Mom’s “Cheater” Chili

Delicious Cheater Chili
For as long as I can remember my mom has made this chili. It is my dad’s very favorite. We would have at least once a week in the Fall and always on Halloween night when I was growing up. This chili is my favorite to put over Navajo Tacos, chili dogs, and chili cheese fries. There isn’t much to it but I think that is what I like about it most!

Mom’s "Cheater" Chili

Save Recipe


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 15-16 oz. can chili (any brand works)
  • 1 15-16 can chili beans (do not drain)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. tomato juice (or to taste)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • shredded cheese
  • diced onions
  • sour cream


  • In a medium sized skillet, brown ground beef until done. Drain excess liquid and add onion. Cook until onion becomes soft and transparent. Put meat/onion mixture in slow cooker* along with remaining ingredients and cook on low for at least 2-3 hours. Top with cheese, onions, and/or sour cream.
  • If you don't have a slow cooker, you can just bring to a simmer and cook on low-heat until ready to serve.


  1. Amber says:

    This would be PERFECT over fries… will def have to make it this week for my guy 🙂

  2. Andrea says:

    this looks great. I'm going to give it a try. thanks for sharing.

  3. Sara says:

    I am going to taste it now! It smells very well!!! thank for your recipes!

  4. Quirky Jessi says:

    That's pretty similar to the kind of chili I grew up on. Now I love making mine from scratch, but the cheater version is still yummy.

  5. lisa spell says:

    on the recipe for moms cheater chili , are there cans of just chili beans at the store or do i buy red kidney beans ? kinda confused on that. i have never seen just chili beans at the store without the actual chili already in it . or can i buy the chili with the beans already in it to make this recipe?
    would love to make this . please help… thanks

    • Erica says:

      They are actual cans of chili… just your favorite canned chili. Hope this helps!

    • Mandy says:

      There are cans of just chil beans………they are in the same area of the canned pinto beans, kidney, etc……

  6. Barbara says:

    I just prepared this for dinner to make your Navajo Tacos. I usually make my chili from scratch, but this was a pretty good substitute — I added about 1/2 T. Chili powder and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. The Navajo Tacos were a huge hit! All my college kids are home and I was looking for some recipes that wouldn’t kill the grocery budget. I made your fried bread recipe, too, and there was enough dough for the tacos and elephant ears for dessert. Everyone was very happy. Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. Charissa says:

    This looks so yummy! But how many does it serve? Thanks! =)

    • Echo says:

      This recipe makes 6 servings, approximately 1 1/2 cups per serving. Thanks for asking!

      • Charissa says:

        Thank you! =)

      • Charissa says:

        Oh and what size can of diced tomatoes??

  8. Jonathan says:

    Can I use pasta sauce instead of tomato juice? Thanks!

    • Echo says:

      Yes, it will give it a different taste and make it a little thicker, but if that’s what you prefer – go for it!

      • Jonathan says:

        Thank you! =)

  9. Wendy Allen says:

    I substitute beef for can of red lentils for a vegetarian version

  10. Susan says:

    What size cans of tomatoes, & what’s the size cans on the chili beans?
    Thanks 🙂

    • Erica says:

      They are all the 15 oz (give or take a few oz. depending on the brand) cans. Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *