Chilli con carne

Chilli con carne

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(882 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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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.

Squidgy66's picture

I found the quantities of the spices lacking and doubled up on the cumin and paprika. I trebled the amount of chilli. I'm not quite sure if the marjoram brought anything to the party. I added a big knob of butter right at the end to enrich the dish.

All in all a very nice dish once tinkered around with. The dark chocolate is a stroke of genius!

josiejones7's picture

great recipe, full of flavour.

sammy_lou's picture
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Enjoyed this well enough. was a nice chilli. didn't try with the chocolate.might play with the spices abit next time. was flavoursome, but would have liked more!

chrissie_maclean's picture
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Easy and very, very tasty!

jess-booth's picture
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This recipe is an absolute winner! The chocolate gives it a really nice twist. I've been making it at least once a fortnight for the past few months as my husband loves it. We somtimes have it with rice but find it especially nice wrapped in a warm tortilla and served with a blob of natural yoghurt. Enjoy!

katiewh21's picture
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This is a very good recipe as a base. I tend to use ketchup and leave out the puree and sugar - it tastes just the same. I also add a tiny bit of coffee to my chilli (only about 1/4 or 1/2 tsp, as you don't want to be able to identify the flavour) and everyone seems to love it. If you are feeling adventurous, Dr Pepper is also a great addition!

redhead78's picture

This recipe is one I make at least once a month now. I double up the ingredients, shove everything in my slow cooker (no pre-cooking at all) then leave it on low for 10 hours. This provides us (2 VERY healthy appetites!!) with 10 portions altogether so we have one nights dinner from it and get 4 more nights dinners in the freezer...very economical, very tasty and very very easy. I also now make it with minced turkey instead of minced beef to try and avoid so much red meat and it is equally as good.

missionangeluk's picture

I make this with turkey mince as I am on a health kick at the moment. I have made it many many times and it is always a hit. I always add fresh chilli as I like it hot. Great recipe.

dwatson27's picture

Fab recipe! Made loads of times now. Always a winner :)

zmhusain's picture

This is definitely one of best recipes I have ever cooked. It really is vital to let it stand for 10/15 mins after its done cooking, it takes on a completely different taste. Awesome!

redlipstick's picture

Absolutely delicious. I have a tried and tested chilli recipe which I've stuck to for a couple of years now but decided to give this one a try and - wow - I will definitely be sticking to this recipe from now on! I used a tbsp of mild chilli powder as I'm not a fan of spicy food and our toddler was also going to be eating it, but it was just enough and tasted perfect. Love the addition of red pepper as well which I've never used in a chilli before.

Dandi's picture

I absolutely love this recipe! I have made it several times. It is currently simmering on the stove :) I once tried it without the tomato puree since I had ran out and it still tasted delicious! Today I am lacking the pepper and puree and a quick taste tells me it is still going to be amazing!

phlilly's picture

Delicious recipe! For a meaty chili I add some oxtail and cook it low and slow until the meat falls from the bone. It adds an amazing flavour!!!

shakira1's picture

I really loved this, because chilli is one of my favourite types of comfort food. Husband liked it, but said he didn't "understand it much"- he thinks it should have been served with nachos instead of rice. It's his first time trying chilli. All in all I'll be saving this recipe, might even serve it with nachos and cheese for hubby.

buster1931's picture
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Tasty. Even better the next day. Goes watery when I freeze and defrost