Mama’s Many Bean Chili


It’s cold and it Super Bowl season, so we should make some chili! This recipe is the result of combining my favorite chili ingredients – some surprising – into my own unique chili recipe. My whole family actually loves this recipe – though sometimes it gets a little too spicy for the Hubs and his heartburn issues. I like it super spicy, but it can be toned down if you have a heartburny person in your house.

Mama's Many Bean ChiliMama's Many Bean ChiliWhen I was a kid, my mom made a version of this chili – it was always too spicy for my dad and had too many onions for my younger onion-hating self, but it was really all about the beans. She used lots of kidney beans, which I really loved! I noticed other moms used smaller beans, like pintos, in their chili and it just wasn’t the same as mom’s. BUT, the ingredient that really kicked up mom’s chili was her secret spice weapon: Spicy Hot V-8 juice! It’s a great mixture of tomato juice with lots of flavorful spices all in one little can.

Mama's Many Bean ChiliMom’s chili evolved for me after I had a wonderful tasting chili in a bread bowl at a little local restaurant called Carver’s in Durango, CO when the Hubs and I were still dating and were on a spring break ski trip. Their secret ingredient was hominy. I know, what’s hominy? All I know is that it’s corn that has been puffed up somehow and it’s yummy in soups and stews. The hominy and corn make for great texture in the chili – and the sweetness of the corn is a nice play against the spicy of the peppers and seasonings.

Mama's Many Bean ChiliThen there’s the beans. I love the kidneys, but I pretty much love all beans, so over the years I started adding different types and found that I really like the combination of different types. The chili beans are nice because they come pre-loaded with some tasty chili sauce already, adding another layer of spice to the mixture. Feel free to play around with the choice of beans. I find that the softer white beans don’t hold up as well as the heartier kinds do, but you should definitely use the beans you like.

Mama's Many Bean ChiliI uses green chiles, a jalapeno and some green bell peppers this time, but again, I recommend that you use the type of peppers you have and enjoy. Use the hotter ones of you like more spice or tone it down by using the bells instead.

If you like your chili soupier, add more tomatoes and/or V-8. We like it very thick at our house, so I hold back on the liquids.

Mama's Many Bean ChiliLike all of my recipes, you have lots of room to do your thing and match your tastes. The best part of the recipe is that it’s quick to prep since it’s basically a little chopping and then a lot of dumping of ingredients into the crock-pot. If you prefer a vegetarian version, just leave out the ground beef. I do this when The Hubs is out of town and I don’t miss the beef. I’m sure you could sub in turkey or another meat, but I have never tried it myself. Mama's Many Bean ChiliOh, isn’t the little chile bowl cute? A Christmas gift from the daughter :)

Mama’s Many Bean Chili

Serves 6-8
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 4 hours
Total time 4 hours, 15 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Crock-pot, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party, Super Bowl
This chili is a perfect cold weather or game day meal for a crowd. Spice it up as much as you dare and use any combo of beans you like!


  • 1 1/2 lb lean ground beef (omit if you prefer a vegetarian version)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped (any color - I used green this time)
  • 1/2 jalapenio, finely chopped (use more or less to taste)
  • 1 packet chili seasoning
  • 3-5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can chili beans - do not drain
  • 1 can yellow hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained (or two ears fresh corn)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (or 3 cups fresh diced tomatoes + 1/2 cup diced green chiles)
  • 1 can V8 Spicy Hot
  • 1 can diced green chiles (or chopped preserved Hatch green chiles)


Step 1 Mama's Many Bean Chili
Season ground beef with a couple of spoons full of the chili seasoning, then brown it with the onions in a medium skillet. Drain excess fat when cooked through and place ground beef and onions in the crock-pot.
Step 2 Mama's Many Bean Chili
Add the remaining ingredients to the crock-pot and stir until well combined.
Step 3 Mama's Many Bean Chili
Set temp to high for the first hour, then turn down to low for at least another hour, but it will be much better if you allow it to cook on low for about three hours.


This recipe turns out a little different each time I make it. I like to try different combos of peppers and spice. I have used chipotle in adobo and I have used Rotel spicy sauce in place of the V-8 juice. I like to use fresh corn, if possible, and different colors of onions are nice. The possibilities are endless.

I would love to hear what unique ingredients my readers like to add to their chili - comment below:

One Comment

  1. This post is so help to me! Thanks for share.