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The 10 Best Herbs and Spices for Chili Con Carne

Chili con carne is a popular and hearty dish that can be enjoyed any time of the year.

Whether it’s game day, a family dinner, or just a cozy night in, chili con carne is always a crowd-pleaser.

The secret to making an exceptional pot of chili lies in the herbs and spices used to flavor it.

In this post, we’ll share with you the 10 best herbs and spices for chili con carne.

From bold and fiery to warm and savory, these seasonings will make your chili sing.

Why Add Herbs and Spices To Chili Con Carne?

Herbs and spices are an essential part of any flavorful dish, but they are particularly important when it comes to chili con carne.

Not only do they give depth and complexity to the dish’s flavor profile, but some herbs and spices also have health benefits.

For example, cumin has been shown to help with digestion, while garlic has immune-boosting properties.

Adding different herbs and spices is an easy way to enhance both the flavor and nutritional value of your meals.

The 10 Best Herbs And Spices For Chili Con Carne

Chili Powder

First up on our list is chili powder – arguably the most important spice in any pot of chili. This classic seasoning adds heat as well as smoky depth to your dish. Be sure to choose high-quality chili powder that contains no fillers or MSG for the best flavor.


No pot of chili is complete without cumin – an earthy spice with warm undertones that bring out its natural sweetness. It complements both beef and beans beautifully while adding subtle heat (without overpowering). Don’t be afraid to add more than what you think might be required; cumin can bring out some delectable flavors!


Paprika is another must-have spice in chili con carne. It’s made from ground sweet red peppers, which add a smokey flavor, and vibrant red color to the dish. It also adds natural sweetness to balance out the heat from other spices.

Garlic Powder

Garlic cloves are not always handy in the pantry. Garlic powder comes to save your day or any quick preparation of your favorite recipe, like chili con carne. Garlic helps balance out the heat in chili with its mild sweetness and rich flavor.

Onion Powder

Onion powder brings sweetness and depth of flavor to your pot of chili without making it too overpowering. Use onion powder along with chopped onions for an optimal blend of texture and taste.


Oregano gives a warm and pungent aroma that adds warmth to spiciness in chili seasoning blends. This herb pairs extremely well with cumin, creating a robust base for the dish’s unique flavors.

Cayenne Pepper

For those looking for some added spice, cayenne pepper is a perfect addition that packs quite a punch! It has an intense heat and adds distinctive earthy undertones while bringing out all flavors locked inside your dish.

Red Pepper Flakes

Similar to cayenne pepper but milder as compared to it, red pepper flakes can add just enough heat to make the flavors of other spices pop without blowing you away wholly if used correctly. Don’t be fooled by their size; they are perfect for giving dishes that ‘extra something.’

Black Pepper

Black pepper brings essential warmth into this dish without adding any overtly spicy heat level; one cannot underestimate its warming properties that make it so suitable for hearty dishes like Chili Con Carne.


Although less common than other seasonings on this list, coriander seeds boast subtle citrus notes that perfectly complement strong spices like cumin and chili powder. Its mild lemony fragrance brings one of the unique and unexpected flavor combinations to your chili con carne.

How To Cook And Serve Chili Con Carne

Now that you have an idea of the herbs and spices needed to make tasty chili con carne let’s dive into how to cook it.


To make six servings of chilli con carne, you will need the following:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

(Note: You can use more or less of some given spices according to your taste)

For garnish:

  • Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro leaves


  1. Step One: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic first until fragrant.
  2. Step Two: After sautéing onions/garlic, add in ground beef and stir it well for about five minutes until the beef is completely cooked through.
  3. Step Three: Next, add in all your selected herbs and spices and keep stirring occasionally until aromatic for another five minutes.
  4. Step Four: Pour in two cups of water then bring the mixture to a boil before reducing heat. Allow it to simmer for at least half an hour or up to your desired result (you may need extra water if it becomes too thick). Adjust salt according to taste.
  5. Step Five: Serve hot with some fresh cilantro leaves-finely chopped-, shredded cheese, and a dollop of sour cream on top!


There you have it – our list of the ten best herbs and spices for chili con carne! By adding these seasonings to your recipe, you’ll transform an ordinary pot of chili into a bold and complex dish that will please any audience.

Remember that measurements aren’t cut in stone- always work on your desired outcomes when setting the required quantity.

Tweak these ingredients above by adding some cumin or chili powder or even chicken steak just to mix it up! Play around with different spice blends until you find the perfect one for yourself and enjoy!

jenny happy muncher
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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.