Chilli Con Carne

Chilli Con Carne is such a delicious and easy family meal which can be cooked on the hob or in your slow cooker. After using this recipe, you will never use a jar of sauce again!

Chilli Con Carne

What was the first meal you learnt to cook?

Chilli Con Carne was the first meal I remember my Mum teaching me how to cook so it will always hold sentimental value. The way I learnt to cook with my Mum was by watching how she did things and then copying them. She never wrote any measurements or processes down, it was always a pinch of this, a glug of that. I think this made it more interesting for me because there weren’t strict rules of how much of each ingredient had to go in. It also influenced what type of cook I turned into – I am always adapting recipes.

Ditch the jarred sauce or prepacked spices!

I know a lot of people make dishes like Chilli Con Carne using either a jar of sauce or a sachet of spices. Although these are marketed to be easier and a time saver, I really don’t think it takes much longer to make it from scratch. You can also see exactly what is going in the finished dish. Sometimes the jars or sauce and spice sachets have preservatives and extra salt and sugar that aren’t necessary. I also think making it from scratch will have a lot more flavour.  

I have tweaked the recipe over the years but this was my Mum’s original recipe for Chilli Con Carne. Today using chocolate in Mexican cooking is becoming more well known but 10+ years ago this was slightly unusual. Mum always referred to the chocolate as her secret ingredient. Personally I think she was ahead of the times!

Chilli Con Carne cooking tips

Mum always insisted on kidney beans in chilli sauce and this is essential! I only use the kidney beans for the chilli sauce they come in because I’m not a massive fan of the actual beans. You really do need the chilli sauce because it gives the Chilli Con Carne a fantastic flavour.

If you don’t have the different chilli powders I have used, just use normal chilli powder which is what we did for years and is very tasty. Feel free to add more chilli if you like more heat or less if you are cooking for children or people who like less spice. 

We always had our chilli with rice, soured cream and salad. My Mum always served the salad in the same little bowls for some reason.  We would then always add the salad we wanted and either mix it in or eat the salad on the side. You could also serve Guacamole with this or Mexican Sweetcorn Salad.  

Using your slow cooker and freezing leftovers

You can easily make this in a slow cooker just reducing the liquid slightly. I would cook it on low for around 8 hours or high for 4 to 5. I would definitely recommend browning the meat before you add it to the slow cooker. If you don’t, the texture does change and become more mushy which isn’t something I like. 

Chilli Con Carne freezes really well. I like to make a big batch of it which then makes a really quick and easy mid week meal. When you freeze the Chilli Con Carne, make sure it is put in the freezer within two hours of it being made. To defrost, leave it in the fridge overnight or for about eight hours. Make sure it is piping hot before serving. 


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Chilli Con Carne

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Beef, Chilli Con Carne
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 363 kcal
Author Curly


  • Spray oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 garlic gloves finely chopped
  • 500 g lean beef mince
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp ancho chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • ¼ tsp chipotle chilli powder
  • 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 700 ml water fill the tinned tomato tin twice
  • 2 OXO cubes
  • 395 g tin kidney beans in chilli sauce
  • 30 g dark chocolate


  1. Put a large pan on a medium/high heat and spray with oil. Add the diced onions and garlic. Sweat for 5 mins stirring occasionally

  2. Add the mince making sure it is broken up. Cook for a further 5 mins or until the mince is browned all over

  3. Add the salt, pepper, mustard powder, tomato puree, spices and oregano and stir to mix. Add the tin of tomatoes and stir. Turn the heat down so it is bubbling gently

  4. Crumble in the OXO cubes and let cook for at least 15 minutes stirring occasionally making sure it doesn't stick to the bottom
  5. Next add the kidney beans in chilli sauce and stir. Leave to gently bubble for another 15 mins

  6. Break the chocolate into squares and add to the pan. Mix through and allow to bubble for 5 mins before serving

Recipe Notes

Nutritional information is given as a guide only and my vary.

Nutrition Facts
Chilli Con Carne
Amount Per Serving
Calories 363 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 78mg26%
Sodium 678mg29%
Potassium 561mg16%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 112IU2%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 28mg3%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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10 thoughts on “Chilli Con Carne

  1. Pingback: Chorizo & Potato Quesadillas | Curly's Cooking

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  4. Michelle Frank | Flipped-Out Food

    Your mum sounds as though she cooks exactly like I used to BEFORE FOOD BLOGGING. Glug, splash, pinch…until it smells and tastes right! I’m with you: no kidney beans. I love all of the garnishes on the side to add as you like. All of the spice and flavor you have going on in this chilli con carne is making me HANGRY!

    1. Cat Post author

      It’s how I used to cook too! It feels quite strange having to measure out ingredients for a recipe when you’re used to just chucking it in! Thank you 🙂

  5. Jessica

    Really loved reading the story about your family and how they’ve influenced the type of cook you’ve become. Also your photos in this are on point!! Sounds delish too! Thanks for sharing to my world food linky x

    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you 🙂 This was one of my first blog posts that was in dire need of updating. I was really chuffed with these photos so thank you for noticing them 🙂 x

  6. Pingback: Skinny Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli – Curly's Cooking


    Ooh, it’s interesting to read another chilli recipe as it’s one of my faves. Very similar actually – but will have to try adding dark chocolate, as you do!


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