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

Chilli con carne recipe

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(1089 ratings)

Prep: 50 mins - 1 hr, 10 mins

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 tbsp oil
  • 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, peeled
  • 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
    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. 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 and the meat.

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

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Comments, questions and tips

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Welshkim
11th Aug, 2017
5.05
Absolutely beautiful chilli, I found the recipe whilst looking for healthy recipes, it's quickly became a weekly meal that I make, we serve with jacket potatoes, stick to the recipe and you will have a beautiful meal, I can't fault the recipe, easy to follow.
terisutton-milne
9th Aug, 2017
5.05
Amazing chilli recipe. Used dark choc rather than sugar, which helps bring out the spice. Add chopped frankfurters to add a smoky flavour and make it a little more child friendly.
Benr
7th Aug, 2017
Simple and easy recipe
Anonymous141003
7th Aug, 2017
5.05
Amazing recipe staple dish. I used steak strips instead of beef and double the amount of canned tomatoes but kept everything else the same as I made it for 6 people and wanted leftovers and it tasted great
christinashuttl...
9th Jul, 2017
5.05
I have made this a few times now and it's the best chilli I've had, is a great chilli recipe, I always add the chocolate but I add oregano, extra garlic and some smoked paprika aswell.
Garth Mac
29th Jun, 2017
5.05
Excellent and simple recipe. I made this version for a few years until my wife became vegan. I now make it as a vegan recipe, using Asda meatless mince and a vegetable stock cube and it works really well too!
PKaurK
22nd Jun, 2017
5.05
Very nice dinner, will be making again. The only changes I made were oregano for marjoram and sugar instead of chocolate. Seasoning was just right for me but some people may find it a little bland.
leight79
20th Jun, 2017
5.05
The best chilli recipe I've tried. Really comforting with a great depth of flavour.
genericjanedoe
2nd Jun, 2017
5.05
I double the amount of this recipe and do this in the slow cooker after browning some really good quality steak mince. I then add 2-3 ready roasted red peppers (no skin), smoked paprika, replace the marjoram with a good helping of oregano, LOTS of crushed garlic and about a teaspoon or two of liquid smoke to give it that true smoky Texas chilli flavour. I also put in a generous helping of cinnamon instead of chocolate or sugar (adds a touch of sweet without the actual "sweet") and substitute the stock cube for Swiss vegetable bouillon powder. My "secret" ingredient added before I set the slow cooker on is about a tablespoon of fermented fish sauce. Yes, I know it sounds weird but you don't taste any fish - it just adds that "umami" depth to the flavour, especially as tomato based dishes tend to be more sweet than savoury.
TineLu
8th May, 2017
2.55
If you're unsure how to season this is not your recipe. Measurements given will leave you with a bland chilli. Seasonings need to be doubled at least . Also don't be shy with the chocolate- 3-4x as much to give the chilli more depth.

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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?
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
31st Jul, 2017
Absolutely or reheat it on the hob, either will work. Enjoy!
Guestorz
11th Mar, 2017
2.55
Is this healthy when I leave out the sugar, sour cream, meat and rice?
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
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
caroleharding
3rd Nov, 2016
I love this recipe and have made it many times. Just one thing though, when I serve the chilli the sauce always separates a bit which is a shame. I don't really want to use a thickener as it is already a good consistency. Any suggestions?
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
14th Nov, 2016
Hi there, it sounds like you could simmer the sauce for a little longer with the lid off to reduce the liquid. Also, give it a good stir before serving. Hope that helps!
ChuckLoyola
23rd Nov, 2015
Need to double (or treble!) the recipe. Any advice?
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
10th Dec, 2015
This is a very easy recipe to double or treble, keep all the quantities in the same proportions, but the frying process will take you a little longer. You might find it easier to make in 2 pans at the same time unless you have really large ones. This is a great favourite for batch cooking and easy to portion into freezer bags too. For your info it will keep for 2 months in the freezer.
Jage
11th Oct, 2015
I've used lamb for a chilli bolognase and that was nice so I don't see why it wouldn't work with this

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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.
mrspinnywinny
16th Aug, 2016
5.05
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
3.8
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.
paulascoble
10th Apr, 2016
3.8
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 .
JC1818's picture
JC1818
31st Oct, 2015
5.05
I omitted the salt when I made this,and used low sodium beef broth. It was still excellent. This could easily be a low sodium recipe, for those watching their salt intake.
Bad Ham
22nd Oct, 2015
5.05
To stop it drying up I added more water. Then it went a bit bland. So I added more Puree, Cumin and spice and it all tasted very nice!

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