Main dish

Nigella's Cheesy Chilli recipe

Jump to recipe

My go-to chilli recipe. Easy, delicious and adaptable. This recipe introduced me to the idea of adding chorizo to chilli and I'm very grateful.

  • Prep15m
  • Cook30m
  • Total45m

Nigella's Cheesy Chilli is a favourite but I often find myself changing it, sometimes bulking it up with lentils, sometimes leaving out the cheese. Whatever I do, it's consistently good because of the chorizo. Chorizo in chilli is a wonderful idea.

The extras that I add are onion, garlic and black beans (in addition to kidney beans). Low fat mince (around 5% fat) works well and Cheddar cheese is fine in place of mozzarella. Occasionally I double the recipe but still use the same amount of beef (500g), adding tinned lentils and more beans in place of the meat.

The chilli can be made up to 2 days in advance (without the cheese) and freezes well.

Recipe credit

Kitchen (affiliate link) by Nigella Lawson.


Nigella's Cheesy Chilli

  • Prep15m
  • Cook30m
  • Total45m
Serves: 6


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3-4 inch chunk chorizo, diced
  • 500g beef mince
  • ½ tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste (or a few chopped sun-dried tomatoes or tomato purée)
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
  • 125ml water (swilled from the empty tomato tin)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tin kidney beans (drained)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 balls of mozzarella cheese
  • Small handful fresh coriander, chopped (optional)


  1. Place a large heavy-based casserole pan or large saucepan (one that comes with a lid) over a medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Add 1 chopped onion to the pan and fry for a few minutes then add 2 chopped garlic cloves and fry until the garlic starts to colour.
  3. Add diced chorizo (from a 3-4 inch chunk of sausage) to the pan and fry until the chorizo releases its orange oil then add 500g of beef mince, breaking it up in the pan.
  4. Once the mince no longer looks raw, add ½ teaspoon of cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano and 1 tablespoon of sun-dried tomato paste. Stir well then add 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 125ml water (swilled out from the tomato tin), 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce and 1 tin of drained kidney beans. (If I'm using extra lentils and beans I add them to the pan now.)
  5. Allow to come to a bubble, turn down the heat, put the lid on the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  7. At this point you can allow the chilli to cool or, if using it straightaway, turn off the heat, tear over 2 balls of mozzarella and optionally sprinkle with chopped coriander. Serve with rice, tortillas or baked potatoes.

Newsletter coming soon

Add yourself to the list and as soon as it's ready we'll let you know.