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

Chilli con carne recipe

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(1450 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 1 hr

Easy

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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Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
    Onion

    Onion

    un-yun

    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
    Paprika

    Paprika

    pa-preek-ah

    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)
    Sugar

    Sugar

    shuh-ga

    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

Method

  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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emma.qe@ntlworld.com
22nd Mar, 2019
5.05
This recipe turns out perfectly every time and I have made it a lot! I don’t change a thing. I have made it for large parties and everyone comments at how nice it is.
cdunne
3rd Mar, 2019
5.05
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.
mrswhelk
21st Feb, 2019
5.05
The best chilli con carne recipe ever. I used a tin of mixed beans in chilli sauce rather than all kidney beans which worked really well.
lauradeane
18th Feb, 2019
4.05
Made this previously following the instructions to the letter and found it rather bland as some other posters have mentioned. Tried it again last night with some small changes and it was much better! I doubled the measurements for the herbs and spices and also added some Cajun seasoning at the same time as the other spices. I also swapped the mince for stewing steak, browning it the same way as the mince but leaving to simmer for longer (around 1.5 hours although could have had a little longer). I added two chunks of 70% dark chocolate and some coriander at the end of cooking. The result was delicious! 4* for the recipe as it is, 5* with my changes!
RaspberryLemon
15th Jan, 2019
5.05
Also doubled up on all the herbs and spices, except the chilli powder!
RaspberryLemon
15th Jan, 2019
5.05
I used two red peppers and added two sticks of diced celery at the same time as well. Used smoked paprika and it was delicious
FamilyLee's picture
FamilyLee
14th Jan, 2019
This is a very regular meal in our house. I double the amount of dry spices and add kidney beans in chilli sauce which are readily available in the larger uk supermarkets. I serve with rice, a dollop of creme fraiche, jalapenos and a handful of tortilla chips.
chrisbarker
4th Jan, 2019
5.05
I did not add water.I used the bean juice and a beef stock pot instead of a cube. Only put the lid on for the last 10 mins. It came out perfect. I would use more chilies next time but that is just my taste.
Paulyjb
23rd Oct, 2018
5.05
I have used this recipe so many times. It’s fantastic!
Rob Keen's picture
Rob Keen
23rd Sep, 2018
3.05
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.

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Handsonlearning
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
goodfoodteam
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: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/10-top-tips-using-slow-cooker We also have a slow cooker chilli recipe here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooker-child-friendly-chilli
bradleyj
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
goodfoodteam
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.
KimRichards1
13th Nov, 2017
5.05
Hi, Would I need to make an adaptions in order to cook this in a slow cooker? Thanks Kim
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
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: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/10-top-tips-using-slow-cooker. We also have a family-friendly slow cooker chilli recipe here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooker-child-friendly-chilli
Kat0672
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
goodfoodteam
16th Nov, 2017
Thanks for your question. You can use it instead.
suzyq1977
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
Maxineos
26th Jul, 2017
Can I cook this the day before and reheat the following day in the microwave?

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Katerina Mattock
7th Mar, 2019
5.05
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
5.05
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!
stephypixie
3rd Dec, 2017
4.05
Increase the paprika to 1 tbsp. I used half normal and half smoked - the difference in flavour was incredible!
lcoulthard
24th Oct, 2017
4.05
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
apopstar
9th Aug, 2017
5.05
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!
skipper884
6th Jul, 2017
5.05
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!
AConcernedCookizen
14th Feb, 2017
5.05
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
whutom
3rd Sep, 2016
5.05
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.

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