Slow Cooker Chili

02.14.2013

Slow Cooker Chili is one of my all time most popular recipes and for good reason! This is the best chili around and a long time family favorite! It’s so flavorful, its packed with protein and perfectly hearty and it’s a dinner everyone can agree on.

An overhead shot of Slow Cooker Chili

The Best Slow Cooker Chili Out There!

In my home during the cold winter months I make chili about once every other week.

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It’s one of my favorite dinners, topped with cheese and sour cream of course. I also love to serve it over baked potatoes or with a side of cornbread.

Chili Video

This also makes really good leftovers.

I ‘m usually not a big fan of leftovers but I even freeze this chili and it’s still perfectly delicious even a month later!

 

A ladle scooping up some Slow Cooker Chili

Slow and Low Cooking Creates Great Flavor

This slow cooker method is my favorite for chili. The flavor of the chili is rich and robust 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!

Slow Cooker Chili in a blue bowl topped with cheese and sour cream

How To Make Slow Cooker Chili

  • Saute onions and garlic, add to slow cooker.

Process shot of sweating onions to make slow cooker chili

  • Brown beef and add to slow cooker (I like to either brown it in two batches or just add it in a few larger portions so it really has a chance to brown on bottom. And only stir occasionally).

Process shot of browned beef in a slow cooker to make slow cooker chili

  • Then add the other ingredients, while waiting until the end to add the beans. Otherwise they will turn out mushy and way over-cooked.

Tomatoes and spices in a slow cooker to make slow cooker chili

  • Stir in beans, heat through (chili should be really hot so they should warm through quickly).

Beans being added to slow cooker chili

  • Serve with desired toppings. I think cheese is a must.

slow cooker chili in a slow cooker ready to eat

Tips and Variations for this Slow Cooker Chili

  • Add a diced red or green bell pepper along with the veggies.
  • If you like spicy chili add a seeded jalapeno or two along with the veggies.
  • Serve with grated cheddar, sour cream, diced avocados, tortilla chips or saltine crackers.
  • Leave to cool completely before storing in the fridge or freezer. Always use airtight containers.
  • Serve with a side of cornbread.
  • Serve in baked potatoes.
  • Strain leftover chili and serve over nachos or Navajo Fry Bread.

More Chili Recipes You Might Like

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Slow Cooker Chili

4.81 from 150 votes

One of my most popular recipes and for good reason! This is the best chili I've ever tasted! Slow cooking it allows for the flavors to meld and the most tender beef. Try it tonight and see why everyone loves this!

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Keyword: Slow Cooker Chili
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 415 kcal
Author: Jaclyn

Ingredients

  • 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 cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup 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
  • 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, for serving

Optionally serve with:

  • fresh cornbread or biscuits , baked russet potatoes, saltine crackers or tortilla chips

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large and deep non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. 
  2. Add onion and saute 3 minutes, then add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer. Pour onions into a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker.

  3. Return skillet to medium-high eat, add beef and cook stirring occasionally until beef has browned.

  4. 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.
  5. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cocoa powder, sugar, coriander and season mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Cover with lid and cook on low heat for 5 - 6 hours.
  7. Stir in dark and light red kidney beans and allow to heat through, about 2 minutes. Serve warm with desired toppings.

  8. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Recipe Notes

  • Look for tomatoes with "mild" green chilies. If you don't like a bit of heat then just use plain canned tomatoes.
  • If you want to thin the chili at the end you can add in another 1/2 cup beef broth. If you like a really thick chili you can omit the beef broth altogether.
  • Other topping ideas include sour cream, chopped red or green onions, roasted peppers, or hot sauce
  • If desired serve with baked potatoes, cornbread, biscuits, saltine crackers or tortilla chips.
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Chili
Amount Per Serving
Calories 415 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 22%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 73mg 24%
Sodium 595mg 25%
Potassium 1410mg 40%
Total Carbohydrates 38g 13%
Dietary Fiber 11g 44%
Sugars 8g
Protein 32g 64%
Vitamin A 27.5%
Vitamin C 23.9%
Calcium 11%
Iron 47.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

577 comments

  • Lauren @ BAOTB: I will absolutely say this is the best chili recipe I’ve ever tried, and it might end up being the one that I enter in my office’s chili cook-off in just a few weeks! (I’ve got two others to try first, but my boyfriend told me not to lose this recipe!) Thank you for making it super easy.

    https://booksareonlythebeginning.wordpress.com/2018/10/10/recipe-review-slow-cooker-chili/ October 10, 2018 at 8:05am Reply

  • Jean Kelly: Hi can you tell me what the cans of tomato ‘sauce’ are? I’m in the UK…would it be tomato paste or maybe pasata? Thanks! October 9, 2018 at 4:26am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Tomato Passata (without herbs) would be the closest thing offered there I believe. October 9, 2018 at 3:32pm Reply

  • Cynthia: This is by far the best chili I’ve ever made!!!!!! October 7, 2018 at 1:23pm Reply

  • Marlene: Do I drain the beans and tomatoes? October 7, 2018 at 12:02pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Don’t drain the canned tomatoes, leave the juices.
      Then for the beans I pour into a fine mesh strainer or a colander will work great too then rinse under water and let drain.
      Hope you love it! October 15, 2018 at 5:11pm Reply

  • Amy Wardell: Can I double or triple this recipe and still have it fit in a large crockpot for an office party? October 7, 2018 at 5:35am Reply

    • Jaclyn: It nearly fills my 6 quart crockpot so you’d have to use multiple slow cookers. October 7, 2018 at 8:25am Reply

  • JessicA: The cans of dice tomatoes are drained or not ? October 1, 2018 at 1:49pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: No don’t drain. October 15, 2018 at 5:15pm Reply

  • Kat: Do you know what the serving size is? I know it’s about 1/7th of the batch but wondering in terms of cups etc.

    We love the recipe and have been adding a little extra cocoa powder and it’s incredible! October 1, 2018 at 11:15am Reply

    • Jaclyn: So sorry I’m not sure in cups. But often there’s a measurement at the bottom of storage containers so that might help determine. October 1, 2018 at 1:15pm Reply

  • Britt B: Can the cocoa powder be eliminated? September 29, 2018 at 10:58am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes but just so you know you won’t really taste it, it just adds a little depth. September 29, 2018 at 11:02am Reply

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