Close video

Chilli con carne

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(943 ratings)

Magazine subscription – 5 issues for £5

Cooking time

Prep: 50 mins - 1 hr, 10 mins

Skill level



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 info

Nutrition per serving

Save to My Good Food
Please sign in or register to save recipes.


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 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
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 410g can red kidney beans
  • plain boiled long grain rice, to serve
  • soured cream, to serve

Compare prices

Want to see what this recipe costs at different supermarkets? Compare in one place here:


  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.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, May 2002

Ads by Google

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.


Show comments
rdboon's picture

Fantastic chilli recipe! Full of flavour and beautifully simple to cook. Only thing I would note is that if you like your chilli with a little warm kick then you need to add more chilli! I don't like to let chilli powder be responsible for all the heat (the idea that 1 heaped tsp of chilli powder is going to make it hot is a bit of a joke) so I added one fresh red chilli and this gave it a lovely warmth that was just right, dried chilli flakes would also work nicely. This is my new go-to recipe for Chilli Con Carne. Oh and the tip regarding the chocolate is great, I used a really strong 90% cocoa pure dark square of chocolate and it was just right.

Leamariem's picture

The best chilli con carne recipe - I use it all the time & the kids love it.

matizon's picture

Sorry to mention this but Chilli con Carne DOES NOT exist in Mexican cuisine. I live in Mexico and absolutely nobody has heard of this. It´s a pure invention from the Tex-Mex style of cuisine, rather like the Chimichanga.

lhr2's picture

It doesn't say : this is the exact recipe of the Mexican dish!! It's only a dish no need to be a pretentious twat about it

Samsonite90's picture

Perfect response to a twatish comment .....thank you lhr2!

jimmyjames659's picture

Very very tasty, a hit with all the family including my young daughters (I used mild chilli).

sophiegray59's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Amazing recipe! Just the right amount of heat and packed full of flavour!

nkml21's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Wonderful recipe! Tried this for the first time yesterday and it was a big hit!

rebeletta's picture

Made this on Saturday and agree with the others. Fab chilli but definitely needs more of a hit. I used one fresh red chilli aswell as the hot chilli powder. Will definitely be making this again.

kabulkate's picture

I added an extra tin of kidney beans and since I had no onions or red peppers, I chopped up several Anaheim chilis (having deseeded them first so they wouldnt be so hot). I served it with brown rice. Great recipe for a chilly night.

fiona1597's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Fantastic recipe and so so easy!! It's become a firm favourite in the household.

michelle_30's picture

Made this tonight, really easy and delicious meal. I was worried that it may be too spicy as i used hot chilli powder and my bf doesn't like spice but it was fine and in fact i could have doubled the spices just to really get a rich favour. If i had chocolate i would have added that as suggested and didnt bother with the sugar. Worth trying to make yourself, really easy and tasty and much better than packets or jars

solan goose's picture

Good recipe, much better than others I have tried over the years posted on the internet. Most are very bland and taste like the bottom part of a cottage pie with added kidney beans! I would personally forget the red (bell?) pepper. Red bell peppers give the chilli a strange sweet taste IMO. I would also leave out the sugar too. I would increase the spices a little to all heaped teaspoons and add a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. An additional splash of Tabasco works well too and does not seem to add the sweetness that the red bell pepper would. You can tone this down a little if you like for the kids as I do.

ssj's picture

made this tonite was really nice used mild chilli powder instead as my kids wont eat anything to hot,also used half a teaspoon of cayenne chilli pepper will defently be making this again as we all enjoy it x

lanolin's picture

Love this recipe, have used it so many times and it's always lovely. I like it hot so I always double up on the spices and add a chilli at the same time as the pepper. Also add veg if I have it in the fridge. Sometimes use turkey mince to be healthier (but still with a beef stock cube) but use normal lean beef mince when my hubby is home. Always tastes great - especially with the chocolate - highly recommend!

carla68's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Delish. All the family loved this. Tweeked it slightly but only to make it a bit spicier

Enidjean1929's picture

Easy and delicious! Will definitely be making again and again.

RichieBoo's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

WoW!! WoW doesn't even come close to the results! I used the tip (Chocolate (Dark)) instead of sugar. Otherwise this went down an absolute storm at the dining room table! Oh... just for the record I DO NOT like Red Peppers (!) But as I was making for pepper lovers I put in against my best judgement - and guess what? LOVED IT! :-) Just goes back to the WoW!

ley30's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

I make a vegetarian version of this and we love it. I use soya or quorn mince instead of beef mince and add vegetable stock instead of beef stock.

mandy0191's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

For a New Years Eve family party it went done very well. I doubled the recipe and made it in advance along with the potato skins and soured cream dip recipe also on this site. When guests arrived it was easy to cook rice, roast the potatoes and reheat the chilli. Of course M&S party food was also served. But the compliments went to the homemade Chilli Con Carne, potatoes and dip - thank you BBCGOODFOOD