Chilli con carne

Chilli con carne

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(1055 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, questions and tips

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18th Oct, 2016
I added grated carrot, red and green pepper and mushrooms to up the veggie content. Delicious!
Ryan Christophe...
18th Oct, 2016
Absolute classic. Agreed, the dosage of spices could be higher. First time i made it, the spices got a little lost in the mix.
17th Oct, 2016
I doubled the amount of spices and also added a half tsp of chilli flakes. I also used smoked paprika which gave it a more Texan chilli flavour. Fab recipe and will definitely continue with.
10th Oct, 2016
Can I add this recipe to the iPad app?
9th Oct, 2016
Great recipe, I didn't have any dark chocolate so added 1/4 tsp of nutmeg and cinnamon at the end which worked rather nicely. I also added celery salt as suggested by some of the other comments.
solan goose
9th Oct, 2016
I am a bit of a chilli fan to say the least. I would say double up on dry spices otherwise it's too bland IMO. I don't see anything special about this recipe at all over others, am I missing something? I don't bother with red pepper as it's too sweet to have in a chilli. Instead, fresh green bird eye or finger chillies with seeds are good, but reduce chilli powder unless you like it hot like me. The small piece of dark chocolate at the end strangely works though, I have done this before. It adds a nice velvety texture without the taste of the chocolate.
1st Oct, 2016
This is an excellent recipe. I added a green pepper for colour, 4 sticks of celery for a tasty crunch and substituted normal salt with celery salt. It was very good, good enough to eat!
29th Sep, 2016
Best chilli I have ever made, make it all the time now and my husband loves it! Especially tasty when adding the dark chocolate
25th Sep, 2016
Excellent recipe, tasty and easy to make.
29th Sep, 2016
Agreed - delicious


goodfoodteam's picture
2nd Sep, 2014
Nutritional info is per serving, so per 1/4 of the recipe.
12th Feb, 2014
Could someone please tell me if the nutritional information includes the rice?
goodfoodteam's picture
21st Feb, 2014
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
19th Jan, 2014
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?
20th Jul, 2014
Mash a few beans on the side of the pot, that should do it.
2nd Jul, 2014
Cook it for longer uncovered.
goodfoodteam's picture
21st Feb, 2014
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
19th Jan, 2014
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.
13th Jan, 2014
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
21st Feb, 2014
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


8th Jul, 2014
In some schools of thought kindey beans are a no-no in chilli, so calm down people are entitled to tases that differ from yours. Surely people should be encouraged to make recipies for good food fit their tastes rather than be discouraged and sent for the very unhealthy alternative. Please poeple, either develop an adult mentality or just stick to unhelpful posts on social media. I find fresh chillies and the chocolate tip work. Also if using veggie mince I put a dash of red wine in the stock.
alternapop's picture
15th Jan, 2014
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, surprisingly.... mainly because I rarely cook. 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!
5th Jul, 2013
OH, and if you don't have marjoram - oregano works well too!
21st Sep, 2014
because oregano is dried marjoram!
5th Jul, 2013
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.
26th Jun, 2013
Great chilli but used three green chillies instead of chilli powder and browned off mince separate so as not to have it to greasy