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Easy 3-Ingredient Ro-Tel Chili Recipe

This 3-ingredient Ro-Tel chili is a deliciously quick and easy way to satisfy your Tex Mex craving.

It’s a yummy lunch, dinner, or snack. Plus you can double the recipe for a larger family dinner. I’ve been asked the question, “Can you put Rotel in chili?” That’s what prompted me to research this (read the ingredients on the back of the can) and try it out.

bowl of 3-ingredient Ro-tel chili

One bite, and I knew the answer. Absolutely, yes, you can put Ro-Tel in chili. And it’s really good! All you need are ground beef, a can of Ro-tel, and some chili beans. I also like to make these Mexican ground beef patties with Ro-Tel when we want something with a ton of flavor, without too much effort.

I highly recommend reading this entire post before you begin preparing the recipe. However, if all you want is the list of ingredients with full directions, please either click on the jump-to-recipe button above or scroll to the bottom of this post.

Since you’re using canned items that already have the ingredients that would be in a more complicated chili recipe, I would call this semi homemade chili. Sure, I realize there are some folks who think you have to add a gazillion ingredients and let it simmer all day for it to be “real chili.” But I’m not one of them.

The flavor of this chili is absolutely authentic. In fact, Ro-Tel has diced tomatoes with chilies and other spices that you don’t have to worry about adding. That makes this a time-saving meal.

Regardless of what you call it, I think you’ll enjoy the simplicity and ease of it. It’s also quite yummy!

Stovetop or Slow Cooker Chili

You can make this in your Crock Pot and call it Slow-Ro, but it’s super quick to make on the stovetop. So that’s how I made it. You don’t need to hover over it for very long. Just put the 3 ingredients in the pot, turn on the heat, and dinner is ready in just half an hour.

Now you can sit down to a good bowl of chili without any hassle. In fact, this is such an easy dinner, it will quickly become one of your go-to meals when you don’t have much time. However, you might want to walk in the door after a long day at work or school and sit down to dinner right away. That’s the time to make it in your slow cooker.

3-Ingredient Ro-Tel Chili Ingredients

You only need a few things to make this chili. Of course, you can add more if you want, but it’s not necessary. 

You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Ground beef or turkey
  • Can of chili beans (don’t drain)
  • Can of Ro-Tel
ground beef, chili beans, and ro-tel

Other ingredients you might want to add:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Beef broth or water
  • Chili powder (not necessary because the chili beans are seasoned)
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Black beans

You can serve this chili the way you would any other version. For example, you might want to add sour cream, shredded cheese, or even jalapeño peppers.

For exact measurements of each ingredient and full directions, go to the recipe card at the bottom of the page. You can even print out the card by using the “print” button.

How to Make 3-Ingredient Ro-Tel Chili

I always gather the ingredients I’ll need before I start cooking. That’s not difficult at all with this recipe because it only has 3 necessary items. First of all, brown the ground meat.

Drain the meat and pour it into a medium-size pot. If you decide to double the recipe, you’ll need a larger pot. Add the undrained chili beans, sauce and all, and the entire contents of a can of Ro-Tel. Stir until well mixed.

Since the tomatoes and the beans have sodium in them, you may decide that you don’t need more salt. But don’t add it now. You can also add beef broth or water if you want a thinner consistency. I added about 1/4 cup of beef broth.

Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. Taste it to see if it needs salt and pepper. If you want to add salt or  black pepper, do it now. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for another 5 minutes.When you’re ready to eat, scoop the chili into bowls and add your favorite toppings. We like sour cream, shredded cheese, and jalapeños. 

chili with cheese and a side of sour cream

You can also add green onions, paprika, olives, and croutons. If you have a larger dinner group, a great way to serve the add-ons is to put them in individual bowls and let everyone add their own toppings.

I usually serve chili with tortilla chips, plain crackers, or bread (French bread for my husband and gluten-free rolls for me). If I have time, I like to make this yummy but crumbly southern-stye cornbread. My husband prefers this fine-ground cornmeal cornbread because it’s extremely moist.

Easy Crockpot Chili

This same recipe makes an easy Crockpot chili, only it takes longer. When I make it in the slow cooker, I use a small, 2-quart Crock Pot. If you’re making a larger amount, use a 4-quart or 6-quart pot. Since all of the ingredients are precooked and canned, you don’t have to cook it very long, even in a slow cooker.

I recommend cooking on high for about an hour and then turn it down to low for another hour or two. It’s a very forgiving recipe, so the amount of time doesn’t have to be exact.

pot of chili and bowl of 3-ingredient Ro-tel chili with cheese

Frequently Asked Questions About Ro-Tel

Canned Ro-Tel tomatoes have been a pantry staple in my home for many years because there are so many different ways to use them in recipes. Here are some answers to questions you may have:

Q: What are Ro-Tel tomatoes?

A: The ones I refer to here are canned tomatoes with added seasonings to provide a little bit of heat.

Q: Are there different varieties of Ro-Tel tomatoes?

A: Yes. I typically purchase the original Ro-Tel tomatoes, but there are also mild and hot versions of it in most grocery stores.

Q: Does Ro-Tel have msg?

A: According to the company’s statement, Ro-Tel products are free from msg.

More Tips for Making Ro-Tel Chili

This is such an easy recipe to make it as-is. however, you can kick it up a notch by following just a few tips.

  • Add more of your favorite seasonings to suit your taste.
  • Sprinkle in some cayenne or Tabasco as it cooks.
  • Add a little bit of bacon to the ground beef as it browns. After all, bacon makes everything better, right?
  • Don’t drain all of the fat after browning the ground beef. Leave a little bit of it to add more flavor to the chili.
  • Put bowls of sour cream, green onions, hot peppers, and shredded cheese on the table so everyone can personalize their own bowl of chili.

More Delicious Recipes

My husband and I enjoy a variety of types of chili, including this delicious chili con carne.

We also like this white chicken chili. And we’ve been known to eat chili any time of year because we think it’s just as good during the hot months as it is in the winter. You can even make white chicken chili with Rotel if you want to try something different.

Some of our favorite soups are this delicious bean soup that is so comforting at the end of a long day and this super fun Instant Pot taco soup.

Another quick and easy meal we love is this pork sausage and rice skillet dinner. It’s a one-pan meal that’s delicious and so comforting!

Amazing Desserts

When I make any type of chili or soup, I like to have something sweet afterward. Here are some of our favorite desserts:

Cinnamon Applesauce – This delightful food is perfect for breakfast or dessert.

Ridiculously Easy Rice Pudding – The name of this yummy dessert says it all.

Kool-Aid Pie – Such a refreshing, colorful, and interesting treat from Julia’s Simply Southern.

Creamy No-Bake Cherry Lime Pie – Light and creamy, you’ll love this delicious tangy but sweet treat. It’s especially good for dessert after a spicy meal.

Pineapple Pie – The flavor of this no-bake pie is wonderful. And the texture is out-of-this-world light, fluffy, and so satisfying!

Chili – Perfect Weeknight Dinner

When you want chili but don’t have time to make the traditional version, this should hit the spot! It only takes 3 ingredients and a few minutes to put supper on the table on a busy weeknight.

Yield: 4 servings

Easy 3-Ingredient Ro-Tel Chili (Tex Mex Recipe)

bowl of rotel chili

You'll love this Tex Mex 2-ingredient Ro-Tel chili!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 pound of ground beef or turkey
  • One 15-ounce can of undrained chili beans
  • One 10-ounce can of Ro-Tel
  • Salt and pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 beef broth (optional if you want a thinner consistency)


  1. Brown the ground meat and drain. Pour the meat into a soup pot.
  2. Add the chili beans and Ro-Tel. Mix well.
  3. Heat on medium for 30 minutes. 
  4. If you want to add a little bit of salt and pepper, do it now.
  5. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Scoop the chili into bowls and serve hot.


You can add any of a variety of chili toppings, including sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, jalapeños, and more.

Did you make this recipe?

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Thursday 4th of March 2021

This looks like a delicious meal! YUM!


Friday 5th of March 2021

Hi Julia. Yes, it's really good! Thanks!

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