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

Chilli con carne recipe

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(1132 ratings)

Prep: 50 mins - 1 hr, 10 mins


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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  • 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.

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

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Comments, questions and tips

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5th Feb, 2017
For me, this recipe is a starting point, but I agree with some of the other comments, the spices need to be upped otherwise it would be a bit bland. I used more cumin, added 2 tsp dried oregano, bay leaves, fresh coriander and Worcestershire sauce. Very nice!
29th Jan, 2017
Made it on Saturday for Sunday dinner and it tasted great left for longer. Used hot chilli powder and it was just right not very hot as I probably wouldn't like it then! Will be making it again :)
22nd Jan, 2017
Just made this ready for dinner tomorrow. These types of meal always seem to taste better next day! Had a few mushrooms in fridge so added them when the kidney beans went in. Might use a mild chilli powder next time although it does taste good on the taste test! We'll see tomorrow!
16th Dec, 2016
This is really simple and the result is delicious. I added a couple of squares of dark chocolate which was a great surprise ingredient. I put less chilli powder than the recipe states so that those wanting a "hotter" version could add chilli sauce but it wasn't too fiery for the more wimpy ones (me!).
10th Dec, 2016
I followed this recipe yesterday and after viewing the comment section added extra chilli powder and used smoked paprika instead of the normal one. Came out really nice and I look forwards to trying it again with dark chocolate. Son and hubby loved it.
8th Dec, 2016
An easy recipe, that will impress your guests and add an ethnic note to your gathering. I served it on steaming basmati rice and there wasn't any left (no, it's true) for me to taste. Everybody tried it and loved it.
6th Dec, 2016
lovely recipe - I've tried it twice and altered the amount of chilli i added to suit. Highly recommended.
30th Nov, 2016
Great recipe!
20th Dec, 2016
So good I made it again!
14th Nov, 2016
Best chile we have had! Just the right amount of spice for me.


18th Sep, 2013
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.
14th Jan, 2014
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
26th Sep, 2013
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!


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