Chilli con carne

Chilli con carne

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(1017 ratings)

Prep: 50 mins - 1 hr, 10 mins


Serves 4

This great chilli has to be one of the best dishes to serve to friends for a casual get-together

Nutrition and extra info

  • Can be frozen

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal387
  • fat17g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs25g
  • sugars1g
  • fibre6g
  • protein36g
  • salt2.32g
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  • 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 and the meat.

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

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Comments (1034)

Millier's picture

My favourite chilli recipe! I use a heaped table spoon of hot chilli powder (not a teaspoon) and add extra paprika to make it hotter and spicier.. everyone who has tried it, loves it

Ohbehave's picture

Just made this tonight,first time I've ever made anything from absolute scratch. I did add extra chilli. I added the exact amount of ingredients and followed the recipe step by step. But it was so so bland. I'd try again but triple the spices/garlic etc and see if it works then

Knoxwells's picture

Absolutely gorgeous, whole family loved it!

kerina3000's picture

Made this tonight, really simple and absolutely gorgeous!! Letting it rest before serving brings out the flavours so much

Jade698's picture

I love this chilli, by far the best recipe I have ever encountered.
I half the mince and serve with plenty of garlic bread to mop up the amazing sauce. 5 stars from me!

ameliacooks's picture

Enjoyed it but would prefer more sauce!! Might half the amount of meat next time but that's just personal choice, the recipe is fab!

Jenoircha's picture

Family favourite; we all love this recipe. I grate in carrots and sometimes courgette, depending on what's in the fridge, to add some hidden veg for our toddler. She loves it, especially the kidney beans. I don't add sugar or the marjoram but everything else is spot on. It's incredible served with the chunky guacamole recipe. Yum yum yum!

paulascoble's picture

this chilli is a firm favourite in my house, easy enough to make and tastes delicious. i don't use as much water but add a tin of baked beans as i find it tastes great and no need for sugar. give it a try and see for yourself

pinksmitty's picture

This is my go to chilli recipe, easily adjusted for heat lovers or just a tingle people. Made it so many times I know it off by heart. Love it!

MooseLady's picture

I don't usually like making the same recipe too many times, but I just about always use this recipe for chilli, it's so awesome and makes a fantastic hearty dish. I'm constantly getting nagged at by the family to make it and to be honest I don't blame them! Great recipe!

jofranks's picture

Best recipe of the whole website. Never fails, just a tweak of heat required.

NickFord86's picture

Hands down, best chili con carne recipe ever. even better the next day! No need for rice, just pile on the Greek yoghurt (essential) and spoon in!

sarahlouisenz's picture

Best recipe ever, have made this about 6 different times since first trying it, only thing I would change is to use less stock as at times can get a bit watery especially if you have doubled the recipe. A favourite for sure and freezes great.

katrinaridout's picture

Absolutely delicious! Flavours developed well and created a hearty dish that would be great for a make ahead meal. I will definitely be making this again!!!

Gunilla1's picture

Delicious recipe, the kitchen smelled so so good whilst it was cooking!

CRBear's picture

Nothing to add that others haven't already said- delicious chilli!

little_lady's picture

Easy to cook, and always goes down well in my house. I often make up a large batch of this when I have friends and family coming over. It says it serves 4, but it can stretch much further. Perfect served with rice, nachos, or jacket potatoes. I added a small tin of lentils to bulk it out and up the fibre intake.

Phil100969's picture

This is a cracking recipe and, like many others, I have tweaked it to suit me and my family. Rather than put the stock in without water I just cook it longer which works well as does increasing the spice level. Fresh chillies give a better taste than chilli powder but I still use powder if I find it a little light on when I taste it close to serving time. I also use a couple of fresh tomatoes rather than tinned ones and add a decent handful of chopped parsley. I love the internet .... Without it recipes like this are difficult to find.

Mattymoo65's picture

After reading some comments decided to make a big batch and freeze. This is the best chilli I have had and will be making again maybe using the slow cooker. Used the Chocolate instead of sugar. Freezes and reheats very well.


Questions (34)

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for getting in touch. The nutritional information is just for the chilli and doesn't include the rice. Best wishes, BBC Good Food team

CharlotteL83's picture

I made this for the first time last night and while I really enjoyed the taste and flavour, I felt that there was too much liquid in my chilli. Can anyone suggest how to avoid this?

maryblack297's picture

Mash a few beans on the side of the pot, that should do it.

nickernow's picture

Cook it for longer uncovered.

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi Charlotte, thanks for your question. If you're unhappy with the amount of liquid just simmer it uncovered until the excess has evaporated and the sauce will thicken. Simmer for as long as you need to get the desired consistency. Best wishes, BBC Good Food team

motorsportgirl's picture

Make sure you boil it down enough so the liquid evaporates. It should be noticeably thicker once you come to adding the kidney beans - if it's not, just let it boil for a few extra minutesbefore adding the kidney beans. You could also try adding more tomato puree as this helps to thicken the chilli. If all else fails just use less stock.

sfabri's picture

Maybe a silly question but just wanted to make sure since the taste is absolutely different between the two. For this recipe the red pepper would be a hot - like chilli red pepper or a bell pepper?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for getting in touch. You could use a red bell pepper or a long pointed red pepper in this recipe - both would work well. Best wishes, BBC Good Food team

motorsportgirl's picture

You use a bell pepper, although I use both as I like my chilli spicy!

vlatus's picture

I use ordinary red peppers (either the long pointy sweet red peppers, or the regular red ones). When I have them in the fridge, I occasionally used a fresh chilli pepper as well but as you've got chilli powder in there it's not essential.

mrsohara's picture

Ignore my last question - I've just noticed the tip!

mrsohara's picture

This sounds lovely and I plan to make it today. Quite a few of the comments mention dark chocolate but I can't see it in the recipe. How much chocolate did you add and at what stage of cooking did you add it? Could I use cocoa if I don't have dark chocolate? Thanks.

sarahlou26's picture

I added about 25g, but did have to google other chilli recipes, a lot say use unto 75g, but seeing as it was the first time id done this I played it safe! i added it for the last ten mins when I added the kidney beans, then left it to rest for ten mins...yummy

goodfoodteam's picture

Try can stir through a few squares of dark chocolate to enrich the dish before you season and taste. If you like, add a little more!


Tips (24)

Luccin's picture

OH, and if you don't have marjoram - oregano works well too!

geordielass78's picture

because oregano is dried marjoram!

Luccin's picture

I use this recipe but add a large chuck/casserole steak chopped up into 2cm cubes and cook in the over in a crockpot for 1.5/2 hours @ 180c - additionally I add another tin of 400g tomatoes so it doesn't dry out + an extra tsp of sugar.

Additionally, I add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and the paprika I add is the smoked kind - it just gives it that great flavour. I also add 1-2tsp of cocoa at the end - and serve with fresh salsa (tomato, red onion, coriander & little lime) and some homemade Guacamole (avo, lime, red onion, garlic, coriander, salt) & of course the sour cream.

oldnick21's picture

Great chilli but used three green chillies instead of chilli powder and browned off mince separate so as not to have it to greasy