Chilli con carne

Chilli con carne

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(861 ratings)


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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

Additional info

  • Can be frozen
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving



  • 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

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  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

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Emmafe's picture

Have made this receipe lots of times as so thought I should leave a comment. I would add slightly more cumin and chilli as without it can taste a little bland. The addition of chocolate does add to the flavour. A real winner with the slight adjustments

dwatson27's picture

Made this loads of times and always great! I usually brown meat first to drain off excess water from supermarket mince. Today bought morissons butchers mince. It was fab! No water to drain :). As usual the chilli was gorgeous. Didn't have marjoram so used thyme. A regular meal in our house. Five stars as it is so easy!

chris210's picture

I a tablespoon of flour to thicken, a star anise more chilli powder and a shot of Jack Daniels, and this really was incredible! Think next time I will try will some finely diced Smokey bacon to really take this to the next level.

ladycostumer's picture
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Made this for the ladies on the evening shift, I have never had to copy out a recipe so many times. Huge hit! You control the heat with the amount of chilli powder. Even the young children in our family want seconds.

laonie's picture
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Can we assume the one-star rating was an error then? :)

adanic84's picture

There is just one word that can describe this dish... amazing! You can't go wrong with this recipe so even if you think you can't cook, just go for it anyway.

janjan87's picture

Made this last night and it was delicious! My husband said it was the best chili con carne he'd had in a very long time. I added a couple of peppers instead and some celery as they needed using up. Only used a normal sized can of kidney beans. (210g), this was plenty. Used a teaspoon of hot chili powder, plus an extra sprinkle and doubled the amount of ground cumin and parprika, this was just right. I love my food with a kick but the hubby isn't a hot fan so served with natural yougurt and some grated Red Leicester. Cooked it in the end for about an hour on a low heat and the flavours really come together by leaving it to sit at the end. The dark choc is a must! Yum!

kinga2atlanta's picture

Absolutely amazing. Made it last night and I have to say - the best Chilli con carne I have ever eaten. Beautiful and super tasty.

Adsi's picture

Made this for a bonfire party, doubled the amounts as was catering for a large crowd and it went down an absolute storm! I agree with the other commenters left out the marjoram and added slightly more spice and some chickpeas (just because I had some that needed using up!) and cooked it on a low heat for longer the result was a beautiful smooth rich chilli, amazing. Will definitely save this recipe.

pinksmitty's picture

Very tasty.. a recipe we enjoy a lot

abcdefghijord's picture

Made this last night and served with brown basmati rice and greek style yogurt - we loved it! Only changes I made was add another teaspoon of cumin and paprika. I did add a small extra sprinkle of of hot chilli powder as we do like spicy food. I absolutely hate adding sugar in to foods, so avoided that and still didn't feel like it was missing anything. Didn't add the marjoram (after other users said it didn't bring much to the table) and only added 210g of kidney beans as I felt the bigger tin would have been too much - definitely thought we had the right amount with the 210g tin. I added a little more tomato puree at the end with a dash of Worcestershire sauce as it had been cooking for at least an hour and a half on a slow simmer. Leaving it to cook for longer meant a softer chilli and more flavour. Can't wait to make this again and we still have leftovers for lunch another day!

celticsmitty's picture

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy - just made this for my husband's birthday party tomorrow, serving with jacket potatoes, cheese and sour cream - hope the guests love it as much as we do, that's if there is any left...

jylbgfr's picture

I loved preparing this recipe to the family.

jylbgfr's picture

Love this recipe; kids also approved which is a nice thing too.

godivaontherocks's picture

This is my standby recipe for making chilli. I sometimes omit one or two things and I like to add frozen, chargrilled vegetables from time to time. I use two tins of kidney beans and adjust the quantities of spices to my tastes. I love that this recipe mostly uses my regular storecupboard ingredients as I'm a student and can't afford to stray from my shopping list. Freezing it means I get a healthy meal throughout the week when I don't have time to cook.

loxyladyzo's picture

Fab! added extra cumin also a few dashes of tabasco sauce & fresh coriander sprigs. Also added a small green chili finely sliced when frying the onions. Served with lavash and greek full fat yogurt.

marybourkeis's picture

Yummy. Mixed rice and chilli together and wrapped them up in wholemeal wraps as kids didn't like the look of the kidney beans. They ate it without a fuss. Definitely one to repeat.

tasharats's picture

My first time making Chilli, i am not a big fan of spicy foods but i do like a mild chilli with soured cream. This recipe was really easy for me and didn't take too long compared to some recipes i have seen. Very cheap as well as i had everything but the fresh ingredients already! I was a bit apprehensive to use the dark chocolate but it turned out great!

One thing i did find strange, i like very mild chilli but using mild chilli powder and the other spices i actually found it to almost have no heat... not sure what happened, i even added way more than recommended, next time i will get hot chilli powder and see what the difference is.

vicki_mh's picture
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Absolutely delicious. I had it with a jacket spud - will definitely add to my recipes.