Chili con carne, meaning “chili with meat” and commonly known as simply “chili”, is a spicy stew containing chili peppers, meat (usually beef), and often tomatoes and beans. It is one of the best dishes to serve to friends for a casual get-together.

Chili con carne or chilli con spices: meaning “chili with meat” and commonly known as simply “chili“, is a spicy stew containing chilli peppers, meat (usually beef), and often tomatoes and beans. Other seasonings may include garlic, onions, and cumin. Geographic and personal tastes involve different types of meat and ingredients.

In Spanish, the word chile from the Nahuatl chīlli refers to a “chili pepper”, and carne is Spanish for “meat”. A recipe dating back to the 1850s describes dried beef, suet, dried chili peppers, and salt, which were pounded together, formed into bricks, and left to dry, which could then be boiled in pots on the trail.

For the origin of chili con carne, most people would say, “Mexico!” Surprisingly, they would be half wrong. Although the exact origins are not known for sure, this dish originates from the southern United States, more precisely northern Mexico and southern Texas. Unlike some other Texas foods, which is associated with white men, chili largely originated with working-class and Mexican women. There are many theories about the creation of the dish, each one just as plausible as the others, so here are some versions :

  • Created in San Antonio, Texas, at the beginning of the 19th century, it was initially just a simple stew with chili peppers sold by chili queens who were, in fact, women who cooked huge quantities of chili at home before going to the public market to sell individual portions at a lower cost.
  • Created by Texan prisoners once they left prison as they would have had to eat chili every day in prison since it was not very expensive.

Even if the exact origins of this dish remains a mystery, chili con Carne represents a typical Tex-Mex dish: created in Texas and inspired by Mexican.

Here are some tips for the cooking the chili con carne :

  • For the beans, you can use canned beans but we preferred to cook the beans by ourselves: for that, we’ve soaked the dry red beans with water for 8 hours then we’ve cooked them into a high-pressure cooker from 1h to 1h30.
  • The chili is supposed to be spicy but if you can’t handle the heat you can reduce the amount of diced chili peppers (or even the hot chili pepper powder) or replace it with red peppers.
  • You can replace the water with a beef broth or add to it a bouillon cube for more flavors.
  • Chilli Con Carne can be simmered for just 20 minutes but if you have the time to slow cook for one to two hours, the sauce becomes thicker.
  • Finally, the chili becomes much tastier a day or two after it’s cooked because the flavors develop and the texture becomes richer.

Chili Con Carne

Chili con carne, meaning "chili with meat" and commonly known as simply "chili", is a spicy stew containing chili peppers, meat (usually beef), and often tomatoes and beans. It is one of the best dishes to serve to friends for a casual get-together.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Chili, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 6 persons
Calories 346 kcal


  • 1 red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 red hot chili pepper
  • 500 g ground beef
  • 500 g tomatoes
  • 400 g red kidney beans
  • 200 g corn
  • 500 ml water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp white wheat flour
  • 2 tsp hot pepper powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf


  • Prepare and wash all the ingredients.
  • Chop the onion into small dice, about 5mm square.
    Peel and finely mince the garlic cloves.
    Cut the hot chili peppers in half lengthways, remove stalk and wash the seeds away, then chop.
  • In a large pan, add the oil and leave it for 2 minutes over a medium heat.
    Add the onions and minced garlic and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until they're soft and translucent.
    Add the hot chili peppers and the flour, then cook it for another 1-2 minutes.
    Add the spices: hot chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt.
    Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn up the heat up, add the meat to the pot and break it up with a spatula.
    Keep stirring and prodding for at least 5 minutes, until all the mince is in uniform and there are no more pink bits.M
    ake sure you keep the heat hot enough for the meat to fry and become brown, rather than just stew.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, the tomato paste, the bay leaf and stir the sauce well.
    Add the red kidney beans and corns to the chili pot.
    Add the water then brings it to aboil, and gently bubble without the lid for 2-3 minutes.
    Place the lid, reduce the heat and let it cook for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture is rich and thickened.
    Taste a bit of the chilli and season. It will probably take a lot more seasoning than you think. Now replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave your chilli to stand for 10 minutes before serving, and relax. Leaving your chilli to stand is really important as it allows the flavours to mingle and the meat.
  • Sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro leaves, garnish with lime wedges and serve.
Keyword Beef, Chili, Kidney beans, Stew
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 bowl
Servings Per Container 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 346 Calories from Fat 104.4
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11.6g 18%
Saturated Fat 2.8g 14%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 74mg 25%
Sodium 679mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 29.2g 10%
Dietary Fiber 7.2g 29%
Sugars 6.7g
Protein 32.7g 65%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.