Mushrooms with Garlic, Thyme, and Balsamic Vinegar
January 18, 2013:  Shrimp Salad Cabbage Cups  

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Delicious Chili with Black Beans:
(Recipe from other blogs may not be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Black Bean Chili with Chocolate ~ Healthy Green Kitchen

Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Smoky Turkey Chili with Chipotle Peppers and Black and White Beans ~ Cookin' Canuck

Not Just For the Superbowl Chili ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Beef Chili with Black Beans ~ The Lemon Bowl

(I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. yum! We have a great chili recipe with a lime crema.
    I love the lime crema, but I like how your recipe is heavier on the vegetation and lighter on the beef. May have to try combining the 2 this weekend. Can't beat crockpot cooking!

  2. Looks great. You can never go wrong with lime!

    We're having buffalo & venison burgers for our super bowl party, very manly. Perhaps this will be good sometime next week since it's still cold.

  3. Looks delicious. I've been hoping to find a new and different sort of chili recipe lately. This might be the one! You should enter this in my Super Bowl recipe contest!

  4. Hooray! More chili recipes! Thanks Kalyn! My tummy is growling as I type :)

  5. So you're a mind reader. I bought a roast yesterday and put black beans out to soak last night.
    Great looking chili!

  6. Oh how perfect! That looks AMAZING. I need a pot of that right now to keep the winter blues away.

  7. This is making my water. Lime and cilantro are two of my favorite flavors!

  8. Thanks everyone. Sounds like a lot of folks are in a chili kind of mood.

  9. I hope we're allowed to make chili without watching the Super Bowl! I'm just beginning to understand how my slow cooker works, and how great it is for bean dishes. This chili sounds delicious, and your photo make it look so appealing (and kudos to you -- I think it's hard to photograph beans!).

  10. Have never tried lime and cilantro in chili, but I bet it adds such a flavor. Love the use of the crockpot for chili!!! Your pictures , as usual,are mouthwatering!!!

  11. We both posted lime and cilantro recipes today, how fun! The chili looks amazing!

  12. This looks like a great dish for Super Bowl Sunday! Hearty AND healthy! You don't have to mess with it, so you can actually watch the game. It is also perfect for me due to my limited mobility. Score!

  13. This sounds really good. I'll be making this, but using vegetable stock and no meat.

  14. Your chili has such a lovely rich color to it. I have never had chili with lime in the actual recipe and am so going to try that. Thanks!

  15. You just talked me into making chili for Sunday.

  16. This one is definitely more my style than some of the others I have seen being posted, mostly because of the black beans. My fave.

  17. I love chili, lime, and cilantro, so I think this recipe would be a hit around here. I've never thought of adding cilantro or lime to chili, but it sounds great.

  18. Black beans are my favorite and this chili is going in my files!

  19. AWESOME! I have had the worst hankering for black beans since I got pregnant. You just saved me!

  20. I have a question - maybe I'm just being foolish but does 3 cans (15oz) black beans means
    a) 3 x 5oz cans = 15oz total black beans or does it mean
    b) 3 x 15oz cans of beans = 45oz total
    Just wanted to check - could be disaster if I got that wrong. I'm definitely going to make this this weekend. Thanks for a great looking recipe.

  21. I'm so bad at replying to comments when I'm at school. I barely manage to get them published but I do read every one (and appreciate them.)

    Lisa, it means 3 cans, each 15 oz. for a total of 45 ounces beans. Sometimes beans come in 14.5 oz. cans too, close enough.

  22. We just bought a crock pot about three weeks ago and was thinking I need to make chili with it. I was so happy to come across your blog and find this chili recipe. Will give it a try ... very soon. Thank you!

  23. I see you made the Serious Eats photograzing again. Z

  24. Chuck, hope you like it.

    Michael, thanks for letting me know! Always exciting to get featured there!

  25. This was very yummy! I didn't have cilantro like I thought but it was still a yummy new version for chilie.

  26. I made this chili yesterday and we all loved it. I loved the lime and cilantro. We're about to eat the leftovers and I'm excited!

  27. WhataDish, so glad you liked it!

  28. I made it yesterday too for my husband and I, and Jory (BlogHer) and her husband. We all loved it.

  29. Thanks Britt, so glad to hear it! And I love having such famous recipe testers!

  30. I loved this recipe and so did my family. It's even better the second day! I mentioned on my facebook page that I was making it and a good friend asked for the recipe. I didn't bother to mention I'd found it here. It's now known in her house as "Diana's Fabulous Super Bowl Chili." LOL

  31. Diana, don't worry, I will never tell! That's funny, but glad you liked the chili!

  32. Made the chili last night-yum! I added about a cup of cooked whole grain quinoa from the freezer which really made it thick and hearty.

  33. Anonymous, great idea to add the quinoa.

  34. I made this in the pressure cooker and wasn't sure how it would turn out, but oh my gosh, this is the best chili I've ever had!!! :) Delicious recipe!

  35. Amy, thanks. It's great to know it will work for the pressure cooker too.

  36. Thank you so much for the recipe! My husband was very happy:)

  37. I made this tonight and ALMOST followed the recipe. My only alterations were to add about 1 lb of small cubed sirloin (I have a meat guy) and using mild rotel tomatoes in the place of the diced tomatoes and OMG...was it EVER spicy. I checked the rotel can to verify that I hadn't used a hot version and I hadn't. My chipotle chili powder was fresh (newly opened) the other chili not so much. Still, I used the spices as directed. So, I'm wondering if it really is supposed to have 4 TABLESPOONS of chili powder in it. I added an extra can of diced tomatoes to tune down the spice a bit. It helped.

    I had made cilantro lime rice to put it over and it made it a little less spicy. The kids DEFINITELY had issues, even my son who LOVES his buffalo wings super spicy.

  38. Ruffages, there is no Chipotle chile pepper in this recipe, so if you used that you didn't use the spices as directed, and I can imagine it was very spicy. New Mexico chile powder and Ancho chile powder are both very mild, more flavor than spice, so with those as I specified it really is supposed to be 4 T.

  39. Ruffages, thought I would share the chile pepper heat scale with you:

    If you check that you'll see that Chipotle chiles are about 4-5 gimes hotter than New Mexico chiles or Ancho chiles.

  40. Yup...I figured it out going back to the other black bean chili recipe and the mention of chipotle chili powder vs ancho. That's exactly what I used. Good thing to know with all the different varieties of chili powder and how they are NOT interchangeable. This was the first recipe I have ever used with specific varieties of chili powder. Live and learn.

  41. Ruffages, at least now you know, and I'm betting you'll never forget that Chipotles are the HOT chiles.

  42. i made this yesterday and it was delicious. i'm on week 2 of my southbeach diet and your recipes totally help me get thru the days. lol. thanks!

  43. Thank you for posting this recipe! I just purchased a 3 qt crockpot, and with a little modification (1 can black beans instead of 3 and less chili powder), my first meal in the crockpot was amazing! Cheers.

  44. Sarah, glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  45. Looks like a great chili recipe.
    I am going to have to try this one this weekend.
    I am going to cook it for the family.


    Long Live chili!!!!

  46. Chili Dude, I think you will like it!

  47. This is one of our favorite recipes ever!

  48. Amanda, I'm so glad! Thanks for letting me know.

  49. any reason why you couldn't use dried black beans instead? 6-8 hours is plenty of time for them to cook. i'm wondering if there's a reason to use canned.

  50. Michelle, it is my understanding that dried beans won't soften if they're cooked with acidy ingredients like tomatoes. But you could pre-cook dried beans on the stove and then use them in this.

  51. This is really, really delicious. I used a different kind of chili powder and I left out the cilantro but it was still fantastic. Thank you for the recipe!

  52. Love this recipe! I've made it twice, and both times it was delish...perfect North Texas winter food! I couldn't find refried pintos, so I just used one can of regular pintos and mashed them up a bit. I did the stovetop vision, and used my immersion blender a little at the end to thicken it up a bit more... Yum!! Kalyn, your site is my go-to to recipes, I have never made anything I didn't love! Thanks for all that you do!!

  53. Love the idea of using refried beans to thicken the chili. I'm definitely going to try that.

  54. Lydia, I really loved how the refried beans added body to the chile. Seems like a good technique for slow cookers in general, even with other types of mashed beans.

  55. This has been my go-to recipe for chili for three years now and I can't imagine making any other chili recipe ever again!
    It's so yummy, so easy, and feeds the two of us for days.

  56. Aunt Sat, so glad you've been enjoying it!

  57. Just loved this! I made it to my taste on the milder side, and substituted oregano for the dried cilantro because that is what I had on hand. We loved the flavors. Kalyn, what would I do without you and your fabulous recipes?

  58. Amy, you're sweet. So glad you enjoyed it.

  59. Oh my goodness! This recipe is the best. I have made this three times in the last month and every time I make it it seems to be better and better. It's my new best recipe for chili! Today for Halloween 2013 I made it for my husband to take to work for their chili cook off and he got third place! Woo Hoo... Love it! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  60. Eva, so glad you've been enjoying the chili!

  61. Just made this tonight and it was fantastic! There's nothing better than coming home to a great-smelling house and fresh-cooked food after a long day at work. I didn't have any lime or cilantro so I substituted dried oregano and added a tablespoon of red wine vinegar. It was still delicious, and I can't wait to try it with lime when I make it again.


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