A close up of cooked chilli con carne in the pan with chocolate melting on top

Chilli con carne recipe

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(1157 ratings)

Prep: 50 mins - 1 hr, 10 mins


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
Save to My Good Food
Please sign in or register to save recipes.


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion



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

  • 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



    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



    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. 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.

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

You may also like

Ads by Google

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
10th Jan, 2018
Top recipe return to over and over again. Have variously adjusted the levels of spices and chilli depending on the audience but as a basic it's brilliant. Thank you!
28th Dec, 2017
Such an easy recipe, I do it in slow cooker so I just have to do rice in the evening. Works really well if replacing with Quorn MInce and veg stock too for vegetarians.
8th Dec, 2017
Really lovely chilli recipe, it is very basic and easy to make, I would use his more as a base to start with as the spices are very mild I would say, and I’m not the best a spice! But used 1kg of mince, and about 3 tbsp of not chilli power and use cumin seeds also, the dark chocolate has always been a must for my chilli and I would say defo use!
3rd Dec, 2017
I made this a few times and always felt it was a little bland or missing something. This time I increased the chili powder to 1 and a half tbsp, but used mild for the majority to keep the heat level down. As per a recommendation on here I increased the paprika to 1 tbsp, half normal and half smoked, and it has made a HUGE difference!
19th Nov, 2017
My partner and I use this recipe regularly to make chilli burritos. All we change from the initial recipe is some diced celery and a little less stock so the burritos don’t explode! Have it every couple of weeks and either freeze the leftovers or take it to work for lunch! Would highly recommend!
13th Nov, 2017
Made 3 versions of this chilli on Saturday when we had a crowd over for a day of rugby, 'normal' chilli, vegan chilli, and a meat chilli with no beans for someone with an allergy. Good reports all round! I enhanced it slightly like others have, adding celery with the onions, fresh diced chilli at the same time as the peppers, and adding extra beans, the meaty chilli had an extra can of black beans as well as the red kidney, the vegan had additional black beans and a mixed bean salad. I also cheated slightly by adding a squirt of shop bought BBQ sauce to each pot, no one knew! Very tasty will be making again, and have some left over for lunches this week!
12th Nov, 2017
Really good recipe. Made a few changes though. In lieu of minced beef, I used minced turkey. Replaced the beans with corn. Also I replaced the onions with shallots, the marjoram with oregano, the red bell pepper with a carrot, used half the onion, twice the tomato paste, and a low-sodium salt replacer for the salt. And I don't like tins of chopped tomatoes so I replaced it with passata. For some reason it tasted differently than I was expecting but I loved it. 5 stars. Would cook again.
10th Nov, 2017
I didn't have a lot of ingredients on this recipe such as marjoram, hot chilli powder and paprika so I added dark chocolate. Our fussy kids enjoyed the meal!
2nd Nov, 2017
I have been using this recipe for years and highly recommend it. I usually double the recipe and freeze it. When I do, I use half beef and half pork mince. I always add 1 stick of celery (finely chopped and added at the onion stage) per single recipe. When I make the double recipe, I use one can of kidney beans and 1 can of black eye beans/peas. I always add chipotle paste and exchange the marjoram for wild oregano. Oh, and you can stretch it further easily by adding red lentils which are virtually undetectable once it's cooked. In fact I usually do that because I prefer to eat less meat and am on a budget.
29th Oct, 2017
Great easy recipe, perfect comfort food. I added a fresh chilli for a bit of extra kick and used smoked paprika which worked well.


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
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: 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
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?
goodfoodteam's picture
31st Jul, 2017
Absolutely or reheat it on the hob, either will work. Enjoy!
11th Mar, 2017
Is this healthy when I leave out the sugar, sour cream, meat and rice?
goodfoodteam's picture
16th Mar, 2017
Thanks for your question. We have all our recipes nutritionally analysed and you can find how we do this here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/good-food-guide-healthy-eating You'll find a selection of our healthy recipes here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/category/healthy


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.
10th Apr, 2016
I made this but left out the water as really didn't need it. I added a tin of baked beans swell as kidney beans. I felt there wasn't much taste to the chilli and as one daughter felt it was just right for her i portioned hers out then added a couple of fresh green chillies which added some heat. Recipe was easy to follow and will certainly make again .