The Best Lamb Chili Recipe Ever

The best lamb chili recipe ever

This hearty Lamb Chili recipe features ground lamb, a custom blend of warm spices, and is elevated with the refreshing flavor of mint and salty crumbled goat cheese to balance out the flavors. A perfect dish for the colder weather months or as part of an Easter feast! 

While most chili recipes I come across use ground beef, I decided to give this easy chili recipe a unique twist by using ground lamb! This ground meat brings a rich, slightly gamey taste that really sets it apart from the milder beef versions. The lamb’s richness enhances the savory flavor and pairs well with the simple blend of seasonings used that DON’T include chili powder! 

Chili Without Chili Powder

While chili powder is extremely common in most recipes, I found that adding it masked the distinct flavor of the lamb, which I felt needed to stand out! This recipe shows how flexible chili can be. You can change it to fit your personal tastes, adding your favorite blend of seasonings, meats, and veggies. I always make sure my recipes include ingredients you can easily find in your local grocery store or in your pantry so everyone can enjoy them!

Making my ground lamb chili is super simple and quick! Start by sautéing the veggies in oil along with the ground lamb to brown with some spices. Mix in the remaining ingredients, letting everything simmer to marry the flavors. Finish it off with fresh mint and goat cheese on top, and it’s ready to serve! 

I’m not the only one who agrees that this is the BEST lamb chili recipe! Check out this kind email review from a reader:

“I make this chili several times each winter, and it has become a tradition in our family that I make it every time it snows since it snowed the first time I ever made it. When I first made it, my girlfriend at the time (now my wife) and I enjoyed it so much. Now, our two kids enjoy it with us… it has been quite the tradition. I’ve made some changes over the years (and I don’t ever measure when I cook).”

Chili with ground lamb is great for family meals, parties, or special holidays like Easter. Pair it with bread, rice, or a salad for a well-rounded meal that everyone will enjoy! 

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • One pot dinner: The entire recipe is made in just one pot, making cleanup a breeze while saving you time in the kitchen.
  • Simple ingredients: This recipe uses simple and easy to find ingredients available in any local grocery store. 
  • Unique flavor: Ground lamb adds a rich, unique flavor that sets this chili apart from traditional beef versions.
  • Customizable: It’s easy to customize, allowing you to adjust spices and ingredients to suit whatever you have on hand. 
  • Meal prep: The chili freezes well, so you can make a big batch and have tasty leftovers for meal prep.
ingredients needed for lamb chili
All the ingredients needed for this Lamb Chili recipe

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Olive Oil – Acts as the base for sautéing the vegetables, helping to release their flavors.
  • Chili Vegetables (onion, bell peppers, garlic) – These provide a savory and aromatic foundation, adding texture and flavor. 
  • Ground Lamb – The star of the dish, ground lamb adds a rich and slightly gamey flavor that makes the chili hearty and satisfying.
  • Seasonings (dried oregano, cumin, mint, salt, pepper) – These spices and herbs enhance the chili with earthy, warm, and slightly sweet flavors that pair well with ground lamb.
  • Canned Black Beans – Add texture and protein to the chili, making it more filling and nutritious.
  • Canned Tomatoes (diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce) – Contribute acidity, moisture, and a slightly acidic tomato flavor, balancing the richness of the lamb.
  • Water – Used to adjust the consistency of the chili to make sure it’s not too thick.
  • Light Brown Sugar – Adds a hint of sweetness to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes that help balance the flavor. 
  • Chipotle Pepper – Gives the chili a smoky heat, adding a spicy note.
  • Garnish (freshly chopped mint, crumbled goat cheese) – Fresh mint brings a bright, refreshing flavor, while the goat cheese adds a tangy creaminess, enhancing that rounds out the final taste of the chili.


How To Make Lamb Chili

Saute the vegetables: Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions and bell peppers. Saute for about 10 minutes or until softened. In the last 2 minutes, add the garlic and saute until fragrant without burning. 

Brown the ground lamb: To the Dutch oven, add the ground lamb along with the dried seasonings. Saute, breaking up with a spatula until browned. 

Add remaining ingredients: Pour in the drained beans, canned tomatoes, water, and light brown sugar, and add in the chipotle pepper. Stir to combine and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the raw tomato taste is cooked out and all ingredients are cooked through. Taste to adjust salt and pepper. 

Garnish and serve: While hot, ladle into soup bowls and garnish with a sprinkling of freshly chopped mint and crumbled goat cheese. Enjoy! 

Slow Cooker Lamb Chili

Lamb chili can also be slow-cooked in a crockpot! Brown the ground lamb with onions, bell peppers, and garlic in a skillet, then transfer it to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the garnishes, and stir well to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, then garnish with fresh mint and crumbled goat cheese before serving.

Helpful Recipe Tips

  • Heat the olive oil until it’s shimmering but not smoking for sautéing your vegetables. This will keep them from burning. 
  • Cut the onions and bell peppers into even sizes to make sure the chili has a consistent texture. 
  • Rinse the canned black beans thoroughly under cold water to remove excess sodium and to make sure the thickened canning juice does not get into the chili. 
  • Add water gradually to control the chili’s thickness, allowing you to customize the consistency.
  • Cook the ground lamb until it’s no longer pink, making sure it’s fully browned for the best flavor.
  • How long it takes to fully cook lamb chili will depend on how big your pot is and what heat it is simmering at. Usually this takes 2-3 hours. 
  • Taste the chili once cooked to adjust any salt, pepper, or other seasonings. 

Flavor Variations and Substitutions

  • Moroccan: Add Moroccan spices (coriander, cinnamon) and apricots to the chili for a sweet and spicy flavor profile.
  • White Bean: Substitute black beans with white beans for a milder taste and creamier texture.
  • Greek: Incorporate Greek flavor elements by using feta cheese instead of goat cheese and adding a pinch of dried oregano and allspice.
  • Masala: Stir in some garam masala and replace the chipotle pepper with fresh ginger to give the chili a Masala-inspired flavor.
  • Vinegar: Add a splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar to deepen the flavors and introduce a slight tanginess to 
  • Vegetables: Add hearty vegetables like chopped sweet potato or zucchini to change the texture and taste. 
  • Spicy: For a spicy kick, increase the amount of chipotle pepper or add freshly chopped jalapeños to the chili.

Storage Instructions

Storing: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Freezing: Cool the chili completely and transfer it to freezer-safe containers or bags, leaving some space at the top as it will expand when frozen. Freeze the chili for up to three months. 

Reheating: Reheat the chili on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it is thoroughly warmed through. If it’s frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Add a splash of water or broth if the chili seems too thick when reheating.


How can I thicken the chili if it’s too watery?

If the chili is too watery, let it simmer uncovered for an extra 10-15 minutes to reduce the liquid, or you can stir in a small amount of cornstarch or flour mixed with water to thicken it without altering the flavor.

Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones?

Yes, fresh tomatoes can be used in place of canned. You will need to chop them and simmer the chili a bit longer to break down the tomatoes and concentrate the flavors.

What can I do if the chili is too acidic?

If the chili tastes too acidic, you can balance it by adding a pinch of sugar or a splash of cream. This will help neutralize the acidity and bring a smoother flavor.

More Chili Recipes

best lamb chili recipe

The Best Lamb Chili Recipe Ever

Two bowls of lamb chili

This Lamb Chili recipe has been a family favorite for many years. If you adore Lamb as much as I do, you will love this chili. I intentionally leave out chili powder so that the true lamb flavor shines through. Don't skip the goat cheese and fresh mint garnishes, they really take it over the top.


  • 2 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion. coarsely chopped
  • 2 Yellow, Orange or Red Peppers, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 1 Tbs. dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbs. ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbs. dried Mint (optional)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 (8oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 Tbs. Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Chipotle Pepper diced
  • More salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish
  • Crumbled Goat Cheese
  • Chopped Fresh Mint


    Heat oil in a large dutch oven. Saute onions, red peppers until tender (approximately 10 minutes). Add garlic during the last few minutes.

    Add ground lamb and brown with cumin, onion powder and a teaspoon of salt. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.

    Simmer for several hours tasting periodically. Add salt and pepper as needed.

    Top with crumbled goat cheese and chopped mint.