Slow Cooker Chili


Slow Cooker Chili | Cooking Classy

In my home during the cold winter months I make chili about once every other week. I love chili. I was raised on the stuff. It’s hearty, flavorful, and it’s simply a perfect blend of so many delicious ingredients, and there’s more….. it makes delicious left overs. I ‘m not a huge fan of left overs of any kind but this, it’s like a spaghetti sauce, letting it sit overnight just allows that much more time for the flavors to saturate so it’s equally as good as the first day it’s made. Chili is a simple and classic American dish. Another reason I make it so often is because I always have all of the ingredients on hand. There aren’t many meals out their that contain so many ingredients which start from a can and it ends with such tasty results.

One of my favorite ways to serve chili  is with baked Russet potatoes. I slice the baked potato open then slightly compress it so it mashes a bit to create more area for soaking then I drench it with hot chili, smother it with Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese and finish it a generous dollop of sour cream (and sometimes hot sauce because how can I resist?), then I usually have a full bowl of chili along side that =). Yes it is so delicious that I still crave it at least once or twice a month. I also love to serve it in a bread bowl or along with biscuits, cornbread and of course saltine crackers. My latest favorite chili is this recipe I created for the slow cooker. The flavor of the chili is amazing and the texture of the beef is so tender, basically perfect and the way the ground beef in chili should be. Six hours of slow cooking creates the best chili ever. And have I mentioned how easy this chili is to make? It’s a total breeze, so this will likely become a recipe you won’t want to lose =). Simplicity – check, unbelievably satisfying – check, easy cleanup – check check check. You’re going to watn to try this. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chili | Cooking ClassySlow Cooker Chili | Cooking Classy

Slow Cooker Chili

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 6 - 7 servings

Slow Cooker Chili


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 (14.5) oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies*
  • 3 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water or beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Serve topped with:
  • Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, chopped red or green onions, cilantro, roasted peppers, or hot sauce
  • Optionally serve with:
  • fresh cornbread or biscuits, baked russet potatoes, saltine crackers or tortilla chips


  • Heat olive oil in a large and deep non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add onion and saute 3 minutes, then add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer. Pour onions into a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker.
  • Return skillet to medium-high eat, add beef and cook stirring occasionally until beef has browned. Drain most of fat from beef, leaving about 2 Tbsp in with beef (this is optional, I think it ads flavor but you can drain it all if you'd prefer). Pour browned beef into slow cooker.
  • Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, 1/2 cup water or beef broth, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cocoa powder, sugar, coriander and season mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Stir mixture, cover with lid and cook on low heat for 5 - 6 hours.
  • Stir in dark and light red kidney beans and allow to heat through, about 10 minutes (if you want the soup to have more liquid you can add in another 1/2 cup water or beef broth). Serve warm with desired toppings (I say the cheese and sour cream is a must, everything else is optional).
  • *If you don't like heat then you can use canned tomatoes without green chiles since they are a little spicy.
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

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slow cooker chili


  • Jessica@AKitchenAddiction: We eat a lot of chili during the winter months, too! I love the idea serving it with baked potatoes and extra cheese! February 15, 2013 at 1:49pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It is the best winter meal. Thanks for commenting Jessica! February 16, 2013 at 12:07am Reply

  • Angela @ Another Bite Please: i love slow cooker meals…I make one usually once a week since I work late on Tuesday and love that hubby can have meal ready for the kiddos….and he loves chili so this would be perfect…and serving over a potato sounds so good! February 15, 2013 at 3:27pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Angela! February 16, 2013 at 12:06am Reply

  • Four Ingredient Crock Pot Cola Chicken (Plus 10 More Delicious Crock Pot Recipes!): […] Slow Cooker Chili (also check out 15 Must Try Chili Recipes!) […] February 26, 2013 at 6:05am Reply

  • Kim: What type of “tomato sauce” is supposed to be used in this recipe?

    Thanks :) February 27, 2013 at 3:25pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Just a plain tomato sauce. I used the kind that has salt (NOT a no salt added version). February 28, 2013 at 1:16am Reply

  • Martina: Have made this twice since finding recipe it is very good my family love it March 19, 2013 at 3:09am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Martina – I’m so glad to hear your family loves this chili! Thanks so much for your comment! March 19, 2013 at 9:43am Reply

  • Christie: Hi, when do I add the beans in? At the end? Also, is this okay to be in the crockpot for 8 hours rather than 6? Thanks! May 15, 2013 at 1:02pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You add the beans in after it has cooked the 6 hours. It would be fine to do the 8 hours, my Mom said she cooked hers about that long and it was a little more dry so you will likely want to add in 1 cup of beef broth or chicken broth. Hope you enjoy! May 15, 2013 at 1:05pm Reply

  • Christi: Hi, Thanks for a great recipe. I have been craving Chili for the longest but when I make it it doesn’t taste quiet right. I can toss this together before work and dinner will be done. I will be making it this coming fall. Thank you so much! August 30, 2013 at 7:46am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re welcome Christi :)! September 1, 2013 at 12:36pm Reply

  • Katie Honeycutt: WOW! This was the BEST chili recipe I’ve found. This will be my new go to recipe. Thank you for sharing it! October 14, 2013 at 7:13pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you think it’s the best you’ve found Katie :)! Thanks for your comment! October 14, 2013 at 7:47pm Reply

  • sara: This was a great recipe, especially because I love my chili very meaty and thick – and not too spicy. I ½’d the recipe since i was cooking for 1 (some to be frozen) however used ¾ of an onion (i love onions!), added some cinnamon (thats how we do chili here in cincinnati), and used ⅓ light red kidney beans, ⅓ dark red kidney beans and ½ can “ranch style” beans. I did need to add the 1 cup of chicken broth to help with the consistency, and even after that it was a great chunky chili! Definitely will be making this again!!! October 29, 2013 at 3:23pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Happy to hear you enjoyed it Sara and you’d make it again :)! November 3, 2013 at 6:47pm Reply

    • Brittany: I want to half this recipe as well, did you adjust the cooking time? September 11, 2014 at 6:09pm Reply

      • Sara: I believe I didnt modify the cooking time, but kept an eye on it and turned it off an hour early October 12, 2014 at 10:46am Reply

  • Amanda k: I made this for lunch today! With my family of picky chili eaters and they all loved it. Thank you for a great chili recipe! November 3, 2013 at 11:02am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re welcome Amanda! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, so glad your family liked this! November 10, 2013 at 8:02am Reply

  • Rasheedah Mulkey: My family loved it!!! The kids said we should have this more often November 15, 2013 at 5:27pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So happy to hear that Rasheedah! Thanks for leaving a comment! November 15, 2013 at 6:33pm Reply

  • Re-Re: I’ve Been Looking For A Great Chili Recipe And I Have Found It!! I Made This Tonite And OMG!!! It’s Awsome It’s So Delicious I Most Definitely Will Keep This Recipe Thanks For Sharing!! January 30, 2014 at 11:15pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked it Re-Re! Thanks for your comment! February 4, 2014 at 9:56pm Reply

  • Happy Mardi Gras and another chili recipe! | Finding Radiance: […] I made the best chili the other day and thought I would share the recipe because it was so easy and tasty! This could be done on the stove or in the crockpot – I did mine in the CP. Based on this recipe with changes […] March 4, 2014 at 5:49pm Reply

  • Cold Spring day | HollyDay: […] Hiya everyone, today I made some amazing homemade chili, if I do say so myself! Even though it’s Spring, here in Colorado, it’s snowing. I’ve been craving chili all Winter and thought this was perfect timing. Recipe is as follows and feel free to substitute and of these things if you’re vegan, vegetarian, or health conscious! Have a blessed day everyone. […] April 13, 2014 at 3:38pm Reply

  • crystal: Hi there I have one question for you could I make this in a pot instead of the slow cooker. July 14, 2014 at 4:05pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes, definitely. Just let is simmer for a few hours over low heat, stirring occasionally. July 14, 2014 at 8:53pm Reply

  • Jill: This chili recipe is awesome. Thank you! July 23, 2014 at 7:56pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re very welcome Jill :)! August 9, 2014 at 11:57pm Reply

  • Chelsea: I made this today and it’s really good! I forgot to drain/rinse my beans so it was little runnier than I expected (I didn’t add any broth), but I also put the beans in the whole time to make sure they weren’t hard.

    The cocoa powder made me nervous but I’m glad o finally find a good recipe that doesn’t require a chili stick. September 1, 2014 at 7:08pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked it Chelsea! Thanks for your review! September 22, 2014 at 9:43pm Reply

  • Meagen: Just found this recipe and will be making it for a big family function on Saturday! Cannot wait to try it, we’ve been on the hunt for our “go-to” chili recipe for years!!! September 28, 2014 at 3:53pm Reply

  • Adrienne: If I cook on high instead of low, will cook time be 3 hours? Sounds amazing and want to eat tonight, lol October 19, 2014 at 5:09pm Reply

  • Shan: Best chili I’ve made! I followed the recipe exactly, except I cooked it for approximately 2.5 hours on high. Thanks for sharing! This is a keeper! October 19, 2014 at 7:06pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked it Shan! Thanks for your feedback! October 19, 2014 at 10:17pm Reply

  • Sherrey Meyer: Looking for an easy, slow cooker chili recipe for a potlock in a couple of weeks. You won me over with your images! And the fact that your slow cooker looks just like mine. Truthfully, the look of the chili is really what got me — it looks so yummy! I’ll let you know how it turns out. October 29, 2014 at 4:17pm Reply

  • Maggie: Sounds good – Do I stir everything when I add it to the crockpot, before cooking? November 1, 2014 at 7:52am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes, sorry I should add that to the directions. Thanks for pointing that out! November 1, 2014 at 12:10pm Reply

  • Heather @ Glitter and Gloss: I just made this for dinner and it was a huge hit! I did half ground turkey/half ground beef, but kept everything else the same. Thanks for this fantastic recipe! November 2, 2014 at 5:58pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m glad you liked it Heather! Thanks for your review! November 2, 2014 at 8:52pm Reply

  • Shannon: we also added chopped lettuce and fresh tomatoes to the toppings (with cheese and sour cream) and served with taco chips…. DELISH! November 6, 2014 at 10:49am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for your feedback Shannon! I’m so glad you liked this chili recipe! November 6, 2014 at 9:58pm Reply

  • Now Eat THIS…. | The Hovanec Hotel: […] Slow Cooker Chili […] November 6, 2014 at 7:58pm Reply

  • Kristian: This chili was very yummy! Thanks for sharing will definitely be making again :) November 9, 2014 at 10:31am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m happy to hear it was enjoyed Kristian! November 9, 2014 at 11:53am Reply

  • Jenn: I don’t have 6 hours to cook this on low…can I cook it on high for 4 hours?
    So excited to try this! November 12, 2014 at 3:32pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: That would probably be fine. December 12, 2014 at 5:04pm Reply

  • Dee: I like how you’ve added cocoa powder. I always do too. It’s such a surprise when others find out about it. They don’t expect it. Cocoa creates a rich taste, not “chocolaty” at all. I add it to my spaghetti sauce as well. Great chili recipe, thanks. November 13, 2014 at 7:27pm Reply

  • traci: Im making today & will be adding black beans. I cant wait November 16, 2014 at 8:00am Reply

  • P: Delicious! My new favorite chili recipe! I did not have ground coriander or coco powder on hand. I used ground turkey and I did add a dash of cayenne, a tbsp of brown sugar and 1/2 green bell pepper chopped. The consistency and flavors were awesome. As with any chilli it tastes better and better as the days go by. We finally finished the batch on day 4 and we ate it multiple ways: with tortilla chips/ shredded cheese/ sour cream/green onion, over baked potatoes with same toppings, and straight out of the bowl with a side of cornbread. I can’t wait to make this again. November 17, 2014 at 1:55pm Reply

  • Nicole: So last week I was really craving chili and came across this recipe. I talked my bf throught making it while I was at’s so easy! And I must say, it turned out delicious! I agree that cheese and sour cream was a must. It had the perfect about of spice to it and the little bit of sugar definitely makes a difference. Everyone loved it. Thanks! November 20, 2014 at 12:24pm Reply

  • Fernanda: It’s on the crockpot right now, I’ll tell later how it come out. So far looks good and the smell…OMG! December 3, 2014 at 12:03pm Reply

  • Jenny: I made the mistake of trusting my husband to read the instructions to me, and the beans went in before I started using my slow cooker.. I guess I will find out in 6 hours how the beans turn out… :( December 6, 2014 at 1:23pm Reply

  • ronda davis: Can u taste the cocoa in it. Cause that really worries me December 7, 2014 at 6:29am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You don’t notice it at all, it just adds a greater depth of flavor. December 8, 2014 at 10:11pm Reply

    • Karla: Thanks for asking that question because I had the same concern about cocoa powder. March 11, 2015 at 11:20am Reply

  • Food, Faith, and Other Fabulous Finds: This reminds me of my Grandma’s chili which I ate often growing up. (She didn’t know about spices, though.) She’s been gone for several years now, but no one has her recipe, so this was a walk down memory lane. Thank you so much!! December 11, 2014 at 8:00pm Reply

  • Allie: This looks amazing. I only have a 4 quart slow cooker though. Would the original recipe work or should i just cut it in half? December 30, 2014 at 11:12am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I might half it for that size? January 20, 2015 at 10:46pm Reply

  • Maryann: Amazing!! Made this for the first time tonight, and it rocked! No leftovers here :)
    Thanks for sharing!! December 31, 2014 at 6:13pm Reply

  • kchapy: I found this on pinterest about 3 months ago and have made it COUNTLESS times!! It’s the easiest and cleanest chili I have found ingredient wise and I always just throw it in the crockpot in the morning for a delicious meal that we enjoy all week long. Thank you for sharing!! January 1, 2015 at 7:13am Reply

  • Betsy | My husband made this chili today and we absolutely loved it! A few changes he made (because we love the veggies!) were to add a second onion, two bell peppers and used a large can of stewed tomatoes instead of diced. He also added about 1/4 cup of flour to thicken it a bit. All in all… it was one of the best we’ve ever had! Thanks for a great recipe! January 1, 2015 at 10:08am Reply

  • Paige: I have made this 4 times now. I absolutely love it. I add spices just S the recipe states. It’s now my go to chili recipe. January 3, 2015 at 1:17pm Reply

  • Lisa~: Found this on Pinterest and we’re making it tonight! Thanks for sharing. Lisa~ January 5, 2015 at 8:21am Reply

  • cheri: I made this today for dinner and the family thought it to be bland. Followed the recipe exactly. Will try to salvage what is left. January 7, 2015 at 10:27pm Reply

  • Michelle: This was the worst chili I’ve ever made, I’m sorry I don’t like leaving bad reviews but I’ve made so many pots of chili and they’ve always been so good but this one was bad but the worst part was the over powering taste of cumin and not enough chili powder, I played around with it to try fixing it but ended up throwing it out : / January 9, 2015 at 2:45pm Reply

    • Tina: Hmm, are you sure you didn’t accidentally reverse the cumin and chili amounts, Michelle?? The 2 1/2 tsp of cumin was barely noticeable and in no way overpowering. 2 Tbsp of chili powder plus the green chilies (from the diced tomatoes) definitely provided a nice amount of chili flavor. February 1, 2015 at 2:58pm Reply

  • Shauna: While looking up chili recipes I stumbled across this one. So glad I stopped & tried it out. My husband and mom both loved it! He told me best chili he’s ever had!! Great recipe! Thank you! January 16, 2015 at 7:05pm Reply

  • Ama: Do I put in the kidney beans after 5-6 hours of cooking? January 21, 2015 at 11:56am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes. Hope you love it! February 5, 2015 at 6:39pm Reply

  • Erin: Can I put the beans in right in the beginning?? Cuz I did & I’m nervous I screwed it up January 22, 2015 at 12:18pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I don’t normally recommend it because the beans will get too soft and mussy, but it won’t ruin it :). January 23, 2015 at 9:56pm Reply

  • Jenni: This chili sounds really easy and oh so yummy! What brand of chili powder do you use? I have tried several brands and they can be quiet strong or a little bitter. Thanks, Jenni January 23, 2015 at 8:39pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I use McCormick. I buy the big one at Sam’s Club. Hope you love it! January 23, 2015 at 9:45pm Reply

  • Alisa: If i’m in a rush can I cook this in a pot instead of all day in a slow cooker? January 26, 2015 at 11:13am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes definitely. It just won’t have quit the depth of flavor but still delicious! January 26, 2015 at 1:36pm Reply

  • Amanda: How long will I have to cook if I put it on high? February 1, 2015 at 12:02pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’ve never cooked it on high because I like slow simmering this one, it just gives it a great depth of flavor. It would probably be okay on high though, in half the time. February 5, 2015 at 6:12pm Reply

  • Lexi: I found your recipe on pinterest and made it today and let me say one thing it was delish I definitely will make it again I even passed it along to some people thanks again ! February 3, 2015 at 6:14pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked it Lexi! Thanks for sharing! February 5, 2015 at 5:42pm Reply

  • Clera: Found your recipe on Pintrest. Loved it….best chilli I’ve ever made! Family enjoyed it. A keeper recipe … Thanks for sharing it February 12, 2015 at 5:25pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m happy to hear your family liked it Clera! Glad you found my site :)! February 12, 2015 at 5:41pm Reply

  • Angela: My friend was looking for a chili recipe and I showed her this one which I had pinned but not yet made. She has been raving about it and said its the first time she has ever made a great chili!

    I am going to try it this weekend for sure. I’m not really understanding why you don’t add the beans until the very end? February 18, 2015 at 7:59am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Adding the beans in the beginning makes them mushy so I always wait until the end. I’m so glad your friend liked this recipe, I hope you do too! February 23, 2015 at 6:50pm Reply

  • Rieda: I made and love this chili! About how many cups of chili would you consider a serving for this dish? February 24, 2015 at 11:36am Reply

  • Megan: If you are using dried beans, do you add them in the beginning so that they cook the entire time? I would soak them the night before, and add them in the beginning. Does this sound right? February 25, 2015 at 11:41am Reply

  • Jenn: I have never heard using cocoa in a chili recipe? I usually use Wendy’s copcat chili beans recipe when I make chili. Just curious what the cocoa adds to the chili. I have one more bowl of chili to pull out of the freezer and then I am planning on making another crock pot full to freeze again. May have to give your recipe a try. February 27, 2015 at 6:37am Reply

    • Jaclyn: It just adds a little depth of flavor, you don’t notice a chocolatey taste at all it just adds a little richness. February 27, 2015 at 12:56pm Reply

  • Jenn: I am on my last bowl of chili I am planning on making another crock pot full to freeze, I do also love to eat every week with sour cream, cheese and tortilla chips. Just curious What does the cocoa add to the recipe have never seen or tried it with the cocoa. May have to give your recipe a try. February 27, 2015 at 6:41am Reply

  • Janette: Best chili! I made this for my family a few weeks ago and they loved it. Will be making it again tomorrow. Thanks for sharing this recipe. March 4, 2015 at 8:44pm Reply

  • Angel: I was craving chili early this morning and decided to sift through Pinterest to look for a slow cooker recipe for one. Really glad I did because I came across your recipe and after trying it out, I’m in love with it!

    Made 2 adjustments but otherwise followed the exact same recipe. All I did was substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar (forgot to check for granulated sugar before I left for the supermarket) and then added Portuguese sausage. It was delish!

    Thank you so much for posting your recipe online!

    Aloha! March 30, 2015 at 2:19am Reply

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