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

Chilli con carne recipe

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(1547 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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JUSTYNA's picture
13th Jul, 2019
I have been making it for 10 years and it never fails, the taste is well balanced and spices not overwhelming! Sometimes I skip peppers or add sweetcorn at the end.
Anna Tersánszky's picture
Anna Tersánszky
18th Jun, 2019
Great recipe easy and very tasty!
Maya Kurjanova's picture
Maya Kurjanova
16th Jun, 2019
Lovely recipe! I actually used turkey mince instead and chucked in some extra veg (I was cooking for 8 so doubled up ingredients and bulked it up a bit with extra tin of beans), using chilli flakes and a bit of dark chocolate as recommended :) Will make this again.
1st Jun, 2019
Great chilli recipe. I added some chilli flakes as I like mine spicy, and omitted the sour cream and sugar. Will definitely make again.
29th May, 2019
I always double up this recipe. I make it two days before eating to let the flavours really develop. Eat half & freeze the other half. The defrosted Chilli tastes even better. This type also works with ragout & casseroles.
Daisy Dawes's picture
Daisy Dawes
2nd May, 2019
I make this all the time. It's a really quick and tasty meal to feed the family on a budget. I use frozen Quorn mince and veggie stock. I also find it handy to have bag of chopped frozen peppers in the freezer - means I can make the whole meal with just stuff I always have in the store cupboard.
29th Apr, 2019
Pretty sure I've reviewed this recipe before as I've made it so much. I still love it, and actually think it almost tastes better the following day! I always bang 2 squares of dark chocolate in and normally extra red/orange pepper too.
Darren Withers's picture
Darren Withers
6th Apr, 2019
Pretty standard good British recipe. I leave out the beef stock. I add a couple of bay leaves and a shake of cayenne pepper. I found a heaped teaspoon of chilli powder a bit too spicy.
31st Mar, 2019
3rd Mar, 2019
We really love this chilli. I use 400g minced beef. Drain and rinse a can of green lentils and add them along with the kidneys. It makes it just a bit healthier and another of your five a day! Also find that one level teaspoon of hot chilli powder is just about right.


Raj Verdi's picture
Raj Verdi
18th Jul, 2019
any tips on what I could replace the kidney beans with as my kids don't like them?
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


2nd Jul, 2019
Made this for the first time. It's tasty but definitely needs more spices, a bit bland as it is.
Katerina Mattock
7th Mar, 2019
Slow Cooker users: I cook for 4 hours on high and add the beans in half way. At the end I mix up 2 tbsp of cornflour and 2 tbsp of water and add it to the slow cooker. Stir every 5 minutes say over 20 minutes and see how you go. If you want it thicker - repeat the step. Works a gem. Also to make this vegan replace the mince with TVP and you're set :)
Darren Payne's picture
Darren Payne
24th Feb, 2019
First time making this today. Read through some of the comments... Definatley double the spice ingredients! Turned out amazing! Also used 4 bean can instead of kidney beans. Big thumbs up for this recipe!
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!!


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