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Kid Friendly High Protein Chili

This recipe goes out to all my fellow minimal home cooks that don’t always feel like chopping vegetables. That’s right, this high protein chili requires no onion, garlic, or peppers, making it both easy and picky eater approved. Everything goes in a pot and you’re left with a delicious beaucoup of chili about 30 minutes later.

Every big ol’ serving is packed with 25 grams of protein, 8 grams of filling fiber, and just 235 calories. It’s perfect for meal prep, and I’ve included some recipe options for things like chili baked potatoes, loaded tots, and more!

High Protein Chili Recipe Walkthrough

It’s an easy recipe, but I’ll walk you through each step with photos below and give a few extra tips and tricks. If you’d like the skip down to the recipe card, there’s a jump to recipe button at the top of this post. You can always bounce back here if you need some help.

Make Homemade Chili Seasoning

Being a kid friendly chili and a recipe for minimal cooks means no fresh veggies, so a homemade chili seasoning is vital for replacing all the flavor you traditionally get from ingredients like onion and garlic.

Here’s everything you’ll need to make your own chili seasoning:

  • chili powder
  • smoked paprika
  • dried oregano
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • ground coriander (optional)

You may see salt hanging around in the photo above, but I prefer to leave it out of chili seasoning to add at the end of cooking. Since different chili powders and beans may have different amounts of salt in them, it’s better to add as needed than over salt the chili.

Side note: If you have the time, make your own chili powder. It’s the bomb dot com.

How spicy is this high protein chili?

I used McCormick chili powder. Not every chili powder is created equally when it comes to the Scoville scale. It’d be impossible for us to compare every chili powder out there to know spice levels so just remember—adding acid from things like lime or fat free Greek yogurt help reduce the heat in a overly spicy dish.

On the flip side, if you like spicy chili, you’ll probably want to add some extra cayenne pepper or an even spicier dried chili powder for some extra heat.

Brown and fully cook two pounds of ground beef.

browning ground beef in the ninja foodi

And I do mean brown the ground beef. If you’ve tried any of my healthy ground beef recipes, you know how passionate I am about browning ground beef. Let that meat get some color on it before mincing to finish cooking!

If you wanted to add fresh veggies like diced peppers or onion, do it after this step. Check out my Instant Pot Turkey Chili for an example.

Add the chili seasoning, tomato paste, and balsamic vinegar.

adding tomato paste to cooked ground beef

The balsamic vinegar, in combination with the tomato paste, provides some sweetness and tanginess that goes perfectly with the chili seasoning. If you don’t have balsamic vinegar on hand, another vinegar will get the job done. Or you could also try something like Worcestershire sauce or even a bit of hot sauce if you like a spicy chili. Think acidic and flavorful here.

Add black beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans, and beef broth to the ground beef. 

black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, and chicken broth added to the seasoned ground beef

Feel free to any combination of beans in your high protein chili. You can’t go wrong here.

I mention in the recipe card that you can use more/less broth to get the chili to your desired consistency. The chili will thicken some once fully cooked so if it’s too thick for your liking with the two cups of broth, add an extra. You can always simmer a bit longer to thicken at the end.

Bonus ingredient note: If you’re not concerned about making kid friendly chili or appeasing picky eaters, you can always pack in some extra veggies at this step. Check out my high protein taco soup for an example of working broccoli and cauliflower into a dish you wouldn’t otherwise expect to have so many veggies.

Pressure Cooker Chili vs Stovetop Chili

high protein chili in a bowl with shredded cheddar cheese, scallions, and baked tortilla scoops

I used a 6.5-quart Ninja Foodi to make pressure cooker chili, but a large pot over medium-high heat will get the job done just fine. By the time the pressure cooker comes up to pressure, the cook time between both methods is about the same. I do find, however, pressure cooking makes faster work of developing all the flavors.

Serving Your High Protein Chili

chili baked potato with cheddar cheese and scallions

It’s never a bad idea to keep things simple. Take a minute to shred some fresh sharp cheddar, chop a little green onion, and serve with corn chips or baked tortilla chips for an easy approach to serving.

Though if you wanted to have some fun, you could stuff your high protein chili into something like my air fryer baked potatoes or leftover chili stuffed peppers. Or check out my easy turkey chili for tips on making homemade baked tortilla chips, chili cheese burritos, and chili mac.

However you end up serving your beef and bean chili, I’d love to hear about it. Let me know what you come up with or what you think about the recipe in the comments at the bottom of the post. I hope you enjoy!

Kid Friendly High Protein Chili

Kid Friendly High Protein Chili

Yield: 10 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

A mild, veggie-free chili with 25g of protein, 8g of fiber, and 235 calories per serving.


  • 2 lbs Ground Beef (96/4)
  • 3 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 6 oz can Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tbsp (30g) Balsamic Vinegar*
  • 15 oz can Black Beans
  • 15 oz can Pinto Beans
  • 15 oz can Kidney Beans
  • 2 C Beef Broth**


  1. In a large pot or pressure cooker, brown the ground beef on both sides before crumbling and cooking completely.
  2. Add the dry spices, tomato paste, and balsamic vinegar to the beef, stirring everything together before adding the beans (undrained) and broth.
  3. For pressure cooking, seal and cook with high pressure for 15 minutes. For stovetop, bring everything to a boil before reducing the heat to low and simmering, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with shredded cheddar, scallions or cilantro, Greek yogurt, and corn or tortilla chips.


*Another vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, or even hot sauce would work as substitutes.

**You can add more/less broth depending on how thick you like your chili.

Each serving of chili has 3 WW SmartPoints (blue).

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Servings Serving Size: 9 oz (about 1 cup)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 235Total Fat: 4gCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 8gProtein: 25g

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Heather Cantor

Monday 29th of November 2021

I tried this recipe a few weeks back and my husband loved it! He actually thought it was gourmet catering because it's SO incredibly good! This one is perfect for taking a dish for a potluck, gathering, or tailgating!!


Tuesday 5th of October 2021

Making this for the 10th time right now. Thought it was time I mentioned how much we love it. We eat it in bowls, on potatoes and fries, on hot dogs, even on eggs! It’s DELISH. Thank you!

Mason Woodruff

Tuesday 5th of October 2021

I hear cinnamon rolls are a must-try for leftover chili. Maybe you'll be our guinea pig?

Mary Rindal

Wednesday 14th of April 2021

This is my go to Chili recipe, and not because it’s kid friendly. This is a misnomer, this is the Perfect Chili. Easy to assemble, great spice flavor, good bowl of chili. Add your accoutrements and extra heat if wanted and this is a quick, satisfying fall meal.


Friday 12th of February 2021

Loved this recipe. Simple and to the point. Perfect for this cold weather. My new go to chili recipe.

Jennifer Fabre

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

I just made this for lunch today. It’s so good! My 6, 8, and 11 year old love it too! Thanks for posting this recipe.

Mason Woodruff

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

Thanks for putting it to good use. Glad you and the kiddos enjoyed it!

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