Mexican Chorizo Chili con Carne (Frijoles Enchilados)

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My Mexican Chili con Carne recipe is loaded with ground beef, flavorful chorizo, and lots of beans for a delightfully comforting meal. This hearty and economical chorizo chili, also known as Frijoles Enchilados, is a quintessential cold-weather dish ideal for serving on game day. It also comes together in just 30 minutes, making it perfect for busy weeknights.

What is Chili con Carne?

Chili con carne (literally translated to “chili with meat”) is a hearty bean and meat stew with chili peppers and tomatoes. While the origins of this dish aren’t entirely clear — some claim it was invented in Northern Mexico while others claim it came from Texas — I can nearly guarantee this is the best bowl of chili you’ll ever try.

About This Recipe

Growing up, there was a time that my mom had to work two jobs. Like many other single parents, it was her sole responsibility to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. Not only did she manage to do it all with a smile, but she also somehow managed to cook most of our dinners from scratch. She was Superwoman!

This chorizo chili recipe is a dish she made for us when I was little and she was tired after a very long day’s work. Everything about it spells comfort in a bowl.

Isn’t it funny how the smells and tastes of food can immediately transport us back to simpler days? This cozy Mexican chili was one of my favorites as a kid, and it was a favorite recipe of Mom’s because of how fast she could throw it together. Using leftover frijoles de la olla and red chile sauce, she would simply add economical chorizo and ground beef to create this hearty Tex-Mex stew. Her recipe is in our published Muy Bueno cookbook and it is near and dear to my heart. 

While I still love taking the time to make frijoles de la olla from scratch, there is something to be said for convenience. On nights when I’m too tired to cook, I turn to canned beans to make life a little easier. Grab a few cans of pinto beans next time you’re at the store and you’ll have a quick and healthy base for a number of meals, this yummy Mexican chili con carne included.

close up of Mexican chorizo chili con carne in a blue and white bowl topped with avocado, cheese and onion on a blue napkin.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Chili is one of those wintertime meals that everyone seems to have a recipe for. While I’ve never met a chili I don’t like, the addition of Mexican chorizo really puts this authentic chili con carne recipe a step above the rest. 

Aside from being wildly delicious and easy on your pocketbook, this recipe for chili with chorizo and beef is also:

  • Quick & Easy. Simply brown your meats, add a healthy dose of homemade red chile sauce and some canned pinto beans, and you’re basically done! It really is a quick and easy dinner that the whole family will love. 
  • Made With Only 7 Ingredients – How’s that for simplicity?
  • Super Versatile. While I love digging into a bowl of these frijoles con chorizo topped with cheese, you can also top yours with chopped onion, avocado, sour cream, cilantro, or salsa — the garnishes are endless! You can also use it to top off hot dogs or burgers in the summer, or use it to make chili nachos or tot-chos. YUM!
  • Meal-Prep & Freezer-Friendly. This authentic Mexican chili is also an excellent candidate for freezing, so make a big batch this week and enjoy it all winter long. My Mom taught me that if you’re already putting in the effort to cook, it takes very little extra effort to make a lot of extra food. Take advantage and double up to give future you a break!

Ingredients & Substitutions

This chorizo con frijoles recipe requires just 7 simple ingredients:

ground beef, chorizo, dried pinto beans, oregano and dried chiles as mis en place for Mexican chorizo chili recipe.
  • Olive Oil – Just your normal cooking oil is perfect here.
  • Ground Beef – I typically reach for lower fat 93/7 ground beef, but feel free to use 85/15 or 80/20.
  • Mexican Chorizo – This slightly spicy Mexican sausage is what makes this chili recipe super special. Feel free to use either beef or pork chorizo.
  • Homemade or Canned Pinto Beans – If you have frijoles de la olla in the freezer, awesome, but if you don’t — canned pinto beans are a godsend when 5:30 rolls around and I haven’t even started to *think* about dinner, much less start cooking it.
  • Chicken Broth – You can also use vegetable broth or beef broth depending on what you have on hand.
  • Red Chile Sauce – I always have some of this homemade deliciousness on hand in my freezer, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It takes a bit of patience to make, but is SO EASY, so whip up a double or triple batch on your meal-prep day and have a ridiculously flavorful base for everything from this chili to other stews, enchiladas, breakfasts, and more.
  • Dried Mexican Oregano – This essential Mexican spice is actually more closely related to the verbena family than “true oregano.” If you don’t have any on hand, marjoram is the closest substitute, but you can certainly use Greek or Italian oregano in a pinch.
  • Salt – Because everything needs seasoning. 

How To Make Mexican Chili con Carne

This authentic mexican chili recipe comes together in just a few simple steps. Dinner will be on the table in just 35 minutes! Here’s how it’s done:

Step 1: Brown Beef. Drizzle olive oil in a large pot on medium heat, and add the ground beef and brown for about 10 minutes. Drain off any excess grease.

beef browning in a cast iron dutch oven to make frijoles enchilados.

Step 2: Add the Chorizo by crumbling it into the cooked ground beef. Cover the pot and cook the chorizo thoroughly for another 8 to 10 minutes. Using a potato masher, combine the beef and chorizo together.

chorizo and ground beef mix browning in a dutch oven for chili con carne.

Step 3: Add Pinto Beans and Broth and cook for 5 minutes.

meat and beans in dutch oven for Mexican chili with a vessel of broth being poured in.

Step 4: Finish Chili & Simmer. Add the red chile sauce, water, and oregano and cook until it starts to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Add more broth if the mixture is too thick.

enchilada sauce being added to chorizo chili in a dutch oven.

Step 5: Season & Serve. Add salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with a handful of cheese, chopped onions or sliced avocado. Enjoy!

two blue and white bowls filled with chili con carne with a matching rectangular plate with onions, cheese and avocado as toppings.

Optional Variations

While I love this recipe for chili con carne just the way it is written, there is always room for you to customize nearly any dish to suit your needs and preferences. Here are a few variations to consider:

  • Pork-Free Chili – Use Mexican beef chorizo to make this stew completely pig-free.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan Mexican Chili – Use your favorite vegetarian chorizo and plant-based meat crumbles to make this a vegan-friendly meal.

Expert Tips

  • Grease can do a real number on your plumbing. Be sure to drain any fat rendered from the meat into a separate container or empty can. When it hardens, scoop it into the trash.
  • Rinse your beans. Canned beans are awesome for quick meal prep, but they can run a little salty. Make sure to drain and rinse them thoroughly so you have more control over the final seasoning of the dish.
  • Break up the meat so there is a little bit in every bite. I like to use a potato masher to assist me.

Serving Suggestions

I’m not sure there is a wrong way to serve chili. I love it served all on its own with maybe a few garnishes like cheese, onions, avocado, or cilantro to brighten it up. But there are also a ton of other delicious ways to serve it, including:

  • Chili cheese hot dogs, burgers, or fries
  • Chili stuffed baked potato (or sweet potato)
  • Breakfast chili — if you add a fried egg, anything is breakfast, right?
  • Chili cheese burritos
  • Chili nachos

The sky is truly the limit! Feel free to put this delicious and mildly spicy Mexican chili con carne on anything you can think of.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is chili spelled with an “i” instead of chile with an “e?”

Chile with an “e” speaks to the spicy fruit I love so dearly. Chili with an “i” refers to a stew that generally boasts both meat and beans (though some people will tell you chili should never have beans. I heartily disagree with said opinion).

Can I make this chorizo chili recipe ahead of time?

Absolutely! Like with many stews, chili will continue to develop flavor as it sits in the fridge. You can make the recipe and keep it refrigerated for up to a week in the refrigerator. You can also make a batch and freeze it in freezer-safe plastic containers for up to three months.

I also highly recommend that you make yourself a big ol’ batch of my red chile sauce on your next meal prep day and pop some in the freezer for easy meals on the fly.

What kind of chorizo should I use?

In my family, we love spicy foods. As a result, we generally opt for a spicier Mexican pork chorizo. That said, you can easily opt for a milder version of chorizo instead, or make your own.

Finally, if you’re avoiding dark meats, you can absolutely substitute ground chicken or turkey for the beef and opt for a chicken, turkey, or vegetarian chorizo instead.

final hero shot of chorizo chili con carne in a blue and white bowl with toppings and a can of bush's pinto beans in the background.

More Bean Recipes

If you tried my yummy Mexican Chorizo Chili con Carne recipe, please let me know how it turned out for you by rating and reviewing it below.

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Mexican chili con carne topped with onions, cheese and avocados in blue and white bowls.

Mexican Chorizo Chili con Carne (Frijoles Enchilados)

My Mexican Chili con Carne recipe is loaded with ground beef, flavorful chorizo, and lots of beans for a delightfully comforting meal. This hearty and economical chorizo chili, also known as Frijoles Enchilados, is a quintessential cold-weather dish ideal for serving on game day. It also comes together in just 30 minutes, making it perfect for busy weeknights.

  • Drizzle olive oil in a large pot on medium heat and add the ground beef and brown for about 10 minutes. Drain off any excess grease.

  • Add the chorizo by crumbling it into the cooked ground beef. Cover the pot and cook the chorizo thoroughly for another 8 to 10 minutes. Using a potato masher, combine the beef and chorizo together. 

  • Add the drained and rinsed beans and broth and cook for 5 minutes. Add the red chile sauce, water, and oregano and cook until it starts to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Add more broth if the mixture is too thick. 

  • Add salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with a handful of cheese or toppings of your choice. 

  • Nutrition does not include toppings.
    • Toppings can be whatever you like! Onion, avocado and cheese are my favorites, but sour cream, hot sauce, cilantro, green onions and Fritos would all make excellent additions as well.
  • Serve over nachos, french fries, hamburgers or hot dogs for an even bigger punch of flavor
  • This chili con carne can be frozen for up to 3 months

Calories: 282kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 2953mg, Potassium: 177mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 214IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 2mg

Photography by Jenna Sparks
Originally published: December 2020. This recipe is also published in the Muy Bueno cookbook. 

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