This chili con carne with beans recipe is not only delicious, but it’s also flexible. That’s because you can add or swap out some of the ingredients. We love it served with these homemade tortilla chips or tostadas with melted cheese.
This recipe is flexible. In fact, you can swap out some of the ingredients if you want something different.
I use a variety of different beans. Some of my favorites are pinto beans, chili beans, navy beans, and black beans. You can even add more than one type if you like.
Sometimes I use ground turkey instead of ground beef. It doesn’t matter as long as you and your family enjoy it.
Chili with Meat (and Beans if You Want Them)
Of course, you’ll need certain elements to call it chili con carne. But you can adjust many of the ingredients to suit your personal taste.
This slow cooker chili with beans can also be made in an Instant Pot or in a soup pot on top of the stove.
I just happened to have time in the morning to make it in the slow cooker. Plus I enjoy the flavor of Crock Pot chili because the flavors meld as it cooks all day.
If you use an Instant Pot, cook on full pressure for about 30 minutes and allow it to release on its own. When I’m pressed for time, this is how I cook it.
On top of the stove, cook it for at least a couple of hours. It’s also a good idea to stir it once in a while to keep it from scorching at the bottom of the pot. I only make it on the stovetop when I’ll be home while it’s cooking. And I especially like to cook it in my Dutch oven.
Chili Con Carne Ingredients
The most basic ingredients for this traditional chili include ground beef (con carne), tomato sauce, and chili powder (or more time-consuming fresh chili peppers).
Other ingredients I typically include are diced onions, diced peppers, beans, canned diced tomatoes and cinnamon.
You can basically use any type of beans for chili con carne.
I typically prefer either red kidney beans or pinto beans. But it’s totally up to you and your personal preference.
I also like black beans when I’m in the mood for something a little different.
Next comes the cinnamon. Yes, I really do put cinnamon in the chili because it adds more depth to the flavor.
You don’t have to add it, but give it a try. I bet you’ll start using it once you do. Most people will detect something different, but unless they see you add it they won’t know what it is.
You may add more salt, but I don’t feel that it needs it. However, this is your chili, so make it like you like it.
I’m a big believer in taking a recipe and changing things up to make it your own. But then I’m never afraid of failure in the kitchen because that often leads to new discoveries.
If you think something might be good, try it in a small amount if you’re concerned about wasting food. Then expand the recipe if you like it.
My mother liked a thinner consistency to her chili, so she added beef broth. If you want to try this, start out with a half cup of broth and add more later if you want.
I’ve also added sun dried tomatoes. You can chop them up really small, and they plump up as they cook with the chili.
Most of the time, I add garlic. However, I was out of it, so I left it out. I have to admit that it’s much better with garlic because that one simple ingredient adds depth to the flavor.
For exact measurements of each ingredient and full directions, go to the recipe card at the bottom of the page. You can even print out the card by clicking on the “print” button.
How to Make Chili Con Carne with Beans in a Slow Cooker
First of all, brown the ground beef (or ground turkey). I use a hamburger chopper to make the job easier. However, if you don’t have one, a fork or spoon will work.
Drain the browned ground beef and pour it into the slow cooker.
If you use a lower-fat ground beef, you probably won’t have to drain it.
Next, you need to sauté the onions and peppers until they are tender.
Add them to the ground beef.
Pour in a can or two of drained kidney beans or chili beans.
I usually don’t stir it again at this point, but it’s okay if you do.
Then add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.
If you don’t have diced tomatoes, you can add more tomato sauce.
Next, sprinkle in the chili powder.
I’m guilty of being a little heavy-handed with chili powder. So if you like extra spicy chili, add as much as you want.
Or if it’s the heat you want, reach for the cayenne. That’s good too!
If you want to add cinnamon, do it now.
I like this one because it adds a richness to the flavor.
Finally, add a cup of water.
If you want to thicken the chili, you can whisk some finely ground cornmeal into the water.
Give it a quick stir and put the lid on the pot.
Turn the slow cooker on low and go about your business for the day.
Your chili will be ready to eat in 4 hours, but you can cook it longer if you want.
That’s part of the beauty of a slow cooker. In fact, it’s probably better if you cook it for 6 hours.
I enjoy eating my chili con carne topped with sour cream, plain yogurt, cheese, or nothing. In other words, this chili is delicious, no matter how you eat it.
Chili Con Carne on the Stovetop
If you prefer to cook your chili on the stovetop, that’s fine. Use the same ingredients listed in this recipe for the same results.
You can cook it in a Dutch oven or your favorite soup pot. I love my Dutch oven because it holds the heat longer. Plus it’s pretty, so I can place it on a trivet in the center of the table and let everyone serve themselves.
When you use a Dutch oven, cook it over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the chili comes to a boil. Then turn it down to low heat, pop the lid on it, and let it simmer for at least an hour.
What to Serve with Chili Con Carne
Chili con carne is delicious to eat alone. But if it’s a main meal of the day, serve it with a delicious, nutritious tomato cucumber corn salad.
Or you might enjoy this bacon lettuce and tomato salad. This is certainly old-school flavor that will bring you back to a happy time.
Fo anyone who likes extra nutrition, make this yummy broccoli slaw. In addition to being good for you, it adds color and lots of delicious flavor to your dinner.
I often serve tortilla chips, but I also like this southern style cornbread with my chili.
Another type of bread I enjoy with chili is this easy cloud bread. It’s light, fluffy, and naturally gluten-free.
When you want to make your chili dinner extra special, serve some of this homemade butter to go with the bread. It’s so easy the way I make it, but it adds an extra nice touch to the meal.
If you enjoy eating chili, then you’ll probably like my Instant Pot turkey chili. You can also cook this on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.
Another chili-flavored food we enjoy is this slow cooker sweet chili chicken. It has a wonderful balance of sweet and spicy.
I also enjoy this chili cornbread skillet meal from the Back to My Southern Roots blog. It’s a filling meal that can serve quite a few people.
Most of the time I serve chili with corn tortilla chips. However, I also use these almond flour tortillas that are good. Plus they’re gluten free!
We love a wide variety of desserts at our house. I usually choose something that goes with whatever the main part of the meal is. For chili, I like to finish with a fruity dessert.
Here are some of our favorites:
In order to balance the spiciness of this chili, try one of these fruit and yogurt parfaits. It provides a perfect ending to a chili dinner with cool, refreshing flavor.
These lemon bars only have a few ingredients, and they’re super easy to whip up in a matter of a few minutes. Oh, and they’re super yummy!
Another fruity dessert that’s good after eating chili is this pineapple upside down cake. I like to make it in my rice cooker because it’s quick and easy.
I also like this yummy pineapple dump cake. In fact, it has become one of my most popular dessert recipes, and people have told me that their family loves it!
We also enjoy this light and delicious 3-ingredient chocolate cake. There isn’t a speck of flour in it, so it’s naturally gluten-free.
- 1 lb. of ground beef
- Two 15-oz. cans of tomato sauce
- One 15-oz. can of diced tomatoes
- Two 15-oz. cans of kidney beans (or whatever kind of beans you prefer)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup diced onions
- 1 cup diced green peppers
- 3 tablespoons chili powder (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Brown the ground beef in a hot skillet. Drain it and pour it into the slow cooker.
- Sauté the onions and peppers in the same skillet. Add them to the ground beef.
- Drain both cans of beans and add them to the slow cooker.
- Pour all of the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes into the slow cooker.
- Add the chili powder and cinnamon to the other ingredients.
- Pour the water over everything and stir until everything is mixed.
- Put the lid on the slow cooker, set it on low, and let it cook for at least 4 hours.
- Top the chili with sour cream, cheese, or whatever you like.
- Serve the chili with corn chips or warm buttered tortillas.
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Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 351Total Fat 11gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 50mgSodium 747mgCarbohydrates 38gFiber 11gSugar 8gProtein 27g
The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.