Chilli con carne

Chilli con carne

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(895 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

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  • 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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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.

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.