Home » mains » (The Absolute Best!) Keto Chili 🌶️

(The Absolute Best!) Keto Chili 🌶️

Truly heartwarming and with a couple ‘top secret’ famly tips, this keto chili is bound to have you swooning! Oh, and there’s no skipping the ‘cornbread‘!

Bowl of keto chili with cornbread and toppings
The Best Paleo & Keto Chili (with cornbread!!)

Paleo & Keto Chili

The Absolute Best!!

There are numerous (endless?!) ways to tackle chili, starting with the meat. Be it chicken or beef, ground or Texas-style chunks. Hey, you can even make it vegan with just veggies! And, of course, the spices used (and amounts) vary widely to taste.

Real chili purists will advocate for a chili with little tomato and no beans. As in… naturally keto!

And this recipe is a mix of just that. A traditional chili recipe sans beans, mixed with a friend’s sweet grandma’s recipe (a real crowd pleaser). The story goes that no one has ever left the table without going for seconds on this one… and I can definitely attest to that!

Her trick is to lightly caramelize the onions before adding in the beef for a big flavor boost, allowing each ingredient to cook fully before adding in the next. Plus! Her additions of a touch of beer and coffee truly are marvelous. Enjoy!

Closeup pale chili without beans
The Best Paleo & Keto Chili (with cornbread!!)

The Method

You ought to be browning each ingredient fully before adding in the next one. It might seem excessive even, but every great slow cooking meat dish has this in common. Be it American chili, Italian ragù, Mexican mole or French bourguignon.

So repeat after me: browning is truly essential!

Seconded only by the longest possible cooking time. I think 3 hours is good enough if you’re in a pickle, but if you can stretch it to 5 or 6 (or even 8!) you’re golden. Just keep adding 1/4 cup stock or water as needed.

The Spices

Chili spices can vary a lot in taste (and preference!). Buying a ready-made chili powder mix is a good place to start.

But do feel free to play around with the individual spices to your liking (think chili, oregano, cumin, coriander, paprika, chipotle… you could even add some chili ancho!).

One last trick

Make your chili the day before, because second-day chili is always best! Or at the very least make a double batch, because you seriously will want to try second-day chili.

Ah, and don’t forget the keto ‘cornbread’!

Gluten Free & Keto Cornbread Style Quickbread
Gluten Free & Keto Cornbread Style Quickbread
Taking a spoonful of keto chili
The Best Paleo & Keto Chili (with cornbread!!)

And… to pair it with!

My low carb cornbread muffins (with actual cornmeal!)

Bowl of keto chili with with toppings

(The Absolute Best!) Keto Chili

Truly heartwarming and with a couple 'top secret' famly tips, this keto chili is bound to have you swooning! Oh, and there's no skipping the 'cornbread'!
4.91 from 31 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Course Main, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 251 kcal


Serving suggestions


  • Heat up olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium/high heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook until it just begins to brown (about 8 minutes). 
  • Lower heat to medium, add ground beef, cloves and a large pinch of salt. Cook until it begins to brown, stirring every so often (5 to 7 minutes). Add in all the spices and cook for a couple more minutes until fragrant. Some peeps enjoy their chili spicier, others strong on cumin, etc... so feel free to adjust the spices slowly as the chili cooks (the fun part!). 
  • Add tomatoes and continue to cook over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Lower the heat to low and continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring every so often.
  • Add in the beef broth, beer (optional) and coffee (optional). Continue to cook for 3 to 8 hours. Adding 1/4 cup water (or broth) at a time, as needed. Remember that the longer you cook it, the more flavor it gets! 
  • Allow your chili to rest for 10 minutes prior to serving with your favorite toppings.


*Chili spices can vary a lot in taste (and preference!). Buying a ready-made chili powder mix is a good place to start. But do feel free to play around with the individual spices to your liking (think chili, oregano, cumin, coriander, paprika, chipotle... you could even add some chili ancho!).
**Adding in some (gluten free, low carb) beer and coffee add a bunch of flavor. But totally optional, and your chili will still be magnificent without them! 
Please note that nutrition facts were estimated per serving (assuming a yield of 6). 


Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 338mg | Potassium: 474mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1090IU | Vitamin C: 8.1mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 3.3mg
Keyword keto chili, paleo chili
Whip up this recipe?Comment below or drop me a line @gnomgnom._ and tag #gnomgnomyum!


  1. Ginger says:

    THE best chili I’ve ever eaten and I have spent 60 years trying to find a chili this good! Full of sophisticated and complex flavors… truly wonderful! Thank you so much, Paola!!

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      Absolutely Deb! *But* I’ve used my Instant Pot and used the sautée function for the browning of the ingredients (and then its perfect to just set on low for 3-6 hours0. That’s the only thing that I’m a bit hesitant of just dumping everything in the crockpot (been there, done that!)- that you do miss out on some of the flavor that you get from the browning. xo!!

  2. Jessica says:

    4 stars
    This was pretty good! Next time I think I will add a touch more salt. The coffee was a nice, subtle, touch. I didn’t have whole cloves, so instead I added a few pinches of chinese 5 spice, which surprisingly worked out well!

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      Oh seasoning is definitely one of the most important steps in dishes such as chili Jessica (or butter chicken etc)! Clearly I should stress this more…!

      Unfortunately it isn’t something that I can give you an exact amount for as salt is also the ingredient that varies most from style to style (and even brand to brand!). My suggestion is that you season a bit throughout as you add the ingredients, and then taste as you go and add it slowly over the last hour of cooking, that way you can ensure its seasoned to your liking. I personally do a mixture of kosher salt and flaky sea salt… but most importantly, get to know *your* salts and with time you’ll become a master at it! 🙂

  3. Kate says:

    Sorry are you talking about cloves as in the spice? So add two whole cloves? Do you remove the cloves at any point? I’ve just bitten into one in the past and I definitely don’t want to do that again!

      • Mary Lee says:

        Actually, it also says add 4 cloves too, so I’m with the original questioner. I do not want to bite into a whole clove. Can we sub ground cloves?

        • Paola van der Hulst says:

          Hi guys! It is actual cloves (the spice!), as it adds lively sweet notes. I find them fairly easy to spot during the final round of seasoning… but to be sure you can always pop them in (tea bags so they ‘steep’ into the chili for a bit. Xo!

  4. Claudia says:

    Very good- Every body love it.

    TKS Paola

    At your section The Spices.. when we click on the link to see the ready- made chili spice.. a bottle of oregano appear.. iThink there’s a problem with your link

    Chili spices can vary a lot in taste (and preference!). Buying a ready-made chili powder mix is a good place to start.

  5. Anna says:

    5 stars
    I also added a small amount of black soy beans that I cooked in my Instapot. This recipe and the cornbread are amazing. I am another person with Type 2 diabetes that could not get my A1C down with medication. This website helped so much! By eating low carb my numbers are way down. Thank you for the amazing recipes, this will be my go to site for low carb delicious recipes.

    • Cheryl says:

      5 stars
      I agree with the addition of black soy beans to the chili. I’ve made this and the addition of the beans did not raise my blood glucose significantly. Eden Organic Foods have a canned Black soybeans that are only 8g of carbs per 1/2 cup (7g fibre). It is important to note that they are not the same as other black beans.

  6. Erica B says:

    I don’t think I can accurately rate the recipe because of my tweaks, but thank you for helping me make one of the most flavorful chilies I’ve ever prepared.

    My adjustments: a mix of finely minced chuck roast with some fine-ground beef; canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes and Ro-Tel tomatoes+green chilies; coffee, but no beer; and no cloves, cumin, or chipotle powder, but chili powder, coriander, garlic powder, and a good amount of authentic Hungarian paprika, which contributed an incredible mild pepper flavor. (Side note: no joke here, grocery store paprika can’t begin to compare to imported authentic Hungarian Kalocsai or Szegedi paprika. HIGHLY recommended, it’s worth a few extra dollars. Don’t let it brown when you add it; it turns bitter.)

    So I put everything together and let it simmer a few hours…delicious! We had gnom-gnom tortillas alongside it, which were also great. Pretty sure I’ll make my chili this way in the future. Thanks so much, Paola!

  7. Kim H says:

    5 stars
    This is my family’s favorite chili and probably my 6 year old’s favorite meal of all. We make it at least once every 2 weeks. We are no longer aiming for keto at this point but we still eat this and add a chopped bell pepper and a can of roasted tomatoes. The kids like chili mac so they eat theirs on pasta with shredded cheddar. The 3 magic ingredients are cloves, coffee and beer. I would have never thought to add cloves or coffee to chili ever… but I am hooked!

  8. Alexa says:

    5 stars
    Made a triple batch of this like the recipe (except no beer because I didn’t have any) and it was delicious! I have previously been unsuccessful in finding a good beanless chili recipe, but the texture of this chili was as amazing as the taste. It’s also so protein-rich that about 3/4 cup filled me up with no toppings. To simmer: I did about 3 hours uncovered until it was the consistency I wanted, then did another hour or so covered. I would have done the remainder of the full 8 hours uncovered, had I not started it later in the evening. P.S. I ended up adding in a little Marmite at the end for that umami boost.

  9. Pam says:

    I followed the recipe exactly and it was so yummy! Everyone loved this served over Keto cornbread. We will definitely be making this again soon!

  10. Ann B says:

    Good heavens! Best keto chili ever! I added 1 bottle of beer and the espresso is a MUST! It made all the flavor of the spices so rich and bright, it was like an explosion of colors and sensations in my mouth (remember the Disney cartoon movie Ratatouille? Same thing!) I also added about 3/4 of organic heavy cream to my chili to make it thicker and richer. I also added a small can of green chilies, 3 chopped up celery stalks and a chopped up medium size purple onion and I was adventurous and did 5 fat cloves of garlic! Oh, and I did not make it in a slow cooker, I did it over a regular pot and it took me about an hour or so 😉

  11. Marijane says:

    5 stars
    I am currently cooking my 4th batch of this chili. I made one batch for a taste test to see if it was “suitable” to take to my Hand & Foot card group. It was great so I made another batch the next day to add to it. The ladies that weren’t spice sensitive liked it. I went light on the spices for the first batch, but used Rotel tomatoes with chilies in the second batch. I didn’t think it too spicy and I am not a “hot” person. Adding shredded cheese and sour cream made it perfect for me. Anyway, hubby wouldn’t try it that time or the next time I made it because it was “keto”, to him meaning weird ingredients. I convinced him to finally try it last week and he agreed it was pretty good. So, I’m doubling the recipe with the hopes of having enough to freeze for my next chili craving! Great recipe, Paola!

  12. Stephanie says:

    Mine is simmering on the stove top right now! Smells so good, and I hope I can wait 8 hours to try it! 😉 Question: do you simmer lid on or lid off? I’m thinking if the lid is off, all the liquid will evaporate. But I didn’t see it specified in the instructions? Thanks!!

  13. Jamie says:

    I made a quadruple pot because we have three teenagers ;). It’s amazing as usual!! The weather hasn’t he ethnically cooled off enough for chili but the coffee/beer mixture was too intriguing to wait any lomgdr. Thank you Paola!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Karen, it looks like the nutrition facts on just the cornbread alone (on its separate recipe page) is 230 calories, so I’m thinking the 250 on this one is just for the chili, even though it *says* with cornbread.

  14. Judy Morin says:

    Could I move the cooked mixture to a crockpot and let it cook there for the 3 to 8 hours? Since I don’t spend my life in the kitchen (the sewing room is my “happy place”), I would prefer to be able to leave it unattended for that time.

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      Sure thing!! I would still suggest checking it midway though in case you need to add a little extra liquid (because the recipe isn’t designed specifically for the crock pot xo!

    • Nina Saville says:

      Very strong for me. I added another 500grams of meat and some tomato paste plus more water.
      Delicious. But your bread is the best I’ve ever tasted.

  15. Cheryl says:

    5 stars
    My non-low carbers loved this. A few changes…. Made with turkey, added tomatoe paste, red & yellow pepper and some beef seasoning. Left out the Chipotle seasoning, didn’t have any. Also left out beer and coffee.

  16. Cheryl says:

    5 stars
    My non-low carbers loved this. A few changes…. Made with turkey, added tomatoe paste, red & yellow pepper and some beef seasoning. Left out the Chipotle seasoning, didn’t have any. Delicious!!!!!

  17. Lisa says:

    4 stars
    Made my first batch yesterday and I’m currently waiting with great anticipation for my Gnom-Gnom “cornbread” to cool completely. I’ve been taste testing 😉 the chili all day. It’s a wonder there’s any left. Good thing I followed the advice of many commenters and made a double batch right out the gate. TBH, I’m more excited about having some tomorrow when it hits its chili peak of perfection 😋

    In the meantime, I’ve got some tips to share with anyone thinking of making this chili in a slow cooker. Long, slow simmering in a crock pot dulls seasoning drastically. It was late when I started my chili, so I did not have the time to slow simmer on the stove top for 8 hrs. I followed the recipe up to the point of adding the seasonings and cooking them a bit. After that, I transferred everything to my slow cooker. I awoke to some delicious aromas this morning, but when I tasted the chili it was completely flat, one note and greasy. That was not Gnom-Gnom flavor. I set about doctoring the dish back to life. I skimmed off almost a cup of fat from the 80/20 ground beef I used. I strongly advise using leaner meat when going the slow cooker route. I then added about a tsp of all the spices back to the chili along with coriander as mentioned in the description. I used a tsp of instant coffee this time for convenience. It needed some acidity that had been cooked out, so I added a couple splashes of balsamic vinegar. For sweetness and depth, about 3/4 tsp molasses, a squeeze of my homemade keto steak sauce, and a few drops of liquid sweetner. It was finally back to life, but I was REALLY missing the beans. Sorry (not sorry) to you chili purists. I added a 1-15 oz can of black soybeans (1 net carb per 1/2c) to this double batch of chili and that was plenty to satisfy. After all that, it tastes very good… now. Appreciating Paola’s secret ingredients now that I can taste them.

    That was my word of caution to anyone thinking they might want to do this in the Crock-Pot. It kills all that effort you make building flavor from sauteing. Next time, I’ll just get started earlier in the day and make it as instructed so I get the full Gnom-Gnom experience of the recipe.

    • Lisa says:

      What a difference a day makes 🙂 Tastes so much richer the next day. Unless I’m imagining things, I think the texture even improved. It’s a winner!

  18. Margie says:

    Hmmm…Im not sure I have any chipotle powder, but I’ve got some chilis in adobo. I may substitute and see what I get!

  19. Dominique Lynch says:

    When I input this recipe into my carb manager it says its 7 net carbs and thats after I took the beer and cornbread off.

  20. Lynn says:

    Hello, I was just wondering if you had a chili powder mix you liked. The link you have goes to Oregano on Amazon, and I’ve never made chili before, so I’d appreciate knowing a good brand to try. Thank you!

    • Laura T. says:

      I use Frontier Co-op brand of chili powder. It is the best I have ever eaten. I never have to add more spices, except possibly cayenne if you want a LOT of heat. I just up my quantity of chili powder until it tastes good to me. I usually buy it in bulk, by the pound, at Vitacost online, or sometimes at a local health food store that carries the brand.

      • Shaay Gallagher-Starr says:

        I love the Frontier chili powders – I mix them up! They make a mild, regular, spicy, and adobo chili (at least!) I start with lots of the mild one to build flavor without heat, layer in the adobo, then add the dark, spicy one last for the heat I want.

      • Ana says:

        5 stars
        Laura, what is the “Organic Rice Concentrate” ingredient used in Frontier Co-Op chilli? Being keto rice anything as an ingredient automatically raises the eyebrow. Thank You

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