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

Chilli con carne recipe

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(1083 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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Tedsville's picture
Tedsville
21st Apr, 2017
Protip: Make this in a large cast iron casserole dish, then when it comes to the simmering stage, beforehand had a bit more stock (400ml) and a glass of red wine, put the lid on and put it in the oven at 170 for 2 hours. Check on it every half hour and give it a stir. Comes out so much nicer this way, and you don't have to worry about it catching.
pinksmitty
19th Apr, 2017
5.05
I have made this many times and know it off by heart. I add loads more chilli powder and also chopped red chilli as we love it much hotter. Perfect Chilli con carne and easy to make. Never lets me down!
Guestorz
11th Mar, 2017
2.55
At first I wasn't really sure if it was going to taste good because it looked like all kind of leftovers mixed together or should I say vomit, but in the end it tasted really good and i'm glad that I gave it a try! I sure do recommend this recipe.
air003's picture
air003
2nd Mar, 2017
2.55
Excellent instructions to follow for this recipe but unfortunately I found it far too wet and quite bland. As a beginner cook I didn't really know what else to add re spices but next time I'll take more note of the tips.
Ian_Foster
23rd Feb, 2017
5.05
Made this tonight with 1Kg of lean mince and added a couple of fresh chillies to pimp things up a bit. Served it up with Jacket potatoes and it was excellent, can't wait for round 2 tomorrow.
Lulipie
22nd Feb, 2017
5.05
This is THE best chilli recipe I have ever used and I've been using it now for years. Tips: use cumin seeds and grind them if you can be bothered and defo use dark choc instead of sugar and don't be shy with the choc. If you like your chilli with a bit of a kick then increase the amount of chilli its not at all hot per the recipe guidelines. I never add the red pepper as I'd ran out once and found the taste much more authentic (for my taste) without it. If you follow this recipe to the letter you simply cannot go wrong. Tomato puree is ESSENTIAL for the thickening so don't skip that bit! Wash it down with a nice cold beer or two. Tastes even better the day after cooking.... enjoy! :)
Cupcakebaker
17th Feb, 2017
3.8
Beautiful easy meal the family loved it I added mushrooms extra peppers and used fresh ingredients instead and added two cubes of chocolate definitely a winner in my house
lalaland
16th Feb, 2017
5.05
Foolproof recipe which makes for a very, very tasty dinner. I added button mushrooms to bulk up the veg and, as previously suggested, increased the spices slightly - turned out perfectly )
Heather Julie
9th Feb, 2017
3.8
Good simple recipe - tastes fine, great for a simple supper.
tyrannical pug
7th Feb, 2017
3.8
This chilli beef turned out perfectly but I made a few changes. Like the person before me this recipe was more of an inspiration for me. I used a kilo of extra lean beef, 1/2 a red capsicum (a whole capsicum seemed too much to me), two cans of diced tomatoes, 1 cup of water, 2 tbsp brown rice flour...and I made my own seasoning mix with 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp beef stock powder, 1/2 tsp stevia, 1/2 tsp sea salt, ground black pepper, 2 tsp dried basil and 2 tsp dried parsley. I simmered it with the lid ajar for about an hour and served it with rice, corn chips, guacamole, light sour cream, Edam cheese, freshly chopped coriander, lime wedges and Tabasco sauce for those who like it hotter. I liked one person's idea of serving it with potato wedges...that sounds delicious and I might try that next time. I will definitely be making this chilli again.

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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
rkbyrne
25th Aug, 2015
5.05
Use good beef. I use a Knorr beef stock pot Don't cover with a lid as this keeps moisture in Make sure you season with salt and pepper
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
23rd Mar, 2015
Hi Ian.w thanks for getting in touch and sorry to hear you did not have success with this recipe. In step 5 you need to let the mixture boil then simmer so that the water evaporates which means it will reduce right down and thicken - don't add the beans until this has happened. With regards to the blandness, please do taste it at step 6 and add salt and pepper to your liking. Hope this helps and please do let us know how you get on if you do decide to try this recipe again. 
lf14
11th Nov, 2014
How would you do this in the slow cooker?
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
26th Nov, 2014
Hi there, thanks for your question. Brown all of your ingredients first, then add to the slow cooke. Cook on low for 8 hours, then finish with the kidney beans as per the recipe. 
peonycrafts
17th Sep, 2014
Hi, I'd like to make this for the freezer - should I add the beans before freezing or at the reheating stage? Thanks
geordielass78
21st Sep, 2014
I've made this for the freezer a few times and had no problems with adding the beans before I freeze it - they don't break up or go mushy or anything.
peonycrafts
17th Sep, 2014
I'd like to make this for the freezer - should I add the beans before freezing or at the reheating stage?
gtaang
13th Sep, 2014
How easy would this be to convert to a slow cooker recipe?

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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.
atettmar
21st Apr, 2014
Lovely recipe!! If looking for a healthier alternative to rice or nachos, try roasting half a butternut squash, scooping chilli on top, sprinkle with some cheese and grilling it for a few minutes!! Works a treat!!
mrspinnywinny
11th Apr, 2014
5.05
Fab recipe for vegetarians: fry a stalk of diced celery with the onion at stage 1; fry spices, 2 chopped leeks, 1/2 pack mushrooms, chopped, 1 red pepper, 1 cooked potato, 2 tbspn red lentils at stage 2, then use 1/2 pint veg stock, 400g passata, oregano, tomato puree (1 tbspn only) and about 1 tsp of Willie's Cacao, grated, (Waitrose) . Serve with sour cream or Turkish yoghurt (Lidl) and chilli cornbread. Agree with @Luccin: Smoked paprika and oregano
Belnahua
26th Jan, 2014
If you don't like kidney beans, 2 tins of baked beans (drained as best you can in a sieve) in place makes a nice alternative.

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