Home Gochujang Chili Con Carne: Spicy, Savory, Simple

Gochujang Chili Con Carne: Spicy, Savory, Simple

by Brad Prose

This is my not-so-secret recipe for smokey, savory gochujang chili con carne that’s going to blow your mind and save you so much effort.

bowl of chili con carne
Smokey, savory, spicy, and not traditional.

Familiar chili flavors with twists.

I had a hard time convincing myself to post this recipe for Gochujang Chili Con Carne. It’s my secret recipe for potlucks and gatherings. No one in their right mind shares their personal secrets for chili! Those of you that don’t know what Chili Con Carne is, SHAME. This is a dish made famous in Texas, while is essentially a chili that’s primarily chunks of stewed beef. Sometimes it has beans, but it always starts with searing large pieces of beef before bathing in a chili-broth for hours.

No chile powders to be found.

This isn’t your traditional chili, whatever that really means. There are no chile powders to be had, just fresh veggies, broth, beer, and a small amount of brown sugar and you’ve got yourself a ridiculously complex tasting chili that warms your mouth instantly. The savory gochujang will have you drooling for more. Smoked salt and chipotles remind me of cooking outdoors, giving you the essence of a campfire. I highly recommend that you double or triple the recipe below.

Creating a new style of chili using fresh ingredients was tricky. There are are few layers of heat that create the complexity you’d expect from an excellent chili con carne: Gochujang and fresh Chipotles with adobo sauce, and Jalapeños. Gochujang and jalapeños can vary with levels of heat, so hopefully, you’ve tasted yours ahead of time and are familiar with how spicy it is.

chili con carne with the toppings
Rice, cheddar, onions, what are you eating this with?

Do you know gochujang?

It’s a Korean fermented chile paste that is packed with umami and heat, making you crave more and more. I think that Bon Appetit has some of the best examples of how it can be used.

Here are some other recipes where I’ve used gochujang in case you’re looking for more inspiration:

Don’t worry about it being a huge container – you will absolutely go through it all. I have access to it at local grocery stores, however, you can buy the same brand that I use online which makes it really easy:

gochujang chili con carne
This bite is for me! You can have the rest.

Rice is a great pairing for the chili, helping soak up all of those flavors. Try putting it in a flour tortilla, making an incredible burrito. Or you could simply shove it in your mouth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute the beer?

Yes, if you don’t drink alcohol I would recommend just using a light roast coffee, which would give you a rich, earthy flavor.

Can I use this recipe with pork or chicken?

You sure can! Same seasonings and process, but the cooking time will vary for the meat to fall apart. Just pay attention along the way during the last phase of braising.

Can I substitute the gochujang?

Nope. It’s a must for this recipe. There is not a close substitute that will mimic the flavors.

I could keep writing more but you don’t really care. You should be focused on making this and sharing your feedback below!

Close up of that delicious bowl of gochujang chili con carne
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bowl of chili con carne

Gochujang Chili Con Carne

This is my not-so-secret recipe for smokey, savory gochujang chili con carne that’s going to blow your minds and save you so much effort.

  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


  • 4 tbsp vegetable or grapeseed oil
  • 1.50 lbs beef chuck roast, cut into 1/2” cubes
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely diced
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked salt
  • 1 15 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup Negro Modelo, or preferred dark beer
  • 5 tbsp gochujang
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped


  1. Use a Dutch oven, or a deep pot. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil over high heat. Lightly season the meat with salt & pepper. Sear the meat all over, you will probably need to do this in batches. Transfer the meat to a plate lined with a paper towel once browned.
  2. Add in the last 2 Tbsp of oil into the pot and reduce heat to medium. When the oil is hot, add in the diced jalapeños and red onion. Stir frequently to char on all sides for 2 minutes. Add in the minced garlic, chopped chipotle and adobo sauce, cumin, coriander, smoked salt and brown sugar. Continue to stir frequently to incorporate the spices.
  3. Whisk together the gochujang and beef broth to fully incorporate. Add this into the pot along with the beer, and fire-roasted tomatoes with juices, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the meat to the pot and bring it all to a simmer for about 2-3 hours until the meat is tender. Put the lid on while cooking if you like the chili to have a thinner consistency, and simmer without the lid if you like it a little thicker.
  4. Stir in the chopped cilantro at the end. I recommend servicing with white rice and toppings such as cheddar cheese and diced white or green onions. Enjoy!


Gochujang cannot be replaced in this recipe, it’s a complex ingredient and your results will not be the same. Make sure you have fun toppings such as cheddar, sesame seeds, scallions, white onions, or even an egg. There are so many possibilities.

  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 120
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Comfort food

Keywords: chili con carne

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Katrina September 12, 2019 - 1:00 pm

I’m going to make this‼ Yum

Luney June 3, 2020 - 9:36 am

I’ve made this several times now and it’s awesome. It’s my husbands now favourite chilli! Thank you so much for sharing xxx

Brad Prose June 3, 2020 - 12:25 pm

That’s a huge compliment! Thank you for letting me know, we’re big fans too.

James W November 6, 2020 - 1:03 am

Gonna try it! Thoughts on adding black or kidney beans?

Brad Prose November 6, 2020 - 8:25 am

I think black beans would work with the flavor profile. You might want to add them in halfway through if they are canned, that way they don’t become mush.

Doug December 4, 2020 - 6:16 am

We’ve made this a few times now and it’s crazy! Thank you!

Noella January 24, 2021 - 1:23 pm

Can you use ground beef instead of the roast?

Brad Prose January 24, 2021 - 2:24 pm

Yes you can! Follow the same process but you don’t need to cook the chili down quite a long, since you’re not trying to tenderize the beef.

Larry Marquit November 28, 2021 - 12:16 pm

I noticed someone asked, “Can I substitute the beer?” and your answer was :Yes, if you don’t drink alcohol I would recommend just using a light roast coffee, which would give you a rich, earthy flavor.” I agree with you; however, virtually all the alcohol evaporates — or ‘burns off’ — from the beer during cooking. Also, there are non-alcoholic beers. At the same time, it may be the taste of beer that this cook wants to avoid, in which I agree with you 200%!

Brad Prose November 29, 2021 - 6:14 am

Hi Larry, great points and thank you for sharing. This specific question came up twice from individuals that don’t drink, meaning they don’t purchase alcohol – this comes up often in my recipes. Yes, alcohol mostly burns off but it’s helpful to also share a substitute. I’m sure that a great-tasting non-alcoholic beer could potentially work. Frankly, I’ve never cooked this with non-alcoholic beer for testing, but I did with coffee. Appreciate your time in sharing, gives me something to think about for future testing.

Frank January 18, 2022 - 5:03 pm

Tried similar recipe only a few tweaks… used Rye alcohol in place of beer, used venison in place of beef, and added black beans not from can. Very yummy! Thank you

Brad Prose January 19, 2022 - 11:04 am

Thanks for sharing, that sounds so tasty!

Blue January 28, 2022 - 10:51 am

Love this recipe will definitely make it again

Brad Prose January 28, 2022 - 10:55 am

Thanks Blue!

Julie March 6, 2022 - 6:38 pm

I’ve always struggled to get a spot on chili & this recipe did it for me. I did some modifications to fit my pantry & tastes and the chili is totally banging. I used ground beef. I don’t like chipotle so I blistered half a red pepper in its place. I added a tablespoon of grated ginger. I also always toast my spices after sautéing the veg, and add a tbls tomato paste after. I didn’t have smoked salt but I added about 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke to the broth. I didn’t have any beer & I wish I’d known about the coffee sub, but I didn’t read the notes, so I just added a bit more broth. I added a can of black beans. I agree, it is a complex taste of unique definition. I wish I had tripled it as you recommended. Next time. I’m thinking about serving it with Damn Good Corn Bread. Any other suggestions besides rice?

Brad Prose March 6, 2022 - 6:56 pm

Thanks for the feedback! Glad you love it. You sound like you’re quick on your feet with being able to adapt the recipe to your tastes, which is great to see.
I love the chili on biscuits, rice, or in big burritos 🌯

Hoyt July 29, 2022 - 12:20 pm

Will powderd gochujang work the same as paste? Same quantity? Thanks

Brad Prose July 30, 2022 - 8:09 am

The flavor will be very close but you’ll miss out on the thickening component. I haven’t tried this, but I would imagine it wouldn’t be far off.


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