Chilli con carne

Chilli con carne

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(1028 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 (1039)

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.

ntanswell1's picture

Very nice indeed. Cooked 'slow and slow' - turned the heat right down and lengthened the cooking time. Very flavoursome and perfect consistency - added a dash of tabasco as well!

Rose22's picture

Made this last night for my relatively picky parents and they loved it!! Just a few little tweeks like less beef stock, no extra water. Added extra chill powder than stated. I also used a little dark chocolate but still didn't find it too sweet. Paired it with chunky sweet potato wedges (for the sweetness) and sprinkled some fresh coriander and a little cheddar cheese over the top! Beaut!!

greglentz's picture

Best con carne I've ever had.

grimcooking's picture

Very good. Usually make this dish the wrong way by adding spices to the meat instead of the onions, but this method really brings out the flavours, especially if you forego the water for your stock, as suggested by others. Added heaped teaspoons for every spice, selecting cayenne pepper, and added a small piece of dark chocolate rather than sugar. Added water when mixture became too dry and let the spices mingle before serving. Really tasty con carne you can tweak to your taste. Great lifesaver for all occasions!

CarryR's picture

Just made this and it was delicious! I basically doubled all the spices and added crushed red pepper flakes as my chilli powder wasn't very strong. I went a bit ott on the salt so go easy until tasted!

farside's picture

I made this a few times and was a bit disappointed - a bit watery and no depth of flavour. I now make it with beef stock (bovril) without the water. Much better results for me. I regularly get comments like 'this is the best chilli I ever tasted'. I add the chocolate and eat the rest of the bar whilst waiting for it to cook. Usually leave it overnight to improve - if I can keep my hands off it.

Ellie9510's picture

Lovely chilli recipe! Needed to be spicier for my taste, doubled spices and added a fresh red chilli. I browned the mince and softened veg then transferred to the slow cooker then added the tomatoes etc. Crumbled in the stock cube as another reviewer suggested.

Lulipie's picture

I've made this chilli time and time again and it's always very tasty and a proper nice no messing chilli con carne. I never add sugar though but always add a small amount of dark chocolate as recommended in the tips. I always find it tastes even nicer the day after cooking if you can stop yourself from eating it all in one go! I also rarely add the red pepper as I never have them in and no one ever notices!

Gemallen1985's picture

I've been using this as a basic recipe for a while now but just tweaking it to our taste. It's no where near hot enough in my opinion. There's also no need for the extra water, just crumble the cube in as is. I also add 2 extra chillies, a teaspoon cayenne, 250g passata, 1 tbsp Worcester sauce, 6 extra garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon oregano, and I use 750g steak mince. After frying off in the pan add it to the slow cooker for a few hours on low. Make sure you add the square of dark chocolate. Beautiful!

Clodine's picture

I love tat recipe and I use it every time I want to make a good chilli. I like to put some casserole beef with the mince beef so I have to cook it for longer but its very tender and delicious.

pippa154's picture

This is a lovely recipe. In my opinion it doesn't need the sugar and I add more chilli for an extra kick.

Hhwwbb's picture

Can I use lamb instead of beef?

indifferentred's picture

Yes! I always make it with lamb and it's yummy :-)

tan14's picture

I found this far too sweet and not spicy. I would recommend leaving out the sugar and adding more chilli.

Dan2926's picture

Excellent recipe for a tasty chilli con carne. I added 5 chillis finely chopped to add a bit more kick. Very tasty


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