Chili con Carne with Beer

December 22, 2023

This stout chili con carne is pure comfort food. It’s great for crowds and it tastes even better the next day when reheated – so it’s a genius stress-free make-ahead recipe. The dark beer adds that something special to every bite. It’s freezer-friendly too!

beer and bean chili in bowl

Chili Ingredients

Ingredients for chili con carne
The ingredients for this bean and beef chili with beer.

You’ll need ground beef, tomato puree, two varieties of beans (kidney and pinto), onion and garlic, some spices, and the not so secret ingredient: dark beer.

I used Guinness extra stout, but you can use any dark beer (stout, porter) or substitute with Lager if you don’t have dark beer on hand. For an alcohol-free version use broth or water instead.

Make ahead

The chili will taste even better when reheated the next day! The flavors deepen and the texture will get just perfect. So, if possible, make it a day ahead of time, refrigerate overnight, and reheat.

PS: I’ve added a quick version (with less spices) in the note section below.

beer chili in bowl

Step by step chili recipe

Diced onion and crushed garlic
Dice onion and crush garlic.

Peel and dice onion and lightly crush peeled garlic with the flat side of the knife.

Spices in bowl
Chili powder, powdered oregano and thyme, and ground cumin.

Gather the spices to have them ready when needed.

saute ground beef in pot
Sauté ground meat until cooked through.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to a heavy, large pot and sauté onion for 3 minutes until soft and translucent. Add ground beef and sauté for another 5 minutes – the beef should be cooked through but not browning.

Ground beef with spices
Add the spices.

Add all the spices to the pot.

ground meat and spices in pot
Briefly stir until ground meat and spices are combined.

Stir in the spices.

adding beans to chili
Add all kidney beans and half of the pinto beans.

Add beer, tomato puree, water, and the crushed garlic clove. Let the chili cook, covered for about 10 minutes. Add kidney beans and half (!) of the pinto beans to the pot.

Mashing beans with fork
Mash half of the pinto beans. This will make the chili creamy.

Mash the rest of the pinto beans on a plate using a fork or potato masher. Add a ladle of the hot chili (or hot water) if beans are hard to mash. Stir the mashed beans into the chili – this makes the sauce creamier.

Finished chili in pot
Creamy chili with beef and beans.

Let the chili cook, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes. The chili should be creamy – add a splash of water if it is too thick. Remove the garlic (if you can find it; no worries if not). Taste and adjust salt, if needed.

chili on plate with bread

Serve with your favorite bread like this easy no-knead sunflower seed bread or this rye sourdough bread. Enjoy!

Are you a fan of make-ahead recipes? Then you might like these dishes:

Did you make this recipe? Let me know in the comments how it turned out and also leave me a star rating if you want :)

chili con carne with beer in bowl
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Chili con Carne with Beer

This stout chili con carne is pure comfort food. It’s great for crowds and it tastes even better the next day when reheated – so it’s a genius stress-free make-ahead recipe. The dark beer adds that something special to every bite. It’s freezer-friendly too! I’ve added a quick version (with less spices) in the notes below.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (455 g) ground beef
  • 1 large onion (150 g)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup stout/dark beer (see note)
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 g) tomato puree/sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can (15 oz/400g) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz/400 g) pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Spices:

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano (see note)
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme (see note)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons mild chili powder (e.g. Ancho chili powder; substitute chili powder spice mix if not available)
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (for some heat)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt (more if needed)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder (or 2 pieces dark chocolate)
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Peel and dice onion and lightly crush peeled garlic with the flat side of the knife.
  • Add 2 tablespoons oil to a heavy, large pot and sauté onion for 3 minutes until soft and translucent. Add ground beef and sauté for another 5 minutes – the beef should be cooked through but not browning.
  • Add all the spices and briefly stir.
  • Add beer, tomato puree, water, and the crushed garlic clove. Let the chili cook, covered for about 10 minutes.
  • Add kidney and half (!) of the pinto beans to the pot. Mash the rest of the pinto beans on a plate using a fork or potato masher. Add a ladle of the hot chili (or hot water) if beans are hard to mash. Stir the mashed beans into the chili – this makes the sauce creamier.
  • Let the chili cook, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes. The chili should be creamy – add a splash of water if it is too thick. Remove the garlic (if you can find it; no worries if not).
  • Taste and adjust salt, if needed. Serve with your favorite bread.

Notes

Dark beer: Add 1 cup beer to the chili and drink the rest while cooking ;-) I used Guinness extra stout, but you can use any dark beer (stout, porter) or substitute with Lager if no dark beer is on hand. For an alcohol-free version use broth or water instead.
Cumin: For extra flavor dry-roast whole cumin seeds, let them cool, and then grind them with a mortar and pestle.
Oregano and thyme: If you have Mexican oregano on hand, use this kind. If not, use regular Italian oregano. I prefer to mince oregano and thyme to a powder-like consistency using a knife or mortar and pestle to invisible blend into the sauce. But adding these spices as they are is fine too.
Simple version: For a quick version, I often use 2 ½ tablespoons chili powder spice mix, salt, and black pepper as the only spices. The cocoa gives the chili a mellow, deep taste though, so I highly recommend it.
Chili con Carne with Beer was last modified: March 1st, 2024 by Ursula

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