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Beef and Bean Chili with Gluten-Free “Cheddar” Cornbread Biscuits

Chili in the crockpot is a cool-weather mainstay in our house, but a recent revelation kicked the humble meal up a notch: I mixed up a batch of Erin McKenna Bakery’s vegan, gluten-free cornbread batter, mixed in some Violife Just Like Cheddar, dropped biscuit-sized rounds of it on top of the chili during the last hour of cooking and voila! A full, delicious fall meal perfect for all of your sports-watching, post-pumpkin patching, lazy day needs, all in one (crock) pot. 

The chili recipe is adaptable, as well: You can sub ground turkey for beef, or to make it vegan, replace the beef with another can of beans. Don’t have green onions? Use a Vidalia or sweet yellow onion instead.


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Beef and Bean Chili with Gluten-Free “Cheddar” Cornbread Biscuits

Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 8



  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 tbsp green onion, green and white parts, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 18 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 10 ounces plain tomato sauce

For the Gluten-Free Cornbread Biscuits:

  • cup plant-based milk (I used oat milk, but rice milk works as well)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup gluten-free all-purpose baking flour (I use Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour)
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup corn flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup liquid coconut oil (you can melt solid coconut oil in the microwave)
  • cup agave nectar
  • cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded vegan, soy-free cheddar cheese, such as Violife Just Like Cheddar Shreds
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced and seeds removed


  • Add ground beef to your slow cooker insert and break it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed.
  • Stir to combine, until ingredients are evenly distributed throughout.
  • Secure the lid on your slow cooker and set the timer for four hours on low.

Make the Cornbread Batter:

  • While the chili cooks, make the cornbread batter:
  • First, place the plant-based milk and apple cider vinegar into a small, non-plastic bowl. Do not stir. Set aside (this will form a "buttermilk").
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, cornmeal, corn flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthin gum and salt.
  • If your coconut oil is solid, place about ½ cup into a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second increments until it’s melted but not hot. Re-measure ½ cup once the coconut oil is liquefied.
  • Add coconut oil, agave nectar, applesauce and vanilla to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Add the “buttermilk” and stir until it’s incorporated. The mixture will get a bit foamy and runny when you first add the buttermilk; continue to stir gently until it incorporates into the batter.
  • Add the shredded vegan cheese and gently stir until it’s distributed evenly throughout.
  • Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until there is one hour left on the chili.

Form and Add the Biscuits:

  • When there is one hour left on the chili, remove the cornbread batter from the fridge and create eight, three-inch round biscuit shapes out of the dough (it will be easy to shape with your hands after being in the fridge).
  • Remove the slow cooker lid and place the biscuits on top of the chili.
  • Top each biscuit with one jalapeno slice.
  • Secure the lid on your slow cooker and allow the biscuits to cook on top of the chili during its last hour of cooking.
  • Remove the lid, check the biscuits for done-ness, and serve.

To Make the Chili a Freezer Meal:

  • You can make extra batches of the raw chili to freeze for later. 
  • To do so, place all of the chili ingredients (but not the biscuit ingredients) into a freezer-safe bag or container, and freeze for up to three months.
  • When you want to cook it, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator, then place in your slow cooker, secure the lid, and cook for four hours on low.
  • If desired, follow the steps for the cornbread dumplings above.
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Liz Fetchin.

Hey there, I'm Liz!

As a former food editor and everyday home cook, I’ve spent the past 15+ years testing, tasting and saving delicious, Octofree recipes for my family. It’s with lots of love that I share the best of the bunch with you, along with tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.

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