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This easy Chili Con Carne recipe works well on the stovetop or in the slow cooker for a simple, cozy and healthy dinner that suits your busy life!

Overhead image of bowl of Chili Con Carne with a side of cornbread

It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy warm, hearty bowls of soup that are full of nutritious and satisfying ingredients. When the weather is cool, Chili Con Carne makes a regular appearance on our weekly meal plan because it checks all of the boxes! It’s easy, it can be prepared in advance, it’s healthy, and it’s one of those rare dinners that everyone in my family can agree on!

Whether you choose to simmer a pot on your stovetop or set it in the Crock Pot, this simple Chili Con Carne recipe will soon become a staple in your busy fall routine as well!

What does Chili Con Carne Mean?

“Chili Con Carne” translates to “chili with meat,” and is often simply called “chili” in America.

What is in Chili Con Carne?

This classic spicy stew typically includes meat, chilies or chili powder, tomatoes and beans, along with additional seasonings such as onion, garlic, or cumin.

It’s a meal that many of us grew up on, and it has stood the test of time for a reason. The easy comfort food is delicious!

Pot of chili con carne

How to Make Chili Con Carne:

This chilli con carne can be prepared in a Crock Pot or on the stovetop. I’m showing you the stovetop instructions here, but the slow cooker option is included in the recipe below.

Chili ingredients:

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ground beef
  • Diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and ketchup
  • Beans
  • Chili powder, salt and a bay leaf

Ground beef onion and garlic for chili con carne

First, sauté the chopped onion in olive oil until the edges start to caramelize (about 5 minutes). Then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Cooked onion in pot

Stir in the ground beef and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Drain off the fat, and return the beef mixture to the pot (or place it in the slow cooker).

Cooked ground beef with onion in pot

Now it’s time for the good stuff! This Chili Con Carne recipe has a rich tomato base that includes diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and even ketchup, so it’s important to use the best tomatoes available!

I prefer Redpack Tomatoes because they are family-owned and sustainably grown on Midwest family farms. The tomatoes are steam packed fresh, non-GMO Project Verified and come packed in Non-BPA/BPS lined cans. The Redpack family is passionate about quality, which means that you get the freshest, best-tasting tomatoes on the market.

Of course, the best tomatoes make THE BEST Chili Con Carne!

Red Pack Tomatoes for Chili Con Carne

The ketchup is one of my favorite sneaky additions to this dish. Many chili recipes call for brown sugar to cut the acidity in the tomatoes and give the meal a subtle sweet taste; however, the ketchup is even better. You get that hint of sweetness that tastes so good, along with an added dose of rich tomato flavor!

What spices are in Chili Con Carne?

In addition to the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and ketchup, you will also add a can of red kidney beans and spices to the pot. I’m keeping it really simple with just chili powder, salt, and a bay leaf.

Beans and spices for chili con carne

Give everything a good stir to combine, and place a lid on top.

Stirring together chili con carne ingredients in pot with wooden spoon

The Chili Con Carne simmers on the stovetop for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours, or in the slow cooker on LOW for about 4-6 hours. It’s a convenient prep-ahead option for those busy nights when you’re juggling homework, sports practices, and other family commitments.

There’s just nothing better than walking into the house at the end of the day, only to be greeted by the zesty aroma of a warm meal ready to be served!

Close up image of ladle with chili con carne

How to Serve Chili Con Carne:

I typically serve our chili with a side of cornbread (which you can also prepare in advance). The dish is equally good, however, with corn chips. Crush the corn chips on top of your bowl for a crunchy addition to the meal, or use them to scoop up your chili instead of a spoon. Trust me — you’ll love the combination!

If you’re hosting a party, offer a “Chili Bar” and let your guests serve themselves. Set out all of the different toppings, leave the Chili Con Carne in the pot, and allow everyone to prepare their own bowls. It’s an easy, casual way to entertain without stress!

And of course, when serving Chili Con Carne, don’t forget the toppings! There are endless options, so just choose a few of your favorites. Good toppings include: fresh cilantro, sliced green onions or chives, minced red onion, grated cheese, sour cream, and diced avocado or guacamole.

Bowl of Chili Con Carne with grated cheese and slice of cornbread

Can you freeze Chili Con Carne?

Absolutely! This is the perfect freezer meal! Prepare a batch, allow it to cool to room temperature, and then package in airtight containers. It will keep well in the freezer for at least 2 months.

Overhead image of chili con carne with fresh cilantro

COOK’S TIPS AND RECIPE VARIATIONS:

  • This is a chili recipe with ground beef, but you can substitute with an equal amount of ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer.
  • Fresh herbs or chopped onions on top of the chili add a bright burst of flavor that contrasts nicely with the rich, hearty stew.
  • Try garnishing with sour cream or grated cheese for a cool, creamy texture.
  • You can prepare the chili in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months!
  • To make meal prep faster, try browning the beef mixture over the weekend (or the night before) and keeping the cooked beef in your refrigerator. On the day that you’re ready to cook your chili, you will just need to stir all of the ingredients together in your slow cooker or pot — no prep work necessary!
  • Want a chili with no beans? You can substitute with a can of corn kernels or you can increase the ground beef to 2 pounds.

Hands holding bowl of chili con carne

Even more chili con carne recipes that you might enjoy:

Chili Con Carne

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Calories 255 kcal
This easy Chili Con Carne recipe works well on the stovetop or in the slow cooker for a simple, healthy and cozy dinner that suits your busy life!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon finely minced or grated garlic
  • 1 ½ lbs. (24 ounces) lean ground beef
  • 1 (28 ounce) can Redpack diced tomatoes, NOT drained
  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup) Redpack tomato sauce
  • ½ cup Redpack ketchup
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Optional: dash of cayenne pepper
  • Optional, for serving: cornbread; corn chips; cheese; sour cream; sliced green onions/chives; cilantro; avocado; diced red onion

Instructions

For the Stovetop:

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook about 5 minutes or until it begins to caramelize around the edges. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute. Add the beef and brown all over, breaking up the meat as you go, about 5-7 more minutes. Drain fat and return beef mixture to the pot.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer, covered, on low heat for about 1-1 ½ hours.
  • Remove bay leaf. Ladle the chili into bowls and garnish with optional toppings.

For the Slow Cooker:

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook about 5 minutes or until it begins to caramelize around the edges. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute. Add the beef and brown all over, breaking up the meat as you go, about 5-7 more minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Drain fat.
  • Transfer the beef mixture to a slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or HIGH for 2-3 hours.
  • Remove the bay leaf. Ladle the chili into bowls and garnish with optional toppings.

Notes

Can you freeze Chili Con Carne?
Absolutely! This is the perfect freezer meal! Prepare a batch of Chili Con Carne, allow it to cool to room temperature, and then package in airtight containers. It will keep well in the freezer for at least 2 months.
COOK'S TIPS AND RECIPE VARIATIONS:
  • This is a Chili Con Carne recipe with ground beef, but you can substitute with an equal amount of ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer.
  • Fresh herbs or chopped onions on top of the chili add a bright burst of flavor that contrasts nicely with the rich, hearty stew.
  • Try garnishing with sour cream or grated cheese for a cool, creamy texture.
  • You can prepare the Chili Con Carne in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months!
  • To make meal prep faster, try browning the beef mixture over the weekend (or the night before) and keeping the cooked beef in your refrigerator. On the day that you're ready to cook your Chili Con Carne, you will just need to stir all of the ingredients together in your slow cooker or pot -- no prep work necessary!
  • Want a Chili Con Carne with no beans? You can substitute with a can of corn kernels or you can increase the ground beef to 2 pounds.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 255kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 24gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 796mgPotassium: 913mgFiber: 6gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 635IUVitamin C: 14.8mgCalcium: 69mgIron: 5.4mg
Keyword: chili con carne, chili con carne recipe with ground beef, slow cooker chili
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just tried this in the crockpot tonight, and it was a big hit with the whole family! Thank you for having clear and easy to follow directions, not to mention, great taste!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I did not use a bayleaf, but did add some extra seasonings. Also, I substituted the 28 oz can of tomatos with diced tomatos with garlic and other spices like oregano. The chili was absolutely delicious!!! 🙂 Thanks for showing us recipes that are amazing, yet don’t require extensive time. 🙂