Chilli con carne

Chilli con carne

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(998 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 (1018)

kabulkate's picture

I added an extra tin of kidney beans and since I had no onions or red peppers, I chopped up several Anaheim chilis (having deseeded them first so they wouldnt be so hot). I served it with brown rice. Great recipe for a chilly night.

fiona1597's picture

Fantastic recipe and so so easy!! It's become a firm favourite in the household.

michelle_30's picture

Made this tonight, really easy and delicious meal. I was worried that it may be too spicy as i used hot chilli powder and my bf doesn't like spice but it was fine and in fact i could have doubled the spices just to really get a rich favour. If i had chocolate i would have added that as suggested and didnt bother with the sugar. Worth trying to make yourself, really easy and tasty and much better than packets or jars

solan goose's picture

Good recipe, much better than others I have tried over the years posted on the internet. Most are very bland and taste like the bottom part of a cottage pie with added kidney beans! I would personally forget the red (bell?) pepper. Red bell peppers give the chilli a strange sweet taste IMO. I would also leave out the sugar too. I would increase the spices a little to all heaped teaspoons and add a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. An additional splash of Tabasco works well too and does not seem to add the sweetness that the red bell pepper would. You can tone this down a little if you like for the kids as I do.

ssj's picture

made this tonite was really nice used mild chilli powder instead as my kids wont eat anything to hot,also used half a teaspoon of cayenne chilli pepper will defently be making this again as we all enjoy it x

lanolin's picture

Love this recipe, have used it so many times and it's always lovely. I like it hot so I always double up on the spices and add a chilli at the same time as the pepper. Also add veg if I have it in the fridge. Sometimes use turkey mince to be healthier (but still with a beef stock cube) but use normal lean beef mince when my hubby is home. Always tastes great - especially with the chocolate - highly recommend!

carla68's picture

Delish. All the family loved this. Tweeked it slightly but only to make it a bit spicier

Enidjean1929's picture

Easy and delicious! Will definitely be making again and again.

RichieBoo's picture

WoW!! WoW doesn't even come close to the results! I used the tip (Chocolate (Dark)) instead of sugar. Otherwise this went down an absolute storm at the dining room table! Oh... just for the record I DO NOT like Red Peppers (!) But as I was making for pepper lovers I put in against my best judgement - and guess what? LOVED IT! :-) Just goes back to the WoW!

ley30's picture

I make a vegetarian version of this and we love it. I use soya or quorn mince instead of beef mince and add vegetable stock instead of beef stock.

mandy0191's picture

For a New Years Eve family party it went done very well. I doubled the recipe and made it in advance along with the potato skins and soured cream dip recipe also on this site. When guests arrived it was easy to cook rice, roast the potatoes and reheat the chilli. Of course M&S party food was also served. But the compliments went to the homemade Chilli Con Carne, potatoes and dip - thank you BBCGOODFOOD

legs616's picture

Well I'm a bit adverse to cooking normally, and do love a good chilli con carne, so after having made this and really enjoyed the flavours of all the spices, then I think I may have changed my ways :-)

Thanks a bunch Good Food, my wife loves you now ;-)

lizleicester's picture

Made this for a large gathering and it was delicious (as always). Kept it quite mild but served it with nachos and additional chilli sauce for those that like the burn!

GaryMo's picture

I've just followed this recipe for tonight's meal and it went down a real treat.
I didn't add marjoram as I couldn't find it in the supermarket and left out the sugar. I did add a fresh green chilli complete with seeds. That in conjunction with a heaped teaspoon of hot chilli powder gave it enough of a kick.
It's certainty a recipe I'll be using again and also a goodbye to the packet mixes!

joannajmiller's picture

Followed the recipe except no marjoram as I didn't have any. Since I didn't have any hot chilli powder I added a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes for some heat. It was very tasty. Served with spiced potato wedges and salad, and a dollop of 0% yoghurt instead of sour cream.

Maija Aliisa Young's picture

I've been making both this chilli and the packet mix chilli for years (which isn't surprisingly different - the same spices are still in there but I do admit that this is better). Tried it with quorn recently and it's really good!

sdewji's picture

This is a really great recipe with a couple of seasoning adjustments. For spiciness, I add half of a minced jalapeno pepper, 1/2 tsp of mild chili powder and 1 tsp of my favorite hot sauce. Prior to the 20 minute simmer, I add 2 bay leaves and 1 cinnamon stick (and remove prior to adding the beans). I also increased the herbs and spices quite a lot: an additional 2 tsp of cumin, loads of salt and pepper and 2 tsp of garlic powder. I also kept with others' recommendations and added a couple of squares of high quality organic dark chocolate (when adding the beans) in place of the sugar. It adds a depth and richness which I thoroughly enjoy. Top this with some grated cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, and serve on quinoa or rice, or with crusty slices of garlic bread. Delicious!

geordielass78's picture

Love this recipe - really tasty, but it is clearly written for the clueless, which always makes me smile. My favourite bit is "Keep stirring and prodding for at least 5 minutes, until all the mince is in uniform, mince-sized lumps" - my question is what other sized lumps would you expect mince to automatically turn into?

sarahjac's picture

My answer to your question is: lumps that are not uniform in size and have not been broken down properly into those smaller size lumps that we associated with mince oriented dishes such as spaghetti bolognaise etc. The writer was considering the absolute beginner and is to be commended for that. The fact is that we live in a ready meal / fast food oriented culture and a lot of people can't cook - hence the instructions for the best way to chop an onion etc. which are also to be found in the method here. I suspect this is why this recipe is so highly rated; the author really took time to explain every stage of the preparation and cooking process.

Stop sneering at the "clueless" and get on with your own business. If you're so above it all - good for you - reward yourself a biscuit.

Corrie Wilson's picture

I followed this last weekend as a dish to go with cheesy nachos. It was delicious! Will be using again but will maybe try adding my fresh chillies in next time!


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