Chipotle Chili con Carne

from 1 votes

Cozy up to a warming recipe for hearty and flavor-packed Chipotle Chili con Carne.

Top-down view of bowls of Chili con Carne topped with, sour cream, shredded cheese and jalapeños next to a small bowl containing pieces of bacon and a plate with cornbread

Few foods are more comforting than a big ol’ bowl of chili. I’ve whipped up many varieties over time, with the list of ingredients stretching far and wide.

For those with a love of all things cooked low and slow, I’ve got my go-to Slow Cooker Chicken Chili (with a little something special to up the taste factor), and for those longing for an autumnal spin (plus added nutrients and vitamins), it’s Pumpkin Turkey Chili.

Large blue stockpot containing seared meat, red bell peppers and onions

But I couldn’t stop there! If it happens to be the post-holiday “What’s for dinner?” conundrum, it’s 30-Minute Leftover Turkey Chili for the quick-fix winner.

And last, but certainly not least, polar opposite of what I’m dishing up here, I’ve got my veggie lovers covered with The Best Vegetarian Chili. Beans, beans and more beans!

Large blue stockpot containing diced tomatoes over seared meat

With all our bases covered, it’s time to go back to the basics with this recipe for Chipotle Chili con Carne. It’s a satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs type of chili. Less beans, more beef, and a bit of bacon fat to top it all off. And speaking of toppings…

Grab the sour cream, cheese, crispy bacon, scallions and optional hint of heat from jalapeños to make this meal-in-a-bowl a meal-time slam-dunk.

Top-down view of bowls of homemade Chili con Carne topped with, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and jalapeños next to a small bowl containing pieces of bacon and a plate with cornbread

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Main Course

Chipotle Chili con Carne

This recipe for Chipotle Chili Con Carne starts with bacon and ends with cheese.
Author: Kelly Senyei
5 from 1 vote
Top-down view of bowls of Chili con Carne topped with, sour cream, shredded cheese and jalapeños next to a small bowl containing pieces of bacon and a plate with cornbread
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • 8 slices bacon, chopped
  • 4 lbs boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 1/2 cups diced onions
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (28-oz.) cans diced tomatoes in liquid
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • Assorted toppings, such as shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and scallions


  • Cook the bacon in a large, heavy pot (such as a Dutch oven) over medium heat until browned. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve all of the bacon drippings in the pot.
  • Season the beef chunks with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and sauté the beef chunks, in 4 to 5 batches (so the pieces aren't overcrowded), in the bacon drippings for 5 minutes per batch until they're browned. Transfer the beef to a plate.
  • Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of fat from the pot (add vegetable oil if you don’t have enough fat left), reduce the heat to medium, and then add the onions, peppers and garlic. Sauté the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the cocoa powder and cumin and sauté for 1 minute. Return the beef, along with any juices, to the pot. Stir in the bay leaf, diced tomatoes (with liquid) and chipotles in adobo. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cover the pot.
  • Simmer the mixture (covered), stirring occasionally, until the beef is very tender, about 3 hours.
  • Uncover the pot and increase the heat to a boil. Boil the chili, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes until it thickens slightly.
  • Stir in the kidney beans and season with salt and pepper. Simmer the chili for 5 minutes and then stir in the reserved bacon. Serve the chili with assorted toppings.

Kelly's Notes:

  • While it's tempting to speed up the beef-browning process, take your time to really let each batch brown fully. It's that browning that contributes an intensely rich flavor to the chili.
  • This chili tastes great (and even better!) on the second day, so feel free to make it a night in advance and keep it in the fridge before rewarming and serving.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!


Calories: 540kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 47g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 171mg, Sodium: 398mg, Potassium: 981mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 1040IU, Vitamin C: 43mg, Calcium: 65mg, Iron: 5.7mg


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Recipe inspired by Epicurious and Gourmet.

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  1. Superbowl 2015 recipe, perfect! Just what I was looking for. I went through my recipes and I said if Kelly has one, I will just make hers! Bacon!

  2. Great recipe! I love chili with beef chuck, and the inclusion of bacon totally sold this for me.

    One adjustment I did make to the recipe was to add the whole (7 oz) can of chipotle chilies in Adobo sauce. According to the can that’s about 12 TSP, but since I had nothing to do with the rest of the can just threw them all in. Might be too much heat for some I suppose, but worked for us!

  3. I have this simmering on the stove right now for the Super Bowl tomorrow with friends! thanks for the amazing recipe, a step above my old chili!!

  4. Tyler would absolutely devour this! I wonder if I should get a head start on it and make it for Super Bowl. I have been practicing my pretzels ;)

  5. That second photo of the meat being browned in the pot is just awesome – it’s one of my favorite things to see when I’m cooking!

  6. This looks amazing and your photos are gorgeous! Subscribing so I don’t miss any future deliciousness!

  7. Oh, I am soooo not a football fan. But I would go to a Super Bowl Party if this chili was going to be there. Totally. I might even pretend to watch and enjoy the game if people kept bringing bowls of it to me.

  8. Ah, I wish I could post a comment today and join you in the NFL chat but I got nothing. Heck, I don’t think I’ve watched a game in over 15 years. But I’d gladly eat this chili!

  9. my husband would be totally in love with me even more if i made this for him. we were JUST talking about bacon in chili.

    1. So glad to hear it, Sarah! I will never go back to making chili without bacon. It’s the absolute best flavor enhancer to the beef.

  10. I’m always searching for a good chili recipe and bookmarking this. That second pic is screaming flavor to me :)