This Chili Con Carne recipe will have everyone begging for the recipe! It is a fabulous stress-free, make-ahead recipe (tastes even better the next day), great for crowds, freezing, delicious in a cozy bowl or on potatoes, hot dogs, nachos and more! This beef chili recipe features tender cuts of beef simmered low and slow in a robust earthy, smoky, as-spicy-as-you-like chipotle chili sauce that will make your home smell amazing!
Watch How to Make Beef Chili
Best Chili Con Carne Recipe FAQs
Chili is an earthy, robust, spicy stew made with a combination of meat (cubed roast, ground beef, Italian sausage, chicken, turkey, or tofu, etc.), beans and tomatoes. It can vary widely in ingredients and regional styles.
Chili con carne, is a specific type of chili that includes meat, typically cubed beef chuck roast, and translates to “chili with meat.” While chili can be made with or without meat and usually includes beans, chili con carne always includes meat as a key ingredient and often does not include beans (specifically Texas-style chili con carne).
Whether chili con carne should include beans is a matter of personal preference and regional tradition. In some regions of the United States, such as Texas, traditional chili recipes typically do not include beans. They emphasize the meat (usually beef), chili peppers, and seasonings.
In other areas and in many home kitchens, beans like kidney beans or pinto beans are a common and popular addition to chili, providing texture, flavor, and an additional source of protein (my personal choice). So, it ultimately depends on your own taste preferences.
If it tastes like your beef chili is missing something, it is likely heat or salt. After you have salted the chili and/or added either additional chipotle pepper, cayenne or hot sauce and it still needs something, try enhancing the flavors with additional seasonings such as cumin, chili powder, and paprika. Additionally, ingredients such as Worcestershire sauce can enrich the sauce, while a dash of cocoa powder or dark chocolate adds complexity. For a touch of brightness, finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and garnish with cilantro or parsley.
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Chili Con Carne with Beans
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For the Beef
- 3 lbs. boneless beef chuck, cut into ¾-1-inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons spice mix (in directions)
- vegetable oil for searing
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 large green bell pepper, diced
- 2 jalapeno peppers, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 14.5 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes with juices
- 1 4 oz. can mild diced green chiles
- 3 cups reduced sodium beef broth
- 2 tablespoons masa harina (optional)
- 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon beef bouillon (granulated, base or 1 crushed cube)
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 15 oz. can dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- Cook's Note: Chili tastes 10X better the next day!!! The flavors develop, deepen, and harmonize. So, if possible, plan on making and refrigerating the recipe a day ahead of time.
- Seasonings: Whisk the Spice Mix seasonings together in a bowl; set aside.
- Season beef: Pat chopped beef dry while on the cutting board. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons of the Spice Mix.
- Sear beef: Heat 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven (6 qt. or larger) over medium-high heat. Once smoking, add one third of the cubed beef in a single layer and sear until deeply browned; remove to a plate with tongs. Add additional oil as needed and heat to smoking and repeat; remove beef to a plate.
- Deglaze pan: Add ¼ water (careful it will smoke a lot), to the pot. Use a spatula to scrape up all the brown bit to release their flavor. The fond will look dark, but shouldn’t be scorched. Pour the liquid over the beef on the plate; set aside.
- Sauté aromatics: Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in the now empty pot. Add the onions and bell pepper and sauté until the onions are softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the jalapenos and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the remaining Spice Mix and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add remaining ingredients: Add the meat back to the pot along with all the juices from the plate. Add the remaining chili ingredients up through bay leaves (don't add beans).
- Simmer: Cover the pot with the lid just ajar (about 1-inch so steam can escape). Simmer gently, stirring occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn (replace the lid ajar). If the chili becomes too thick at any point, stir in a little water. Cook until the meat is meltingly tender and the chili has thickened to desired consistency, about 3-3 ½ hours.
- Add beans: Stir in the drained kidney beans and continue to cook for 15 minutes.
- Adjust to taste: Remove the bay leaves and adjust to taste with additional salt and/or chipotle chili pepper, cayenne pepper or hot sauce. For additional salt, I like to season with additional granulated beef bouillon instead.
- Serve: Serve with desired toppings such as cheese, sour cream, cilantro, green onions, tortilla chips, jalapenos, etc.
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