Slow Cooker Chili

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An easy comfort dish that’s full of flavor. This is the base recipe that I use, it can easily be changed up to suit your family’s tastes.

This recipe is extremely easy to double in order to feed a crowd or make extra to freeze for later. This chili freezes really well and reheats wonderfully.

Ground Meat – You can use ground beef, ground chicken, ground turkey, or any ground game meat when making chili. More often than not I use game meat which is really lean, so I don’t bother browning it beforehand. The reason other slow cooker recipes require browning the beef is so you can drain and discard the fat after it’s cooked. By using extra-lean meat, you can avoid this step. There is no fat to drain and no need to pre-cook the beef before putting it in a slow cooker. If you are using fattier meat you may want to brown it first so you can drain the fat off. It is entirely up to you if you want to brown the meat first or not.

Onion & Garlic – I typically use either yellow or sweet onions in my chili, any type of onion can be used. For best results use fresh garlic it’s aromatic and adds a lot of flavors.

Beans – You can change up the beans based on what you have on hand, the classic beans for chili are kidney beans, pinto beans, or black beans. I usually double this recipe when I make it and use at least two different types of beans. I recently made a huge pot of pinto beans in my Instant Pot, so that is what I used this time.

Tomatoes – I usually use diced tomatoes with green chilis which adds a little spice, but any diced or crushed tomatoes may be used. Or a mixture of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Seasoning – A mixture of chili powder, cumin, oregano, and garlic pepper. For a spicy chili, add cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, hot pepper sauce, sriracha, jalapenos, or your favorite spice.

Cocoa Powder – Adding chocolate to chili lends depth and richness to the spicy dish. Don’t worry it’s not going to taste like chocolate.

I always use Reynold’s Slow Cooker Liners to make cleaning the crock pot extremely easy. Add all of the ingredients to the crock pot and cook on High for 3-4 hours or on Low for 6-8 hours. Stir well before serving to break apart any large chunks of meat.

Serve with your favorite toppings: Cheese, sour cream, cilantro, olives, peppers, diced green onions, crushed tortilla chips, Fritos, or salsa.

Don’t have a slow cooker or crock pot? This recipe can be made on the stovetop as well.
Simply brown your beef, onion, and garlic in the bottom of a stock pot, then add the remaining ingredients except for beans and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low.
Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add beans and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Slow Cooker Chili

Course: Main Course
Servings: 4
Calories: 407kcal


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup onion, chopped (1 large onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • ½ tsp garlic pepper (or salt and pepper)
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 can of diced or crushed tomatoes (w/green chilies)
  • 1 can of beans (red kidney, pinto or black beans)


  • Put all ingredients in a slow cooker and stir with a spoon to break apart the meat.
  • Cook for 3-4 hours on High or 6-8 hours on Low.
  • Stir well before serving to break apart any large chunks of meat.
  • Serve topped with your favorite toppings.


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 693mg | Potassium: 724mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 609IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 5mg
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