[Nearly] Perfect Chili Con Carne

[Nearly] Perfect Chili Con Carne

Hey everyone! I know I said no more posts in November, but I guess I got my 2nd wind following the Thanksgiving holiday! Part of this newfound energy comes from the fact that I finally hit the 1K mark on Instagram. Back in June, I took my account off of private and opened it to the public with less than 300 followers. I set a goal to hit 1K by the end of the year. Well, here it is, not even the end of November and we did it ya’ll!! I’m so thankful and happy that I am here because of you all. Thanks for believing in me and my recipes. This is the foundation of my dream and I can’t wait to grow with you all by my side! Now, let’s get into this recipe!!

A perfect bowl of chili with deliciously fluffy cornbread. Yes please!

A perfect bowl of chili with deliciously fluffy cornbread. Yes please!

Chili is not a recipe that anyone can just make for a couple of reasons. The first, chili requires a balance of seasonings and flavors to make sure you don’t have a boring, one note or bland dish, and people just don’t add enough to it to balance it out. Another reason is everyone likes their chili certain ways. Some people with beans, others without. Some people like ground beef, others like stew beef. Some like it spicy while others like it sweet. Some people are purists and want chili only while others want a plethora of toppings. Some even like it served over noodles while others prefer rice. I mean, it can be polarizing. Well, for as long as I can remember, my Dad has been able to make 3 things really well: Lyonnaise potatoes (fancy for a non-cook, right?!), beanies and weenies (don’t knock it until you try his!) and chili.

Love using guac or simply mashed avocado for a super creamy texture without having to use dairy!

Love using guac or simply mashed avocado for a super creamy texture without having to use dairy!

This is somewhat surprising for someone who really doesn’t cook. I mean, the only other thing I’ve seen my dad make successfully is creamed chipped beef in the bag that you boil and serve over toast. Not even kidding! Lol. It’s because of this fact, however, I am so fond of my Dad’s chili — I associate his chili with our time in the kitchen and something I’d actually beg my dad to make, even in the dead of summer. It is comfort food at it’s finest. I’ve always loved the stew beef my dad uses in his chili, but for the sake of time, I wanted a recipe that could deliver a punch of flavor using the humble ground beef. This also allows your chili to stretch a little further if you’re budget conscious. Additionally, using ground beef will allow you a little more grace if you cook it a little too far. I’ve also adapted this recipe to use less beans as I want to keep it as low carb as possible for those of us in the #ketolife.


One of the things that really makes this recipe work is my secret weapon masa. Masa is corn flour and most people know it most for being used for corn tortillas, but it’s so versatile and can be used for so many things. In this recipe, the masa not only gives this chili its signature flavor, it also works to absorb the fat that is released from the meat in cooking and and gives it a creamy texture. If you read my last post, I talked more in depth about masa and how I used it to make cornbread for the first time ever in my life! And how it came out AMAZING and fluffy and so fully of flavor. Yes, I am plugging my previous post in this one because they go together like being a superhero and having a moment of self-doubt and really wonders whether they are built for this life or not!

I did manage to get a picture before I ravished the cornbread. Nice and wholesome!

I did manage to get a picture before I ravished the cornbread. Nice and wholesome!

Another thing that makes this recipe nearly perfect is the spice blend. I’m always going to favor a chili that packs a punch of flavor over something that is just glorified tomato soup. Nah, we don’t want that around here. And don’t get me wrong because ya girl LOVES tomato soup…just not when someone calls it chili! This particular recipe has the added spice of cinnamon which brings a different depth of flavor to it. If you are a chili lover, you probably know about Cincinnati style chili, which is heavy handed with the chili, in the best of ways. However, this is not like that. The cinnamon here is not a main flavor, rather it is a backnote to build layers of flavor in the chili as to not have be boring as you eat it. Another flavor builder here is unsweetened chocolate. Some people do it similarly with cocoa powder, but I prefer the taste and texture of pure chocolate. It gives it almost a mole like flavor without being overbearing, and adds to the final texture of the dish. Finally, probably my most uncommon ingredient is ground jalapeño! This one adds a level of spice on par with raw jalapeños, but also keeps with the southwestern flavors of this dish in a way that cayenne would not.


To top it off, this recipe can be made vegan by using vegetable stock and mushrooms or meat alternative instead of beef, but you can also use ground chicken or turkey as well! As I mentioned before, I like to serve a big, hot bowl of chili with a hearty slice of cornbread that’s been buttered up and down and ready for dipping. On top of my chili, I like to add sharpness with raw onions, creaminess with guacamole, freshness with just a little cilantro and more spice with sliced jalapenos (seeds included!!). This allows me to also keep it dairy free (I have a pore congestion issue when I consume dairy) and also allows other to also customize their bowls how they see fit. If you are not in diary jail like I am, try topping with Monterrey or pepper jack cheese and sour cream also! The possibilities are truly endless!!


Again, thank ya’ll so much for helping me reach this milestone in my food blogging career! I am very thankful for all of your continued support. In the comments, let me know how you like your chili!

Don't forget to tag me in your photos online @lizeeangel or using #lizeeangel. And as always, comment below and please, like, share and follow me on youtubeinstagram, twitter, facebook and pinterest

Yield: 12 bowlsPin it

[Nearly] Perfect Chili Con Carne

Who knew a bowl of heaven would only cost you 200 calories?! Get into this chili recipe to keep you warm through these cold months and keto compliant! There’s no such thing as the perfect chili, but this one is so close!

prep time: 20 minscook time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 hours and 20 mins


Chili Spice Blend:

1 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4-1/2 tsp ground jalapeño
1/4 tsp ground oregano


1 tbsp olive oil
2lbs ground beef (85/15 is what I use)
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Chili blend
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
15oz crushed tomato
1 can tomato paste
2 cups stock
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 dark red kidney beans, drained
1/4 cup masa harina


1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and allow to get hot. Splash with a little water and if droplets immediately evaporate, pan is hot enough. Add oil.

2. Next, add in ground beef and break up with your spoon. Allow the ground beef to brown on one side to get crust and add onions and garlic. Cook until meat is mostly brown throughout and onions and garlic are soft and fragrant. About 4 minutes.

*Note, If you have a lot of fat from the meat, drain most of it here. A little is ok as it will be absorbed by the masa.*

3. Next, add chili spice blend, cinnamon and salt. You want to not only coat the spices, but also toast them and cook out the "raw" flavor. Cook for about 3 minutes to develop that flavor!

4. Add in tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes to cook out the raw, canned tomato flavor, then add in crushed tomatoes. Mix to make sure everything is smooth and incorporated and add stock.

5. At this point, you want to add in your chocolate and stir until its fully melted. Bring chili to a boil  then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat.

6. Taste chili to adjust for any seasonings and do that at this point.  Add beans and cover and simmer on medium-low for 45 minutes.

7. In a small bowl, mix masa harina and just enough of the chili liquid to make a runny paste. About 2-3 tbsp. Stir into the into the chili, making sure to get any lumps. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes. Chili will thicken as it cooks.

8. Serve hot and top with desired toppings such as guacamole, sour cream, cheese, jalapenos and cilantro. Enjoy!


1. You can adapt this recipe for the crock pot by following steps 1-4 as described. Then transfer over to a crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours. 

2. This can be fully made in an instant pot/electric pressure cooker by following steps 1-4 on the saute setting, then following the remaining steps using the "Slow Cook" setting and cooking on low for 4 hours.



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