A delicious recipe for Chilli Con Carne with step-by-step photos which the whole family will love! The meat sauce is slow-cooked with herbs and spices with lots of kidney beans for extra protein and texture. Serve with rice or tortilla chips for a tasty meal!
Easy Chilli Con Carne
For me, there is much comfort to be found in having a large pot of Chilli Con Carne bubbling away on the stove, especially since I know that many meals can be derived from this one dish.
At other times, it happens to be a great dish to make if you are entertaining a small crowd (especially one that involves lots of children).
Why This Recipe Works
- Chilli Con Carne is a great dish to make when entertaining. Simply double or triple the recipe.
- This Chilli Con Carne forms the basis for many delicious meals. Serve alongside some rice and/or a bowl of tortilla chips.
- This recipe is also great for serving with baked potatoes.
Chilli Con Carne Recipe
This Chilli Con Carne recipe is much like making a bolognese sauce, but with some Mexican-inspired flavours added, including smoked paprika, ground cumin and cinnamon.
I once didn’t have dried oregano to hand, so I used dried thyme instead, and found that I quite enjoyed the gentle fragrance of the latter (thyme is one of my favourite herbs, though!).
I also like to use a mix of fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes, especially when tomatoes are in season. I find that fresh tomatoes add a nice sweetness to the sauce, but it is completely fine to just use canned tomatoes instead.
Chilli Con Carne with Beans
My son loves kidney beans so much that he often tells me to add more, so I often add two cans of kidney beans to make sure there is enough to go around.
How to Make Chilli Con Carne
There are countless recipes for Chilli Con Carne, and the one below is one which my family and I enjoy the most.
Start by softening the onions and garlic in some oil, and then add the minced beef (ground beef).
Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do this in batches so that the meat gets a chance to brown and slightly caramelise; if you add too much meat into a small pan, the meat will instead steam and turn grey (which is not necessarily bad but you will miss out of some of the flavours which you can only get by browning and caramelising the meat).
Once all of the meat has been browned, I like to add some tomato paste to add extra tomato flavour to the chilli, and which also helps to give a nice colour to the chilli.
Then add the canned tomatoes, kidney beans and chicken stock.
Simmer the chilli on low heat with the lid on for about 1.5 hours, stirring from time to time to make sure that it is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
After 1.5 hours, remove the lid, and let it simmer gently for about 15 minutes until it has thickened nicely.
Tips for Making Chilli Con Carne
For recipes where minced meat (ground meat) is the main ingredient, I like to freshly grind the meat myself using a good quality piece of beef. If you don’t have a meat grinder (I love my KitchenAid meat grinder attachment), you can ask your butcher. But, of course, there is nothing wrong with buying ready-minced meat!
If you are not feeding young children, I would add a bit more chilli powder to the pot. Otherwise, I like to serve some freshly chopped green chillies or jalapeno peppers on the side, or even pickled jalapeno peppers are delicious.
If you have a large enough pot, I would recommend making a double batch on, say, Sunday, and you will have several meals sorted throughout the busy week.
How to Serve Chilli Con Carne
It might not be authentic, but we love to serve Chilli Con Carne with steamed basmati rice. It turns the dish into a comforting spoon-in-bowl type meal, perfect for those evenings when you just want to slump on the sofa in front of the TV.
We also offer warmed tortilla chips, and the children happily eat these together with their rice and chilli.
One of my favourite ways of serving leftover Chilli Con Carne is with baked potatoes – I can’t think of a more comforting meal to enjoy in the middle of the week.
And for those occasions when I make a bit pot of chilli, I love to serve it with a cornbread baked right on top of the pot. For this, I love Nigella’s cornbread recipe.Print
Chilli Con Carne
A delicious recipe for Chilli Con Carne which the whole family will love! The meat sauce is slow-cooked with herbs and spices with lots of kidney beans for extra protein and texture. Serve with rice or tortilla chips for a tasty meal!
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Total Time: 2 hours 20 mins
- Yield: Serves 3–4 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Mexican
For the chilli
- 1–2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 500 g (1 lb) minced beef (ground beef)
- 1/4 teaspoon hot chilli powder (or add more to taste) (see Kitchen Notes)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped (or substitute with 1 x 400g (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes)
- 400 g (14 oz) canned diced tomatoes
- 2 x 400 g (14 oz) canned kidney beans (or use just 1 can, if you prefer), drained and rinsed
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
- Basmati rice, cooked according to packet instructions
- 1–2 ripe avocadoes, largely diced
- 1 cucumber, largely diced
- sour cream or crème frâiche garnished with chopped chives
- fresh green chillies or jalapeno peppers, or picked jalapeno peppers
- tortilla chips, warmed in a hot oven
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan.
- Cook the onion and garlic until they have softened.
- Turn the heat up to high and add the the minced beef (ground beef). Cook until all of the meat has browned. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do this in batches.
- Season the beef generously with salt and pepper.
- Add the chilli powder, dried thyme, paprika, cumin and pepper. Cook for a few minutes.
- Stir through the tomato paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the chopped fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, kidney beans, chicken stock, bay leaf and cinnamon stick.
- Mix everything together well and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Then turn the heat down to a low simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for about 1.5 hours.
- Give the mixture a stir every 20-30 minutes and check that the mixture is not sticking to the pan.
- After 1.5 hours, remove the lid, and continue cooking over low to medium heat for about 15 minutes.
- If the mixture looks too thick, add some water.
- Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper as necessary.
- Just before serving, stir through the chopped coriander (cilantro) and sprinkle some on top for garnish.
- Serve the chilli con carne with steamed Basmati rice and the chopped avocadoes and cucumber. Garnish with green chillies or jalapeno peppers, and a dollop of sour cream or crème frâiche.
HOT CHILLI PEPPER
The chilli pepper used in this recipe is pure ground hot chilli peppers (common in Asian cuisine) which is very spicy, and NOT a chili pepper spice blend (common in the US) which also contains other ingredients.
This dish keeps well in the fridge for several days, and even frozen in small portions for quick thawing and reheating.
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 320
- Sugar: 10.2g
- Sodium: 388.3mg
- Fat: 9g
- Carbohydrates: 27.1g
- Fiber: 6.9g
- Protein: 34.3g
- Cholesterol: 76mg
This recipe was first published on 7 December 2016. It has been updated with new photos and more comprehensive recipe notes.