Lamb Chili

Lamb Chili

I almost called this the best lamb chili ever, but I don’t really like superlative titles like that, even though it very well might be. So I settled on the humble name like I usually do with my recipes. But seriously it’s the best lamb chili ever. The reason this might be the ultimate lamb chili is because there are three types of lamb in it! It has smoky lamb bacon, leg of lamb, and ground lamb! It all works together to create the most savory, rich, and satisfying bowl of chili you will ever have!

The idea for this recipe

I had made a bunch of lamb dishes in the past few months, and I had scraps from all the different cuts of lamb in the freezer. I realized it would be great to combine all the different types of lamb into one decadent pot of chili. Chili is always one of the best “clean out the fridge” type of meals, especially when you have several types of meat! There was lamb bacon that added a nice fatty smokiness, lamb leg that provided heartier bites of tender meat, and ground lamb that gave the whole chili that familiar chunky texture. At first I was going to make a simple chili but I realized with all the amazing lamb I needed to go all the way and make this chili from scratch!

Start the lamb chili by roasting dried peppers

Toast the dried chiles dry in the pan before you start. These are ancho and anaheim peppers. Open a window cause you will be coughing! The aromas from the chiles get in the air, but it is really worth it for the deep flavors they add to the dish. Once these are toasty, remove them from the pot and add to another pot with some chicken stock. Let that simmer a bit while you do the next steps.

toasting the chiles

Next sear all the different types of lamb

Sear and remove all the different types of lamb one by one. I started with the bacon because I knew it would crate a lot more fat in the pan that would help sear the other meats. Leg next, and then ground.

the three lambs for the chili

Cook the veggies

Veggies in next. Onion, bell, poblano, and fennel. Then some garlic and jalapeno. Fennel might be odd in chili. I think it creates a nice deep flavor in this soup and balances well with the lamb.

lots of veggies for the base

Bringing the lamb chili together

Add a can of tomatoes and all the meat back in with the veggies and stir it together to combine.

adding in the tomatoes

I simmered the chiles with chicken stock for a while and then blended it up. I also soaked these beans overnight. Strain the beans, then add the beans and the chile mixture to the pot with everything else. The deep rich color of the chile mixture is so nice!

the chiles and beans go in to finish the lamb chili

Season with cumin, oregano, and some honey. Let it simmer for about 4 hours. Beautiful.

some spices make this lamb chili amazing

Serving the lamb chili

Once it is done, check on the seasonings and adjust as needed. You might need more cumin, honey, salt, pepper or oregano. If you want it hotter, you could add some chili flakes. Break up the lamb chunks by fishing them out with a spoon and pressing them with a fork. The last step is to whisk in some masa harina to thicken the lamb chili and add a subtle little cornbread flavor.

Pour the chili into a bowl and top with some sour cream, avocado, and cilantro! You could do other toppings if you wanted but I felt like this only needed some simple touches.

Lamb chili with toppings

The best way to describe the flavor profile of this lamb chili is deep and dark. The dried chiles add such a depth of flavor and bitterness, and all the lamb makes the broth so rich.

deep rich lamb chili

That’s why the avocado, cilantro, and sour cream are perfect as toppings because they add some lightness, freshness, and a little tang.

a spoonful of lamb chili!

This was my favorite chili that I have had in years!

Twists on this dish

I understand that it might be a little tough getting the lamb bacon or all the different types of lamb for this lamb chili. If you just use ground lamb, it will still be good, but I would suggest trying to find at least two out of the three types of lamb! If you are missing the lamb bacon, you could also add a little chipotle powder or smoked paprika to help bring the smoky flavor the lamb bacon would have added.

Another option would be to make your own lamb bacon! I like this recipe.

You could also use canned beans if you don’t want to soak them overnight, or also if you are worried about them softening up in time to be ready. I used a good brand of dried beans that I knew would soften up in 4 hours, but sometimes those grocery store beans take forever!

Lamb Chili

Three types of lamb, lots of fresh veggies, and dried chiles, make this a deep rich and hearty chili.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time5 hours
bean soak12 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Tex-Mex
Keyword: Soup, Spicy
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 473kcal


  • 1.5 cups dried pink beans
  • 5 dried ancho chiles
  • 5 dried anahiem chiles
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound lamb bacon
  • 1 pound lamb leg
  • 3/4 pound ground lamb
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 large bulb fennel diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 2 poblanos diced
  • 4 jalapenos diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomato
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup masa harina
  • avocado
  • cilantro
  • sour cream


  • Soak the beans overnight
  • Cut the chiles with scissors and remove most of the seeds and stems.
  • Add the chiles to the pot and cook on high heat stirring often. Cook about 5 minutes being careful not to burn. Pour the chiles into another smaller sauce pot and add in the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and simmer on low while you sear all the lamb.
  • Start with the bacon, cooking it until lightly browned. Remove from pot. In the same oil, sear the chunks of lamb leg. Remove from pot. Add in the ground lamb and cook to brown. Remove from pot.
  • Add in all the veggies (except for the garlic) and cook about 10 minutes to sweat and reduce. Season well. Cook them on fairly high heat to get a little color on them as well.
  • Add in the garlic and cook 3 minutes. Add in the spices and cook 2 minutes.
  • Add in the canned tomatoes and add all the lamb back in. Add in the honey.
  • Meanwhile, pour the stock and chile mixture into a blender. Blend until smooth. Add to the lamb pot. Cover and simmer for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Add in a little water if it looks dry. Whisk in the masa harina and simmer another 10 minutes.
  • Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Serve with cilantro, avocado, and sour cream.


Calories: 473kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 698mg | Potassium: 1224mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 5327IU | Vitamin C: 62mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 6mg


  1. What is the yield on this recipe? Im looking to make a decent sized batch(about 8 quarts) Just trying to figure out the math on this.

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