Chili Con Carne.
The Recipe!



There’s something deliciously comforting about a cold night and a warm bowl of chili. The minute the trees begin to rustle I start aching for the kind of food that warms you from the inside out.

I’ve been meaning to put up my chili recipe for years now, but it’s a good thing I didn’t because I keep altering it.  Adding things to it.  Making it better.

To me, chili is at its best when it has layers and layers of heat and flavour.  Different chiles, spices, beans and slow cooking are what’ll get you the best bowl of chili you’ve ever had.

You’ll be gassy enough to make your pajama pants billow out, but sometimes that’s fun.

I think we need to take a moment now to discuss how stupid I am.

For years I ate chili just as it came out of the pot.  And I loved it.  I ate toast or bread with it of course, but everyone does that.  What I WASN’T doing (because I was stupid) was putting toppings on it.  And then one day I did, and I wasn’t stupid anymore.  I could even do math.

I now know that chili without toppings is like doing a crossword puzzle in pencil.  It’s for amateurs.






As every hockey mom knows, chili a great thing to have for dinner because the prep work really only consists of chopping an onion and smashing some garlic.   Then you throw everything into a pot or slow cooker and wait for the house to smell delicious.  RIGHT when it starts to smell delicious, is when you drag the stinkfest of a hockey bag out to the minivan and get to hockey practice. Don’t forget to turn the chili off before going to hockey practice otherwise your house might catch on fire.  Or worse.  You’ll burn the chili.

Chopping an onion is easy enough, but if here’s a reminder on the fastest and easiest way to do it.







When you cook the ground beef DON’T forget to drain the fat from it!  I use lean ground beef and I got just over 3 Tablespoons of fat from it.  That’s 345 calories you got rid of.  86 calories per serving.



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Once you’ve cooked your beef and drained it all you have to do is add all of the ingredients into your most prized Christmas present and let ‘er cook for a couple of hours.  If that Christmas present is a pair of flannel pajamas it may take a bit longer.  And you’ll need a fire extinguisher handy. And a new pair of pajamas.


chili-staub-pot copy


After a couple of hours of simmering and bubbling ladle it into a bowl, drop your toppings on, and enjoy.  The earthy aroma will overpower the smell of the hockey bag, you’ve used toppings so you’ll feel smart, not stupid and the back of your pajama bottoms will be dancing in and out for a good couple of hours.

I can’t even imagine a better night.




You know those teeny, tiny sponge dinosaurs you can buy that blow up to 700X their original size when you put them in water? Well that’s what chili does when you put it in my stomach.


Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Chili Con Carne.

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 4 large servings
Author: The Art of Doing Stuff


  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1, 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes drained
  • 1-2 cups of tomato sauce you can use canned spaghetti sauce if you have it in the cupboard
  • 1, 28 oz. can of kidney beans drained
  • 1 can of pork & beans in tomato sauce not drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 Tbsps. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. hot pepper flakes
  • 4-5 shakes tabasco sauce
  • 2 chipotle peppers mashed (the type from a can)
  • 1 chili pepper of your choice I use yellow banana peppers or jalapeño
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Big old grinding of fresh pepper
  • 1 bay leaf


  • Cut your hot pepper in half. Remove the seeds and membrane. Finely dice one half of the hot pepper. Reserve the other half.
  • Add ground beef, onions, garlic and diced hot pepper to pot and cook until onions are transluscent and beef is browned.
  • Add remaining ingredients (including the reserved half pepper)
  • Bring to boil.
  • Simmer for 2+ hours.


Taste your chili as it's cooking and adjust it to your liking. If you want more chili flavour add more cumin and chili powder. Need it hotter? Add in more pepper flakes. Too thick? Add some more tomato sauce or the juice from the drained tomatoes.
Top with sour cream, cheddar cheese, sliced green onions and parsley.
Because you're smart.


  1. Ella says:

    Beautiful photos! And YUM, I never thought of using pork and beans before!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Ella! See? My “time off” is being well spent. 🙂 And yes pork and beans work really well in chili as long as you don’t use the sweet kind. Really you can throw in any beans. Garbanzo, white kidney beans … anything. And I can’t state enough to ADD THE TOPPINGS!!! ~ karen

  2. Cathy says:

    I love the chipotle chile powder from Penzeys. Great smokey flavor; I even love to take a whiff just before I add it! Mmmmm, smells like fall.

    ps. I don’t really hate you for the IKEA thing—just jealous.

    • Karen says:

      LOL! I figured. Look … if it makes you feel any better it’s a VERY dangerous thing to have an Ikea so close by. VERY dangerous. ~ karen!

  3. Terri says:

    No chili beans?????

    I also like Fritos as a topper. Yum!

    • Karen says:

      Kidney beans are chili beans. 🙂 (I think chili beans have some chili powder in with them or something. I’ve never actually seen them for sale here. ~ karen!

      • janpartist says:

        Well, in Kansas City, canned chili beans are chili beans and kidney beans are kidney beans. I usually use a can of both. I believe the bean in a can of chili beans is a red bean as in red beans and rice, ans is smaller and rounder than a kidney bean and not as red.

  4. Teresa J says:

    Yep, that is pretty much how I make my chili right down to the bay leaf and pork and beans. The pork and beans must be a Canadian thing; that’s the way my Mom made it too! I discovered toppings awhile ago. Mom made it without toppings, probably an old days Canadian thing. LOL.

  5. Raymonde says:

    I pressure can my chili so I can have some at the drop of a hat!
    Instead of parsley, I love to top it with chopped coriander leaves and to eat it with either white rice or corn chips. Yum!

    • Karen says:

      I’ve canned my chili a couple of times and dubbed it “Chewy Chili”, lol. The meat gets well … chewy. I may have done it wrong, but not so wrong that it killed me. ~ karen!

  6. Cindy says:

    I bet my chili would put yours to shame! lol

  7. Sherry says:

    Try warm tortillas with your chili and toppings instead of toast. Yummmmmmmmmmmy And you can scoop chili with them too.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Yummmmo! I passed gas while just reading your post and recipe! (I seriously did. Though I can’t entirely credit the post, I had lentils for dinner) Im making this tomorrow night, it’s going to be some gooood chili! Thanks for sharin Karen!!

  9. Anne says:

    One of my all time favourite foods. And it’s delicious the next morning with poached eggs.

  10. Dennis says:

    Sirva con la cerveza por favor!

  11. Nicole says:

    Seems to be more chili than chili con carne.

    Toppings are lovely. A really nice corn chip is nice. Maybe that could be the con carne part.

    • Grammy says:

      A pound and a half of ground beef seems like plenty of carne to me. “Carne’ is the Spanish word for “meat”.

  12. TucsonPatty says:

    Our chili cook off for the neighborhood had 17 different kinds of chili. I only could taste the three vegetarian ones, and I pronounced mine the best (It didn’t win) and it is almost exactly like yours, minus the meat. I always add a small cam of tomato paste, along with every kind of bean I can find – including black beans, which fool a couple of people into thinking it has meat! I eat it with cornbread made with green chilies, corn kernels, pepper jack cheese and a little chopped jalapeño pepper. YUM!

  13. Louise says:

    Thanks for the printer friendly format! Can’t wait to try the recipe. Crumbled Ritz crackers are another good topping.

  14. Penley says:

    I have STAUB envy. The whole things looks fabulous!

  15. Madhu Ramakrishnan says:

    yummy, looks like an indian dish…..

  16. Ev Wilcox says:

    It was 80F here in northeast Ohio yesterday, but the trees are beautiful so I guess it really is Fall! Your recipe sounds great and I copied it into my extensive recipe file at 4 am–can’t sleep. Change of season thing with me.
    Anyway, thanks for the recipe! Beano, anyone?

  17. Barbie says:

    Lovely chili! ……but what happened to Oct 13th Kitchen reveal? I’m in Hawaii and made sure to look and see if you did it yet and I don’t see it anywhere…. 🙁

    • Karen says:

      I’m so sorry Barbie! There was some confusion over whether I had the right to use the Canadian Living photos on my website! I’m trying to get it straightened out now. 🙁 ~ karen

  18. Cindy K. says:

    Tell us the size and why you love your Staub pan, please!

    • Karen says:

      I love it based entirely on looks Cindy K. That’s it. Looks alone. I haven’t noticed it cooks better than any other $50 pot I own but it has a beautiful finish and I imagine it’s going to last my entire life as opposed to the $30 one I have that after a few years seems to be on its way out. I have no idea what size it is actually! Casserole sized, lol? Oh! Also, it makes me feel good to cook in it. ~ karen!

      • Cindy K. says:

        I saw some larger ones at Marshall’s that were a lot more than $50 ($169?) but a large navy blue one really caught my eye! I’ve recently started using a couple LeCreusets and really liked those. I’m cooking a lot more in a get healthy attempt so I must deserve them. Was wondering about the interior of the Staub vs the enamel LeCreuset.

        • Karen says:

          I think this particular pot was around $400. The interior has always been easy to clean and maintain and as far as I can tell won’t stain. But perhaps you just can’t tell because the interior is black. 🙂 ~ karen

  19. Beth says:

    Thanks for your recipe! Ground turkey works well, too — and we serve our over small pasta shapes (like elbows) AND with toppings. I’ve never canned it, but we usually freeze at least a few portions. Seems to work well and the beans are just about the same (I used to think the beans would get mushy, but they don’t) – wonderful with scrambled eggs, too. Rats. Now I’m hungry!

    • ally says:

      I agree, far better with turkey. To me, ground beef tastes like dirty dish water. bleh. Love me some ground turkey. It takes on the flavours of the spices and sauce. Yummers.

  20. AmyKate says:

    Great minds think alike…we had chili last night. Not as fancy with onions and seasoning…mine came out of a spice bag. I’m lazy. But it was Good! …and lots of cheese and some sour cream in there..yum.

  21. Dava says:

    One thing I do differently than you is not only use ground beef, but also cut up a round steak into bite sized pieces to put in. There’s something about having two shapes of meat that adds another element to the chili. Yours looks very good.

  22. Jody says:

    The photo is amazing. I love the darkness of it with the light hitting the cheese and the barely visible steam. Very dramatic. Oh and the chili looks delicious too.

  23. Tigersmom says:

    I was already planning on making chili today. I always want to with the first hint of fall.

  24. Alicia says:

    Karen the pictures ate stunning. Even the one with the fat. Just lovely. Now or needs to get less than 80 here so I can make chili! Love this post

  25. Su says:

    Great pics!! I also throw a dab of sour cream on top on the chili…. its mmm mmmm good

  26. Tracey says:

    Hi Karen, you have no idea how timely this post is. My hubby tried making chili on the weekend and it was a total bomb. Even he couldn’t eat it. He just started cooking (which I am so pleased about) and kind of prides himself on not using a recipe. BUT, he realizes sometimes you have to at least refer to one, especially after the Chili bomb. Can’t wait to share this recipe with him. We are making this tonight!!! Thank you!
    PS do the beans in the pork and beans get mushy after a couple of hours cooking? If so, I presume it’s not all bad, because it would make the Chili thicker? We never used toppings before. I’m stooopid! Will rectify that.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tracey – It depends on how long you cook the chili for. Sometimes they do go to mush but it really doesn’t make a difference. And tell your husband to stick to recipes until he actually knows how to cook, lol. THEN he can experiment. ~ karen!

      • Tracey says:

        Hi Karen, oh my gosh THAT WAS DELICIOUS!!!
        We made it this afternoon and just finished chowing down. It might not matter (although we did get into a teensy bit of an argument), we weren’t sure if we were to brown the ground beef first, or brown it with the onions, peppers, and garlic…then drain it? It was the best Chili we’ve ever had!! Thank you so much!
        We browned the ground beef by itself and then drained. Paul said I was wrong… Oh, he’s the expert now (which secretly I love).

        • Karen says:

          Hi Tracey – Well, I hate to say it but your husband was right. Brown onions, garlic, and ground beef means to do them all together. I’m sure it turned out fine, it just took longer. Glad you liked it. Now that you have the base you can experiment with it. 🙂 ~ karen!

  27. Beckie says:

    Years ago, a friend told me to toss in some cinnamon & some unsweetened baking cocoa. It was life-altering.

    And corn bread. I have to have corn bread.

    Guess what’s now for dinner at my house?

    Love the pics, btw!

  28. jainegayer says:

    Damn! It’s 7:51 am and for some reason raisin bran isn’t gonna cut it this morning.
    I want me some chili!!

  29. Maria says:

    OMG! If my printer wasn’t broken, I’d print this image, sprinkle some cheese on it, and eat it! A mouth watering image for sure. How do you can something with meat? If anyone can give me a place to look for instructions? (I’ll be heading to google now).

    I see THIS chili in my very near future!

    • Karen says:

      Hi maria – You can it the same as anything else, in jars. You have to pressure can it though ( in a pressure canner ) for a long period of time. 45 minutes or so. ~ karen!

      • Maria says:

        Thanks Karen. I’ve been on the fence about a pressure cooker (they scare the hell out of me), but recently learned that there is such an animal as an ELECTRIC pressure cooker! Now might be the time to gift me this precious baby. Does anyone have any experience with the electric ones?

        • Debbie says:

          Yes, Maria. I use an electric pressure cooker to make corned beef. The hardest part was always keeping the kids away while the pressure was releasing. I feel quite safe using it. I also have a regular pressure cooker that was given to me – and I never use it as I’m too afraid. Hmm, I haven’t made anything in a while – I think it is time to pull it out again!

        • Karen says:

          Hi Maria. Newer pressure canners have a multitude of safety features on them, unlike the canners of years ago, so they’re safe. Just scary. 🙂 Also don’t forget when you’re looking to buy that there’s a difference between a pressure cooker and a pressure canner! You can’t can things in a pressure cooker. ~ karen!

        • Maria says:

          Seriously? They are 2 different animals??????? ::sigh:: But can canning be done (NOT the kind where girls/women are on either side of you with arms linked and legs flicking in unison to music, though doing that can get you in hot water ) by the regular hot bath method? I used to do that more moons ago than I want to admit.

          Karen, Debbie, others, what canner (brand/model) do you use (if it’s ok to disclose that publicly) and would you recommend it?

        • Maria says:

          Ladies, I meant the electric kind, if any of you have and use them. I’m going to go google now, just to be ahead of the game and understand what you’ll be talking to me about 🙂 Thank you all.

        • Karen says:

          Maria – There are 2 methods of canning. Water bath and pressure canning. You can only do a few things with the water bath method. Most things need to be pressure canned for safety reasons. Anything like peaches, chili, chicken broth, … all need to be pressure canned. The only thing you can get away with the hot water bath method are things with extremely high acid levels, which most foods we can don’t have. 🙁 I own the Mirro pressure canner by the way which works well, but has TERRIBLE instructions with it. Read my post on pressure canning chicken broth to understand a bit more. There are also differences in pressure canners. The two most popular are the Mirro and the Presto, which Raymonde has. Raymonde’s has a dial gauge to let you know when the canner is up to pressure. So there’s no wondering. However, you have to have your gauge tested every few years. My canner has a weight system, which is slightly more difficult to use but never needs maintenance. ~ karen!

        • Maria says:

          Holy Moses! Have to rethink the pressure canner now. So, in the meantime, I’ll just regular or slow cook and freeze. Thank you Karen. You rock!

      • Raymonde says:

        Here are the USDA’s recommendations for canning chili. You can use your own recipe but follow their instructions regarding the rest to be safe and to get the best results! 🙂

  30. Heather says:

    I made a pot of chili last Saturday at the cottage & froze it & it will be Friday night dinner this weekend for girls’ weekend at the cottage! I like to use my slow cooker – that way I don’t have to worry about it burning. (been there. done that) I added a 6-bean mix to it this time, and some mushrooms. It changes every time I make it. Toppings will be shredded cheese & sour cream. Damn. I am hungry, too. Oatmeal for breakfast just sounds BORING now.

    Your pictures are fabulous! Very VERY impressive! This blog just keeps getting better & better.

  31. Erin says:

    Looks delicious. I like to fry the spices a bit with the meat and onions before adding the wet ingredients. I also add some cocoa powder. Sounds weird but it is the killer secret ingredient.
    Great photo!

  32. Kathline says:

    Chili last night here, too! I use ground turkey and add black beans and corn for color and texture. Toppings – yes, all of them!

  33. barb says:

    My sister’s secret is to add a jar of salsa. It really works!

  34. Must be a Canadian thing, because that’s about how I make my chili too, although I’ve also been adding the cocoa. Never tried it with cocoa and cinnamon, though! Hmmm…..
    And I have yet to find anything that doesn’t taste better with sour cream and cheese on top. Except maybe chocolate bars.

  35. Kate From Detroit says:

    I used to love chili like this too. Then I discovered harissa and now traditional chili tastes too boring. Seriously, give it a try and see if it doesn’t change your world. Here is a GREAT recipe to start with: Canned diced tomatoes are easily substituted but the harissa is a must. We make ours super spicy and top our bowls with copious amounts of greek yogurt.

  36. Elen Grey says:

    Looks yummy. I love seeing you do food photographs using richly dark dishes, when everyone seems inclined to use white! I know why they do it, but I don’t agree. 😉 It never occurred to me to put pork ‘n beans in chili.

  37. Allison says:

    I love chili, and I’m excited to see you make yours with beans too! My husband and his mother prefer Texas chili without beans, which makes me sad. They also prefer rice with their chili instead of sweet cornbread. Sometimes I want to disown them.

    I like to serve my chili on top of sweet cornbread that’s been crumbled up, and topped with cheddar cheese and green onions. Now I want chili for dinner. . .

  38. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Well now I’m hungry for chili again and we just had it two weeks ago..My ex-husband’s family liked to eat their chili over mashed potatoes..Don’t knock it till you try it..I love it that way..

    • Nancy Blue Moon says:

      Oh yeah..I use two tall cans of kidney dark light red..never heard of pork & beans in chili but like I said..don’t knock it till you try it!!

  39. Debbie says:

    I love the crunch thing too. Try adding Croutons they are wonderful….

  40. cbblue says:

    Two questions Karen; what size can of pork and beans, and how can I tell the difference between regular pork and beans and the sweet kind? Your pics with the dark dishes and old flatware are amazing. Moody.

    • Karen says:

      Hi cbblue! You know what? It really doesn’t matter what sized can you use, lol. I’m talking about the average sized can of beans in this recipe. So something like a Campbell’s soup can. Regular pork and beans will say “in tomato sauce” on the can. Sweet pork and beans will say “in molasses”. The molasses kind is more common because baked beans are usually sweet, like Bush’s beans. ~ karen!

  41. BGrigg says:

    Try chili on spaghetti!

    I sometimes use stewing beef instead of ground beef. I also melt a square of either Mexican or Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate in. Once you’ve tried it “ordinary” chili tastes, well ordinary.

  42. Vanessa says:

    That is surprising close to my recipe! But I use kidney and black beans, and add a Tbsp or two of cider vinegar. It adds a bit of zest, kind of brightens the flavors. We always do corn bread and honey-butter. Top with sour cream and cheese! I can’t wait til it cools off here!! (In California, its been in the 80s for weeks!)

    • Karen says:

      Here’s the funny thing … it was close to 80 here in Southern Ontario yesterday, lol. It isn’t supposed to be but, it is. Today is warm too. ~ karen!

  43. Beth says:

    The Texan in me is screaming: Beans! You don’t put beans in chili! That just makes a tasty dish! Pork and beans?!? WTH?

    Actually, it looks delicious and I might actually try the pork and beans the next I make a tasty dish.

  44. Jane S says:

    Hmmm. I’m not sure if I’m ready to exchange turkey farts for chili farts. I just put 10 bowls of turkey soup in the freezer. I cheat and put a jar of salsa in my chili. Gotta have cornbread too.

  45. Shauna says:

    Everyone has their own secret ingredient for chili and I’m no different – my not-so secret ingredient is a chili in adobo sauce. The adobo sauce gives it a great spicy smoky flavor.

  46. Suzanne says:

    In my part of the world (southwestern US, chili beans are pinto beans, and it’s sacrilegious to use kidney beans in chili. (I tried to find pinto beans in Port Carling this summer, no go. Maybe you all don’t have pinto beans in eastern Canada) But other than that, every things else sounds terrific. Chili freezes well too. Ok, now I have to make chili..

  47. chris says:

    For vegetarians (like me) can I suggest substituting cubed sweet potato for the meat. Mmmm ..

    • Karen says:

      Really? I’d worry the sweet potato would be too sweet. My niece makes a really good vegetarian chili. I think it has pretty much everything she can grab in it, lol. ~ karen!

  48. Brenda says:

    Well, Karen, your chili recipe sorta reminds me of mine in that I’ve been flippin’ the bird for years to the purists who sniff and turn their cute little noses up and say things like “real chili doesn’t have tomatoes.” or “Ground beef? Real chili is made with steak.” And so on. Because you and I both know the truth. Our chili is the best you’ll ever taste. Ever. Anywhere. So who cares what’s in it.

    However, I’m shocked that you just discovered topping your chili! Sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar and finely diced onion. And your choice of hot sauce. And NO oyster crackers! Ever!

  49. magali says:

    I must say, these are your nicest food pictures yet!

    I’m confused. You have shared a chili recipe with us before, a picture of your recipe card along with a story about sinusitis. I actually roughly use that recipe but add beans and meat to it. I love how the peaches and cinnamon give it a sweet taste along with the spiciness. Was that a chili sauce recipe not meant to be eaten like a chili? I’m not feeling so smart right now despite the fact that I put topping on my chili all the time.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Magali! Oh noooo! Yes that’s a chili sauce recipe! That’s why I say to serve it with potato pancakes. Kay. Try this recipe as your chili recipe and you’ll be much happier, lol. And thanks. Yes, I have a bit more time now to focus on getting a good shot and good lighting. 🙂 ~ karen!

  50. Nancy says:

    Squeeze some limes on top with the sour cream, cheddar and scallions. mmmmmm. And I’m one of those purists that say chili doesn’t have beans so I’ll just call your recipe frijoles con carne when I serve it. 🙂

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