Skip to content
Back Back to Insurance menu Go to Insurance
Back Back to Saga Money Go to Saga Money
Back Back to Saga Magazine menu Go to Magazine
Search Magazine

Chilli con carne recipe

Carlton Boyce / 21 June 2016

Try this simple recipe for chilli con carne for a deliciously spicy and versatile meal.

Chilli con carne
Chilli con carne

Cooking time

1 hour 30 minutes




  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 x 400g can red kidney beans
  • 2 large onions, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2tbs tomato ketchup
  • 2tbs maple syrup
  • 1tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1tbs tomato paste
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • ½tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 x beef stock cube
  • 1 bottle beer


One of the many great things about cooking chilli con carne is that it isn’t a precise science, leaving you plenty of room to experiment. Some people add more chilli than I’m suggesting for more heat, while others add a couple of squares of dark chocolate for an extra-rich texture.

I’ve added chunks of smoked sausage before now, while my wife sometimes fries finely chopped bacon lardons until they are crispy before sprinkling them over the top along with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped coriander or chives.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/360°F

2. Gently fry the diced onions and minced garlic in a large frying pan until they are soft and translucent. Set to one side.

3. Brown the minced beef, breaking up any large chunks in the same pan, draining any excess fat off if necessary.

4. Add the cooked onions to the minced beef and stir. Now add the chilli flakes, cumin, paprika, and cinnamon. Fry for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly to avoid the spices catching and burning on the bottom of the pan.

5. Now add the rest of the ingredients and stir thoroughly.

6. Pop a lid on and place in the oven for an hour or so to let the flavours merge and mature. (It will also cook and keep in a low oven for hours if necessary.) If the gravy is a bit thin you can thicken it with a teaspoon of cornflour dissolved in some cold water or a tablespoon of beef gravy granules.

7. Serve in bowls with boiled white rice and crusty bread.

Thrifty tip

You can use water instead of beer and standard paprika might not give the smoky subtlety of the smoked stuff but it is easier to find and much cheaper!

Using up leftover chilli

Leftover chilli freezes well and make a great topping for burgers or hotdogs, adding a New York twist to a simple supper or lunch.

For a vegetarian chilli try Diana Henry's quick black bean chilli recipe


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.