Slow Cooker Chili

Slow Cooker Chili is packed with meat, beans, and flavor! It comes together in minutes then the crockpot does the rest.

This easy Slow Cooker Chili is a crockpot classic! Crockpot Chili, like most chili recipes, tastes delicious, but especially in the fall with a side of Cornbread – a personal favorite!

A white bowl of slow cooker chili topped with green onions and fritos.

Slow cooker for the win!

We are all about crockpot recipes, especially in the fall and winter!

Soups and chilis are frequently on the menu. This easy Slow Cooker Chili is another favorite!

This recipe is exactly the same recipe as the Best Chili Recipe except in a crock pot! It’s SO good, and a fan favorite.

Serve this tasty bowl up with a side of Cornbread Casserole, Breadsticks, or a fresh salad. It is literally the epitome of fall perfection and is perfect if you’re craving chili (although we love our White Chicken Chili too).

We obviously LOVE this recipe and think it is the perfect base (feel free to add any of your fav ingredients) for your next chili cook off. It’s award-worthy in our books!

Canned ingredients to make slow cooker chili set out on a table.

How to make crockpot chili

GROUND BEEF. In a skillet, cook ground beef until browned and cooked through. Drain fat. Add sugar, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, garlic salt, paprika, and pepper. Stir and cook for an additional minute.

BEANS + VEGGIES. Transfer the beef mixture to a large slow cooker. Add beef broth, diced tomatoes, drained kidney beans, and tomato sauce to the slow cooker.

COOK + SERVE! Stir and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or on LOW for 6-8 hours. Season with more garlic salt and pepper, if desired. Add any toppings (sour cream, cheese, green onions, etc.) before serving.

Campfire Dutch Oven instructions

Make this chili in a dutch oven over briquettes:

  • Heat up 20-25 charcoal briquettes. Place the empty dutch oven over 10-12 of the briquettes.
  • Once the dutch oven is hot, brown the ground beef. Add seasonings and the remaining chili ingredients.
  • Place the lid on top of the dutch oven and cover with 10-12 more hot briquettes.
  • Cook for 20-30 minutes or until the chili is bubbly and hot. 
Slow cooker chili cooking in a crockpot.

Recipe Tips

Ground beef is the most common, quickest, and cheapest option. Ground chuck that is 80/20 gives the best overall flavor.

  • Use a more lean ground beef if you choose, or substitute ground beef with ground chicken, ground pork, or ground turkey.
  • Use other types of beef such as beef chuck, brisket, or even short ribs. Cube it, brown it in a skillet, and add it to the pot to cook. 

Beans. If you’re from Texas, adding beans to chili is a sin. However, to everyone else, it’s a common practice.

This Crock Pot Chili recipe utilizes every delicious ingredient possible, including red kidney beans. 

  • Black beans, navy beans, and pinto beans are other popular chili choices and can be used in this recipe in place of kidney beans. 
Slow cooker chili cooking in a crockpot.

Flavor variations + tips

Increase the heat. Increase the amount of chili powder. Add cayenne pepper, red chili flakes, or diced jalapeños with the seeds directly to the pot of chili, or have them available on the side for each person to add heat to their own bowls.

Decrease the heat. Some people shy away from chili because they find even “mild’ chili too spicy. To help neutralize the heat add honey or brown sugar, tomato paste, or a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Extra flavors. Every chili cook has a ‘secret ingredient’ they feel makes their dish shine brighter than the rest. Here are a few extras to make this dish your own: 

  • Add a polenta flavor by using cornmeal. Just a few tablespoons will do. Note that it will also thicken the chili, which can be balanced with a little extra broth. 
  • Citrus: lemon or lime juice can add a clean, fresh tang.
  • Mustard may sound odd, but it enhances the chili flavor wonderfully.
  • Brown sugar helps balance flavors.

Topping suggestions. Lime wedges, avocados, cilantro, bell peppers, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, Tortilla Chips, corn chips, Fritos, and green onions. 

Texture. If this easy Crockpot Chili Recipe is too thick simply add more broth. If it’s too thin, mash some of the beans and give it a good stir. Or use flour or cornstarch to thicken.

  • Flour – Add 1 cup of liquid from the chili to a bowl. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of flour, then return to the chili. Stir and simmer.
  • Cornstarch – In a separate bowl mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water. Add to the chili, stir and simmer.

Storing info

Make a batch of this Slow Cooker Chili ahead of time, or store leftover chili in the fridge or freezer.

STORE in an airtight container(s) in the fridge for 3-4 days. 

FREEZE. Let the Crockpot Chili cool and add it to the desired size of freezer-safe containers. Freeze it for 4-6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, allowing 24 hours for every 5 lbs. 

To reheat. If you’re in a hurry, reheat it in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until hot. Or reheat it in the crockpot or on the stovetop. 

Serving leftovers. Leftover easy Crockpot Chili can be used to make other delicious meals: chili Baked Potato, chili Hot Dogs, chili Nachos, or chili mac.

All things cornbread

Cornbread is a classic side dish for Chili and we have several recipes you can use:

A bowl of slow cooker chili topped with green onions and fritos.

For more delicious sides: 

Slow Cooker Chili Recipe

No ratings yet
Slow Cooker Chili is packed with meat, beans, and flavor! It comes together in minutes then the crockpot does the rest.
Course Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 224 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth, full sodium
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can Red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce

Optional Toppings

  • sour cream
  • cheese
  • green onions

Instructions
 

  • In a skillet, cook ground beef until browned and cooked through. Drain fat.
  • Add sugar, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, garlic salt, paprika, and pepper. Stir and cook for an additional minute.
  • Transfer to a large slow cooker. Add beef broth, diced tomatoes, drained kidney beans, and tomato sauce to the slow cooker.
  • Stir and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or on LOW for 6-8 hours.
  • Season with more garlic salt and pepper, if desired.
  • Add any toppings (sour cream, cheese, green onions, etc.) before serving.

Notes

Extra flavors. Here are a few extras to make this dish your own: 
  • Add a polenta flavor by using cornmeal. Just a few tablespoons will do. Note that it will also thicken the chili, which can be balanced with a little extra broth. 
  • Citrus: lemon or lime juice can add a clean, fresh tang.
  • Brown sugar helps balance flavors.
STORE in an airtight container(s) in the fridge for 3-4 days. Leftovers can be used to make other delicious meals: chili Baked Potato, chili Hot Dogs, chili Nachos, or chili mac.
FREEZE. Let the Crockpot Chili cool and add it to the desired size of freezer-safe containers. Freeze it for 4-6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, allowing 24 hours for every 5 lbs. 

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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