Chili con Carne with Cornbread Dumplings

I love the smoky flavor of this bean-less chili con carne with cornbread dumplings. Most of that smoky flavor comes from the chipotle peppers in adobo, but the smoked paprika helps too.

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 I believe that keeping the chili simple with no beans and no peppers lets that flavor really shine. There’s nothing like cornbread to go with your chili so this recipe gives you both, chili and cornbread in one pot. The cornbread dumplings soak up some of the liquid in the chili making it extra flavorful and thickening the chili below into a thick stew. It’s a hearty meal all in one pot, no matter what sort of pot you use – a Dutch oven, pressure cooker (or Instant Pot®) or slow cooker. (scroll down to see a video of each method)

Looking for a meatless chili? My favorite vegetarian chili recipe is right here.  

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Chili con Carne with Cornbread Dumplings - Stovetop and Oven Method

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 2 h
  • Total Time: 2 h 15 m
  • Servings:
    8

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds boneless chuck or round roast cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce chopped (about 3 to 4 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground dried cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Cornbread Dumplings
  • 1 cup cornmeal white or yellow
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 red or green Jalapeño pepper sliced
  • fresh cilantro chopped

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat a large oval Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the oil and brown the beef in batches, seasoning with salt. Set the browned beef aside. Add the onion and sauté until it just starts to soften – about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chipotle peppers and spices and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the beef stock, scraping the bottom of the pot to pick up any brown bits. Return the beef to the pot and cover. Bring the chili to a simmer and lower the heat. Simmer the chili gently for 1½ hours on the stovetop.
  3. Just before the simmering time is up, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a bowl. Combine the buttermilk, egg and butter in another bowl or measuring cup. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Set the mixture aside.
  4. Taste the chili and season with salt and stir in the cilantro. Drop 8 mounds of the cornbread batter on top of the chili and scatter the Jalapeño chili pepper slices on top. Transfer the pot to the oven.
  5. Bake the cornbread dumplings and chili for another 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the dumplings comes out clean and the top is nicely browned.
  6. To serve, scoop the cornbread dumpling and chili together and garnish with chopped cilantro. This would be nice served with a hearty bean salad.

Chili con Carne with Cornbread Dumplings - Pressure Cooker Method

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 20 m
  • Total Time: 35 m
  • Servings:
    6
    to 8

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds boneless chuck or round roast cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce chopped (about 3 to 4 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground dried cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

    Cornbread Dumplings:
  • 1 cup cornmeal white or yellow
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 red or green Jalapeño pepper sliced
  • fresh cilantro chopped

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat a 6-quart multi-function pressure cooker on the BROWN or SAUTE setting.
  2. Add the oil and brown the beef pieces in batches, seasoning with salt. Add the onion, garlic, chipotle peppers and spices and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the beef stock, scraping the bottom of the pot to pick up any brown bits. (If your cooker doesn’t have a brown setting, use a Dutch oven on the stovetop for the steps above and transfer the contents to the cooker now.) Return the beef to the cooker, cover and lock the lid in place.
  3. Pressure cook on HIGH for 15 minutes.
  4. While the chili is cooking, make the cornbread dumpling mixture. Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a bowl. Combine the buttermilk, egg and butter in another bowl or measuring cup. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Set the mixture aside.
  5. Let the pressure drop NATURALLY and carefully remove the lid. Season the chili to taste again with salt and stir in the cilantro. Drop dollops of the cornbread dumpling batter into the chili. Cover with a lid and bring the chili back to a simmer using the BROWN or SAUTE setting. Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes or until the dumplings are fully cooked through.
  6. Serve the chili in a bowl with a cornbread dumpling on top and a hearty bean salad on the side.

Chili con Carne with Cornbread Dumplings - Slow Cooker Method

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 7 h
  • Total Time: 7 h 15 m
  • Servings:
    8

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds boneless chuck or round roast cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce chopped (about 3 to 4 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground dried cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes
  • ½ cup beef stock
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Cornbread Dumplings
  • 1 cup cornmeal white or yellow
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 red or green Jalapeño pepper sliced
  • fresh cilantro chopped

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat a 5- to 6-quart multi-function slow cooker on the BROWN or SAUTE setting. Add the oil and brown the beef pieces in batches, seasoning with salt. (If your cooker doesn’t have a brown setting, use a Dutch oven on the stovetop for the step above and transfer the beef to the cooker now.) Return all the browned beef to the cooker.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, chipotle peppers, spices, tomatoes and beef stock to the cooker with the beef and mix well. Cover.
  3. Slow cook on LOW for 6 hours (or 3 hours on HIGH).
  4. While the chili is cooking, make the cornbread dumpling mixture. Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a bowl. Combine the buttermilk, egg and butter in another bowl or measuring cup. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Set the mixture aside.
  5. Drop dollops of the cornbread dumpling batter on top of the chili and cover with the lid. Slow cook on HIGH for 1 hour or until the dumplings are cooked through.
  6. Season to taste again with salt and stir in the cilantro. Serve the chili in a bowl with a cornbread dumpling on top and a hearty bean salad on the side.
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