Chilli con carne

Chilli con carne

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(1015 ratings)

Prep: 50 mins - 1 hr, 10 mins


Serves 4

This great chilli has to be one of the best dishes to serve to friends for a casual get-together

Nutrition and extra info

  • Can be frozen

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal387
  • fat17g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs25g
  • sugars1g
  • fibre6g
  • protein36g
  • salt2.32g
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  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika



    A spice that's central to Hungarian cuisine, paprika is made by drying a particular type of…

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp sugar



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 410g can red kidney beans
  • plain boiled long grain rice, to serve
  • soured cream, to serve


  1. Prepare your vegetables. Chop 1 large onion into small dice, about 5mm square. The easiest way to do this is to cut the onion in half from root to tip, peel it and slice each half into thick matchsticks lengthways, not quite cutting all the way to the root end so they are still held together. Slice across the matchsticks into neat dice. Cut 1 red pepper in half lengthways, remove stalk and wash the seeds away, then chop. Peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves.

  2. Start cooking. Put your pan on the hob over a medium heat. Add the oil and leave it for 1-2 minutes until hot (a little longer for an electric hob). Add the onions and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft, squidgy and slightly translucent. Tip in the garlic, red pepper, 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder or 1 level tbsp mild chilli powder, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tsp ground cumin. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Brown the 500g lean minced beef. Turn the heat up a bit, add the meat to the pan and break it up with your spoon or spatula. The mix should sizzle a bit when you add the mince. Keep stirring and prodding for at least 5 minutes, until all the mince is in uniform, mince-sized lumps and there are no more pink bits. Make sure you keep the heat hot enough for the meat to fry and become brown, rather than just stew.

  4. Making the sauce. Crumble 1 beef stock cube into 300ml hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture. Open 1 can of chopped tomatoes (400g can) and add these as well. Tip in ½ tsp dried marjoram and 1 tsp sugar, if using (see tip at the bottom), and add a good shake of salt and pepper. Squirt in about 2 tbsp tomato purée and stir the sauce well.

  5. Simmer it gently. Bring the whole thing to the boil, give it a good stir and put a lid on the pan. Turn down the heat until it is gently bubbling and leave it for 20 minutes. You should check on the pan occasionally to stir it and make sure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan or isn’t drying out. If it is, add a couple of tablespoons of water and make sure that the heat really is low enough. After simmering gently, the saucy mince mixture should look thick, moist and juicy.

  6. Bring on the beans. Drain and rinse 1 can of red kidney beans (410g can) in a sieve and stir them into the chilli pot. Bring to the boil again, and gently bubble without the lid for another 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it looks too dry. Taste a bit of the chilli and season. It will probably take a lot more seasoning than you think. Now replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave your chilli to stand for 10 minutes before serving, and relax. Leaving your chilli to stand is really important as it allows the flavours to mingle and the meat.

  7. Serve with soured cream and plain boiled long grain rice.

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Comments (1034)

DropWallet's picture

Great recipe!

Rebeccaprime's picture

Best chile we have had! Just the right amount of spice for me.

Bolnuevo24's picture

Far too hot. Had to make another batch of mince and onions to add to the original batch.
Try only a small teaspoon of chilli powder to start with. A heaped teaspoon is rather a lot and even my husband who adores hot food, couldn't eat it until i'd added the second lot of mince.

homecooklondon's picture

I added grated carrot, red and green pepper and mushrooms to up the veggie content. Delicious!

Ryan Christopher James Burke's picture

Absolute classic. Agreed, the dosage of spices could be higher. First time i made it, the spices got a little lost in the mix.

Ls4711's picture

I doubled the amount of spices and also added a half tsp of chilli flakes. I also used smoked paprika which gave it a more Texan chilli flavour. Fab recipe and will definitely continue with.

dinsdaleyoung's picture

Can I add this recipe to the iPad app?

nischi's picture

Great recipe, I didn't have any dark chocolate so added 1/4 tsp of nutmeg and cinnamon at the end which worked rather nicely. I also added celery salt as suggested by some of the other comments.

solan goose's picture

I am a bit of a chilli fan to say the least. I would say double up on dry spices otherwise it's too bland IMO. I don't see anything special about this recipe at all over others, am I missing something? I don't bother with red pepper as it's too sweet to have in a chilli. Instead, fresh green bird eye or finger chillies with seeds are good, but reduce chilli powder unless you like it hot like me. The small piece of dark chocolate at the end strangely works though, I have done this before. It adds a nice velvety texture without the taste of the chocolate.

monty62713's picture

This is an excellent recipe. I added a green pepper for colour, 4 sticks of celery for a tasty crunch and substituted normal salt with celery salt. It was very good, good enough to eat!

christinashuttleworth's picture

Best chilli I have ever made, make it all the time now and my husband loves it! Especially tasty when adding the dark chocolate

kylee2427's picture

Excellent recipe, tasty and easy to make.

DropWallet's picture

Agreed - delicious

DropWallet's picture

I've had it again - still soooooo good!

simonjohnrobertz's picture

Ha, it was that tasty eh!

Frederick Wasnidge's picture

I am in the process of cooking this recipe this evening. I added an extra clove of garlic, a couple bay leaves, a few stalks of celery (chopped) and a few thin spicy Merguez sausages (well pan-fried and thinly sliced for extra piquancy) and OMITTED any sugar or chocolate! ...
If the "quality control" tastings are any indication, it is going to be AMAZING! ...

stroudg1's picture

Best chilli ever - always a success - definitely add the chocolate - gives it such a great flavour.

rogierius's picture

If you don't have chili powder, but you do have sweet chili sauce, skip the teaspoon sugar and use the sauce to sweeten it a bit and add a chili flavor. To give the taste more depth, add pimento (smoked paprika powder).

Make sure you rinse the red kidney beans with water before adding it to the mix. I skip the rice as it is pretty filling without it already. Why add rice if you add kidney beans?, it's silly.

For yummy taste, add shredded parmesan cheese.

For the European readers saving for early retirement, you can buy all basic ingredients at Lidl. Pimento and other spices I bought at other stores. Cheap, taste and healthy dish.

killiandeeley's picture

Does this calorie count include rice??

KenR53's picture

Excellent chilli recipe, I had a couple of extra approachs I make a sofrito start ie fry the onions with half the tin of tomatoes until very dark red. I also brown the beef mince in the oven before adding. I then add the garlic and also a large diced carrot. I also use anchovies which gives even more depth of flavour. For stock I use 3 beef oxo cubes in 300m which personally I find better than the average stock cubes for. flavour. Always get great comments for this which is really one of he easiest recipes going.


Questions (34)

caroleharding's picture

I love this recipe and have made it many times. Just one thing though, when I serve the chilli the sauce always separates a bit which is a shame. I don't really want to use a thickener as it is already a good consistency. Any suggestions?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, it sounds like you could simmer the sauce for a little longer with the lid off to reduce the liquid. Also, give it a good stir before serving. Hope that helps!

ChuckLoyola's picture

Need to double (or treble!) the recipe. Any advice?

goodfoodteam's picture

This is a very easy recipe to double or treble, keep all the quantities in the same proportions, but the frying process will take you a little longer. You might find it easier to make in 2 pans at the same time unless you have really large ones. This is a great favourite for batch cooking and easy to portion into freezer bags too. For your info it will keep for 2 months in the freezer.

Jage's picture

I've used lamb for a chilli bolognase and that was nice so I don't see why it wouldn't work with this

ooki's picture

Hi, I'm not a fan of red kidney beans
Can you suggest anything else for me to substitute?

Jage's picture

I use a tin of sweet corn and add an extra green pepper it's particularly nice with the sweet corn. Hope this helps, let me know what you think.

Ian.w's picture

Ok done this twice now each time watery and quite bland.

Any ideas?

Seems like the 300 ml of water and tinned tomatoes seem to be too much liquid?

Jage's picture

Perhaps boil it longer without the lid or perhaps you've got the heat too low when simmering I also double up on all the spices

rkbyrne's picture

Use good beef.
I use a Knorr beef stock pot
Don't cover with a lid as this keeps moisture in
Make sure you season with salt and pepper

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi Ian.w thanks for getting in touch and sorry to hear you did not have success with this recipe. In step 5 you need to let the mixture boil then simmer so that the water evaporates which means it will reduce right down and thicken - don't add the beans until this has happened. With regards to the blandness, please do taste it at step 6 and add salt and pepper to your liking. Hope this helps and please do let us know how you get on if you do decide to try this recipe again. 

lf14's picture

How would you do this in the slow cooker?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for your question. Brown all of your ingredients first, then add to the slow cooke. Cook on low for 8 hours, then finish with the kidney beans as per the recipe. 

peonycrafts's picture

Hi, I'd like to make this for the freezer - should I add the beans before freezing or at the reheating stage? Thanks

geordielass78's picture

I've made this for the freezer a few times and had no problems with adding the beans before I freeze it - they don't break up or go mushy or anything.

peonycrafts's picture

I'd like to make this for the freezer - should I add the beans before freezing or at the reheating stage?

gtaang's picture

How easy would this be to convert to a slow cooker recipe?

kbarge's picture

Is the nutritional info per 100g or per serving or per pot of chilli?

goodfoodteam's picture

Nutritional info is per serving, so per 1/4 of the recipe.

Zoe123456789's picture

Could someone please tell me if the nutritional information includes the rice?


Tips (24)

whutom's picture

I have made this about 5 times now but never made it hot enough ( my fault ) my tip is to to add chorizo and slow cooking the lot before adding kidney beans, then serve on top of nachos with cheese sprinkled oved and chopped jalapenos with a twist of pepper, i also added birdseye chilli to give it that extra kick,obviously not enough but still very tasty.

mrspinnywinny's picture

Have made this recipe numerous times - husband sick of it! If freezing, I suggest not cooking the beans at all or they will be mushy when you defrost. However, do let your chilli stand in fridge for day or two before freezing so flavours develop. If you've overdone the chilli, add baked beans. The sweetness will balance it out.

David G's picture

I have replaced the powdered chilli with 4 x Fresh Birdeye chillies and added two large Porterhouse mushrooms at the same time as the peppers. very nice indeed and the spice is not quite a raw.

paulascoble's picture

I made this but left out the water as really didn't need it. I added a tin of baked beans swell as kidney beans. I felt there wasn't much taste to the chilli and as one daughter felt it was just right for her i portioned hers out then added a couple of fresh green chillies which added some heat. Recipe was easy to follow and will certainly make again .

JC1818's picture

I omitted the salt when I made this,and used low sodium beef broth. It was still excellent. This could easily be a low sodium recipe, for those watching their salt intake.

Bad Ham's picture

To stop it drying up I added more water. Then it went a bit bland. So I added more Puree, Cumin and spice and it all tasted very nice!

mattb27's picture

I also find that this isn't that hot. I usually add 1-2 teaspoons of harrisa paste into it to give it a good extra kick.

geordielass78's picture

For those who think this isn't hot enough I find chilli flakes are probably a bit better in that respect than chilli powder - a very heaped teaspoon gives it a good bit of "kick" without being overwhelming. I also use more tomato puree than the recipe (3-4 tbsp instead of 2 tbsp), otherwise it seems rather watery and has to be reduced and reduced and reduced to make the sauce reasonably tomato-y. Lastly, I add a half tsp of coriander along with the other spices. All of this just adds extra depth to the flavour.

Votadini's picture

Try substituting the teaspoon of paprika with a teaspoon of either hot smoked paprika (if you like it hot) or sweet smoked paprika (if you like it not so hot). I found, in my opinion, it made a subtle improvement in the background flavour of the dish.

ruthpatricia's picture

Definitely use fresh chillies for a spicy kick also fry the mince in a separate pan then add as stated in recipe, making sure it is sizzling,yummy!

maryblack297's picture

Having made this a few times, I rather fancied tweaking it. I made it last week with a stick of celery and a carrot, chopped very fine. I added a glass of red wine, 1sp each of the following dried herbs - oregano, rosemary and thyme. Instead of a stock cube, I added beef Touch of Taste (Nigella and I swear by it). I then cooked it at 140 for four hours. This creates a fantastic depth of flavour.

Oh and if your sauce is a bit thin, mash a few beans against the side of the pot to thicken it.

nickernow's picture

Nice basic recipe but not enough flavour or heat for me. I zinged it up wit two fresh chilis and a drop of peri peri sauce a half teaspoon of mustard powder, using half beer and half water with the stock and half a teaspoon of Marmite. Then it's a proper chilli!

artie's picture

Having followed the recipe precisely previously, I made a slight adjustment for extra zing by adding 2 fresh chillies (as well as the ground spice). I also added 2x tbsp of worcester sauce and 1/2 tsp of tabasco sauce (habanero) when adding the stock and toms. After it had all mixed in and come to the boil, I added 250ml passata. The outcome was inevitably hotter than what previously I considered far too mild a recipe for a chilli con carne. Each to their own of course! If filling tortilla wraps with chilli mix I suggest some natural yoghurt accompanies it.

vicksfizzy's picture

Made this once with beef and once with Quorn mince, couldn't taste the difference. Very nice recipe and a hit with all the family.

atettmar's picture

Lovely recipe!! If looking for a healthier alternative to rice or nachos, try roasting half a butternut squash, scooping chilli on top, sprinkle with some cheese and grilling it for a few minutes!! Works a treat!!

mrspinnywinny's picture

Fab recipe for vegetarians: fry a stalk of diced celery with the onion at stage 1; fry spices, 2 chopped leeks, 1/2 pack mushrooms, chopped, 1 red pepper, 1 cooked potato, 2 tbspn red lentils at stage 2, then use 1/2 pint veg stock, 400g passata, oregano, tomato puree (1 tbspn only) and about 1 tsp of Willie's Cacao, grated, (Waitrose) . Serve with sour cream or Turkish yoghurt (Lidl) and chilli cornbread.
Agree with @Luccin: Smoked paprika and oregano

Belnahua's picture

If you don't like kidney beans, 2 tins of baked beans (drained as best you can in a sieve) in place makes a nice alternative.

peteryyz's picture

"If you don'y like Kidney Beans" does that mean??..Who wouldn't like Kidney Beans if they're making a Chilli con carne!??. It's like having Fish n Chips with no salt and Vinegar. Please people,either develop an adult palate or just stick to McDonalds as usual.

JoJo7's picture

In some schools of thought kindey beans are a no-no in chilli, so calm down people are entitled to tases that differ from yours. Surely people should be encouraged to make recipies for good food fit their tastes rather than be discouraged and sent for the very unhealthy alternative. Please poeple, either develop an adult mentality or just stick to unhelpful posts on social media.
I find fresh chillies and the chocolate tip work.
Also if using veggie mince I put a dash of red wine in the stock.

alternapop's picture

The first time I made this was my first attempt at making chili ever. I took it to a friend's chili cook off where there were about 8 entries. They had blind voting and I took first place, surprisingly.... mainly because I rarely cook.

I modified it by using 1/2 pound of breakfast sausage and 1/2 pound of ground beef.

The secret ingredient could've been a handful of dashes of my all-time favorite hot sauce, Yucatan Sunshine Habanero. It's not too spicy and has a nice sweet flavor due to it being made with carrots. :)

I just made it again and put it twice as much hot sauce... 10 dashes or so. It's simmering now. Can't wait!