Texas style Chili Con Carne – Bite size pieces of chuck roast are browned then simmered in a homemade thick chili puree until flavors have well developed and beef is perfectly tender. From there you can top it with all your favorite toppings and pair it with tortilla chips or cornbread for the ultimate cozy meal!
Chili Con Carne
Chili con carne is a robust and rich chili made with beef roast that includes deeply flavored Mexican chilies and spices all simmered together in a stew-like dish. This is a Texas style chili and it’s made of mostly beef and chili sauce without lots of added fillers.
It uses a generous amount of browned beef chuck chunks rather than ground hamburger and this really builds up the meaty flavor. Whole dried chilies are used in place of pre-ground store-bought chili powder, and those chilies are toasted in a skillet then soaked in liquid and pureed in a blender to build the base of this hearty chili.
The chili is simmered low and slow on the stovetop for well harmonized depth of flavor and to tenderize the beef.
It’s an impressive made from scratch chili that may seem intimidating at first but once you try it you’ll see it’s easier to make than you’d think.
It’s also a tasty change from the original style chili and you may find tasters to love it even more, especially meat lovers! Plus it could just win your next chili cook off!
Texas Chili Recipe Ingredients and Substitutes
- Dried New Mexico chilies and ancho chilies: You can use other types of dried chilies this is just the blend I prefer (note they’re on the milder end but if sensitive to spice you may find it the chili to have a moderate heat). Anaheim chilies will work for New Mexican and pasilla or guajillo for ancho.
- Low-sodium chicken broth: Beef broth will work fine too. I think store-bought chicken broth just tastes better.
- Beef chuck: Top blade beef can be substituted.
- Olive oil: Vegetable oil will be fine.
- Salt and pepper
- Yellow onion: In a pinch white onion can be used.
- Red bell pepper: Poblano peppers are a tasty option as well. This just adds some natural sweetness, fresh flavor, and it balances all the chili flavors out.
- Jalapeno peppers: I like to add a fair amount for a spicy chili but you can omit if you don’t want a spicy chili. You can also replace with canned chipotle peppers if you want a smokier chili con carne.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is best but in a pinch you can use 1 tsp dried powder.
- Cumin, paprika, coriander, allspice, Mexican oregano: These are the spices used to help build up background flavor. If you can’t find Mexican oregano use Marjoram.
- Cocoa powder: Use unsweetened cocoa powder. Regular or dutch process will be fine, Dutch will just impart a darker color.
- Tomato puree: If needed tomato sauce will work as well, using an equal amount.
Texas Chili Topping Ideas
Just like classic chili you can use any toppings you like. Here are some ideas:
- Sour cream or Mexican crema
- Green onions, yellow or red
- Diced avocado
- Grated cheese (melty cheese such as cheddar, asadero, chihuahua, Monterey etc.)
- Tortilla chips or strips
- Crumbled cooked bacon
- Roasted corn
- Sliced radishes
How to Make Chili Con Carne
- Toast chilies: Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add chilis and let cook on each side until slightly darkened and toasted, about 2 minutes per side.
- Steep chilies: Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes until peppers have softened.
- Puree chilies: Transfer to a blender. Remove center insert from lid and cover blender, then place a folded kitchen towel over top (this allows steam to escape so lid doesn’t burst off from built up excessive trapped heat). Start blending on low speed then slowly increase to high and blend mixture until smooth. Set aside.
- Sear beef, then set aside: Heat 1 Tbsp oil in pot over medium-high heat. Dab roast dry. Working in 3 to 4 batches season with salt and pepper then sear pieces in pot, about 3 minutes on two sides. Transfer pieces to a bowl, and repeat with remaining beef.
- Saute vegetables: Return clean pot to medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and jalapenos. Saute 4 minutes.
- Add spices: Add garlic, cumin, paprika, coriander and allspice and saute 1 minute longer.
- Add liquids, return beef: Pour in tomato puree, chili pepper mixture, Mexican oregano and cocoa powder. Add seared beef and stir.
- Simmer until tender: Bring mixture to a simmer then reduce heat to low (it should maintain a very light simmer). Cook until beef is tender, about 2 to 3 hours while adding more broth to thin as desired and more tomato puree for a thicker consistency and more tomato flavor.
- Season: Season soup to taste with salt and pepper (do this near the end of soup cooking after broth as reduced as the salts will become more concentrated and you may not need to add very much).
Helpful Tips for the Best Texas Chili
- Don’t skip browning the beef as this will really make a difference in overall flavor. Dab it dry before beginning as this will also help it brown better, and don’t move it around as it sears.
- To remove seeds and stems from dried chilies use kitchen shears. I’ve just found this works best to cut the tops, then cut down the side to remove remaining seeds from within.
- Toast the chilies just until lightly charred, they should just have a deeper browned color in places. You don’t want it too deep and dark or the chili will have a burnt taste to it.
- Test a piece of beef for doneness. It should be tender, if it’s not simmer the chili a bit longer.
- Thin the chili with more broth as it cooks to the consistency you prefer. You can also make it saucier with more tomato puree (up to 1 cup more).
- Wait to season chili with salt until near the end of cooking. The salt flavor will become more concentrated as it cooks and the canned ingredients have added salt therefor you shouldn’t need much in the end.
- Bacon chili: You can also add bacon to this chili about 8 to 12 oz. Cook and chop it then add along with the seared beef.
- More vegetables: If you’d like you can sneak more vegetables/fruits in. Adding more bell pepper, diced canned tomatoes, a few carrots, or finish with corn.
- Add beans: If bean chili is your thing you can add 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans during the last 20 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse them before adding.
How do you make slow cooker chili con carne?
- To make Texas chili con carne in a crockpot just follow the recipe through step 7.
- Then from there pour it into the slow cooker (note that you won’t need to add any extra broth as it cooks, it won’t evaporate near as much).
- Cover and cook on low heat until beef is very tender, about 6 to 7 hours.
Where did chili originate?
Some believe chili originated in Mexico with the Aztecs while other food historians believe that chili originated from the Texas-Mexico border. What we know as chili today was the version more likely to originate at the border while the perviously mentioned was likely more of a mole poblano.
Does Texas chili have beans?
No. Authentic Texas chili should not have any beans at all.
More Tasty Ways to Make Chili
- Instant Pot Chili
- Turkey Chili
- Slow Cooker Chili (Award Winning!)
- Vegetarian Chili
- White Chicken Chili (Reader Favorite!)
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Texas Chili Con Carne
- 4 New Mexico chilies, stems and seeds removed (about 5 to 6-inches each)
- 3 Ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed (about 4 inches each)
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, then more as needed
- 4 lbs. boneless beef chuck, cut into bite size cubes (about 1 inch)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 extra large yellow onion, chopped (2.5 cups)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped (1.5 cups)
- 2 to 6 jalapeños, seeds and ribs removed for less heat if desired, diced (optional)*
- 4 garlic cloves, minced (1.5 Tbsp)
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 2 tsp Mexican oregano
- 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups tomato puree, then more as needed
For serving (optional toppings)
- Tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, sour cream, Mexican hot sauce, diced onions (green, purple or yellow)
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add chilies and let cook on each side until slightly darkened and toasted, about 2 minutes per side.
- Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes until peppers have softened.
- Transfer mixture to a blender. Remove center insert from lid and cover blender, then place a folded kitchen towel over top (this allows steam to escape so lid doesn't burst off from built up excessive trapped heat). Start blending on low speed then slowly increase to high and blend mixture until smooth. Set aside.
- Heat 1 Tbsp oil in pot over medium-high heat. Dab roast dry. Working in 3 to 4 batches season with salt and pepper then sear pieces in pot, leaving space between pieces and not over-crowding. Sear about 3 minutes on top and bottom side. Transfer pieces to a bowl, and repeat with remaining beef (can add a little more oil if needed).
- Return clean pot to medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeños. Saute 4 minutes.
- Add garlic, cumin, paprika, coriander and allspice and saute 1 minute longer.
- Pour in tomato puree, chili pepper mixture, Mexican oregano and cocoa powder. Add seared beef and stir.
- Bring mixture to a simmer then reduce heat to low (it should maintain a very light simmer). Cook until beef is tender, about 2 to 3 hours while adding more broth to thin as desired and more tomato puree for a thicker consistency and more tomato flavor.
- Season soup to taste with salt and pepper (do this near the end of soup cooking after broth has reduced as the salts will become more concentrated and you may not need to add very much).
- *In place of jalapeños you can use 2 to 6 canned chipotle chilies with some of their sauce for a smokier flavor. If you want a milder chili don't use jalapeños or chipotle chilies.
- Though beans are not traditional in chili con carne if preferred you can also add in 1 (15 oz) can dark kidney beans during the last 20 minutes of cooking.
- Another option for more meaty flavor is to include 8 oz. cooked bacon adding it when you add the seared beef back.
- Nutrition estimate does not include toppings.