This Easy Chili Con Carne is an absolute cinch to make! It’s rich, hearty and flavorful, even without beans! Leftovers are AMAZING–whip up a batch of this chili then make my Chili Con Carne Nachos the next day!
Hearty, comforting dishes are the name of my game as the weather turns cooler. I love cozy dishes that have that all-day cooked taste, WITHOUT taking ALL DAY to make! Some of my quick and easy faves are Instant Pot Beef Tips, this Red Chicken Chili (super quick!), or a warm, comforting soup like this Easy Vegetable Beef Soup.
This homemade hot dog sauce makes AMAZING chili dogs for game day or casual entertainment!
If you want your house to smell AMAZING all day look, cook up my low and slow Old Fashioned Pot Roast!
Everyone has their own version of chili and although some people may have strong opinions on which one is the best, I really feel like you can’t go wrong with chili!!!
I will tell you though, when I came up with this version, I got ONE bowl of it…while I was taste-tasting the recipe. My family ate the ENTIRE pot before I could get another bowl. And don’t forget the toppings! Check out these 50+ Best Toppings for Chili!
I think your family will love it as much as mine 🙂
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Super easy–basically just dump and go!
- Can be made on the stovetop or in the crockpot.
- Leftovers are fantastic and make amazing nachos!
- Family-friendly and can feed a crowd!
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious Chili con Carne without beans:
Ground Beef: I like to use a combination of lean + more fatty beef for this recipe. I usually do 1 lb. of 85% lean and 1lb. of 90% lean. It is really up to you, but this combination is a great balance!
Beer: Dark, richer ale beers work best for chili. Examples would be Guinness, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Anchor Steam. Just stay away from lighter “Lager-style” beers like Budweiser, Coors, etc.
Canned Whole Tomatoes: If you can, opt for canned whole San Marzano tomatoes. They are a bit sweet and are less acidic than regular whole Roma tomatoes. If you can’t find San Marzanos, no worries! Regular whole peeled tomatoes work just fine.
Beef Stock: I love using beef STOCK or Beef Bone Broth vs. regular beef broth in this recipe because of the rich flavor. If you can’t find either, you can deepen the flavor with beef broth + two beef bullion cubes.
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Brown up your ground beef in a large pot or dutch oven.
Step 2: Add in onion and cook a few minutes more.
Step 3: Add ALL the rest of the ingredients and give everything a big stir. Make sure you crush the whole tomatoes with a spoon or your hands!
Step 4: Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to LOW and simmer chili con carne for about 30 minutes. Taste, and season with salt only if necessary.
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- San Marzano tomatoes typically break apart really easily so you can break them apart with a wooden spoon (or your hands). If you happen to see any larger pieces, kitchen shears also work great to break them up.
- Canned tomatoes (depending on the brand) have different salt levels. This is why I recommend tasting the chili at the end and salting a bit more ONLY if needed. Keep in mind as well, if you are serving this chili with salty tortilla chips or corn chips, this will also add in additional saltiness.
- Used your cup of beer and don’t know what to do with the rest??! I always use Guinness for this recipe and make this Chocolate Guinness Cake with the leftover beer! You WILL NOT be sorry!!
STORAGE & REHEATING
Leftovers: You can store leftovers right in the pot with a tight-fitting lid, in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, just add a splash of beef broth to the pan and heat it over medium heat until warmed through.
You can also store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheat in the microwave on full power for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
Leftover are also AMAZING to make Chili Con Carne Nachos!!
Freezing: This chili freezes up great. Cool completely, then freeze leftovers in a freezer bag or freezer safe, air tight container. Just thaw, then reheat in the microwave or on the stove over medium heat. Add a splash of beef stock to thin it out a bit, if needed.
ADDITIONS & SUBSTITUTIONS
Cayenne pepper: For a little spice, start with 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper and adjust up as needed. A few dashes of your favorite hot sauce also works.
Beans: I prefer my chili con carne without beans, however if you like beans NO PROBLEM! Throw in a couple of cans of kidney or black beans (drained and rinsed) in at the end!
Veggies: Adding veggies to this chili is a great way to bulk it up and get your veggies in! Bells peppers, zucchini and corn all work well. Throw them in when you add in the onions.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The meal “chili” can refer to so many STYLES of this stew-like dish! Typically “chili” includes meat, beans and chili flavoring (usually from chili powder or a blend of chili powder and other spices). However, there are vegetarian chilis, white chilis, Texas style chilis….pretty much every variation you can imagine!
“Chili con Carne” just means “chili with meat.” Traditional chili con carne is typically very basic and includes beef, beans, chili powder and a tomato based sauce.
The toppings are king with chili!! Here are my go-to toppings:
Sour Cream/Greek Yogurt
Grated Cheddar Cheese
As for a “side dish,” chili truly stands on it’s own but Garlic Bread, cornbread and tortillas are great on the side for dipping!
YESSS! It’s a great slow cooker meal! Instructions are easy:
1. Brown meat and onions in a large skillet or pan (just like the stovetop instructions).
2. Transfer browned meat and onions to the crockpot.
3. Add all other ingredients.
4. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
Ground bison would be a great option if you can find one that isn’t super lean (90% lean or less). Otherwise, the meat tends to try out if there isn’t a higher fat content. I am a huge fan of ground bison. You can read more about the benefits in my Bison Bolegense recipe post.
Otherwise, yes, you CAN substitute chicken or turkey, but I do not recommend it as you will not get the same rich flavor that comes with beef (or bison).
Yes, easily! Simply substitute the beer for another cup of beef stock and leave out the brown sugar! Boom, keto friendly chili con carne!
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OTHER RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
Easy Chili Con Carne (no beans)
- 2 lbs. ground beef chuck See Note 1
- 1 large onion, diced about 2 cups
- 2 tbsp chili powder any brand
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika sweet paprika is fine, too
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup full-bodied beer See Note 2
- 1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes crushed by hand or with a wooden spoon (See Note 3) San Marzano, if possible
- 1 cup beef stock or beef bone broth
- Chili Toppings: Sour Cream/Greek Yogurt, Grated Cheddar Cheese, sliced jalapeños, green onions, cilantro, Fritos/tortilla chips, avocado, red onion radishes, lime, hot sauce optional
- In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, brown meat, breaking it up with a spoon as you go (about 3-4 minutes). Pro Tip: during the last half of browning the meat, use a potato mashers to get the meat into super fine bits)!
- Add onion, stir and cook 2 minutes more.
- Add ALL remaining ingredients (minus the toppings). Give the chili a big stir, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to LOW. Simmer 30-40 minutes. Taste, and season with salt, if needed. Serve with desired toppings!