You can’t go wrong with this hearty slow cooker chili recipe. Since the chili simmers in a crock pot all day, it is perfect for a weeknight meal. It is also ideal for bringing to pot-luck meals, office parties, game day, and neighborhood barbecues.
Ingredients for Slow Cooker Chili
This slow cooker chili is one of my favorites meals to prepare from the food storage shelves.
I am able to use so many home canned items including several cans of beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and diced green chiles. Plus stored garlic and onions, homemade chili powder, and crushed red pepper flakes. Combine these with ground beef and seasoning and let it slow cook all day.
- Canned Dried Beans
- Canned Tomato Sauce
- Canned Diced Green Chiles
- Canned Diced Tomatoes
- Chili Powder
- Crushed Red Pepper
Even if you don’t have these home canned goods in your pantry, you can substitute most of the ingredients with fresh or store-bought jars and cans. I have linked to some organic options in the recipe below for store bought.
Tips for Making Slow Cooker Chili
You can mix and match the beans and even replace the ground beef with another jar of beans for a meatless meal. My favorite three-bean chili combo is great northern, black, and kidney beans.
Go light on the salt if you are using canned ingredients. Most canned goods have plenty of sodium. Add more salt to taste at the end of the cooking time if needed.
If you are using fresh ingredients: Replace the jar of diced tomatoes with about 1-2 pounds of fresh tomatoes, skinned, cored and diced. Substitute the jar of diced green chile peppers with about a pound of Anaheim peppers, skinned, peeled and diced, plus a jalapeño pepper, diced (seeds and membrane included if you want the heat). You don’t have to be exact.
Plan ahead if you are using dried beans. It will take a little longer to soak and cook the beans. Here are 3 Ways to Cook Dried Beans from Scratch
Add the beans right before serving: Since the canned beans are pre-cooked, add them to the slow cooker at the end of the cooking time so they don’t get mushy.
Like your chili hot? This recipe is for a rather mild chili. If you like it hot, go ahead and dice up your favorite hot peppers and add to the slow cooker. You can also add a dash of hot sauce at the end of cooking time. Try this homemade Roasted Jalapeño Hot Sauce.
No slow cooker? No problem! This chili recipe can also be simmered on the stovetop.
Follow the instructions and place the ingredients into a large saucepan. Simmer the chili on the stove 2-3 hours over low heat. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Add the beans at the end of the cooking time and simmer for 10-15 minutes longer.
Toppings that go well with chili: Consider topping your chili with shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado slices, tortilla chips, cilantro, green onions, jalapeño slices, salsa, and extra hot sauce for those who want more heat.
How to Make Chili in a Crockpot
There are only a few steps to making this easy slow cooker chili, and then you let your crock pot do the work.
Step 1: Mix your chili seasoning
Add the seasonings to a small bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside.
Step 2: Sauté the onions and garlic
First, sauté the onions and garlic in a large skillet until fragrant and translucent, then add them to your slow cooker crock.
Step 3: Brown the ground beef
Add your ground beef to the skillet and cook it until brown. Drain the fat and add the cooked beef to your slow cooker crock.
Step 4: Add the ingredients (except the beans) and cook
Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and diced green chiles to the slow cooker crock and stir to combine. Place the cover on the slow cooker and cook the chili on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours.
Step 5: Add the beans at the end of cooking time
Add the beans to the slow cooker and stir so that everything is combined. Cook until heated through, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Step 6: Serve the chili warm
Spoon the chili into bowls and pile on your favorite toppings.
You can't go wrong with chili. Since the chili simmers in the slow cooker all day, it is perfect for a weeknight meal. It is also ideal for bringing to pot-luck meals, office parties, game day, and neighborhood barbecues.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 pounds ground sirloin or ground round
- 32 ounces tomato sauce (1 quart or 2 pints)
- 8 ounces diced tomatoes (1 half pint)
- 8 ounces diced green chiles (1 half pint)
- 16 ounces red kidney beans drained and rinsed (1 pint)
- 16 ounces black beans drained and rinsed (1 pint)
- Toppings of choice: Shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado slices, tortilla chips, cilantro, green onion, jalapeno slices, salsa, and extra hot sauce for those who want more heat.
In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, paprika, cocoa powder, cane sugar, ground Mexican oregano, ground cumin, ground coriander, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper, and kosher salt. Stir until combined and set aside.
Heat the olive oil a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook briefly, about 1 minute longer. Pour the onions and garlic into the slow cooker crock.
Return the skillet to the stove and add the ground beef. Cook until the beef is brown. Turn off the heat, drain the fat, and add the cooked beef to the slow cooker crock.
Add the seasoning mix, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and diced green chiles to the slow cooker crock and stir to combine.
Place the cover on the slow cooker and cook the chili on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6-8 hours.
Add the beans, stir to combine, and cook until heated through, about 15 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Serve warm with toppings of choice. Serves 8.
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