1 tbsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 onion, diced (brown, white, yellow)

1 red capsicum (bell pepper), diced

1lb / 500g ground beef (mince)

1 – 2 tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder (adjust spiciness to taste) (Note 1)

2 tsp paprika powder (smokey or normal, not sweet)

1½ tsp cumin powder

1 tsp garlic powder (or onion powder)

1 beef bouillon cube, crumbled (Note 2)

½ tsp sugar (any type)

3 tbsp tomato paste (puree)

14oz / 420g can crushed tomato

14oz / 420g can red kidney beans, drained

½ – ¾ cup water

Salt and pepper

To Serve

White rice

Sour cream



Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, cook for 1 minute, then add capsicum and cook for 2 minutes until onion is translucent.

Turn heat up to high and add beef. Cook, breaking it up as you go, until mostly browned.

Add cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika and garlic powder. Cook until beef is browned all over. (This step helps release extra flavour from the spices)

Add remaining ingredients (start with ½ cup water). Bring to simmer then turn down to medium to simmer gently.

Cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens. It can be cooked for up to 1 hour for really tender meat and a deeper, richer flavour (lid on, top up water as required).

Adjust salt and pepper to taste just before serving.

Serve with white rice and a dollop of sour cream (See note 3 for other serving suggestions)


1. In Australia, UK and most parts of the world, ground chilli (aka "chilli powder") is plain dried chillies that have been ground. However, in the US, Chilli Powder has other things in it so it is nowhere near as hot as pure Chilli powder. This recipe calls for pure ground chilli for spiciness. Cayenne pepper is a perfect substitute, or any other HOT chilli powder. Chili is supposed to be spicy!!!

2. You can sub with 1 cup of beef stock and leave out the water. You will need to cook it for a bit longer though to reduce the sauce down.

3. SLOW COOKER: This is spectacular made in the slow cooker. Just follow the steps in the recipe except cook it for 6 hours on low in the slow cooker, using only ¼ cup of water (because the sauce won't reduce at all). 

4. This is one of those recipes that is even better the next day and freezes fabulously.

5. Serving suggestions: My standard is on rice with sour cream. Extra toppings include cheese, coriander/cilantro, fresh chillies and diced avocado (YUM). 

Other ways to use Chilli Con Carne: In a pie topped with corn bread (which I have since found out is an actual recipe called Tamale Pie, not just something I made up!), on hot dogs (so good!), stuffed into a roast potato, tossed through pasta, pasta bake, turned into a soup, Sloppy Joe, with corn bread

6. FLAVOUR Intensity: Do a taste test, and if you would like MORE intense flavours, increase cumin and add 1 – 2 tsp dried oregano (which is used in some versions). And don't forget spiciness – Chili is supposed to be SPICY!!

For extra extra flavour, some finely chopped or pureed Chipotles in Adobo Sauce is fantastic. But this is just extra flavour variations and I don't add it when I'm making this midweek version.

7. Nutrition per serving assuming 5 servings. Chilli Con Carne only, no rice or toppings.