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Chili Con Carne

This Chili Con Carne recipe has tender cuts of beef that simmer slowly in a flavorful  sauce. It can be made with or without beans and can be served with sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, and more!

Be sure to try this with a side of homemade cornbread!

A white bowl filled with Chili Con Carne with cheese and sour cream.

Chili Con Carne

Is there anything more cozy than a big ol’ batch of Chili Con Carne? I think not. The name of this dish translates to “chili with meat“, and it originated in San Antonio Texas.

Since there is so much emphasis on the meat  here, I like to make this with hearty chunks of beef. (A variety of cuts work well here, more on that below!)

Unlike my easy chili recipe (which is made with ground beef and takes about an hour to make), this chili simmers and reduces over the course of several hours on the stovetop to reduce it down and concentrate its flavors.

Beans are a controversial add-on in chili recipes, my preference is to add just one can of kidney beans to give the chili added flavor and texture. If you’re a bean lover, feel free to use 2 cans. If not, feel free to skip the beans altogether!

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Season and sear the meat on each side until just browned on the outside, leave the middle red and cold. Transfer to a plate. Deglaze the pot with beer and reduce for 7-8 minutes.

A plate of cooked beef next to a pot with beer being poured into it.

Soften the onions and peppers in the remaining beer with butter. Then add the garlic, brown sugar, tomato paste, masa harina, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Stir to combine and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. 

Cooking onions and peppers next to a pot with sauce being added to vegetables.

Add the beef broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the beef back along with any juices from the plate.

Adding beef broth and beef to make Chili Con Carne.

Simmer, uncovered, for 3 – 3 ½  hours, or until desired thickness is obtained. Add the drained kidney beans and heat through for 10-15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and serve!

Adding kidney beans to a pot of Chili Con Carne

Best Cuts of Meat for Chili Con Carne

Since this meat is handled with care, (i.e. we don’t boil it, it’s cooked low and slow after being seared), the cuts of meat are very forgiving and any kind of meat from sirloin to stew meat will work here. 

  • Tender Cuts of Meat: Strip Steak, Sirloin, Flank, Ribeye, Tenderloin.
  • Tougher Cuts of Meat:  Chuck Roast, Rump Roast, Brisket. (Best suited for slow cooking.)

Do You Rinse Kidney Beans for Chili

  • You’ll want to drain the kidney beans, but rinsing them is optional. Doing so will reduce the amount of sodium that gets carried into the dish.
  • I choose to let mine sit in the strainer for awhile, but I don’t rinse them.

Make Ahead Method

  • This is a recipe that tastes even better the next day, so it’s a perfect make-ahead recipe.
  • Feel free to cook it for all or for part of the indicated cooking time and reheat it on the stove top 1-2 days later.

Pro Tips

  • Beer: Stick to a variety of beer that you enjoy drinking on its own. Pale Ale is a great choice. Bud light can even be used
  • Beer Substitute: If you can’t/don’t cook with beer, add about ¼ cup beef broth and use the liquid to “clean” the pot after searing the meat, then proceed  with adding the onions/peppers as outlined.
  • The longer this simmers, the thicker it will get. This starts off very soupy, but thickens and reduces over the course of several hours. The flavors blend during this time as well, it transforms slowly but surely.
  • Stove Top Only: This recipe cooks uncovered on the stove top for several hours in order to reduce, concentrate, and thicken it. This cannot be replicated in a crock pot as the end result would resemble a soup.
  • Masa Harina: This acts as a thickener in the chili and is optional. I like to use it because it adds a hint of corn flavor to the chili. You can find it in the ethnic aisle at the grocery store. Corn flour can also be used.
  • I use Frank’s hot sauce for this recipe.
  • Spice Lovers: If you like heat, I would double or triple the hot sauce and use a little more cayenne/red pepper flakes as well as 1/2 tbsp additional chili powder. Consider adding additional spice gradually and tasting until desired level is obtained.
  • Sides: Cornbread, Cheddar Bay Biscuits, Buttermilk Biscuits, and rice are great side dish choices to serve alongside this recipe.
  • Topping Options: Sour Cream, Cilantro, Green Onions, Shredded Cheese, Diced Avocado, and Lime Wedges.

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Leftover chili makes a great freezer food. 

A Dutch oven filled with Chili Con Carne with shredded cheese, sour cream, and a ladle.

Tools For This Recipe

(Amazon affiliate links)- Check out all of my kitchen essentials here.

  • Le Creuset 4.5 quart Dutch Oven – This is the one that I use and it’s great for making chili and soups, as it conducts heat very well. A regular soup pot may also be used as long as it’s at least 4.5 quarts.
  • Kitchen Tongs– For handling the meat during searing. 
  • Silicone Spatula– Be sure to run a silicone spatula underneath the chili throughout cooking to lift any ingredients that may settle to the bottom.
  • Measuring Spoons I have these magnetic ones which stay nice and organized in my utensil drawer.
  • Pinch Bowls for measuring out seasonings ahead of time.
  • Chefs Knife– I have this one. It’s high quality and affordable.

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Chili Con Carne in a white bowl with shredded cheese and sour cream on top.

Chili Con Carne

5 from 5 ratings
This Chili Con Carne recipe has tender cuts of beef that simmer slowly in a flavorful sauce. Make it with or without beans and serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, and more!

Ingredients

For the Beef

  • 3 lbs. boneless beef chuck, cut into chunks. See notes.
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed

Chili

  • 12 oz. beer, See notes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina, optional. See notes.
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 10 oz. diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 16 oz. kidney beans, drained. See notes.

Seasonings

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Add the seasonings to a small bowl. Stir until combined and set aside.
  • Pat the meat completely dry and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and 2 teaspoons of the seasoning mixture. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with flour and toss again.
  • Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot (4.5 quarts or larger), over medium-high heat. Sear the meat in batches, leaving room around the meat to obtain a crisp sear around the edges. (Otherwise it will steam). Sear each batch for 1- 1 ½ minutes, tossing periodically. Remove and set aside. The middle should be uncooked.
  • Add the beer and use a silicone spatula to clean the bottom and the sides of the pot, this will add more flavor to the chili. Let it bubble and reduce by about half, 7-8 minutes. Add butter, onions and peppers and soften for 5 minutes.
  • Add the remaining seasonings, garlic, brown sugar, tomato paste, masa harina, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Stir to combine and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, beef broth, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Add the meat back along with any juices from the plate.
  • Simmer gently for 3 – 3 ½ hours, uncovered. Run a silicone spatula along the bottom of the pot periodically to lift anything that may settle to the bottom. (The chili will start off looking like a soup, but it will thicken and concentrate as it simmers. )
  • Simmer until desired consistency is nearly obtained. Stir in the drained kidney beans and heat through for 10-15 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust any seasonings as needed. (Wait until it’s done simmering to ensure the flavors have sufficiently melded before making any adjustments.) Feel free to add a little more brown sugar, spice, salt, etc. (I never adjust but feel free to do so!)
  • Remove the bay leaves. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and cilantro!

Notes

Make Ahead Method
  • This is a recipe that tastes even better the next day, so it's a perfect make-ahead recipe.
  • Feel free to cook it for all or for part of the indicated cooking time and reheat it on the stove top 1-2 days later.

Pro Tips:
  • Beer: Stick to a variety of beer that you enjoy drinking on its own. Pale Ale is a great choice. Bud light can even be used
  • Beer Substitute: If you can’t/don’t cook with beer, add about ¼ cup beef broth and use the liquid to “clean” the pot after searing the meat, then proceed  with adding the onions/peppers as outlined.
  • Peppers: A variety of pepper choices are great in this recipe. I stuck to ones that I typically have on hand, but other options include poblano and serrano.
  • Masa Harina: This acts as a thickener in the chili and is optional. I like to use it because it adds a hint of corn flavor to the chili.  You can find it in the ethnic aisle at the grocery store. Corn flour can also be used.
  • I use Frank's hot sauce for this recipe.
  • Spice Lovers: If you like heat, I would double or triple the hot sauce and use a little more cayenne/red pepper flakes as well as 1/2 tbsp additional chili powder. Consider adding additional spice gradually and tasting until desired level is obtained.
  • Sides: Cornbread, Cheddar Bay Biscuits, Buttermilk Biscuits, and rice are great side dish choices to serve alongside this recipe.
  • Topping Options: Sour Cream, Cilantro, Green Onions, Shredded Cheese, Diced Avocado, and Lime Wedges.

Nutritional information is an estimate and is per serving. There are 6 servings in this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 724kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 57g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 16g, Trans Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 167mg, Sodium: 1649mg, Potassium: 1928mg, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 1928IU, Vitamin C: 44mg, Calcium: 187mg, Iron: 12mg
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14 comments on “Chili Con Carne”

  1. I have not tried this recipe but I intend to soon!!!   It sounds delicious   How can I do this in a pressure cooker if so how?   I am excited to try because I love chili and I’ve been following you and your recipes never disappoint  

  2. Cooking has been a leading passion in my life since age 12. I am now 65. This recipe was easily the best meal I’ve had this year and probably the best chili recipe I’ve tasted ever. Don’t be shy about all of the heat. It absolutely work’s especially with a dollop of sour cream. Good job!  Btw the cheddar bay biscuits are essential to this meal. 

    • I’m so happy to hear such great comments Catherine! Making this with cheddar bay biscuits is so perfect, I agree! Thanks so much for the wonderful comments and review, it’s very much appreciated!💖

  3. This recipe was SO good!

  4. If I need to triple this recipe for a crowd, does it effect the cooking time? 

    • Hi Sarah! It will need longer to reduce and concentrate mostly likely, since evaporation needs to occur. The amount of extra time really depends on the size of the cooking vessel and how much surface area there is for the liquid to evaporate. The meat itself won’t need more cooking time though, so you can base it off of consistency and taste as you go!

  5. I made this recipe for my family tonight and let me tell you it did not disappoint!  We had it with biscuits and everyone was happy and we have leftovers for lunch and some for the freezer!   Last night we had Chicken in a white wine sauce with the mashed potatoes (pg 208 in cookbook). Amazing!!! My husband said this is the first cookbook that was worth investing in! We even bought a cookbook for my mom because she loves to cook as well and has tasted a few recipes!  Happy cooking, you will not be disappointed!!!

    • I’m so happy to hear such great comments Christine, thanks so much! Sounds like such a great meal with biscuits, yummmm! I’m extra happy to hear that you’re enjoying the cookbook, thanks so much for your support!💗💗💗

  6. Ahhhhh man this is good stuff. I followed your directions precisely and it was tantalizing to say the least. I used sirloin and Bud Light because I had both already on hand. I let is simmer for the full time you suggested and it reduced to a very thick consistency which is how we like it. My wife made up some of your cornbread to go along with it and the family cleaned the pot! I wish I had leftovers to try it tomorrow but next time I’m going to double the recipe so there’s hopefully some left. I don’t usually leave reviews but this was beyond good! Thanks.
    PS. We are bean people. Two cans…Perfection!!!!

  7. Loved this recipe, both my husband and I had two helpings at dinner. Loved your tips for prep. Easy to follow recipe. Will definitely put in rotation.

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