I can't cook, but I sure can Nuke!

Dennison’s 99% Fat Free Beef Chili with Beans $2 to $3

Dennison’s 99% Fat Free Beef Chili with Beans

  • Taste
  • Nutrition
  • Honesty in Advertising
  • Green Packaging
  • Value

Sublime. Outstanding. Fabulous. And good for me too? Get outta town!

Warning: Chili, like Clam Chowder, has a nasty habit of exploding in the microwave. It’s imperative that you cover the container you cook it in. If you don’t have a lid, just use a paper plate.
Dennison’s makes outstanding chili. I’ve been eating it for some 30 years, so I should know. But the real miracle is that their healthiest products are also their tastiest. Now before you get your hopes up, let me list the (only) 2 negatives. First, they definitely do not know how to make spicy chili (easily solved by adding some cayenne pepper). And second, you’re buying beef, not steak, chili (more a matter of taste, really).

A couple of other minor points are that it can sometimes be expensive (wait for when it’s on sale for $1 and buy a ton), and I’ve found the canning process to be somewhat inconsistent over the years. What I mean is that sometimes it’s really watery, sometimes there is less meat, and sometimes the can isn’t as full as other times. But it always, always tastes great, so I really couldn’t care less.

The really great thing about Dennison’s is that they know not to monkey with a great product! So many other companies feel they need to constantly tweak products or save a nickle by using cheaper ingredients. But as far as I can tell, Dennison’s hasn’t changed their recipes in 30 years. Oh sure, they’ve introduced new versions of their chili, but they stick to the recipe once they do. I stand up and applaud a company that doesn’t give into the tendency to always “improve” products (remember “New Coke“?).

So what makes this such a great chili? Well first you have to accept that this is canned chili, not something from a chili cook-off. It has ground beef, whole beans, and sauce – and that’s all. No chopped onions, chunks of steak, mountains of cheese, or sliced habaneros. But therein lies it’s magic – from those simple ingredients, a taste sensation is born. You can always add onions, cheese, or peppers. My personal favorite is to add crushed tortilla chips – it adds a lot of calories, but it’s nirvana in a bowl. Oh, and of course my ever-present cayenne pepper.

What is truly startling is that this stuff is actually good for you – really good. Very low in fat, high in protein, very high in fiber (at least for the American diet), and it even has some vitamins. It’s a tad high in calories and salt, but compared to other chili, it’s not even close.

This is a no-brainer Editor’s Choice. And if you find it on sale, fill your basket!

Calories per can: 349 (Caloric Density 0.82)



  1. I’ve been eating it for 40 years and have never notice inconsistencies until the last several months. Now it’s watery and I’m not going to by it anymore. Very disappointed.

  2. It’s a shame that you quite making the only canned chili that I liked! Why did you quite making it????

  3. Where can I buy these??

  4. love, love this chili! but my stores aren’t selling it anymore. I cant even find it on line. twice a month I make a Doctored up big crock pot full with onions extra beef and lots of cumin. We don’t like other canned chilis. I hope it hasent been discontinued. can you help me? thanks Terri Anderson

  5. Dennison’s Beef Chili with beans 99% fat free.
    It is our favorite and we can’t find it anymore. Please help me find it. We live in Oceanside, Ca. 92058 North of San Diego, Ca

    • Unfortunately it looks like Dennisons has discontinued the 99% Fat Free Chili in the Beef version – only the Turkey version is available. It’s still tasty, but not nearly as good as the Beef version. Such a shame – clearly there was a loyal following!

  6. I am SOOOOO disappointed that I can no longer find our favorite brand of chili anywhere in Fremont, CA
    !!!! It is “99% FAT FREE BEEF CHILI WITH BEANS”. Do NOT like the turkey version!!!! It is not the same!! I would buy it by the case if it was available online. Has it been discontinued?

  7. Admiring the time and energy you put into your site and detailed information you offer. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information. Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  8. can you tell me where i can buy dennisons 99 fat free beef chili in san francisco or online. thank you.

    • As far as I can tell, you can no longer purchase it. You either have to choose the full-fat version (tasty, but kinda gross), or the turkey version. I’ve made do with the latter, and I’m okay with it. I suspect the rising cost of lean beef is to blame. Oh well, another great product gone.

  9. This was the BEST canned chili…We had a Chili cook-off at the Coast Guard base I worked at…..Told my co-worker about how good this was; The next day brought in a can and split it with him…He stated “This would have WON the cook-off!” I have had similar reactions from everyone I shared some with! Dennison’s……Bring this back!!!!

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