Easy Chili Colorado With Beef

Easy chile colorado recipe

​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 3 hrs 45 mins
Total: 4 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1155 Calories
57g Fat
77g Carbs
81g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 1155
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 57g 72%
Saturated Fat 21g 106%
Cholesterol 276mg 92%
Sodium 1336mg 58%
Total Carbohydrate 77g 28%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 81g
Vitamin C 29mg 143%
Calcium 137mg 11%
Iron 12mg 66%
Potassium 1220mg 26%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The Spanish word colorado means red, a description that fits this stew made with tender beef. Other appropriate words might come to mind when you taste the results of this easy recipe though: rich, flavorful, and satisfying. Considered a favorite comfort food in Sonora and Chihuahua (in northern Mexico), appreciation for chili colorado crosses the border into the southeastern United States, where it is often served with fresh flour tortillas.


  • 1 (3-pound) beef roast

  • 8 dried red chiles, such as Guajillo, Anaheim, or New Mexico peppers

  • 2 cups tomato puree (tomato sauce)

  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and finely diced

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons pork lard, or vegetable oil

  • 2 cups beef broth, homemade, canned, or prepared with bouillon cubes/powder

  • Flour tortillas, for serving

  • White onion, chopped, for garnish

  • Cilantro, picked and roughly torn leaves, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for easy chile colorado
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Place the roast in a large pot and cover it with water.

    Place meat in pot
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Simmer it for 2 to 3 hours, until it becomes fork tender. (You could also do this unattended in a slow-cooker.)

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Prepare the sauce while the beef cooks: Pick whole dried chilies that look fresh, not shriveled, with no tears or broken pieces. Rinse off any dust or grime under cool water. Pat the chilies dry, then cut the top off of each one and slit it down the middle.

    Prepare the sauce
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Shake out the seeds, using your fingers or a spoon to dislodge stubborn ones.

    Shake out seeds
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Peel off excess veins running in a lighter-colored line down the inside.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  7. Heat a comal or griddle over medium-high heat and toast the dried chilies for 2 to 3 minutes, turning them often to prevent burning.

    Heat a comal
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  8. Put the roasted chilies in a bowl and cover them with hot water; let them soak for about 30 minutes.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  9. Remove the chilies from the water and place them in a blender with about 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid, the tomato puree, the garlic, the oregano, and the salt; puree until smooth.

    Remove the chilies
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  10. Take the beef out of the pot; drain the water and either discard it or set it aside for another purpose.

    Take roast out
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  11. Heat the lard or oil in the pot over medium-high heat.

    Heat lard
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  12. Cut or pull the beef into bite-sized pieces.

    Cut up
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  13. Fry them briefly in the oil. (This step adds flavor and texture, but you can skip it for a lower-fat version.)

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  14. Add the broth and the blended chili-tomato mixture to the pot and simmer everything for about 30 minutes, until the flavors meld and the stew reaches your desired consistency. (Some people like a loose sauce, while others prefer to cook it longer and let it thicken.)

    Add the broth
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  15. Serve chili colorado with steaming hot flour tortillas and a garnish of chopped onion and chopped cilantro leaves.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck


  • Store leftover chili colorado in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three days or in the freezer for up to six months; use it another day as a filling for burritos, enchiladas, or tortas.
  • Once you master this sauce, try pork, chicken, tofu, or eggs cooked in chili colorado.