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How to Make Chili con Carne

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Learn how to make chili con carne! This Mexican chili con carne recipe is what you want simmering on your stove on winter weekends! It’s made with simple ingredients and spices that turn into a thick and rich stew with insane smoky flavor and super tender beef.

Some people like to serve chili con carne over a bed of rice, and it would be a delicious way to stretch the recipe a bit, but either way, top it with fresh lime, sliced red onion, cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream.

If you love chili, be sure to give my homemade chili a try, it’s got classic flavors, but a secret ingredient that gives it incredible flavor.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

bowl of chili con carne with toppings

What is Chili con Carne?

Chili con carne literally translates to chili with meat. Obviously there are soooo many variations on chili recipes, and this is no exception.

What You’ll Love About Mexican Chili con Carne

  • Smoky, slightly spicy and rich flavor
  • Cozy comfort food meal
  • Rich and tender beef
  • Made with simple ingredients
  • Just 10 minutes to prep
  • Great to make ahead

Easy Chili con Carne Ingredients

  • Chuck roast – Use a high quality beef for best results.
  • Onion – The recipe calls for a large white onion, but you could also use a yellow onion.
  • Poblano peppers – These are larger green peppers that have a very mild heat (they aren’t really spicy!) and a slight smoky flavor.
  • Garlic
  • Beef broth – You can use low-sodium if you prefer, but you may need to adjust salt and pepper.
  • Marinara sauce – One of my favorite soup ingredients!
  • Beer – You can swap this out for chicken or beef broth if you prefer to omit it.
  • Chili con carne spices – chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, cinnamon, bay leaves, sea salt, and black pepper
ingredients to make chili con carne recipe

How to Make Chili con Carne

While I’m usually all about kitchen shortcuts and making meals come together quickly, this beef chili con carne isn’t a time for that! Here’s how we make it:

  • Prep ingredients. Cut beef into 1-2 inch pieces and trim off any excess fat. Dice onion, poblano peppers, and mince garlic.
  • Brown beef. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven and brown beef pieces in a single layer. Do this in batches so the beef can actually brown, and not just steam. Don’t drain the fat, we’ll use it to cook the aromatics!
beef for Mexican chili con carne browning in dutch oven
  • Saute aromatics. Add onions and peppers to dutch oven and saute until soft. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
  • Toast spices. Add all of the spices to the dutch oven and stir to coat the veggie mixture. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
spices in chili con carne in dutch oven toasting
  • Add liquids. Pour in broth, marinara sauce, and beer to pot. Stir together, scraping up any burnt on pieces from the bottom of the pot. Add bay leaves and bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 60 minutes.
  • Finish chili con carne. Remove cover, stir chili con carne, and simmer for another 45-75 minutes, until sauce has thickened and beef is tender. Taste and season with salt if necessary.
Chili con carne in dutch oven after cooking
  • Serve. Let everyone top their own chili, but I recommend fresh lime juice, thinly sliced red onion, and cilantro.

I told you, the best chili con carne recipes take time!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the chili con carne origin?

Ahhh, this is a hotly disputed question! As with so many recipes, the history is a bit blurry.

Texas chili con carne is typically just made with beef and chilis, made into a thick stew. While this version is definitely a thick stew, I’ve also added onions, peppers, broth, marinara sauce, and more.

It’s also sometimes called Mexican chili con carne, and it’s thought that it was created in Northern Mexico/Southern Texas – it’s classic Tex-Mex food.

Is chili con carne spicy?

No, this chili isn’t very spicy at all. The poblano peppers give a slightly smoky flavor, but not much heat. If you like spice, you should add a jalapeno pepper to the mix.

I don’t think it’s too spicy for kids, but cool it down with some sour cream.

Are there tomatoes in Mexican chili con carne?

Tomatoes are a part of some chili con carne recipes, but not as much of a staple as a traditional chili.

Do you put cinnamon in chili con carne?

Yes, there is some cinnamon in chili con carne and it helps to give it the classic Mexican chili con carne flavor.

Bowl of easy chili con carne with toppings

Storage Instructions

Store any leftover chili con carne recipe in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

What to do with leftover chili con carne? It’s a perfect cook once, eat twice meal! Turn them into chili con carne enchiladas by wrapping in tortillas and cheese. Bake until the cheese has melted.

How to reheat

To reheat the chili, heat in a sauce pan or in the microwave until heated through.

Can you freeze chili con carne?

You can also freeze for 2-3 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

How to Serve Easy Chili con Carne to the Whole Family

I get it, feeding kids can be tough! But following the Division of Responsibility and knowing your job and your child’s job makes it SO much more enjoyable. You’ll be able to feed your kids any meal, which will help ensure that they are eating a variety of nutritious foods – with plenty of play food sprinkled in. 😉

No matter what we’re having, I’ll serve it to the whole family. This is the whole concept of one family meal. So for this particular meal, I made sure the beef was cut up into smaller pieces and let my kids add their own toppings.

The chili is not very spicy, but the sour cream will help cool it down if they prefer it that way.

Serve with cornbread or tortilla chips on the side, along with some fruit and milk to ensure they’ll eat something and you don’t need to make them a separate meal.

All of my articles on feeding kids can be found here and if you want a FULL list of all of the videos I have with hacks, tips, scripts, and ideas for feeding kids, check out my instagram or tiktok page.

Substitutes + Nutrition

There isn’t much to substitute out in this recipe, but you could add some beans to this if you wanted. I wanted a more authentic chili con carne no beans so I left them out, but you could definitely add them in.

Wondering how many calories in chili con carne? This will vary recipe to recipe, but for this particular version, each serving has about 321 calories per 1 1/2 cups, not including toppings. To cut down on chili con carne calories, you can skip the sour cream topping.

three bowls of chili con carne with cornbread

What to Serve with Easy Chili con Carne

Just like any chili recipe, toppings and sides are key! Even though this Mexican chili con carne recipe is a little different, the toppings are very similar, so really anything that will go with a regular homemade chili will work for chili con carne.

  • Rice
  • Corn chips or tortilla chips
  • Corn bread – More traditional, but still tasty
  • Toppings – lime wedges, red onion, sour cream, grated cheese, avocado, fresh cilantro
Bowl of chili con carne with toppings

More Chili Recipes

If you like this beef chili con carne, you might also like some of these other easy chili recipes:

Menu Plans by My Everyday Table can help you out.

The plan addresses three major issues when it comes to weeknight dinners: having a plan, time, and one family meal

You’ll save time, save money, waste less food, and feel calm when 5pm hits because your dinner is already planned.

Helpful Tools to Make Chili con Carne

  • Dutch Oven – You can’t make dutch oven chili con carne without a dutch oven!
  • Chef Knife – This is the BEST knife, it makes prep quick and easy.
  • Souper Cubes – Store any leftover sausage and lentil soup in these containers that can freeze in individual portions.
Print
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close up of chli con carne with lime wedges, sour cream, and red onion

Easy Chili con Carne Recipe

  • Author: Emily Dingmann of myeverydaytable.com
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
  • Category: Stew
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Tex Mex
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Description

Learn how to make chili con carne! This easy Mexican chili con carne recipe takes just 20 min to prep and then simmers on the stove until the beef is nice and tender.


Ingredients

Scale

For Chili: 

  • 3 lbs. chuck roast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 poblano peppers (6 oz.)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup beer (pilsner or lager or 1 cup broth)
  • 2 bay leaves

For Toppings: 

  • lime wedges
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • sour cream
  • cilantro

Instructions

  1. Prep ingredients: 
    Cut beef into 1-2 inch pieces. 
    Dice onion. 
    Dice poblano peppers. 
    Mince garlic.

  2. Heat oil in large dutch oven over medium heat. Brown beef in batches for 1-2 minutes per side, seasoning with a pinch of salt, and cooking until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. TIP: If the meat sticks to the pot, it’s not quite ready to be flipped yet.

  3. Add onion and peppers to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Make a well in the center of the pot and add garlic. Let sizzle for about 30 seconds, then stir into veggies.

  4. Add sea salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, cinnamon, and black pepper to pot. Stir to coat veggies and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

  5. Add broth, marinara sauce, beer, and beef (with juices) to pot. Stir together, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pot. Add bay leaves and bring to a boil, lower heat to low, cover and cook for 60 minutes.

  6. Remove cover, stir chili con carne, and simmer for another 45-75 minutes, until beef is tender and chili has thickened. Taste and season with salt if necessary.

  7. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, sour cream, diced red onion, and chopped cilantro.


Notes

  • Nutrition facts do not include toppings. 

Keywords: chili con carne, chili con carne recipe

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Comments

  1. Tut Gramling

    I just picked up a chuck roast so I can make this chili tomorrow! Cumin I expect, but cinnamon and beer ? I’m intrigued. And chunks of beef will be sure to satisfy my craving for meat. Thanks Myeverydaytable for a hearty new twist on one of my Fall favorites.