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Chili con Carne Recipe

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This 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, turkey chili, or vegetarian white bean chili a try next time.

three bowls of chili con carne with cornbread
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Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

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
  • High in protein

Chili con Carne Ingredients

  • Chuck beef roast – Use a high quality beef for best results. You can also look for stew meat specifically that is already cut into chunks.
  • 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 (these chiles aren’t really spicy!) and a slight smoky flavor.
  • Garlic – Use fresh for best flavor or frozen garlic cubes for a little shortcut.
  • Beef broth – You can use low-sodium if you prefer, but you may need to adjust salt and pepper. You can also use bone broth for an even richer and deeper flavor.
  • Marinara sauce – One of my favorite soup ingredients, this will impart rich flavor, without all the simmering time.
  • 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
  • For serving – See below for topping ideas and classic chili con carne sides
ingredients to make chili con carne recipe

How to Make Chili con Carne

This is an overview on how to make Mexican chili, the detailed instructions can be found below in the recipe card.

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.
Chili con carne in dutch oven after cooking
Finish chili con carne. Remove cover, stir chili con carne, and simmer over low heat for another 45-75 minutes, until sauce has thickened and beef is tender. Taste and season with salt if necessary.
Serve. Let everyone top their own chili, but I recommend a garnish of fresh lime juice, thinly sliced red onion, and cilantro.
Bowl of chili con carne with toppings

FAQs

What’s the difference between chili and chili con carne?

Technically, any chili with meat could be called chili con carne. This particular chili con carne dish has more of a traditional Mexican stew spin with the peppers and seasonings.

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.

Storage Instructions

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

Wondering what to do with leftover chili con carne? It’s a perfect cook once, eat twice meal! Turn leftovers into chili con carne enchiladas, burritos, or stuff into toasted flour tortillas. You could also use it in place of the chili in this popular chili cheese dip. Lightly shred beef before using in the dip for easy eating.

How to reheat

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

Can you freeze chili con carne?

Yes you can also freeze the chili. Store in a freezer container for 2-3 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

bowl of chili con carne with toppings
Photo Credit: My Everyday Table.

What to Serve with 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
  • Cornbread – More traditional, and very tasty
  • Toppings – lime wedges, red onion, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, diced avocado, fresh cilantro

How to Feed 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.

I would recommend serving small pieces of the chili con carne in a pinch bowl (taster bowl) if it’s a new or learning-to-like it food. Serve the meal with a few items you know your kids will eat, like fruit, milk, and/or bread and butter.

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Bowl of easy chili con carne with toppings

More Chili Recipes

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

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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

This chili con carne recipe is what you want simmering on your stove on winter weekends! Deep and smoky flavor and super tender beef. YUM!


Ingredients

Units 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.

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