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Crock Pot Chili is the perfect main dish for family dinners, as a Game Day recipe, or when you’re craving some hearty comfort food. With just a few main ingredients such as ground beef and canned beans, you can focus on ramping up the flavor with homemade chili seasoning. Delicious as-is for the whole family, while being easy to customize for those who live life more on the spicy side with this slow cooker recipe.This is the best chili recipe that tastes great fresh or for the next day as well. This is one of my favorite crockpot recipes for a cold day that has tons of flavor. Top this classic chili recipe with corn chips to make it pure comfort food.

bowl of chili topping with toppings

The Best thing about Easy Crock Pot Chili

ladle full of crock pot chili

 

Ground BeefUse 80/20 or 85/15 when choosing ground beef from the butcher. You can also use ground turkey, ground chicken, or unseasoned ground pork. Lean ground beef helps to cut down on some of the fat.

BeansWe’re using kidney beans here but you can substitute almost any bean you have in your pantry. Beans really add a heartiness to a dish, but do not lend much in the way of flavor, which is super helpful for using up that can of beans that have been in your pantry since last fall. Pinto beans, chili beans, or black beans work great, too.

Onions & Garlic

This is where you can really start to change the flavor of this dish. Using yellow onions is standard and delicious, but if you’re going to crank up the heat in this chili, you may want to consider Vidalia onions that are a bit sweeter and would act as a balancing agent to the heat.

Canned Tomatoes & SauceCanned tomatoes vary in sizes as well as flavors. You can use standard canned diced tomatoes, fire-roasted, or even diced tomatoes with green chilis for more of a Mexican chili.

Beef Broth or Water
For more flavor, always opt for broth.

SeasoningsCumin, Chili, Garlic, Paprika, Salt, and Pepper are the MUST have spices when making a homemade chili. You can easily add more spice with seasonings such as Adobe, Chipotle Chili, and even a Tablespoon of molasses.

How to cook chili in a slow cooker

Step 1: Brown the beef

The best beef to use for chili is full of fat and flavor. You can purchase this as 80/20 or 85/15. Because it’s so high in fat, we do want to make sure to brown it in a skillet and drain the excess fat before adding it to the slow cooker. This will keep your chili from becoming too oily.

cooking up the ground beef and onions in a skillet

 

Retain a few tablespoons of that fat to saute the onions in. Onions in the slow cooker tend to not break down well. So this is another step to do on the stove-top to ensure we don’t have crunchy onions in our chili.

Step 3: Add the seasonings

The trick to developing deep flavors, in just about anything, is not adding raw seasonings to the dish. Just as your burger and onions are about done, add in the dry spices and cook for a minute or two. This is a method calling “cooking out” that removes unwanted bitterness from your dried spices.

adding the spices to the skillet of ground beef

 

Now dump everything into a Crock Pot and stir with a wooden spoon. Cover and allow to cook until your ready to serve.

adding all the ingredients to make chili into the crock pot

 As a general rule of thumb, cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. I highly recommend keeping it on low for 6-8 hours if you can. This really gives the flavors a chance to develop without risking the burning of your liquid to the side of the crock-pot.

Tips for success:

  • An easy way to make this a chili everyone loves is with a chili topping bar. Include little bowls and spoons of ingredients such as cheddar cheese, hot sauce, sour cream, cilantro, parsley, scallions, saltines, and more!
  • Be sure to have the right tools for the job. A 12-inch skillet and this spatula make browning burger a breeze!
  • Do not overload your Crock-Pot. Be sure to use a 6-quart slow cooker for this recipe. Too big of a slow-cooker and your chili will get too hot too quickly and burn to the side of your Crock Pot. Too small of a slow-cooker and you risk overfilling and again the chili not heating evenly.
bowl of chili topped with chives and sour cream

What to make with leftover Easy Crock Pot Chili

If you love chili and have anywhere from 1 cup to a whole second batch of chili hanging out in your fridge, you’ll want to try one of these delicious recipes.

Even if the recipe doesn’t call exactly for chili, you can use the chili as a substitute for ground beef.

BONUS: this will help you with meal planning too! Plan this slow-cooker chili for Sunday and work leftovers into an easy dish on Monday.

spoonful of slow cooker chili

What is the best way to store leftover chili?

Adding it to an airtight container is the best way to keep it fresh. You can then heat it up on the stove top the next time that you want a bite!

How can I turn this into spicy chili?

If you’re a fan of heat, add some cayenne pepper or hot Italian sausage! Just a few tablespoons of chili powder is a great idea as well!

What can I pair with the best crockpot chili recipe?

I love pairing this with homemade cornbread! It’s one of my favorite meals to have during the cooler months of the year. It just makes chilly weather better.

Fun Ways to Eat This Easy Slow Cooker Chili Recipe

Don’t forget that this easy crockpot chili recipe is great for super bowl flavors or can be a great way to make chili dogs as well! You can also use it as a base for my Chili Cornbread Casserole.

After several hours of slow cooking, this great chili recipe is all about your personal taste. A little bit of this original recipe is perfect to make a delicious chili during the winter months or a great way to become a crock pot cook!

Other Crock Pot recipes you’ll love

Image of easy slow cooker ground beef chili with beans in a white bowl, topped with sour cream and fresh scallions. A silver spoon is dipped in the bowl.

Crock Pot Chili Recipe

In just 4 steps and as little as 4-6 hours, you'll have a Crock Pot Chili the whole family can't help but gather around. Ground beef, beans, tomatoes, and the best chili seasoning – Comfort food at its best!
5 from 1 vote
Course: Chili, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Author: Kasey Schwartz
Servings: 8 people
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes

Equipment

  • 6-quart slow-cooker
  • 12-inch skillet
  • spatula
  • strainer
  • paper towels
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • garlic press
  • measuring spoons

Ingredients  

  • 2 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 30 oz kidney beans two 15oz cans, drained and rinsed
  • 30 oz diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 cup beef broth or water
  • 14 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cumin powder
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions 

  • Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté beef breaking it up with a spatula.
    A top down view of a 12-inch skillet with browned beef and chopped yellow onion.
  • Add onion to the skillet and sauté until tender (4-5 minutes). Add minced garlic and seasonings: cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, smoked paprika. Cook another 30 seconds stirring constantly. Transfer to a 6 Qt slow cooker.
    A top down view of a 12-inch skillet with browned beef, onions, garlic, and chili spices.
  • Add remaining ingredients into the slow cooker: rinsed and drained beans, diced tomatoes with their juice, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, and water. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
    A top down view of a grey crock pot with ingredients for classic ground beef and bean chili.
  • Serve with toppings – cheddar cheese, green onions, sour cream, saltine crackers, etc.
    Close up image of crock pot chili in a white bowl with a silver spoon. This ground beef and bean chili is topped with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and fresh scallions.

Nutrition

Calories: 477kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 929mg | Potassium: 1223mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1080IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 9mg
Keyword: beans, burger, chili, crock pot, ground beef, homemade chili, homemade seasoning, quick & easy meal, slow cooker, soup
Did you make this recipe?Mention @kasey_allthingsmamma or tag #allthingsmamma!

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About Kasey Schwartz

Hi, I’m Kasey, Founder of All Things Mamma – where I am dishing up family favorite recipes that are easy to make with simple, everyday ingredients. Plus – tips and tricks for living your best life!

Comments

  1. Nichole M says:

    5 stars
    This is my new favorite chili recipe! Adding that smoke paprika is A+ amazing!

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