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, plus it’s a dinner everyone can always agree on.
The Best Chili Recipe Ever!
Chili is actually one of my favorite foods and I make it all the time. It’s a recipe everyone in the family loves and it’s just good for the soul, perfect comfort food.
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!
Watch How Easy it is!
What Ingredients go into Chili?
- Olive oil – for sauteeing
- Ground beef – I recommend using 85% lean Angus. It has a good ratio of fat for browning but not too much.
- Yellow onion and garlic – aromatics that add lots of flavor. Use fresh garlic for best results.
- Canned tomatoes with green chilies – if you can’t find the size listed then you can use 2 (14.5 oz) cans of tomatoes then add a 1 (4 oz) can of diced green chilies.
- Tomato sauce – this gives it a nice tomato flavored base and makes it stew-like.
- Beef broth – this thins it out, if you don’t want it soupy at all then you can omit it. If you want it more soup add a little more.
- Spices (chili powder, cumin, paprika, sugar, coriander, S&P) – the key to great chili. This recipe isn’t skimpy with them.
- Cocoa powder – this secret ingredient adds depth. Don’t worry it’s not going to taste like chocolate.
- Dark and light kidney beans – if you don’t have both shades just use two dark.
How do You Make Chili?
This chili is so easy to make, the slow cooker does most of the work!
- Saute onions and garlic, add to slow cooker.
- 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).
- Then add the other ingredients, while waiting until the end to add the beans. Otherwise they will turn out mushy and way over-cooked.
- Stir in beans, heat through (chili should be really hot so they should warm through quickly).
- Serve with desired toppings.
Can I Make This Chili in an Instant Pot?
Here’s the instant pot method for this Chili recipe HERE.
Can I Make This Chili on the Stovetop?
If you don’t have a slow cooker this can also be made on the stove top. Brown the onion, brown the beef, add the other ingredients except the beans then simmer 2 – 3 hours over low heat. Then stir in beans.
What Should I Serve with Chili?
Can I Freeze This Chili?
This chili freezes really well and reheats really well. I actually almost always have some in my freezer.
I freeze small batches for my kids school lunch then pack it in a thermos for them. Or I’ll sometimes make a double batch (using two slow cookers) then freeze a batch for dinner the next week.
What Can I Make with Leftover Chili?
When I have left over chili I love to serve it over Navajo Tacos. Just strain the liquid using a slotted spoon to serve.
Tips and Variations for this Recipe
- 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.
More Delicious Chili Recipes to Try!
- Instant Pot Chili
- Turkey Chili
- Vegetable Chili
- White Chicken Chili
- Quinoa Chili
- Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
Follow Cooking Classy
Slow Cooker Chili
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! Recipe makes about 12 cups.
- 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:
Heat olive oil in a large and deep non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
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.
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.
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 2 minutes. Serve warm with desired toppings.
Recipe Source: Cooking Classy
- Look for tomatoes with "mild" green chilies. You can also use 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes and 1 (4 oz) can green chilies.
- If you want beef to brown better then sear in two batches. Only crumble and stir occasionally.
- 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.