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

Chilli con carne recipe

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(1214 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.

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

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Comments, questions and tips

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lianeg
28th Dec, 2017
5.05
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.
CTopp
8th Dec, 2017
5.05
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!
stephypixie
3rd Dec, 2017
3.8
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!
Veets
19th Nov, 2017
5.05
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!
chadkaplowski
13th Nov, 2017
5.05
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!
therecipechanger
12th Nov, 2017
5.05
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.
YukaL
10th Nov, 2017
5.05
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!
Nibbletoes
2nd Nov, 2017
5.05
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.
Char50
29th Oct, 2017
5.05
Great easy recipe, perfect comfort food. I added a fresh chilli for a bit of extra kick and used smoked paprika which worked well.
GoChlo
28th Oct, 2017
5.05
By far the best chilli recipe I’ve ever used - I put in pinto and black beans instead of the minced beef, and a vegetable stock cube instead of beef stock to make it vegetarian and it works AMAZINGLY! Can’t recommend this recipe highly enough.

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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
ooki
10th Sep, 2015
Hi, I'm not a fan of red kidney beans Can you suggest anything else for me to substitute?
Jage
11th Oct, 2015
I use a tin of sweet corn and add an extra green pepper it's particularly nice with the sweet corn. Hope this helps, let me know what you think.
Ian.w
21st Mar, 2015
Ok done this twice now each time watery and quite bland. Any ideas? Seems like the 300 ml of water and tinned tomatoes seem to be too much liquid?
Jage
11th Oct, 2015
Perhaps boil it longer without the lid or perhaps you've got the heat too low when simmering I also double up on all the spices

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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!
mattb27
22nd Aug, 2015
I also find that this isn't that hot. I usually add 1-2 teaspoons of harrisa paste into it to give it a good extra kick.
geordielass78
21st Sep, 2014
For those who think this isn't hot enough I find chilli flakes are probably a bit better in that respect than chilli powder - a very heaped teaspoon gives it a good bit of "kick" without being overwhelming. I also use more tomato puree than the recipe (3-4 tbsp instead of 2 tbsp), otherwise it seems rather watery and has to be reduced and reduced and reduced to make the sauce reasonably tomato-y. Lastly, I add a half tsp of coriander along with the other spices. All of this just adds extra depth to the flavour.
Votadini's picture
Votadini
4th Sep, 2014
Try substituting the teaspoon of paprika with a teaspoon of either hot smoked paprika (if you like it hot) or sweet smoked paprika (if you like it not so hot). I found, in my opinion, it made a subtle improvement in the background flavour of the dish.
ruthpatricia
22nd Aug, 2014
5.05
Definitely use fresh chillies for a spicy kick also fry the mince in a separate pan then add as stated in recipe, making sure it is sizzling,yummy!
maryblack297
20th Jul, 2014
5.05
Having made this a few times, I rather fancied tweaking it. I made it last week with a stick of celery and a carrot, chopped very fine. I added a glass of red wine, 1sp each of the following dried herbs - oregano, rosemary and thyme. Instead of a stock cube, I added beef Touch of Taste (Nigella and I swear by it). I then cooked it at 140 for four hours. This creates a fantastic depth of flavour. Oh and if your sauce is a bit thin, mash a few beans against the side of the pot to thicken it.
nickernow
2nd Jul, 2014
Nice basic recipe but not enough flavour or heat for me. I zinged it up wit two fresh chilis and a drop of peri peri sauce a half teaspoon of mustard powder, using half beer and half water with the stock and half a teaspoon of Marmite. Then it's a proper chilli!
artie
12th Jun, 2014
Having followed the recipe precisely previously, I made a slight adjustment for extra zing by adding 2 fresh chillies (as well as the ground spice). I also added 2x tbsp of worcester sauce and 1/2 tsp of tabasco sauce (habanero) when adding the stock and toms. After it had all mixed in and come to the boil, I added 250ml passata. The outcome was inevitably hotter than what previously I considered far too mild a recipe for a chilli con carne. Each to their own of course! If filling tortilla wraps with chilli mix I suggest some natural yoghurt accompanies it.
vicksfizzy
2nd May, 2014
5.05
Made this once with beef and once with Quorn mince, couldn't taste the difference. Very nice recipe and a hit with all the family.

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