Slow Cooker Chili is a rich and delicious dinner that is loaded with proteins and flavors. This is the perfect family comfort food during the fall and winter seasons and is easily made in the crockpot.
I love crockpot recipes because they are easy to make and can feed a whole family. And this homemade beef chili recipe is just perfect for the super bowl, cold days, or winter months. Enjoy it with some crispy baked potatoes, fried chicken, or crispy rosemary potatoes.
The Best Crockpot Chili Recipe Ever!
This Slow Cooker Beef Chili is my favorite method of cooking this classic dish. It is loaded with rich flavors, proteins, and the texture is just perfect. We already have the Stovetop Best Chili recipe. However, this one takes it to a whole new level.
First, the ingredients are slowly cooked together over a long period. This helps the flavors to perfectly combine, making it rich and extra delicious. Also, when the beef is cooked in the crockpot, it becomes super tender while keeping the beans creamy.
The secret ingredient here is cocoa powder, so do not skip it! Apart from that, this recipe is very easy to make. You can throw everything into the crockpot in the morning and have a wonderful chili dinner that night.
In addition, we like our beef chili to be pretty thick. Therefore we try to use a bit less liquid and extra beans along with extra ground meat. However, if you like it runnier, we would suggest adding more tomato sauce or broth.
Also, feel free to adjust the spiciness according to your liking. So if you want a spicier kick, simply add in more chili powder, sliced jalapenos, or some crushed red pepper flakes. This dish is ideal for family dinner, larger gatherings, or game days. A warm bowl of this soup will certainly warm you up during the fall and winter seasons! And of course, the leftover is delicious, and it tastes even better the next day!
- Beans: The classic beans for chili are dark kidney beans and cannellini beans. I love using both in this dish. However, feel free to use whatever kind of beans you have on hand. Pinto beans, black beans, red kidney beans are also great alternatives. In addition, make sure to rinse and drain the beans to get the best consistency and color.
- Beef: This recipe calls for 85% to 90% lean ground beef. It has the right fat ratio but is not overly excessive.
- Olive oil: To saute the onion and beef.
- Yellow onion and garlic: Onion bring a sweet note to it, while garlic adds plenty of aromas.
- Beef broth: Use a little bit to thin out the soup. However, if do not prefer it soupy and want it more consistent, then simply skip it.
- Seasoning: I use light brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, cocoa powder, salt, and black pepper.
- Crushed tomatoes and tomato paste: This adds a nice tomato base and gives the dish a great consistency.
- Sweet corn: This is optional but I like using it for a sweet note.
How to make Slow Cooker Chili?
This crockpot homemade chili is very simple and one of the easiest recipes to make. Once you have all the ingredients ready, you are pretty much set!
- Saute the onion and ground beef: First, in a large skillet over medium heat, add some olive oil. Then, sautee onion and garlic. Add them to the slow cooker.
- Brown the meat: Next, brown the meat and then add the beef mixture to the crockpot.
- Cook: Once the beef is cooked, add the rest of the ingredients to the crockpot and cook.
- Serve: Garnish with your favorite toppings and serve it warm in individual bowls.
- Add more veggies: Feel free to add other veggies to it when sauteing. Some great additions would be red or green bell pepper,
- Vegetarian Chili: To make it vegetarian, simply skip the beef and use more beans instead.
- Spicy chili: Add some hot sauce, chopped jalapeno pepper, or chili peppers.
- Slow Cooker White Turkey Chili: Want a different twist on this classic dish, then try making it with sour cream and shredded turkey meat.
The convenience of this recipe is that you can put the ingredients in the crockpot and cook pretty much all day long.
We love cooking it on LOW setting, this way it is denser, richer, and more flavorful.
It should be cooked on low for at least 4 hours, but for best results, we recommend cooking it for 6 hours on LOW.
Favorite Chili Toppings:
We love to serve a warm bowl of this family-style soup with various toppings. Also, every time we have guests over, or hosting a game night, I make a big batch of it. This way, everyone can serve it with their favorite toppings. Some of our favorites are listed below:
- Shredded cheese- Go with mild cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese.
- Sour cream
- Tortilla chips
- Diced avocados – Goes well with chili.
- Diced tomatoes
- Sliced green onions
- Sliced cilantro
- Jalapeno slices
- Lime wedge
- Bacon – Crunchy bacon bits will add a nice crispy touch to it.
Instant Pot Chii:
If you have an Instant Pot or an electric pressure cooker, you can easily make the Instant Pot Chili recipe.
It is a great alternative, especially when you are short on time. The whole dish is ready in one hour. Just perfect for busy weeknights!
Can I Make This Chili on the Stovetop?
If you don’t have a crockpot this can also easily be made on the stovetop. We do have the stovetop version on our blog as well and can be accessed by clicking here.
How to serve chili:
- Serve with a side of cornbread or freshly baked roll.
- Another option is to pair it with baked potatoes, scalloped potatoes, or garlic roasted potatoes.
- Stuffed baked potatoes: For a healthier option, serve it along with a side salad.
- Chili Cheese Dip: Simply sprinkle chili with shredded cheddar cheese and serve it as a dip or appetizer with corn chips.
- Chili Dogs: Another great and delicious way to incorporate this dish would be over a hot dog. Perfect for the super bowl, or game days!
- Refrigerate: First, let leftover chili cool completely at room temperature. Then, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. It will taste even better the following days as the flavors get together.
- Freeze: It is great for meal prep! I like to freeze it in small batches or portion sizes. This way, I simply pack it for our son’s school lunch. Before freezing, ensure that the chili is completely cooled. Then transfer into a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months
More delicious Slow Cooker recipes:
- To make this slow cooker chili spicier, add a seeded jalapeno or two along with the veggies.
- Avoid cooking on high heat. Cooking this low and slow allows time for those flavors to develop and combine together.
- We like to use pinto or kidney beans, but you can use any kind you like. Kidney beans are great because they hold up well even in the slow cooker when cooked for a longer period.
- Also, DO NOT skip sauteing onions before adding them to the crockpot. Otherwise, you might end up with crunchy onions in the chili.
- Prior to storing leftovers, make sure to let them completely cool at room temperature.
- We only use 1/2 cup of beef broth because we love the chili to be thick. However, you can adjust the thickness by using more liquid such as extra beef broth, or tomato sauce.
- In addition, for a thicker texture and a deeper beef flavor, you could substitute the broth with a spoonful of beef base.
- Slow Cooker: We have a 7-Quart version because it is a little bit bigger, but you can use a smaller version as well.
- Cast Iron Skillet: To brown the beef and saute the onions, we highly recommend doing it in a cast-iron skillet.
Best EVER Slow Cooker Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 pounds 85 or 90% lean ground beef
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 cans 15 ounces each, kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
- 15 ounces canned cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
- 1/2 cup canned sweet corn (rinsed and drained)
- In a large skillet over medium heat add olive oil and then saute the onion in it for about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the ground beef, and cook for about 6-7 minutes until no longer pink and the onions are soft. Break the meat with a wooden spoon.
- Drain the fat and add the beef mixture to a large slow cooker.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except beans and stir well. Cover with lid and cook on Low heat for 5 - 6 hours or for 3 hours on High.
- Stir in the beans and allow to heat through about 15-30 minutes. Serve warm with desired toppings.