Budget Chilli Con Carne – Getting More Spice For Your Buck

budget chilli con carne In the second of my budget cooking series, I decided to take on a supermarket budget chilli con carne recipe. My post on making a tinned chicken curry bigger and better seemed to go down pretty well. That was a tin of curry for under a quid – just.

I excelled myself with this one, finding a tin of chilli for 60 pence. That’s about 75 cents, and American friends (and Brits who’ve spent time in the US) tell me UK food prices are roughly double. I don’t know about that, but 60 pence is dirt cheap here, basically.

Okay, enough rambling! For that price, I’m kind of expecting it to be chilli sin carne (translated: chilli WITHOUT meat).

Just like with the budget curry recipe I created, I’m going to add some extra ingredients to this chilli, which are designed to add a ton of extra flavour. They’ll also increase the quantity so if money’s tight, you can stretch the meal to feed the family. Add rice or whatever else you like to eat with a nice hot chilli.

Let’s get started.


  • medium red onion, finely chopped
  • frozen mixed veg, to roughly match amount of onion
  • Casserole brand Chilli Con Carne (use whatever cheap brand you find)
  • 1-2 tsp hot chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 0.25 tsp cocoa powder
  • (optional) half tin of chopped tomatoes

casserole brand chilli con carne

You can vary the amount of veg to suit the number of people you are cooking for. But don’t go totally overboard, otherwise it’ll be just veg and nothing else.

If you prefer, you can substitute the more complex chili powder I blogged about previously instead of the three powders above (chili powder, cumin powder, cocoa powder).

Cooking Your Budget Chilli Con Carne

This is a really simple recipe. Get your wok or pan hot. Add a little cooking oil of your choice. Then add the red onion and stir fry until softened and translucent.

frying red onion

Next, it’s time to add the frozen veg. Just dump it in straight from frozen and stir it with the onion until thawed and heated through.

mixed veg and onion

Once the vegetables are heated through, add the tin of Chilli Con Carne and stir to mix all the ingredients. Bring to a simmer and then add the spice powders. If you are using chopped tomatoes, add them now.

extra veg chili con carne

Again, stir to mix and prevent anything sticking to the pan. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked to your personal taste. I like them a little al dente, but you can cook for longer.

Keep an eye on the liquid content if you do cook for longer though. Add extra small amounts of water if necessary, to stop it from drying out.

Serving Suggestions

I always love to have chilies and curries with tons of boiled rice. So that’s what I did here. Rice is always a good idea for bulking up a meal.

budget chilli con carne

But you can serve this with baked potatoes if you prefer. Or with crusty bread. That reminds me of a time I had a chili in a Mexican restaurant (in Bristol, not Mexico!)

They served it in a small loaf of bread. Literally just cut off a “lid” and scooped the bread out. Then filled the cavity with the chili, and brought it to the table with its lid. Brilliant idea – and no washing up. Ha ha! Just eat the bowl when you’re done. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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