We develop new stabilized mixed finite element methods for Darcy flow. Stability and an a priori error estimate in the ‘‘stability norm’’ are established. A wide variety of convergent finite elements present themselves, unlike the classical Galerkin formulation which requires highly specialized elements. An interesting feature of the formulation is that there are no mesh-dependent parameters. Numerical tests confirm the theoretical results. 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.