Savory, deeply flavored Chili con Carne is a spicy, filling, crave-worthy classic! Fall-apart tender chunks of beef chuck are cooked to perfection in a hearty broth of tomatoes, beer, and a delicious blend of spices.
Wholesome Chili Con Carne with Lager and Chipotle
If you like regular chili with ground beef, you are going to devour this hearty, stick-to-your-ribs chili con carne! It’s fragrant with spices like cumin, coriander, and even cinnamon, and given extra depth from lager beer and chipotle sauce.
Plus, it’s versatile! Whether you like your chili hot or mild, this is the recipe for you. You can also choose to add beans (I do), or to leave them out – and lots of other options.
You may have had chili con carne before, but trust me. This recipe is the best chili recipe I have ever tried. Not biased at all! 😉 And, although it’s complex and full-bodied, it’s not complicated to make! This recipe is super easy, and makes for a wonderful lunch or dinner.
What’s the Difference Between Chili and Chili con Carne?
Regular chili can be made in a lot of ways, although it typically contains a highly spiced, tomato-based broth or gravy, and some kind of meat. Ground beef is probably the most popular, but ground turkey and ground sausage are also common. Chili also includes mix-ins, depending on the recipe, ranging from beans to corn, to butternut squash! It’s a very flexible dish that has come to include a lot of variations.
Chili con carne, though, is a more traditional recipe. It’s made simply, with two main ingredients: chilies and meat. In fact, chili con carne literally translates to “chilies with meat!” The meat in question is almost always chunks of beef roast, such as chuck. And, while some recipes (including this one) include some beans and veggies, many do not. Some chili con carne recipes don’t even include tomatoes! This is a rustic, scaled-down, heavy, filling recipe.
What You’ll Need
The main ingredient in this chili is the beef, so you’ll want to get a really good cut. Here’s the complete rundown of what you’ll need, beef and all. (Note: for the printable recipe with amounts and nutrition info, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.)
For the Seasoning
I make my own seasoning blend for this recipe. It’s easy to do, and tastes incredible! All you need is a handful of basic spices that you probably already have on hand.
- Chili Powder: Basic chili powder is the base of the spice blend.
- Paprika: Smoked paprika is my favorite, for that extra hint of smoky flavor.
- Garlic and Onion Powder: Easy to use and full of intense flavor.
- Cumin: Ground cumin is another staple in Tex-Mex cuisine. Make sure it is not expired, or it will not be as flavorful.
- Coriander: Ground coriander is a fragrant, almost floral spice that adds so much depth and interest to the chili seasoning!
- Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon warms and slightly sweetens the mix, making this recipe oh-so-comforting.
For the Chili
- Olive Oil: For browning and sauteing.
- Beef: For this recipe, I really recommend chuck roast. It’s just so flavorful, and cooks up so moist and tender. Trim away any excess fat, and cut it into 1-inch cubes.
- Salt and Pepper
- Onions: Chop up some yellow onion (or white onion, red onion, or sweet onion).
- Peppers: There are three types of pepper in this dish: jalapeno peppers (with the ribs and seeds removed), a diced bell pepper (any color), and chipotle peppers.
- Garlic: Minced up some fresh garlic to give the chili extra fragrance and flavor.
- Chipotle Sauce: From the can of chipotle peppers.
- Tomato Paste: Tomato paste deepens and enriches the chili.
- Tomatoes: I like to use canned (or boxed) crushed tomatoes, but you could also use diced tomatoes, or whole tomatoes broken up.
- Broth: Low sodium beef broth is my go-to, but regular beef broth or homemade beef stock is also fine.
- Beer: A bottle of lager beer adds so much flavor!
- Beans: Rinse and drain canned kidney beans, before using.
For Thickening (Optional)
- Cornstarch and Cold Water: To make a slurry.
Let’s Make Some Chili con Carne!
While this recipe is fairly straightforward, you’ll want to read through it a couple times to familiarize yourself with it before getting started. You’ll also want to set aside enough time for the chili to cook. It can take up to two and a half hours to get the meat tender.
- Make the Seasoning Mix. Combine the chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, and cinnamon in a small bowl, mixing well with a spoon to combine.
- Brown the Beef. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a large Dutch oven (or a big, heavy soup pot) over medium-high heat. Add the cubed beef to the pot, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown the beef on all sides. Then remove the beef from the pot, and set it aside on a covered plate.
- Cook Veggies. Add more olive oil to the pot, and start cooking the onions. Once the onions are softened, stir in the diced jalapeno and diced bell pepper. Cook all of that for about 3 minutes, and then stir in the garlic, chipotle peppers, and chipotle sauce. Season with about one tablespoon of the prepared seasoning mix. Cook for 1 minute to release the fragrance of the spices, and then stir in the crushed tomatoes. Cook for 1 more minute.
- Combine the Beef and Veggie Mixture. Return the browned beef back to the pot, along with the cooked veggie mixture. Pour in the beef broth and the beer, plus the remaining spice blend. Give everything a good stir and bring the chili con carne to a boil.
- Simmer Until Tender. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover the pot. Simmer the chili con carne for 45 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and stir in the beans, and then cover again. Continue to cook for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, or until the beef is fall-apart tender. Stir the chili con carne occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Finish and Serve. Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust if needed. If you’d like to thicken your chili con carne, then whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, and pour it into the pot. Cook for 1 minute, or until it starts to thicken, and then turn off the heat.
Can I Change How Spicy My Chili Is?
If you aren’t a fan of particularly spicy foods, or if you’re looking for a hotter chile con carne, dish, feel free to change the amount and type of peppers and spices. 🌶 Adding cayenne powder or extra jalapeño is a good way to kick up the heat, while omitting the jalapeno and chipotle will help make a milder dish.
Tips for Success
If you’re feeling hungry, you’re in good company! There’s nothing like a good bowl of homemade chili. But before you start cooking, let me share a few tips that can help you on your way to a great meal.
- Seasoning: If you prefer, feel free to buy chili seasoning at the store instead of making your own! You’ll need enough seasoning for about 3 pounds of meat.
- Chili Thickness: If your chili is too thick, add some broth to water it down a bit without losing flavor.
- Burnt Chili: If some of the beef scorches on the bottom of the pan, don’t scrape it off. Doing so will result in little flaky bits of it in your chili. Just carefully transfer the unscorched chili to a clean pot, and continue cooking at a lower heat.
Easy Serving Suggestions
This chili is super filling on its own, but here are a few ideas to round out your dinner menu. From toppings to sides to creative twists on plain chili, here are some yummy serving ideas to try:
- Toppings for Chili: Sour cream, shredded cheese, crushed crackers or corn chips, and even chopped pickle are all fabulous toppings for a hot bowl of chili. Or, try a topping of homemade Avocado Salsa. It’s fresh, cool, and flavorful!
- Bread: Cornbread is a classic with chili, but my personal favorite is a flaky, tender cheddar biscuit. 👌 Try these easy Air Fryer Red Lobster Biscuits. But, fair warning: they are addictive!
- Chili as a Topping: For a delicious twist, top your pasta, hot dogs, mashed potatoes, or Loaded Baked Potatoes with this fabulous chili con carne.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- To store, place the chili in a covered, airtight container in the refrigerator. Consume within 4 days.
- To reheat, heat the chili on the stovetop on low heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s heated throughout.
Can I Freeze Beef Chili?
- Yes! To freeze your chili, put it into covered, airtight containers inside the freezer.
- Consume within 4 to 6 months.
- Thaw in the fridge overnight, before reheating.
Chili con Carne (Beef Chili)
FOR THE SEASONING
FOR THE CHILI
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers, diced (ribs and seeds removed)
- 1 small bell pepper diced (you can use red bell pepper, green, or orange)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 tablespoon chipotle adobo sauce, (from the chipotle peppers can)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 6 cups low sodium beef broth
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) lager beer
- 2 cans (14 ounces each) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
TO THICKEN (optional)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons cold water
- In a small mixing bowl combine the chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onions powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, and cinnamon; mix well and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat.
- Add the cubed beef to the hot oil; season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 4 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Stir occasionally.
- Using a slotted spoon remove the beef from the pot and set it aside on a plate.
- Add remaining olive oil to the pot and set it over medium heat.
- Add the onions to the heated oil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened.
- Stir in the diced jalapeno and diced pepper; continue to cook for 3 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, chipotle peppers, and chipotle sauce; season with 1 tablespoon of the prepared seasoning mix.
- Cook for 1 minute, then stir in the crushed tomatoes, increase heat to medium-high, and continue to cook for 1 more minute.
- Return the browned beef back to the pot.
- Add the beef broth and the beer; stir in the remaining seasoning mix.
- Increase heat and bring to a boil; then, reduce to a simmer and cover. Continue to cook for 45 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Remove lid and stir in the drained beans.
- Cover and continue to cook for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, or until the beef is fall-apart tender. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn the bottom of the pot.
- Taste for salt and pepper; adjust accordingly.
- Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a mixing bowl; pour into the pot, stir and cook for 1 minute, or until the chili starts to thicken.
- Remove pot from heat.