Hearty Homemade Chili Con Carne

This delicious homemade chili con carne recipe is made with ground beef and simmered on the stovetop to develop a full, rich, flavour that could modestly be called award-winning. After years of testing-till-perfecting, I can truly say this is the best chili recipe ever.
chili with ground beef in a pot and a bowl

The Secret to Award-Winning Chili Con Carne

Today, I bring you my best chili recipe.  I make it frequently, and every time I think to myself, “I’ve REALLY got to write this down!” but it’s always been one of those things I just throw together.  This time though, I made it with intention, writing measurements meticulously, and my hubby said it was the best ever.

If there were an award to win, this chili con carne recipe would be crowned.

The direct heat from the stovetop allows the flavours to really deepen and it makes for an incredibly rich and flavourful homemade chili.

It looks like a lot of chili powder. It is a lot of chili powder. But that’s what makes it the best ever.  It’s deep and rich and flavourful.

I buy the No-Name chili powder at Superstore in Canada. It’s not fancy looking, but it’s my fave.  And it’s cheap, which is nice, because I use so much of it.  You might want to start with ½ cup if you’re using a different brand, as they vary in spiciness and amount of salt.

We ate our leftover chili on oven fries baked with sour cream and cheese. SUPER yum.

chili con carne recipe | www.foodess.com

What’s the Difference Between Chili and Chili Con Carne?

Simply put, chili can be made from chicken, turkey, sweet potato, vegetarian, ground round, corn, beans – there truly are just about endless possibilities.

Chili con carne, however is made with meat; ‘con carne’ translates directly from Spanish to ‘with meat’. Most commonly, chili con carne is made with ground beef, but there’s again a number of possibilities to opt for other types of ground meat.

What’s the Best Meat for Chili?

In my opinion, beef is hands down the best meat for chili. I suggest using regular ground beef (as opposed to lean or extra lean) for more flavour and richness.

Remember, we’re making award-winning chili here; not just regular old chili.

Don’t both with more expensive varieties of beef like ground chuck or sirloin, as the difference will be imperceptible with all of the spices.

What Makes Chili Thick?

Starting with browned tomato paste for the tomato component adds rich tomatoey flavour without adding too much liquid. Keeping the amount of liquids to a minimum is important for a thick chili, as the ingredients (onions, beef, etc.) will release a fair bit of moisture themselves. The hefty amount of chili powder in this recipe also contributes to its hearty thickness.

If you’ve added too much liquid, a long simmer will thick up a runny chili, just be sure to stir frequently so the bottom doesn’t scorch.

Hearty Chili Con Carne

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Servings 8


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeno finely chopped
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2-3 tsp kosher salt divided use
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¾ cup chili powder blend of spices, not ground red chile
  • 156 mL tomato paste
  • 2 19- oz cans black beans
  • 2 19- oz cans kidney beans
  • 4 cups diced tomato
  • 3 cups filtered water


  • Cook onions over medium heat  until golden, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño, cook 1 minute more, until fragrant.
  • Add beef and season with 1 tsp salt, pepper and chili powder. Cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink inside. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, until it turns a shade darker.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or longer.

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