Slow Cooker Chili

By Maria Lichty

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Quick Summary

This easy Slow Cooker Chili is loaded with flavor and perfect for dinner and game day! You will love this hearty chili recipe, it is guaranteed to be a family favorite!

beef chili in bowls with toppings.

Easy Slow Cooker Chili

You guys are always asking for easy slow cooker recipes and today we have the BEST Slow Cooker Beef Chili recipe for you. It is SO easy, the crockpot basically makes dinner for you. You can’t beat that! Slow cooker dinner for the WIN! This is the best set it and forget it chili recipe.

This is the perfect recipe for busy weeknights, you can add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker in the morning and have dinner waiting for you when you get home. The chili is packed with protein and full of flavor. We use ground beef, but ground turkey or chicken will work too!

Chili is always a good idea during the fall and winter months, it is hearty, comforting, and will warm you right up!

beef chili in bowl with spoon.

How to Make Slow Cooker Chili

We love slow cooker recipes because they basically make themselves. There are only a few steps to making this hearty and delicious chili! It is going to be your GO TO chili recipe!

  • First, brown the beef with the onion and garlic. I know browning the meat takes a little more time, but it really does make a difference when making slow cooker chili. If you don’t brown the meat, the meat will clump together and add lots of grease to the finished chili. So take a few extra minutes to brown the beef and make sure you drain off the excess grease. Pro tip-don’t pour the grease down the drain. Pour it into an old container and let it cool,  then throw it away in the garbage.
  • If you have a slow cooker that has a sauté function, you can brown the meat in the slow cooker. We like this one.
  • Once the beef is browned and drained, you can add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker. Make sure you use a 6-quart size or larger.
  • For this chili recipe, we like to use fire roasted tomatoes and regular diced tomatoes. The fire roasted tomatoes add great flavor.
  • We use dark red kidney beans and small red beans, but feel free to use all kidney beans or you can even use black beans or pinto beans.
  • The key to GOOD chili is making sure you have enough seasonings, especially chili powder and cumin. You can use 2 to 3 tablespoons of chili powder, we always use three. If you aren’t sure, start with two and taste when the chili is done cooking. You can always add more at the end.
  • Josh likes to add a little pure maple syrup to the chili. It doesn’t make the chili super sweet, but helps balance out the acid in the tomatoes. You could also use brown sugar.
  • You can cook the chili on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Make sure you put the lid on the slow cooker while it is cooking. Slow cooking is the perfect way to cook chili because all of the flavors come together while the chili is cooking in the crockpot slowly.
  • When the chili is done cooking, give it a good stir and taste. Add more salt and seasonings, if necessary. Josh also likes to stir in tamed jalapeño slices. They aren’t super spicy, but add a nice flavor.
chili in ladle in slow cooker.

Great Game Day Chili

This crockpot chili is also great for easy entertaining, especially on game day! Invite all of your friends over to watch the game and serve up this easy slow cooker chili! It is always a hit and everyone LOVES it! Plus, everyone can customize their own bowl of chili by adding their favorite toppings!

Favorite Toppings

We like to set out a variety of toppings to go with the chili. That is all part of the fun and the toppings make the chili extra delicious. Here are our favorite chili toppings:

  • shredded cheese
  • sliced green onions or pickled red onions
  • jalapeño slices
  • avocado or guacamole
  • sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • cilantro
  • crushed tortilla chips
  • crackers
  • radish slices
  • salsa

And make sure you make a pan of our favorite easy cornbread to go with the chili. Chili and cornbread are a match made in heaven! You can’t go wrong with that combo!

Best Chili Recipe

You guys are going to love this chili recipe, it will be your GO TO! You will love how easy it is to make, thanks to the slow cooker and it feeds a crowd. If you don’t have a crowd to feed, don’t worry, you can freeze the chili. Let the chili cool completely and put in a container and freeze for up to 2 months. It is always nice to have dinner in the freezer when life gets busy.

Get out your slow cooker and make chili for dinner tonight!

More Chili Recipes

slow cooker chili in bowls with toppings.
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Slow Cooker Chili

This easy slow cooker chili is the perfect meal for a cold day! Serve with cornbread and your favorite toppings!
4.87 from 15 votes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef, can use turkey or chicken
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can small red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, optional
  • 1/4 cup sliced tamed jalapeño peppers, optional
  • Chili toppings for serving: shredded cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, jalapeño slices, cilantro, avocado, etc.


  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, ground beef, and garlic; cook, using a wooden spoon to crumble the meat as it cooks, until no trace of pink remains, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain the grease liquid from the pan and discard.
  • Place the cooked beef, onion and garlic into a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Add the red pepper, beans, fire roasted tomatoes, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup, if using.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
  • Remove the lid and stir in the tamed jalapeño slices, if using. Taste and season with additional salt and seasonings, if necessary.
  • Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with desired toppings.


Calories: 163kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 56mg, Sodium: 444mg, Potassium: 468mg, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 550IU, Vitamin C: 20.1mg, Calcium: 34mg, Iron: 3.1mg
Keywords beef chili, slow cooker chili

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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4.87 from 15 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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  1. just a little correction on No. 3 in the directions — should read high 3 to 4 hours.

    I really like your work– Thank you.

  2. My husband isn’t a big fan of beans but loves chili and this looks delicious! Would this recipe work without them? Or is there anything you’d substitute for them?

  3. 5 stars
    This chili is amazing – my new “go to” recipe. The only substitution I made was black beans, my favorite!

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious flavor, easy prep, and worked wonderfully in my Dutch oven instead of a slow cooker! Saving this one for soup season rotation! Used two cans of black beans and two cans of fire roasted tomatoes and would do it exactly the same way next time

  5. I made this for the first time this week. We all liked it, although I will definitely use 3 T. Chili powder next time. What are “tamed jalapeños”?

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve been making this particular recipe for about 5 years now. My husband absolutely loves it! The only thing I do different is I add another kind of bean. I cook it all day long in the crockpot and it’s amazing! Freeze the rest and it evens better!

  7. 5 stars
    Perfect basic chili recipe! I made ahead the meat/veggies ahead and took to dump in the crockpot at a ski house. It was the perfect dinner after a day skiing. Definitely saving this recipe for the future.