Beef/ Hearty Dinners/ Spice

The BEST Chilli Con Carne

October 21, 2019 (Last Updated: February 9, 2022) by Chris Collins

Whether you call it Chili, Chilli or Chilli Con Carne, this version captures those rich and spicy flavours we all know and love & takes them to new heights! This truly is THE best Chilli Con Carne recipe.

First things first, whatever we call it, wherever we believe its origins lie, can we all just agree that this dish is the ultimate comfort food? Okay good. Its warm and spicy flavours just act as a soul-hugging bowl of goodness and quite frankly it never gets old.

overhead shot of chilli in a bowl served with golden spoon and fork on slate

The BEST Chilli Con Carne

Alright, I’m gonna have to do some explaining here before you think I’m blowing my own trumpet for no reason. Here’s why you’re gonna love this chilli:

  • Game Changers – A couple of game changing ingredients really turn this chilli up a notch. A glass of red wine adds a gorgeous depth of flavour, whilst a few tbsp of Worcestershire sauce adds a tangy background flavour!
  • Easy – It’s so EASY to make! A no fuss, no nonsense recipe even for even the most beginner of cook to master. All in one pot too!
  • Rich and Flavoursome – The perfect combo of seasoning and spices give this chilli a real punch of flavour!

In terms of making a chilli con carne, I promise it couldn’t be easier.

close up shot of hand dunking golden spoon into bowl of chilli, rice and lime wedges

Making Chilli Con Carne

Top Tip #1My number one piece of advice for making the best chilli con carne is to allow it to simmer, with a heavy lid on, for at least 90mins. The difference is crazy. It allows the flavours to intensify and marry together, whilst reducing the liquid and tenderizing the beef.

Chilli Con Carne Consistency

Because you’re simmering for quite some time, it’s important to use a pot with a heavy lid. This will ensure all the steam doesn’t escape as it simmers. If you left the lid off, the chilli is going to reduce down way too quickly; you need the steam to keep the chilli saucy as it simmers. You can then remove the lid and reduce it down to preference. As written, this recipe will give you quite a thick chilli, which I think is much more classic/preferable than the watery, soupy kind.

Homemade Chilli Con Carne Spice Mix

When it comes to chilli con carne seasoning, I of course highly recommend ditching the pre-made stuff and making your own. You don’t need any special ingredients, and hopefully, these seasonings should be familiar in your cupboards. If not, they’re all easily accessed at pretty much all supermarkets!  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Chilli Powder
  • Oregano
  • Ground Coriander
  • Sugar
  • Salt & Black Pepper

Process shots: brown onion, red pepper and garlic (photo 1), add ground beef (photo 2),  break up with wooden spoon and brown (photo 3), stir in tomato puree, then pour in red wine and simmer, (photo 4), add chopped tomatoes, kidney beans and Worcestershire sauce (photo 5), add homemade spice mix and beef stock cubes (photo 6), give it a good stir (photo 7),  pop lid on and simmer (photo 8).

8 step by step photos showing how to make chilli con carne

Chilli Con Carne FAQ

How spicy is this recipe?

Chilli, as the name suggests, should be quite spicy. I’d say this recipe gives you a medium spice. There’s definitely a kick, but it’s certainly not overbearing. Having said that the spice level is completely in your control. If at all wary I recommend starting with a small amount of chilli powder and adjusting towards the end. Much easier to add more than take it out!

Do I have to add the red wine?

The wine adds a gorgeous depth of flavour and compliments the beef really nicely. Most, if not all of the alcohol will burn off, but if you don’t want to use it you can just sub the same quantity of beef stock.

Can I make this ahead of time?

You can certainly make this ahead of time! In fact, I think it actually tastes better after some time relaxing. It gives the flavours a chance to snuggle with each other. Just cook as instructed, allow to cool then cover and pop in the fridge. Reheat on the hob (may need to add a dash of water to loosen up).

Can I freeze Chilli Con Carne?

Sure can! Just allow to cool, then store in an airtight container and pop in the freezer for up to 6months. To reheat just bring to room temp, then either microwave or heat on the hob. Just ensure it’s piping hot throughout.

ladle pouring chilli onto rice in small bowl on brown towel next to golden fork and spoon

Serving Chilli Con Carne

What can I serve with Chilli Con Carne?

  • Rice or Cornbread
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Sour Cream
  • Coriander/Cilantro
  • Cheese
  • Lime

What can I do with leftover Chilli?

Perfect plonked on a Baked Potato or you could whip up some Leftover Chilli Dough Balls!

After more chilli recipes? Check out my Vegetable Chilli and Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli!

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this Chilli Con Carne recipe shall we?!

chilli served in small bowl with rice, sour cream and lime wedges next to golden spoon and fork

How to make the best Chilli Con Carne in the world (Full Recipe & Video)

chilli served in small bowl with rice, sour cream and lime wedges next to golden spoon and fork

The BEST Chilli Con Carne

Whether you call it Chili, Chilli or Chilli Con Carne, this version captures those rich and spicy flavours we all know and love & takes them to new heights! This truly is THE best Chilli Con Carne recipe. I recommend giving the notes section a quick read before getting started for best results.
5 from 22 votes
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Servings (click & slide): 6
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Spanish / Texan
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Calories per serving: 545kcal
Cost per serving: £2 / $2.50

Equipment:

  • Large Pot with Lid & Wooden Spoon
  • Chopping Board & Sharp Knife
  • Sieve/Colander (to drain beans)
  • Ladle (for serving)

Ingredients (check list):

Chilli Con Carne

  • 2lbs / 1kg Ground Beef (see notes)
  • 2x 14oz/400g cans Kidney Beans, drained
  • 2x 14oz/400g cans Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 cup / 250ml Red Wine, or sub beef stock
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 large cloves of Garlic, finely diced
  • 2 Beef Stock Cubes (Beef Bouillon)
  • 2 heaped tbsp Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US)
  • 1 large White Onion, finely diced
  • 1 large Red Pepper (Capsicum/Bell Pepper) finely diced
  • 2 tbsp EACH: Paprika, Cumin, Chilli Powder (or to preferred spice level)
  • 1 tsp EACH: Oregano, Ground Coriander, Sugar, Salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil, as needed

Extras 'n' Optionals to serve:

  • Lime Wedges
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Fresh Coriander (Cilantro)

Instructions:

  • Add a splash of oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add Onion, Red Pepper & Garlic and fry until they begin to soften and start to brown.
  • Add in beef, break it up into small pieces and continue to fry over medium heat until there is no sign of pink in the meat. If you've got fatty mince, drain away some of the fat here as needed. Stir in 2 heaped tbsp tomato puree then deglaze with 1cup/250ml red wine. Allow to simmer for a few mins to to allow the meat to soak in the wine.
  • Add 2 cans chopped tomatoes, swill them both out with a splash of water, then add that in too. Add in 2 cans drained kidney beans, 2 beef stock cubes, 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 tbsp Cumin, Paprika, Chilli Powder (or to spice preference), 1 tsp oregano, ground coriander, salt & sugar (or to taste) and 1/2 tsp black pepper. If you're weary of spice just start off with 1 tbsp chilli powder and adjust at the end.
  • Give it a good stir then pop on the lid, turn down heat to low and allow to simmer for 1 hour 30mins, stirring occasionally. I know it seems a long time but it truly makes the difference.
  • Take off lid and allow to simmer until the sauce thickens (5 or so mins). Adjust seasoning with chilli powder, salt, sugar and black pepper.
  • Serve over rice with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of fresh coriander (cilantro) and a squeeze of lime juice. Also some cheese if you please!

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Beef - I typically use 10% fat. That way you get a little bit of the fatty flavour, but it doesn't end up too oily. You can use fattier beef, just drain away excess fat after it's fried if you need to.
b) Flavour/Spice Adjusting - The beauty of this dish is you can taste and tweak as you go. A chilli con carne, as the name suggests, should be quite spicy. If you're not too great with heat just start out with a small amount of chilli powder and adjust accordingly. Alternatively you can opt for a mild chilli powder (I use hot). For more of that iconic and powerful 'chilli con carne taste', ramp up the amount of cumin. 
c) Beef Stock Cubes - As mentioned in the recipe, it's only the cubes you want i.e NOT diluted in water. The juice from tomatoes will dilute the stock. Just make sure you crumble them in or if you're using jelly stock then make sure they're thoroughly mixed in.
d) Time - Allowing the chilli to simmer on a low heat for a long period of time is crucial in both the consistency and flavour of this dish. If the sauce isn't properly reduced, not only will it have a watery consistency, but the flavours won't have developed properly. Like I said, you're looking at around an hour and a half, if not longer.
e) Consistency - I like my chilli quite thick, and this recipe will provide that. If you want it saucier then you can add in more water when you swill out the cans. In all cases, it's important to use a heavy lid otherwise too much steam will escape and the chilli will over thicken. If it's too watery after you've simmered with the lid on, just keep simmering with the lid off until your desired texture. If you find it starts to over-thicken as it simmers with the lid on just add a splash of water to loosen it up.
f) Serving - Traditionally I'll always serve with rice, but serve with whatever you fancy! Baked potato and cornbread work great.
g) Leftovers - This dish also lends itself to the perfect leftover lunch. Pop in the fridge (or freezer for long term), thoroughly reheat and plonk on a jacket potato for the perfect lunch the next day. Or use them for Leftover Chilli Garlic Dough Balls!
h) Updated - This recipe was updated on 21/10/19 with extra spices and longer cooking time. 
i) Calories - Based on a sharing between 6 people, using 1 tbsp of olive oil and 10% fat beef mince. This calculation is without rice or any additional toppings.

Your Private Notes:

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
The BEST Chilli Con Carne
Amount Per Serving
Calories 545 Calories from Fat 205
% Daily Value*
Fat 22.81g35%
Saturated Fat 8.141g41%
Trans Fat 0.622g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.318g
Monounsaturated Fat 10.093g
Cholesterol 146.67mg49%
Sodium 254.67mg11%
Potassium 1217.33mg35%
Carbohydrates 26.52g9%
Fiber 6.8g27%
Sugar 7.013g8%
Protein 50.5g101%
Vitamin A 3733.33IU75%
Vitamin C 52.8mg64%
Calcium 106.67mg11%
Iron 7.867mg44%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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Recipe Rating




56 Comments

  • Reply
    Sharon Needham
    July 28, 2022 at 8:43 am

    5 stars
    Chris, this has been my go to Chill recipe for years. It’s delicious! I had the recipe as a screen shot and was gutted when it disappeared into the cloud during photo back up. Managed to find it again (yes) and made it at 7.30am for later. The aroma coming from the kitchen – just devine ♡ Going to look at some other recipes now. Well done!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      July 28, 2022 at 10:51 am

      Ah so happy you found the recipe again, Sharon! Thanks so much for popping back for a review 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    Tracey
    June 20, 2022 at 5:38 am

    5 stars
    Tried over the years so many times to get a chilli recipe that will do the whole families taste now finally I have found it took it to a couple barbecues and was a hit

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      June 20, 2022 at 8:35 pm

      That’s so awesome to hear, Tracey! Thanks so much for the review 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    Debbie Foster
    May 7, 2022 at 7:30 pm

    5 stars
    Best chilli ever! Husband couldn’t work out what I’d done! Not the normal one but definitely the norm now!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      May 7, 2022 at 8:22 pm

      So great to hear, Debbie! Thanks so much for the review 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    Liz M
    April 10, 2022 at 10:06 am

    Most amazing chilli con carne I’ve ever made. Found this nearly 12 months ago and it’s my go to recipe. And, only because it’s my personal preference, I always double the tomato paste.
    Just magic…thank you for the great recipe!!
    Cheers from Australia

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 10, 2022 at 1:49 pm

      That’s so great to hear, Liz! Thanks for popping back for a review. Cheers from Edinburgh 🙂

  • Reply
    Hayley Newton
    March 3, 2022 at 5:06 pm

    5 stars
    Best chilli I’ve ever tasted. Will never cook any other way again!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      March 4, 2022 at 9:31 am

      Ah that’s so great to hear! Thanks for the review, Hayley! 🙂

  • Reply
    Connie
    February 26, 2022 at 7:24 pm

    5 stars
    Great tasting and nice texture. I will definitely make this again.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      February 26, 2022 at 7:32 pm

      Great to hear! Thanks so much for the review, Connie 🙂

  • Reply
    Peter Brooks
    November 4, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve got to admit this is a great recipe, I made this as a family meal tonight and reduced the chilli by two thirds, but it still had enough spice for the adults and it’s the first ever chilli I’ve made that my kids have eaten without them pretending to be sick or outright refusing it.
    Well done !

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 5, 2021 at 10:47 am

      Peter, this is so great to hear! Thanks so much for popping back for a review 🙂

  • Reply
    Tony Haskey
    October 30, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    Wow, made this recipe a couple of weeks ago, and it blew my mrs mind. This time I had a few extras in the fridge ( beef and chicken stock), so slung them in and reduced a touch more. Lovely, bloody lovely

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      October 31, 2021 at 10:36 am

      This is awesome to read, Tony! So happy it went down well 🙂

  • Reply
    Della Young
    August 20, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    5 stars
    Its definitely the best Chilli Con Carnie I’ve ever made. Thank You

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      August 20, 2021 at 10:11 pm

      Thanks so much for the review, Della! Glad it went down well 🙂

  • Reply
    Dorota Butters
    August 15, 2021 at 1:16 pm

    5 stars
    I made this yeserday for a party and I have to say I really do think it’s the best chilli recipe!! I made a big pot for the serious party-goers at the end of the evening, and have been receiving nothing but compliments all morning. It is delicious! I added 2/3 tsps more hot chilli powder, but I made the chilli the day before and by the time we got to eat it, it was perfect. Will be making this again and trying some of your other recipes now!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      August 16, 2021 at 6:43 pm

      So great to hear, Dorota! Thanks so much for popping back and sharing your feedback 🙂 C.x

  • Reply
    Jean
    May 7, 2021 at 11:39 am

    I forgot to leave the rating!! So here it is.

  • Reply
    Jean
    May 7, 2021 at 11:38 am

    I tried this recipe with out the wine and it was still delicious, all my family says thank you!

  • Reply
    Mick
    November 17, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    5 stars
    Love the recipe I also added a finely diced carrot as well it adds a little bit more flavour not that it needs it but I just like to add my own touch, keep up the good work.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 17, 2020 at 5:15 pm

      Thanks Mick! Glad it went down well. Bet the carrots worked really well – will have to give it a go myself next time I whip this up. Thanks for popping back for a review!

    • Reply
      Rachael Tovey
      March 29, 2021 at 3:18 pm

      It cant be 2 tablespoons of cumin and chilli! It must mean teaspoons.

      • Reply
        Chris Collins
        March 31, 2021 at 1:36 pm

        Hey Rachael! It’s definitely tbsp 🙂

  • Reply
    Sarah McLachlan
    October 22, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    5 stars
    Fabulous recipe. Thankyou so much for sharing!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      October 22, 2020 at 6:51 pm

      That’s awesome to hear! Glad it went down well 🙂

  • Reply
    Kushigalu
    October 22, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    5 stars
    Love the flavors in the recipe. Spicy and delicious too. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      October 23, 2019 at 10:12 am

      You’re so welcome 🙂

  • Reply
    Toni
    October 22, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    5 stars
    It was a huge hit for dinner at my house! So comforting!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      October 22, 2019 at 5:20 pm

      That’s awesome to hear 🙂

  • Reply
    AImee
    October 22, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    5 stars
    I love that you put a chili con carne “spice mix” in this recipe! I’d love to always have some on hand and use it potentially for other recipes.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      October 22, 2019 at 5:20 pm

      It’s so handy!

  • Reply
    Suzy
    October 22, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    5 stars
    We loved the spicy flavor of this chilli con carne! It was so good and the perfect comfort food!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      October 22, 2019 at 5:20 pm

      So glad it was enjoyed!

  • Reply
    Beth
    October 22, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    5 stars
    I adore chili and could literally eat it daily! Such a perfect comfort dish! I love that you leave the lid on! I always leave the lid off to reduce the moisture! I am trying your method next. It looks so thick and luscious!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      October 22, 2019 at 5:20 pm

      Thanks so much, Beth 🙂

  • Reply
    B
    February 20, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    5 stars
    Made half a recipe and it was delicious. Hadn’t thought of serving with rice but was great.
    Saving the rest of another meal. Thank your dad for a wonderful meal on this cold and snowy night.

    • Reply
      Chris
      February 20, 2018 at 10:30 pm

      Awesome, Thanks for sharing your experience! It definitely warms up the soul right!? Will pass on the kind words 🙂

  • Reply
    Karly
    February 18, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    Looks amazing like always!

    • Reply
      Chris
      February 18, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      You’re too kind, Karly! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Albert Bevia
    February 18, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    This chili con carne does look so hearty and tasty, nothing better than a bowl of this comfort food goodness! I love that touch of sour cream on top, insane good recipe

    • Reply
      Chris
      February 18, 2018 at 4:26 pm

      Thank you for your kind words! LOVE Sour Cream on top!

  • Reply
    Jenni LeBaron
    February 17, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    5 stars
    Yes, please! I’d love a bowl of this right now. Gorgeous photos also!

    • Reply
      Chris
      February 18, 2018 at 11:10 am

      Thanks so much, Jenni! 🙂

  • Reply
    Andrea @ Cooking with Mamma C
    February 17, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    5 stars
    Your dad deserves his moment in the spotlight! This chili looks incredible.

    • Reply
      Chris
      February 17, 2018 at 10:11 pm

      Haha thanks so much, Andrea! I’ll forward on the kind words!!

  • Reply
    Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
    February 17, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    5 stars
    That’s my Hubby’s meal– chili! Yes, indeed I think it takes time to draw out all the flavors. Your chili recipe sounds delicious. And adding rice to the chili is really unusual. A nice touch. We usually add pasta but I could eat it without any additional carb. I can see why this recipe is a favorite.

    • Reply
      Chris
      February 17, 2018 at 10:10 pm

      Thanks, Marisa! I’m so glad you agree! You’re right, any additional carb will do the trick 🙂

  • Reply
    Leslie
    February 17, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    5 stars
    Your dad picked a great dish to be an expert at. I love chili!

    • Reply
      Chris
      February 17, 2018 at 9:33 pm

      Haha thanks, Leslie! Isn’t it just the best!?

  • Reply
    Monica | Nourish & Fete
    February 17, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    5 stars
    This, to me, is the perfect classic chili – and I just love the way you’ve paired and styled this with a big bowl of rice. Seriously the perfect game-watching, stay-in-and-get-cozy meal!

    • Reply
      Chris
      February 17, 2018 at 8:15 pm

      Love that! Stay-in-and-get-cozy meals are my kinda meals!!

  • Reply
    Pam Greer
    February 17, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    5 stars
    Must give both parents equal rights! This is the only thing my husband can cook and he makes it every Superbowl Sunday! I love it!

    • Reply
      Chris
      February 17, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      Yes! So perfect for Superbowl!!

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