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Best Classic Low Sodium Chili Recipe

This Low Sodium Chili recipe can be easily made in an hour for a weeknight meal. Though I like to do mine on the weekend and let it simmer longer to really develop its flavor. But don’t let that stop you. It really is so easy to make, just brown the beef while gathering the other ingredients, the only thing to chop is some onion and green pepper. Then mix it all together and your hands on time should be done in less time than it takes to brown the beef.

Sodium per serving for this recipe94 mg
Typical sodium amount per serving 400-1000+ mg
Calories per serving261

If you buy chili mix in a packet and follow the recipe on the back, sodium levels can be easily 400+ mg by the time you add the other ingredients. I’ve seen homemade recipes hit as high as 1300 mg per serving, probably the range I used to be in before I changed to a low sodium diet. With this recipe you see significant savings down to 94 mg per serving. Most of the savings comes from not using salt as a spice obviously, but also using no salt added canned products easily found at the store. All the convenience but minimal sodium!

Chili chives sour cream and cheese
Chili chives sour cream and cheese

WHEN MAKING CHILI GO LARGE

This recipe makes a pretty good size pot of chili. Making chili is an event for me and it’s inevitable that people come over when they find out I’m making it. The size of this recipe is based on the amount of ground beef that’s used. But I love chili, and when I make it, I splurge on it for several meals. Then I portion out what is left and freeze it for those spur of the moment meals that always seem to pop up when you don’t have time. So you can still maintain awesome low sodium belly filling meal. You can always use this recipe and scale down.

SPICES RULE FOR LOW SODIUM CHILI

When making chili, spices rule and salt not being present really makes very little difference. Spices are what makes good chili develop that complex mouthwatering flavor. There are four spices that are essential to make a chili pot with: chili powder, cumin, garlic and paprika. So make sure you have plenty on hand, other spices you can always mix and match and experiment. (Within reason, haha!)

Hot chili for a winter day
Hot chili for a winter day

WHAT TYPE OF MEAT TO USE WITH LOW SODIUM CHILI?

Ground beef isn’t the only meat you can use. It can be replaced with steak bits or even ground pork. If you want to eat less beef, ground turkey or chicken will work with this hearty recipe also.

BEAN OR NO BEAN CHILI?

I like beans so this has lots of big dark red kidney beans. It is not Texas chili, where they adamantly say chili has no place for beans. I use dark red kidney beans as I think they give the best flavor. But you could use any type of bean really, like: black beans, navy beans, pinto beans. I have been finding many more types of beans lately in the canned no salt added version, so use what is available to you or not.

Can of no salt added kidney beans
Can of no salt added kidney beans
Low sodium chili over spaghetti
Low sodium chili over spaghetti

WHAT TO TOP LOW SODIUM CHILI WITH?

In addition to just a plain bowl of chili, you will probably want to also add these things as toppings or to serve over. 

shredded cheese (lowest sodium)
sour cream
sliced green onions (chives) or regular
reduced or unsalted sodium oyster crackers
over spaghetti noodles
over a bed of lettuce

Low sodium chili over lettuce
Low sodium chili over lettuce

WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHILI

Easy Low Sodium Cornbread
Low Sodium Coleslaw

Best Classic Low Sodium Chili

The Best Classic Low Sodium Chili – This hearty chili recipe made with ground beef, lots of beans, onion and a simple homemade blend of chili seasoning.
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 18 cups
Calories 261kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 pound 90% lean ground beef or meat of choice
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 3 medium yellow onion -diced
  • 6 Tbs chili powder
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 Tbs dark brown sugar or white sugar
  • 6 Tbs tomato paste no salt added
  • 3 Tbs pre-minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 0.75 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp roasted cinnamon
  • 3.5 cups beef broth no salt added or water
  • 1 28 oz. can Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes no salt added
  • 3 15.5 oz. can red kidney beans no salt added
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes no salt added
  • 1 15 oz. can sweet corn no salt added
  • 1 10 oz. can Ro*Tel diced tomatoes and green chilies no salt added

Instructions

  • Add the olive oil to a large soup pot and preheat over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef to the pot. Allow to cook then start to break it apart to smaller bits. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the beef is mostly browned, stirring occasionally. Add onion, green pepper when beef is about 3/4 done and stir to mix.
  • Add the broth or water, and the remaining canned ingredients. Stir well.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, sugar, pre-minced garlic, smoked paprika, cinammon, pepper, and optional cayenne. Stir until well combined.
  • Bring the mix to a low boil for about 5 minutes. Then, reduce the heat (low to medium-low) to gently simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • To really let the flavor develop and make a far superior chili, let simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  • Let cool completely before storing in airtight containers in the fridge.

Notes

For more heat spiciness add more cayenne pepper a bit at time till desired level.
*For superior flavor simmer for a minimum of 2 hours!

Nutrition InformationThe information shown is provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be substituted for a doctors or nutritionist’s advice.

Spoonful of low sodium chili
Spoonful of low sodium chili

As always, please let me know how you like this recipe in the comments! I get motivated when I hear from you and am interested to learn about how you liked and served your Low Sodium Chili. And please leave a comment or rating and share any tips you might have.

4 thoughts on “Best Classic Low Sodium Chili Recipe”

  1. How do i cut this recipe down to make it for 4 – 6 servings?

    Reply
    • I think cutting everything down to a third of the listed quantities would be pretty close. Starting with 1 lb. Ground beef etc. For the tomatoes you could use a smaller can and just use one can of the beans. The spices would be the most important to cut and measure really. Chili as long as it’s close is hard to mess up!
      I hope to get a slider for the serving amount to change ingredient quantities automatically in the near future.

      Reply
  2. What is your serving equal to? 1 cup, 1/2 cup?

    Reply
    • Hi Cindy,
      Serving size is 1 cup. This recipe makes a pretty big pot of chili.
      Bill

      Reply

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