Beef/ Hearty Dinners/ Spice

The BEST Chilli Con Carne

October 21, 2019 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 & take them to new heights! This truly is THE best Chilli Con Carne recipe.

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

overhead shot of chilli with lime, sour cream and rice in a bowl

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.

How to make Chilli Con Carne (quick summary)

  1. Brown onion, red pepper and garlic.
  2. Add ground beef.
  3. Break up with wooden spoon and brown.
  4. Stir in tomato puree, then pour in red wine and simmer.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes, kidney beans and Worcestershire sauce.
  6. Add homemade spice mix and beef stock cubes.
  7. Give it a good stir.
  8. Pop lid on and simmer.

How to make chilli con carne - step by step photos

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 down the liquid.

When it comes to chilli con carne seasoning, I of course highly recommend ditching the pre-made stuff and making your own. Here’s what you’ll need:

Homemade Chilli Con Carne Spice Mix

  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Chilli Powder
  • Oregano
  • Ground Coriander
  • Sugar
  • Salt & Black Pepper
In the UK/AUS chilli powder almost always refers to ground chillis, which is what you’re after. I understand that sometimes this differs in the US and can refer to a concoction of different spices, which isn’t what you want. Just double check your chilli powder is pure ground chilli. If not, consider subbing cayenne pepper (careful, this can be MUCH spicier!)

What to serve with Chilli Con Carne

Best Chilli Con Carne with Kidney Beans serving into a bowl with metal ladle

Make ahead Chilli Con Carne

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.

Hey, whilst you’re here why not check out my other recipes?

Hearty Ground Beef Dinner Recipes

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

Best Chilli Con Carne served with sour cream and rice

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

Best Chilli Con Carne Recipe

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 & take them to new heights! This truly is THE best Chilli Con Carne recipe.
5 from 16 votes
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Servings (click & slide): 8
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: 409kcal
Cost per serving: £2 / $2.50


  • Large heavy top pot & Wooden Spoon
  • Chopping Board & Sharp Knife

Ingredients (check list):

  • 2.2lbs / 1kg Ground Beef (preferably lean)
  • 2x 14oz/400g cans Kidney Beans, drained
  • 2x 14oz/400g cans Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 cup / 250ml Red Wine
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 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

Extras 'n' Optionals to serve:

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


  • Add a splash of oil over medium heat. Add your Onion, Red Pepper and Garlic and fry until they begin to soften and start to brown.
  • Add your 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. Stir in 2 heaped tbsp tomato puree then deglaze with 1cup/250ml red wine. Allow to simmer for around 5 mins to burn off some of the alcohol.
  • Add 2 cans chopped tomatoes, 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 not sure with 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!


a) Chilli Powder - In the UK/AUS this is just pure ground chilli, which is want you want. However from my understanding in the US 'chilli powder' sometimes means a concoction of various different spices, which is not what you want. If you can't get your hands on plain ground chilli powder, sub in Cayenne Pepper (careful though, this is often much spicier!).
b) Flavour 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. 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) Serving - Traditionally I'll always serve with rice, but serve with whatever you fancy! Baked potato and cornbread work great.
f) 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 jack potato for the perfect lunch the next day. Or use them for Leftover Chilli Garlic Dough Balls!
g) Updated - This recipe was updated on 21/10/19 with extra spices and longer cooking time. 
h) Calories - Based on a sharing between 8 people, using 1 tbsp of olive oil and 10% fat beef mince. This calculation is without rice or any additional toppings.


Nutrition Facts
The BEST Chilli Con Carne
Amount Per Serving
Calories 409 Calories from Fat 154
% Daily Value*
Fat 17.11g26%
Saturated Fat 6.106g31%
Trans Fat 0.467g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.989g
Monounsaturated Fat 7.57g
Cholesterol 110mg37%
Sodium 191mg8%
Potassium 913mg26%
Carbohydrates 19.89g7%
Fiber 5.1g20%
Sugar 5.26g6%
Protein 37.88g76%
Vitamin A 2800IU56%
Vitamin C 39.6mg48%
Calcium 80mg8%
Iron 5.9mg33%
* 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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