A hearty no-bean Chili recipe made with wheat berries. You’ll love the classic chili flavor with the texture of this unique whole grain.

We first tasted a beef wheat chili at Wheat Montana in Helena. They served it piping hot with shredded cheese and a homemade roll. It was so hearty and delicious.

This classic chili recipe uses wheat berries instead of kidney and chili beans. It is a soupy chili, so if you have to have a chunky-style chili, you may want to keep that in mind.

However, when you pull leftovers from the refrigerator the next day, you are left with a less-soupy chili. The other ingredients will soak up a lot of the moisture. In this case, we usually add more beef stock because we like it more soup-like.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
  • 6 cloves garlic (diced)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 1 cup wheat berries

To make this a no-chop chili—you can substitute the fresh diced onions for onion flakes and the fresh chopped garlic for minced garlic from a jar. Use 1 tablespoon of onion flakes and one tablespoon of minced garlic.

🥘 45+ chili topping ideas – check out our topping list here.

Supplies

  • Cutting board and knife or chopper
  • Large pot or Dutch oven
  • Strainer
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Serving bowls and spoons

🥘 Like a thick chili? – check out our tips for how to thicken chili.

How to Make Beef Wheat Berry Chili

Follow these simple steps to make this delicious dish.

Step 1 | warm-up pot and chop produce

First, you’ll want to start warming up your pot, then begin to chop your yellow onion and dice your fresh garlic finely. We have a Cuisinart chopper we love to use to chop both quickly.

Step 2 | Add olive oil, then onions and garlic

Next, add olive oil to your pot and let the oil heat up for just a bit. Then, toss in your onions and garlic. Saute for a minute or two.

Step 3 | Add Ground Beef and cook until browned

When your onions and garlic are fragrant and soft, add your lean ground beef. Cook the ground beef until most of the meat is browned through.

Step 4 | Strain any grease

Strain and remove any grease and leftover oil from the meat.

Step 5 | Add beef stock, tomato paste, and tomatoes

Add your beef stock and whisk in the tomato paste. Then add your diced tomatoes and stewed tomatoes. If you’re not a fan of stewed tomatoes, you can add an extra can of diced tomatoes. Do not drain either of these.

Step 6 | Add seasonings

Next comes the seasonings, which, in our opinion, is what makes a good chili. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and ground black pepper.

Step 7 | optional – add chili flakes or hot sauce

Optional – add red pepper chili flakes or hot sauce. We are not into spicy foods, so this is all you. Start with a small amount and increase as needed. Be sure to taste test along the way.

Step 8 | Add wheat berries and cook

Finally, add the uncooked wheat berries. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce to simmer, and cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check on them every 20 minutes or so.

Depending on the wheat berries you purchase, it could take more or less time. But the key will be to test them, and if they’re still a bit chewy – cook them for longer.

Step 9 | Serve with favorite toppings and sides

Serve with your favorite chili toppings (sour cream, green onions, shredded cheese) and sides (homemade buns, tortilla chips). This pairs perfectly with our homemade dinner rolls. Enjoy!

More About This Chili Recipe – Why We Love It

  • This dish is a healthy, no-bean chili and something a little different to put in your dinner idea arsenal.
  • It’s easy to make because most of the time involved is simmer time. That’s a win in my book.
  • The chili is not too saucy. Although it has a great tomato flavor, it’s not overly saucy, and it is not made with tomato soup.
  • It’s perfect to use the leftovers served over baked potatoes topped with cheese and onions.
  • Chili is a great wheat berry recipe if you’re looking for ways to use this whole grain.

🥘 Delicious ways to use leftover chili – check out our tasty list here.

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Beef Wheat Berry Chili (Beanless)

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A hearty beanless chili made with wheat berries and ground beef. It is the perfect comfort food dish for a cozy fall or winter dinner.

  • Total Time: 70 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
  • 6 cloves garlic (diced)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 1 cup wheat berries

Instructions

  1. Start warming up your pot.
  2. Finely chop your yellow onion and dice your fresh garlic.
  3. Add olive oil to your pot and let the oil heat up for just a bit
  4. Toss in your onions and garlic. Saute for a minute or two.
  5. Add your lean ground beef. Cook the ground beef until most of the meat is browned through.
  6. Strain and remove any grease and leftover oil from the meat.
  7. Add your beef stock and whisk in the tomato paste.
  8. Add your diced tomatoes and stewed tomatoes. Do not drain either of these.
  9. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and ground black pepper.
  10. Add the uncooked wheat berries.
  11. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce to simmer, and cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  12. Check and stir every 20 minutes or so. 
  13. Depending on the wheat berries you purchase, it could take more or less time. But the key will be to test them, and if they’re still a bit chewy – cook them for longer.
  14. Serve with your favorite chili toppings (sour cream, green onions, shredded cheese) and sides (homemade buns, tortilla chips).

Notes

  • This is a soupy chilihowever, it will thicken up when you store leftovers in the refrigerator overnight. I add more beef broth when heating up any leftovers. 
  • If you’re not a fan of stewed tomatoes, you can add an extra can of diced tomatoes.
  • For a spicier chili – add red pepper chili flakes or hot sauce. 
  • Author: Kelsey Restemayer
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Category: Soup, Dinner, Main Dish
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 225
  • Sugar: 10.2 g
  • Sodium: 940.6 mg
  • Fat: 6.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 22.2 g
  • Protein: 20.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 45.2 mg
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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to related questions about wheat berries and using them in chili.

Hold up, what is a wheat berry?

A wheat berry is a ‘whole wheat kernel’ according to eatwheat.org. The entire (edible) part of the wheat kernel contains the wheat bran, germ, and endosperm.

How healthy are wheat berries?

Wheat berries are whole grains packed with protein, fiber, vitamin B, iron, and more with minimal processing, leaving the wheat berry in its original form; nutrient contents remain intact. Source: Healthifyme.

Where can I find wheat berries?

You can find wheat berries at your local Whole Foods store or online at Amazon or other online shops. My favorite brand, Wheat Montana, can be found in bulk on Amazon as well.

Final Thoughts

This hearty no-bean beef chili offers a unique take on classic chili, using wheat berries instead of chili or kidney beans. It’s the perfect comfort meal for a cozy fall or winter dinner.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have You Tried This Recipe? Please rate it in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Sides To Pair With This Chili

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Beanless Beef Chili with Wheat Berries

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