Easy Slow Cooker/Crockpot Chili

Crock Pot Chili is packed with beefy flavor, tons of beans, it’s perfectly seasoned and has just right amount of heat. Throw it all in your slow cooker in the morning and by dinnertime you’ve got a delicious, hearty meal. Top with sour cream, cheese, and chips for the ultimate cozy dinner that everyone can agree on!

beef chili in a slow cooker pot, ladle

If there’s one meal that my people could eat everyday, it’s chili. My son has been known to eat leftover chili for breakfast, he loves it that much. I have several varieties on rotation, like my White Chicken ChiliSlow Cooker Pulled Pork Chili and my mom’s classic Chili Mac. Each month we rotate recipes, but lately this easy slow cooker chili recipe has made it onto the menu nearly every week!

It’s super simple to make. Cook some ground beef and add it to your slow cooker, then add tomatoes, beans and some spices. Seriously it doesn’t get any easier! Whip up a batch for game day, or as a simple weeknight meal. Serve it with your favorite toppings and a side of Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread. You could also use it for my famous 3 ingredient Chili Cheese Dip!

Is Chili Better in a Slow Cooker?

Chili is one of my favorite easy recipes. Just cook up some ground beef, throw the ingredients together in a pot and simmer. The longer you let it simmer, the better the flavor which is why I have started making chili in my crockpot. As it cooks low and slow all day, the meat and the beans get super tender and the flavors are more intense and robust. Cooking chili in a slow cooker is the best way to cook chili!=

Can you put raw hamburger in a crockpot for chili?

Strictly speaking, you don’t have to cook ground beef before putting in a crockpot. However, browning the meat first adds an incredible layer of flavor so I don’t recommend skipping that step unless you’re really in a rush.

How to Make Easy Crockpot Chili

My easy slow cooker chili recipe only has two steps.

  1. To brown or not to brown. As mentioned above, I recommend browning your ground beef with onions and garlic. It flavors the meat and will make your chili so much richer. You don’t even have to cook it all the way through, but as it browns, the meat releases fats and juices that create that beefy flavor. If you don’t have time or just don’t want to dirty another dish, you can omit this step or get a crockpot that browns, like this one (and the one I use!).
  2. Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker. This is where you can get creative if you want. I add beef broth, tomato sauce, diced fire roasted tomatoes, green chiles, and three kinds of beans. Also chili powder, cumin and paprika. For more heat you can add a pinch of cayenne. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours.

The Best Chili Toppings

If you ask my son, he will say sour cream is the must-have chili topping, while my daughter will say it’s the cheese. For me, I have to have chips to add a little crunch. Here are a few of our favorite ways to top a bowl of easy crockpot chili:

  • Shredded cheddar cheese (fresh off the block melts best)
  • Sour cream – just a dollop will do. This also helps to tone down the heat if you have someone who prefers a less spicy flavor.
  • Onions – My dad always loved diced red onion on his chili, but I’m partial to milder green onions. Plus they add some nice color.
  • Chips – Some prefer tortilla chips but I love Fritos in my bowl.
  • Avocado will add some creaminess and texture, and also helps to control heat without the added fat of sour cream.

close up bowl of chili with sour cream and cheese

Slow Cooker Chili with No Beans

Some people just aren’t a fan of beans, my husband included. While he’s forced to have to pick them out, you don’t have to include them. For a beef chili, omit the beans and add an extra pound of ground beef or a 1-2 pound chuck roast, cut into chunks. Just shred the meat when the chili is done cooking.

Recipe Notes and Tips

This slow cooker chili recipe is totally customizable!

  • Feel free to use any type of beans that you like. White beans will work, so will pinto beans. If you omit the chili beans, note that you may want to add more chili powder to balance the flavor.
  • Instead of beef broth, add a bottle of beer to your chili. The alcohol will cook down so it’s fine for kids to eat and it will add a whole other kind of robust flavor profile.
  • Use a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes in place of the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  • This recipe can be cooked on the stovetop instead. Cook the beef and onions, then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for 60-90 minutes.
  • Add a little sweetness to your chili by adding 2 cups of corn kernels (canned/drained, frozen or even fresh).
  • Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4-5 days and reheat in the microwave. Freeze for up to 6 months and reheat in the microwave, on the stovetop or even in the crockpot.

bowls with chili, sour cream, cheese, and crackers, spoon, slow cooker

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beef chili, ladle, green onions

Slow Cooker Chili

Slow Cooker Chili is packed with beefy flavor, tons of beans, perfectly seasoned with the right amount of heat. It's the best crockpot chili!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs 10 mins
Total Time 8 hrs 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 467kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds ground beef 85/15 lean
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 15- ounce can fire roasted tomatoes undrained
  • 1 15- ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef stock or water
  • 1 15- ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 15- ounce cans chili beans undrained
  • 1 15- ounce can kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cook ground beef with diced onion and minced garlic in a large skillet over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain any excess grease.
  • Add cooked ground beef to the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.
  • Taste and add salt and pepper or hot sauce as desired.
  • Divide into bowls and garnish with desired toppings, like sour cream, sliced green onions, and corn chips.

Notes

  • Feel free to use any type of beans that you like. White beans will work, so will pinto beans. If you omit the chili beans, note that you may want to add more chili powder to balance the flavor. 
  • Use a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes in place of the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. 
  • This recipe can be cooked on the stovetop instead. Cook the beef and onions, then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for 60-90 minutes. 
  • Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4-5 days or freeze for up to 6 months. Reheat on the stovetop, in the microwave, or right in the slow cooker. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 467kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 34gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 1126mgPotassium: 1275mgFiber: 13gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 1492IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 111mgIron: 7mg
Keyword crockpot chili, easy chili recipe, slow cooker chili

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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