rotel chili in a blue bowl on a grey towel topped with cheese and green onions

Easy Homemade Chili with Rotel

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Canned or homemade Rotel adds tons of flavor to dishes like this easy homemade chili with Rotel with only 4 ingredients! It’s a great Rotel recipe you’re going to want to keep!

chunky beef and bean chili piled up in a bowl

I love easy dinner ideas where you can dump a few ingredients into the crockpot and set it and forget it! This is one of our favorites. And I always have a freezer full of Rotel that I’ve made with our excess tomatoes from the garden. We use our excess hot peppers too! It’s super easy to make homemade Rotel!

And for more easy frugal family dinner ideas, check this out.

I love to make my own seasoning mixes and flavorings because there are so many hidden ingredients in the store-bought versions. But they also pack so much more flavor than the store-bought. Many premade seasonings are full of gluten for a filler because it’s cheaper than seasoning and herbs. And I really feel like that dilutes the flavors. Knowing what to eat to save money is not as complicated as you might think.

Check out my homemade chili seasoning mix here. It’s the best ever and you’ll never go back to premade!

Chili fixins

There are so many things that make a bowl of chili into a spectacular treat. Of course, it’s great on its own, but with a piece of homemade cornbread, oh my!

Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy chili:

  • Frito chili pie (I like regular tortilla chips on the bottom and cheese on the top)
  • Shredded cheddar, monterrey jack, or pepper jack cheese
  • Pickle relish (yes, it’s actually good)
  • Pickled hot peppers
  • Sour cream
  • Greek yogurt (plain)
  • A squeeze of lime
  • Guacamole
  • Diced raw onions and/or tomatoes
  • Salsa or pico
  • Croutons
  • Saltines or oyster crackers

Of course, the possibilities are endless and are all about your tastes. So enjoy what you like!

How to Cook Dried Beans

rotel chili topped with cheese and onions on a grey towel

Rotel in chili

The best part about making Rotel in chili is that it’s easy and has a great depth of flavor. You just dump in the can (or bag of frozen) and bam, it’s all there.

rotel chili topped with cheese and onions on a grey towel
Print Recipe
4.50 from 2 votes

Easy Homemade Chili with Rotel

Easy 4 ingredient chili that is warm, spicy, yummy, and filling. It's the kind of stick to your ribs meal you won't forget!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef chili, easy chili, homemade chili, rotel chili
Servings: 6
Calories: 348kcal
Author: Christina


  • 1 skillet
  • 1 Crock pot


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cans or bags Rotel
  • 1 pkg chili seasoning If you don't have homemade, Williams is the best store bought version. If you use homemade, you need 2-4 tablespoons, depending on how much spice you like.
  • 2 cans pinto beans


  • Brown the ground beef
  • Dump it in the crock pot
  • Drain the beans and dump them in
  • Dump in the rotel (including the juice)
  • Dump in the chili seasoning mix
  • Stir everything together and cook on low for up to 8 hours, but at least 2


Serving: 1.5c | Calories: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 900mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 1g

You can also add a bag of frozen corn into the chili or more tomato sauce or whatever makes it good to you. I love it more plain.

Rotel subtitute

What if you don’t have any Rotel in your freezer and don’t have a can on hand? There are some substitutes you can make. You can use tomato sauce and a little more chili seasoning if you want a spicier chili.

You can also use salsa or pico de Gallo in place of the Rotel. The beauty of chili is once it cooks into itself, there’s a whole lot of yumminess no matter what you put in it. My sister doesn’t eat beans so we leave them out for her.

I used to have a real sensitivity to nightshades so I couldn’t have peppers or tomatoes. When I wanted chili, I would use the same chili seasoning mix and use pureed pumpkin as the saucy part of the chili.

You wouldn’t even believe how good that is if you don’t taste it for yourself. I was so grateful to get to have chili that was nightshade-free. Now I can enjoy them just fine, and I’m grateful I can have the Rotel!

crockpot full of chili sitting on a counter

How to make tomato sauce from Rotel

What if you don’t like chunky chili? What if your kids are picky and they won’t eat it with the diced veggies in it? Just grab that Rotel before you dump it in the crockpot and whiz it up in the blender until it’s smooth.

You get all of the flavors without the texture. It’s great that way too! I’m a texture eater so I understand that you don’t like what you don’t like.

Is Rotel gluten free

Rotel is naturally gluten-free. It’s just yummy, fresh vegetables in a can or frozen in a bag if you made it yourself.

If you’re looking for another yummy ground beef recipe try these:

Rotel recipes

For more yummy ways to use that delicious spicy Rotel, check these ideas out.

For more recipes that use hot peppers, check these out.

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