Chilli con carne cooking in a pan with chocolate melting on top

Chilli con carne recipe

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(1337 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 1 hr


Serves 4

This great chilli recipe has to be one of the best dishes to serve to friends for a casual get-together. An easy sharing favourite that uses up storecupboard ingredients.

Nutrition and extra info

  • Can be frozen

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal387
  • fat17g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs25g
  • sugars1g
  • fibre6g
  • protein36g
  • salt2.32g
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  • 1 large onion



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika



    A spice that's central to Hungarian cuisine, paprika is made by drying a particular type of…

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp sugar (or add a thumbnail-sized piece of dark chocolate along with the beans instead, see tip)



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 410g can red kidney beans
  • plain boiled long grain rice, to serve
  • soured cream, to serve


  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.

  2. Cut 1 red pepper in half lengthways, remove stalk and wash the seeds away, then chop. Peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves.

  3. Start cooking. Put your pan on the hob over a medium heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and leave it for 1-2 minutes until hot (a little longer for an electric hob).

  4. Add the onion and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft, squidgy and slightly translucent.

  5. 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.

  6. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  7. Brown 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Make the sauce. Crumble 1 beef stock cube into 300ml hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture.

  10. Add a 400g can of chopped tomatoes. Tip in ½ tsp dried marjoram, 1 tsp sugar and add a good shake of salt and pepper. Squirt in about 2 tbsp tomato purée and stir the sauce well.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Drain and rinse a 410g can of red kidney beans 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.

  14. Taste a bit of the chilli and season. It will probably take a lot more seasoning than you think. 

  15. Now replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave your chilli to stand for 10 minutes before serving. This is really important as it allows the flavours to mingle.

  16. Serve with soured cream and plain boiled long grain rice.

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Comments, questions and tips

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23rd Oct, 2018
I have used this recipe so many times. It’s fantastic!
Rob Keen's picture
Rob Keen
23rd Sep, 2018
I've made this a few times now. At first I thought it was OK but the last time not so much, so I decided to tinker with it. I found the original to be too tomatoey, too runny, and lacking in flavour a bit. Instead of chopped tomatoes, I used the same amount of tomato frito (a pureed tomato sauce), and ditched the tomato puree altogether. I used slightly less hot chilli powder (maybe a level teaspoon instead of a heaped one) and added a finely chopped chipotle in adoba sauce (you might need two depending on the size and/or your taste). Also, instead of simmering for 20 minutes with the lid on, I did it for around 13 minutes then removed the lid for the remainder. The result- to my taste buds at least- is much better. Thicker, less tomatoey and with a slightly smokier flavour.
Tanya1970's picture
17th Sep, 2018
This is THE best chilli recipe I have ever tried! My 7 year old said its better than McDonalds!! Thank you so much for sharing.
15th Sep, 2018
I made this in my slow cooker - Browned the mince in a pan (let all the water that comes out evaporate) and get some colour on the mince. Then put all of the ingredients into the slow cooker for about 8 and a half hours on low. It was delicious. Great recipe.
9th Sep, 2018
I had not made chilli in years so decided to follow this recipe. Very bland!! I recommend 2 tsp of chilli powder and 2 x 400gms of kidney beans.
Ali123456's picture
2nd Aug, 2018
Very easy, very nice. Became a regular. Put a bit over a tsp of spices. Also, add 2 peppers. But the recipe given is very good.
18th Jul, 2018
Cooked this for the first time and my wife absolutely loved it - followed the recipe exactly as written and came out perfect - however I did add a chopped red chilli which gave it a nice kick - thanks
27th Jun, 2018
Lovely recipe! I also tend to make a few tweaks here and there!! Instead of pepper I add chopped celery - this really adds flavour to chilli con carne. I fried chorizo and pancetta with the mince too to make it more ‘smokey’. I also put in a cinnamon stick and bay leaves while it’s simmering. Passata and squeeze of tomato puree works as well as the canned tomato! If you’re on a health mission (like me at the moment) you can have it with curried coconut quinoa instead of white rice.
Саша Иванова's picture
Саша Иванова
16th Jun, 2018
First time I made a chilli con carne recipe! Absolutely delicious! I did make a mistake when adding the spices, and when I tasted it while cooking, it tasted like the devil's butt - but I managed to mild it down a bit. Moral of the story: read what the instructions say. But, I am so happy I found this recipe because when made correctly, it tasted yummy!!!
27th May, 2018
This is a great recipe. I made it without the red pepper and used beef stock instead of cubes. I had to add 50% extra spices except the sugar to give it thr amount of flavour I was happy with. I also left out the chilli powder for the kids. Excellent result. I was surprised this dish was relatively quick to make.


4th Aug, 2018
Those of you cooking this in the slow cooker, how did you get it not ending up watery or bland? Any tips?
goodfoodteam's picture
19th Aug, 2018
Thanks for your question. For tips on how to adapt this recipe for a slow cooker, take a look at the following feature: We also have a slow cooker chilli recipe here:
13th Jan, 2018
So, I've just made this and followed the recipe to a T (except the quantity of spices), and the end product is not thick at all. It's really quite watery. I tried simmering it down for longer but to no end. Any suggestions for thickening it up? Thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
22nd Jan, 2018
Thanks for your question. Simmering for longer with the lid off is the best way to thicken a dish like this. We hope you enjoyed it all the same.
13th Nov, 2017
Hi, Would I need to make an adaptions in order to cook this in a slow cooker? Thanks Kim
goodfoodteam's picture
15th Nov, 2017
Thanks for your questions. For tips on how to adapt our recipes for the slow cooker, check out our slow cooker guide: We also have a family-friendly slow cooker chilli recipe here:
9th Nov, 2017
Was wanting to use smoked paprika, do I use this smoked instead of the paprika or in addition to it?
goodfoodteam's picture
16th Nov, 2017
Thanks for your question. You can use it instead.
6th Aug, 2017
Was thinking of cooking this but I like a lot of sauce in my chilli , so wanted to ask if this recipe makes a nice thick sauce. Thanking you in advance. Sue
26th Jul, 2017
Can I cook this the day before and reheat the following day in the microwave?


Dominika Gawlinska's picture
Dominika Gawlinska
22nd May, 2018
I must have made this chilli a hundred times now and a little tip: swap the red kidney beans in water for the ones in chilli sauce (most supermarkets have them).. and you won't look back! adds tons of flavour :) In this instance I skip chilli powder and I don't drain the beans.. give it a go and you won't regret!
3rd Dec, 2017
Increase the paprika to 1 tbsp. I used half normal and half smoked - the difference in flavour was incredible!
24th Oct, 2017
Good recipe! Swapped the beef for turkey mince for a healthier version. Halved the garlic, threw in a fresh red chilli in addition, really good.
apopstar's picture
9th Aug, 2017
The first time I made this was my first attempt at making chili ever. I took it to a friend's chili cook off where there were about 8 entries. They had blind voting and I took first place! I modified it by using 1/2 pound of breakfast sausage and 1/2 pound of ground beef. The secret ingredient could've been a handful of dashes of my all-time favorite hot sauce, Yucatan Sunshine Habanero. It's not too spicy and has a nice sweet flavor due to it being made with carrots. :) I just made it again and put it twice as much hot sauce... 10 dashes or so. It's simmering now. Can't wait!
6th Jul, 2017
This chilli turned out really great and was super easy to make. Don't go lightly on the chilli powder, I added in just more than it said and could hardly taste it. That said, it was still delicious, but I'll be adding a lot more chilli next time!
14th Feb, 2017
Great recipe, however, the cooking time has to be vastly increased to yield a good consistency. I've found when doubling every ingredient, that given the amount of liquid I had to simmer for around 2 hours to get a thick chilli, otherwise it is insanely liquidy and not great. Other than that this is my standard recipe.
Mr Chewie
23rd Dec, 2016
Absolutely brilliant recipe, made this a few times now. However, as has been mentioned, it's useful to add additional spices as the mix can become bland, I also put a bit of ground coriander and a little bit of oregano in too. It's a brilliant recipe and if you find it's got a lot of liquid, simply boil without the lid to reduce the mixture down and then pop the lid on and simmer to allow the flavours to mix together. Towards the end I would definitely suggest adding a little more of the spices, but regardless, this remains an excellent recipe!!
whutom's picture
3rd Sep, 2016
I have made this about 5 times now but never made it hot enough ( my fault ) my tip is to to add chorizo and slow cooking the lot before adding kidney beans, then serve on top of nachos with cheese sprinkled oved and chopped jalapenos with a twist of pepper, i also added birdseye chilli to give it that extra kick,obviously not enough but still very tasty.
16th Aug, 2016
Have made this recipe numerous times - husband sick of it! If freezing, I suggest not cooking the beans at all or they will be mushy when you defrost. However, do let your chilli stand in fridge for day or two before freezing so flavours develop. If you've overdone the chilli, add baked beans. The sweetness will balance it out.
David G
14th Aug, 2016
I have replaced the powdered chilli with 4 x Fresh Birdeye chillies and added two large Porterhouse mushrooms at the same time as the peppers. very nice indeed and the spice is not quite a raw.