5-Bean Chili Soup

chili cheese and yogurt 2

Chili soup; same name, different ingredients.

There are as many different ways to make chili soup as there are potato salad.

Over the years, I’ve added and changed until I’ve got a method for chili soup madness  I usually make several gallons and put some in the freezer. When our kids were small, they didn’t like chili soup if it had kidney beans in it. So I used pinto beans. Then I gradually added kidney beans with the pinto beans. Over time, I kept adding beans. Depending on what I have on hand, it can change.  But the basic ingredients are the same.

chili ingredients

The beans about chili soup

You can buy the raw beans and soak them, or you can buy canned and use them straight from the can. You don’t need to use exact measurements. If the can you open is over or under by a few ounces, that’s okay. Just mix and match until it looks right to you. I use Great Northern, Pinto, Black, Navy, and Kidney Beans (both light and dark). If your family is not fond of one of these beans, leave it out or substitute something in its place.

The secret’s in the sauce.

Choose your tomato base. I use tomato juice because my mother did and  because my kids liked it better than canned tomatoes. Your tomato base is up to you. You can mix and match if you’d like, but be sure to add the liquid from your beans.

chili stirring spoon

The how to with chili soup – including leftovers

Fry your hamburger with onions if you’d like.  Then drain it to get rid of the fat and grease.  If you’re into time saving, you can fry it up ahead and have it ready for later. Go check out #2 of my post here.

If I happen to have a cup or two of my recipe for Sloppy Joe mixture or hamburger taco mixture in my refrigerator from a previous meal, I add that to the soup.  “Waste not, want not,” is what my mama used to say.

chili cooking

This recipe will make a gallon of chili soup. Serve it with some shredded cheese, sour cream (or yogurt), crackers, or this recipe for homemade cornbread. You can put the cornbread in your bowl and dip the soup on top, or just put some crumbs on the top. You choose.

Second time around

You know how they say chili soup is best heated up the next day?  You can get that taste the day you make it.  Simmer it for several hours, then turn the burner off and let it sit for two or three hours. The soup will settle down and thicken as it sits and the flavor will go right through the soup. About an hour before you’re ready to serve it, bring it back to simmer again. Go ahead, try it.

chili cheese yogurt and cornbread

Consider this also: we all have different preferences for the amount of spice we like (or that our tongues can handle).  My kids usually add more chili powder after they sample mine.  This recipe is safe because you can always add more chili powder!

The recipe

5-Bean Chili Soup

My Windowsill
Easy and nutritious, and just what you need on a damp, dreary, wintry day. Make a double batch and put some in the freezer for an easy meal a few weeks later.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Course soups
Cuisine American
Servings 1 gallon


  • 2 lb. hamburger fried and drained
  • 1/2 onion - fried with hamburger OR use minced onion
  • 20 oz. Great Northern Beans
  • 40 oz. Kidney Beans - dark and light
  • 16 oz. Black Beans
  • 16 oz. Navy Beans
  • 20 oz. Pinto Beans
  • 2- 4 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. minced onion - or onion powder - if you didn't fry onions with your hamburger
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. pepper
  • 1 quart tomato juice or canned tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup ketchup if you want some sugar and thickening
  • Sour Cream or Yogurt for garnish
  • Shredded cheese for garnish


  • Fry hamburger with onions; drain
  • In large kettle, add hamburger with all other ingredients
  • Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for 2-3 hours.
  • Keep stirring the soup so it doesn't stick onto the bottom of the kettle.
  • Turn burner off and let it sit for a few hours. This helps thicken the soap and put the flavor throughout.
  • Bring back to simmer about an hour before you are ready to serve

This is a winter-time soup, but it’s good for any rainy day as well.  I’m cleaning up my recipes from five years ago, and this is one of them. 🙂

pinterest 5 bean chili soup


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