Spicy Chorizo and Pinto Bean Chili Recipe

A simple chorizo chili made with fresh chorizo and pinto beans, topped with flavor-packed ingredients. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Spicy, vinegary, and flavor-packed, this quick chili recipe relies on raw Mexican-style chorizo (you can make it yourself or buy it from a store), with a few simple flavor additions, a couple of cans of beans, and a quick simmer.

Why this recipe works:

  • Fresh Mexican chorizo is already packed with flavor, so you only have a bit of doctoring-up to do to make this into a chili that tastes like it cooked all day.
  • A dash of fish sauce may seem out of place in chili, but it's the ideal seasoning for adding meaty depth to your stew (and no, the chili won't taste like fish!).

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 1/2 pounds store-bought or homemade fresh raw Mexican chorizo, casings removed if necessary

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes packed in juice, roughly squeezed through fingers to crush

  • 2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Diced avocado, diced tomatoes, cilantro, sliced scallions, Mexican crema, lime wedges, and crumbled cotija cheese for serving (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or a potato masher, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. There should be about 3 tablespoons oil pooled in the edge of the pan when you tilt it; drain any excess oil if necessary.

  2. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add oregano, chili powder, and cumin, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, fish sauce, bay leaf, beans, and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a rich stew-like consistency, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper (you may not need any salt, depending on how salty your chorizo and chicken stock were). Discard the bay leaf.

  3. Serve immediately with diced avocado, diced tomatoes, cilantro, sliced scallions, Mexican crema, lime wedges, and crumbled cotija cheese on the side.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
578 Calories
39g Fat
29g Carbs
29g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 578
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 50%
Saturated Fat 13g 64%
Cholesterol 75mg 25%
Sodium 1728mg 75%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 40mg 199%
Calcium 108mg 8%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 968mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)