No matter what time of year it is, you can always be sure that chilli will be up there on BBC Good Food’s most popular recipes chart – and with good reason. It’s a timeless classic that’s guaranteed to please, and is extremely versatile, too – simply vary the spice levels and ingredients to suit different tastes. We’ve rounded up our top 20 chilli recipes, including beef, lamb, turkey, bean and vegetable varieties. Scroll through and be inspired by our serving suggestions as well – will you opt to spoon your chilli over rice, fluffy jacket potatoes, or stuff it into taco shells? Don’t forget the toppings – guacamole, salsa, tortilla chips, sour cream and plenty of freshly grated cheese!
1. Classic chilli con carne
We’ll kick off with a familiar recipe – the most popular one we have, with nearly 2000 five-star ratings. If you’re new to cooking, or you want to get back to basics, this dish is a great place to start. For extra depth of flavour we melt a small square of chocolate into the sauce, giving it a rounder flavour by enhancing the spices.
2. Burnt aubergine veggie chilli
This smoky spiced supper is vegetarian, low-fat and provides an impressive four of your five-a-day in each serving. Aubergine is the true star of the show – char it on the barbecue or a gas hob for a gorgeous, smoky flavour. It’s bulked out with lentils to make it extra filling, and we’ve packed in the spices, from sweet smoky paprika to cinnamon. This recipe is a great option for meal prep as you can make it ahead and freeze it, ready for another day.
3. Chilli con carne jackets
Fluffy, buttery baked potatoes are an ideal vessel for serving full-flavoured chilli. It’s a simple recipe that makes for a satisfying weeknight meal, with pork mince, chopped tomatoes and chipotle paste. Finish with a generous dollop of sour cream and some snipped chives for a pop of colour.
4. Next level chilli con carne
Take it up a notch with our next-level chilli recipe. We’ve enriched the sauce with all kinds of ingredients designed to create a really special flavour, including ancho chillies, peanut butter and espresso powder. Still not satisfied? Make your own chilli oil to serve on the side. Some like it hot!
5. Veggie protein chilli
Meat off the menu? You can still pack in the protein with this easy vegan recipe using mixed beans and sweet potatoes, served over cauliflower rice or your choice of grain. It’s an ideal meal for refuelling after a strenuous workout.
6. Slow cooker chilli con carne
This rich chilli was designed for the slow cooker – you’ll be amazed at how well the flavours develop over time. Taking just 25 minutes to prepare, you simply leave the slow cooker to then work its magic. If you’re serving fewer people, freeze any leftovers for a speedy dinner on another night.
7. Chunky chilli
If you prefer a chunkier chilli, you’ll love this recipe made with diced stewing beef, simmered over a low heat for melt-in-the-mouth meat. Chipotle paste gives a smoky, spicy kick, and you can add more or less depending how hot you like your chilli. This recipe is suitable for those avoiding gluten, and it’s healthy, too.
8. Mexican bean chilli
Thrifty baked beans are the secret ingredient in this spicy supper, which makes the most of storecupboard ingredients. We’ve spiced up the sauce using chilli powder and chipotle paste. Add a scattering of coriander leaves to freshen it up when you serve.
9. Smoky black bean chilli
This beef and black bean stew makes for a hearty family meal. You can make it ahead and freeze the mince base to be enjoyed on busy weeknights – simply serve with an array of toppings and let the whole family assemble their own tortilla bowls. Pass the sour cream, please!
10. Chilli for a crowd
This big-batch chilli will make short work of feeding hungry tummies. We’ve scaled it up to serve 12-14 people, so it’s a great option for when you have guests. A blend of pork and beef mince provides plenty of meaty flavour with a few rashers of smoked streaky bacon thrown in for good measure. Serve alongside homemade guac, zesty couscous and crisp tortilla chips to create a real feast.
11. Beef biltong chilli & smoked cheddar
Once you’ve mastered a classic meaty chilli, it’s time to get creative. Take it to the next level by adding biltong to your beef mince, and serving with a generous handful of smoked cheddar cheese. You can thank us later.
12. Turkey chilli & rice tacos
Fancy a change from red meat? Turkey mince offers a tasty, thrifty alternative in this fuss-free family dinner. Instead of rice, pile your chilli into crisp taco shells and top with lettuce, sour cream, guacamole and cheese. Kids will love getting hands-on.
13. Chipotle bean chilli with baked eggs
Perfect for dinner, lunch or even brunch, this Mexican-inspired one-pot is a great way to use up storecupboard staples such as black beans, chopped tomatoes and chipotle paste. Simply crack the eggs into the pan and let them poach in the rich chilli sauce – delicious!
14. Chilli Marrakech
Fans of tagines will love this rich stew, spiced with ginger, cumin, paprika, cinnamon and harissa. Lean lamb mince and chickpeas add plenty of protein and make it a really satisfying supper that’s special enough for entertaining. If you need fewer than 10 servings, pack into bags and stash in the freezer for a quick-fix another night.
15. John’s chilli con carne
If you can get hold of them, it’s worth tracking down sweet (cascabel) and smoky (ancho) chillis for John Torode’s chilli con carne recipe – they give a distinctive depth of flavour to this dish. But don’t stop there – go the extra mile by adding a drizzle of maple syrup and a bottle of dark beer to enrich the sauce. We guarantee you’ll enjoy the results.
16. Ultimate chilli con carne
The secret ingredient in this dish? Time. We recommend you start the process the day before you want to serve this chilli, as leaving it overnight allows the flavours to develop and deepen. We’ve opted for belly pork slices, skirt steak and pancetta for plenty of meaty oomph, and added red wine to create a really rich sauce.
17. Quick bean & chorizo chilli
When you’re in need of a speedy supper, this chilli is sure to satisfy. Chorizo adds a quick hit of flavour to a ready-made tomato and chilli sauce making it really fast to prepare – have it on the table in just 20 minutes.
18. Vegetable & bean chilli
Crammed full of chunky vegetables, butter beans, kidney beans and lentils, this is a really filling meat-free meal. It’s suitable for vegans, healthy and low in salt to boot.
19. Feed-a-crowd chunky beef chilli
This full-flavoured chilli is ideal for making ahead of time, as it can be stored in the freezer for up to two months. Spice up the sauce with dried chillies, cumin, oregano and cinnamon, plus a square of dark chocolate for fuller flavour.
20. Vegetarian chilli
Our ultimate cheat’s chilli uses just four ingredients – a pack of oven-roasted vegetables, kidney beans in chilli sauce, chopped tomatoes, and a pouch of ready-cooked grains. It’s the perfect dinner for busy weeknights – and it packs in an impressive four of your five-a-day. Now that’s what we call feel-good food!
Do you have a favourite chilli con carne recipe, or a secret ingredient to share? Leave a comment below…