Whole Tomato Chili with Beans

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yummy chili

Homemade Chili With Whole Tomatoes

Chili can be made several ways.  In the Midwest, we make it with beans.  Down in Texas, they are no beans.  And the variations are endless on what you put in it. 

Because we can a lot of tomatoes, I grabbed a can of whole tomatoes and made this whole tomato chili.  Love turkey, you could make a turkey chili with this instead.

sautéed onion

What Is Michigan Style Chili?

Michigan chili is made with your choice of meat (beef, turkey, venison) along with onions, spices, chili peppers or green peppers.  Don’t forget to add the kidney beans, chili peppers and tomato juice and stewed or whole tomatoes.

add ground beef and cook

Do You Put Beans In Your Chili Recipe?

Call it a Midwest or a Michigan thing, I have always put kidney beans in my homemade chili. If you don’t have a lot of meat to put into your chili, adding beans is another protein and a great way to stretch your recipe to feed more people.

cook kidney beans on medium high heat
best chili with best flavor with chili powder

Do I Have To Peel My Tomatoes For Chili?

It is a personal preference if you peel or don’t peel your tomatoes. I would recommend that you use fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes that you like to eat. They need to be ripe tomatoes that are not green or that taste will be transferred into the tomato sauce as you let the chili simmer.

chopped tomatoes to cook and reduce down

Can You Make Chili With Whole Tomatoes?

The tomatoes doesn’t stay whole in the chili, they are slowly chopped down and made smaller and incorporated into the chili. As the chili is cooking, we chop them until they are small and in bite size pieces.

chopping tomatoes

Can You Use Fresh Tomatoes In The Chili Recipe?

You can definitely use fresh tomatoes in your chili. Fresh tomatoes may need to cook longer to reduce down into your chili. You can simmer uncovered, but if they bubble to much, turn down the heat or cover.

delicious beef chili with more spice

What Toppings Do You Serve With Your Chili?

We serve crackers (saltine, Ritz, oyster, cheese crackers). Fresh cheddar cheese is a preference, but the bagged cheddar cheese (sharp, medium and fine are all great). Serve with freshly chopped onions, jalapeno slices, hot sauce or green chilis. If you want to counter the heat, add some sugar to your chili.

What Spices Do You Put In Chili?

We Use chili powder, onions (sometimes dried minced) and if you love garlic, add some garlic.

whole bowl chili
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Whole Tomato Chili

Whether it's Fall or any other time of year, get chili on the menu. Make this whole tomato chili from your own canned tomatoes.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Regina Sober


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Chili powder (to your taste)
  • 1 quart whole tomatoes
  • 1 pint tomato juice


  • In a large pan, add olive oil and sauté onions on medium heat.
  • Once onions starts to get translucent, add ground beef.
  • Cook ground beef until brown, making sure it breaks down into small pieces.
  • Once the beef is browned add a little chili powder to cook into the meat.
  • Add the kidney beans (undrained) and can of chili beans.
  • Mix together and allow to start to cook.
  • Add the whole tomatoes and break them down a bit, allowing to cook down.
  • Add the tomato juice and break down the tomatoes some more.
  • Allow the chili to cook for a few minutes on low heat and every few minutes work to break down the tomatoes until they are in bite size pieces.
  • Add the remaining chili sauce.
  • Taste the chili and add more chili powder to your taste, keeping in mind as the chili sits overnight, it will develop more flavor and heat.
  • Allow the chili to cook until the tomatoes are cooked thoroughly (if they were not canned).
  • Once the chili is hot, you can serve with your favorite toppings.


YouTube video
Whether it's Fall or any other time of year, get chili on the menu. Make this whole tomato chili from your own canned tomatoes.

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