BaratAko’s Favorite Red Bean Chili Recipe

Red Bean Chili Spoon Featured Image

As I write this, it’s starting to rain. Summer is almost over but not quite yet.

Chili is one of those dishes that people usually associate with summer, but I find that I like it better eating it in cold weather. The steaming bowl of flavorful beans and beef just warms my soul when it’s pouring outside.

I think this Red Bean Chili is just perfect for the incoming rainy weather!


I’ve made chili many times, but this variation has become my favorite, go-to recipe. I tried cooking the chili in a slow cooker, but even after 12 hours of slow cooking, the beans just don’t become soft enough to my liking.

I don’t like the beans still crunchy. Having grown up on canned pork and beans, I prefer the texture of pressure-cooked beans 

I also used the ground beef from S&R which I bought on promo! I’m always happy to take advantage of promos and cook what’s on sale.

SnR Lean Ground Round Beef Promo


  • 400 grams dried red kidney beans

For the ground beef:

  • 500 grams of ground beef (I just used about 1/3 of my tray of ground beef from S&R)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp of minced garlic
  • salt, about 1 tsp
  • pepper, several generous dashes

For the tomato sauce:

  • 150 g pack of tomato paste
  • 3-5 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 5 to 8 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp of minced garlic
  • your hot sauce of choice (I just used up some hot sauce packets)
  • salt & pepper

Optional, for garnish:

  • grated cheese
  • sour cream
  • wansoy leaves (also known as coriander / cilantro)

The recipe is not that complicated, but you have to plan ahead. The first thing is to soak the beans the day before, preferably for around 24 hours.

Here I’ve soaked 400 grams of dried red beans in A LOT of water. The beans will absorb the water and triple in size after soaking. They will create some bubbles, but don’t worry about that. You can change the water if you want if it bubbles too much.

Soaked Red Beans

Rinse the soaked beans and put them in a pressure cooker with clean water about an inch higher than the beans. Do not add salt, they say it makes beans tough. Cook them in the pressure cooker for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, start the timer when the pressure cooker starts to hiss.

How to Use the Pressure Cooker – put the food inside with enough liquid, check that the rubber gasket ring on the pressure cooker lid is placed properly, close the lid, make sure it is locked in place, place the pressure regulator on the lid. The pressure regulator is that small, heavy thing that’s supposed to be placed on the stick thing on the lid. Leave it alone after you place it on the heat. After some time, you will start to hear it hiss (a bit of steam will come out). At this point, you can lower the heat slightly to save on gas, but make sure that it is still hot enough to maintain that hissing. Leave it alone for the allotted time. Once time is up, turn off the heat. DO NOT OPEN THE PRESSURE COOKER YET! It will explode if you do. Leave it alone again for about 10-20 minutes. Use tongs or heavy gloves, try to lift the pressure regulator off the lid and see if some steam is still escaping. Wait until there is no more steam or hissing. That’s the only time it is safe to open the pressure cooker.

Soaked Red Beans In Pressure Cooker

Red beans ready to be pressure cooked!

While the beans are cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Start cooking when the red beans are ready.

Saute onions and garlic in a little olive oil. There’s no need to use a lot of oil, the ground beef will release its own oils as well. Use medium heat.

Saute Onions Garlic

Add the ground beef, season with salt and pepper.

Saute Ground Beef

Saute Ground Beef Half Cooked

This is what the red beans should look like when cooked:

Cooked Red Beans

Add the cooked red beans to the beef, add just enough of the bean liquid as you like. I just added everything. Add the tomato paste.

Adding Tomato Paste to Red Bean Chili

Add the spices:

Spices Cumin Coriander Chili Powder

I ended up using all of the chili powder (around 3 Tbsp), about half of the cumin (around 3-4 Tbsp), and about a tablespoon of the coriander powder. I also used up all of the oregano (about 1/2 – 1 tsp) and 1/2 tsp of thyme. You can totally adjust the seasoning to suit what you like.

Spices Cumin Coriander Chili Powder Oregano Thyme

If you don’t have coriander powder, that’s totally fine. It’s not easily available. I bought mine at the Indian mini mart along UN Avenue near Otis.

Adding Spices

Add some salt, be generous with the salt. Remember that you did not salt the beans, and you need to add enough salt to flavor them. Start by adding one heaping tablespoon of sea salt, mix, taste, and see if it needs some more salt. Keep adding a little more salt until you reach the saltiness level you are happy with. Add some black pepper to taste, as well.

I also added several heaping tablespoons of brown sugar. Start by adding 3 tablespoons, mix, taste, and see if you want it a bit sweeter. I ended up using about 8 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar.

Add some hot sauce, as much as you like! I’m just using up these hot sauce packets we have from takeouts.

Hot Sauce Packets

Add 1 Tbsp of minced garlic. I have this container of garlic that I already pre-minced on the food processor last week. I just added a little oil to it so the garlic won’t dry out, and keep it in the refrigerator. This is a real time-saver for me because I have minced garlic available all the time! No need to spend time peeling and chopping garlic for every dish!

Minced Garlic

Adding Minced Garlic to Red Bean Chili

Mix everything, taste. When you’re happy with the red bean chili and it smells tempting, turn off the heat, you’re done!

Plate and serve:

Red Bean Chili

This red bean chili is delicious and heartwarming. The beans are soft but not mushy. The sauce is like a hug of comfort. Perfect for a cold, rainy day!

Red Bean Chili Spoon

Since this was a big batch, I kept some of the chili in a freezer-proof container so we can have instant chili next week! Just heat and serve. 

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!

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3 thoughts on “BaratAko’s Favorite Red Bean Chili Recipe

  1. Ally

    My mom taught me to pre-soak the beans in salted water for 30mins to an hour. This makes the beans cook faster. No need for pressure cookers. I’ve been using this technique for mongo and red/white beans


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