Slow Cooker Beef Chili

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An EASY, classic Slow Cooker Beef Chili that takes no effort at all and is a perfect winter meal your family will love! Make crockpot chili for dinner or for a game day treat!

Bowl of Slow Cooker Chili with beef and kidney beans

crockpot chili is Easy and Healthy

Slow Cooker Beef Chili is a family favorite of ours for game day party offerings. With a big crowd, the last thing I want to be doing is nursing a pot on the stove and making sure the bottom of the pot of chili doesn’t burn.

Making chili in a slow cooker is one of the easiest ways you can make it and with a low and slow cook time the meat and beans melt together into a perfectly wonderful, hearty dish.

I’m a huge fan of beef chili recipes and often eat chili as a quick and healthy meal, even with takeout like my Wendy’s Chili (Copycat). Lower in fat than most red meat dishes and with a high fiber content thanks to the beans, this Slow Cooker Chili is a hearty meal that you can enjoy even when you’re trying to eat healthily.

crockpot chili topped with sour cream and onion

Some Slow Cooker Chili tips:

  • I use kidney beans and white beans, but you can certainly use other beans as well like navy beans or black beans. I like the firmness of the skin of the kidney bean, it holds up well even in the slow cooker and the creaminess of the white beans.
  • HEAT! If you like things spicy definitely add in the jalapeno and kick up the chili powder.
  • Careful with chili powder, different varieties can have different heat levels.  This recipe uses standard supermarket chili powder.
  • Brown the meat before adding it to the slow cooker, it helps for both texture and flavor.
  • I only used 1/4 cup tomato paste in this recipe, if you have leftovers you can freeze them in small ziploc bags or in ice trays so you don’t waste a whole can.
  • If you want a deeper beef flavor, add in a spoonful of beef base to the recipe too. I don’t recommend beef broth as it would thin the chili too much.
  • I use Beef Base in addition to or in place of beef stock/broth. I can double up on the intensity without waiting for beef stock to reduce to intensify flavor.

crockpot chili with scallions on top

Looking for more Slow Cooker Recipes?

PS, tomorrow I have an awesome Southern Cornbread for you to enjoy with this crockpot chili. It isn’t that normal super sweet cornbread you see in your regular grocery stores!

Tools Used in making this Slow Cooker Chili:

Slow Cooker: Love this slow cooker and how programmable it is, it has been a workhorse for me… until…
My New Slow Cooker: This recipe was made in this slow cooker. I brown the meat in the insert without losing a bunch of the flavor by transferring the meat and leaving the browned bits behind. If you’re thinking of a new slow cooker, consider it if your budget is open.
Cast Iron Skillet: If you don’t have a slow cooker with a stovetop friendly insert, this is my most used pan in my kitchen, heavy, keeps heat well and gives the BEST sear ever.

Recipe

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Slow Cooker Beef Chili

5 from 24 votes
  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
An EASY, classic Slow Cooker Beef Chili that takes no effort at all and is a perfect winter meal your family will love for dinner or for a game day treat!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef 80/20
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 16-ounce cans red kidney beans rinsed and drained
  • 29 ounces canned diced tomatoes not drained
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 minced jalapeno optional, if you want it spicy
  • 1/2 cup saltine cracker crumbs finely ground

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Cook the beef and onion together in a large pot or cast iron skillet over medium high heat until the beef is browned well.
  2. Add it to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Cook on high heat for 3 hours or on low heat for 6 hours.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 8 Servings, Amount per serving: 281 calories, Calories: 281g, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 660mg, Potassium: 760mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 23.1g, Vitamin C: 17.9g, Calcium: 6.8g, Iron: 26.9g

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Keyword: Slow Cooker Beef Chili
Save Recipe
An EASY, classic Slow Cooker Beef Chili that takes no effort at all and is a perfect winter meal your family will love for dinner or for a game day treat!
RICH, HEARTY, thick beef stew with chili powder, beef, onions, tomatoes and more simmered low and slow for chili perfection!

About the Author

Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

See more posts by Sabrina

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

Categories:

Beef Recipes Main Course Main Dishes Meat & Seafood Recipe Slow Cooker Soups & Salads

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Comments

  1. Perfect Beef Chili! My son can’t wait to get home from his baseball game tonight! Chili & cornbread it is!

  2. This is the best chili ive ever had. I made it with ives imitation ground beef instead and it was absolutely fantastic. I just added 1/2 teaspoon coriander.

  3. i love this recipe and have made it once before, im going to make it again tonight, my one questions is, how much is 1 serving? 1 cup? just wondering for us calorie counters. overall this is a relatively healthy meal which i love. thanks!

  4. I’ve made this a few times. First time was the exact recipe as here minus the pepper. I’ve also done it with half amount of each ingredient for a smaller pot that I can eat when it’s just me. I eat it over rice, so a small amount goes a long way. Both times I cooked on low for 6 to 7 hours.

    This time I’m doing it with 3lbs of beef and adjusted the other ingredients to match. Cooking it on high this time so that Me and my girlfriend can eat a little earlier. Also added a whole green pepper as well as a red pepper.

  5. I make this chili for me and my boyfriend All. The. Time. It’s amazing. I follow the recipe exactly but I haven’t tried adding beef base or jalapenos. I use one can of red kidney beans and 1 can of cannelini beans. The first time I made it I was worried because it looked dry, but by the end of cooking it always has the perfect amount of liquid. I’ve tried it 3 hours on high and 6 hours on low and both work just fine. Highly recommend, best chili I’ve had!

  6. I cooked this on low for about 6.5 hours a few nights ago, and it came out awesome. I went light on the chili powder and no jalapenos. Also no crackers, since my son and I like to eat chili over steamed rice (jasmine is good). We like a little more moisture to our chili. Other than that, I went by your recipe. Tasted so good that it was gone fast. I just put a pot on tonite with a little less ground beef, and used one can each of kidney and white beans. We will see how this comes out, but thank you for a great recipe!

  7. I made this last night and it was delicious, very hearty! …I definitely had to add some tomato sauce as it was very dry. I only cooked it on LOW for 3 hours, at high it was starting to stick to the bottom of the slow cooker after only 20 minutes. I would not bother adding the crushed saltines next time. If I had gone out and left it on high it would have been a disaster! A piece of garlic bread was a great addition along with shredded cheddar cheese on top!

    1. So glad you checked it when you did. I know every slow cooker is different and it sounds like yours runs hotter than mine. I’m happy you enjoyed it.

  8. This was the most delicious chili I’ve ever made. I made my own chili powder blend and added 2 minced corn tortillas at the beginning so the flavor would be infused.

    And ot came together so easily and quickly. Thanks for posting the recipe.

  9. Definitely trying out this recipe! But do you put crushed saltines in? What texture does this give the chili? I’ve never tried it before.

  10. I’m making this chili today, just wondering if I need to drain the beef after cooking it on the stove or do I just add it straight to the crock pot?

    1. This original recipe doesn’t include any beef base but I prefer to add a scoop of beef base to almost all of my stews. I just love the bold flavor that it adds. It’s up to you and your taste. Hope this helps!

  11. I’ve made this three times now and it’s been delicious but looks nothing like the pictures (it’s much lighter than the pics). I leave it on for 4 hours on high because 3 is way way too short in my cooker, and even then it seems not thick enough. Am I doing something wrong?

    1. The most immediate ideas I’d have is that I really browned my beef pretty darn well as well as my onions and my chili powder is pretty dark. I also use a tomato paste that is pretty dark in color. The biggest reason is likely the beef/onion browning. When I sear for the slow cooker I sear pretty dark because I want it to preserve some texture even given how much it will sit in the liquids. Also if it isn’t thick enough I think the culprit is the brand of tomatoes, I really do think some brands sneak in way more liquids than other brands. You can absolutely cook for longer it won’t hurt it one bit or just add a bit more saltines.

  12. It was very good! I made it with lb ground turkey and added chopped potatoes. I didn’t have tomato paste but my can of “crushed tomatoes” was basically the consistency of paste. I paired it with homemade bread and it was a hit!
    Thank you for sharing!

  13. Easy and tasty recipe! Nutritional info is way off, though. By my calculation, for those of us who care about these things, this recipe serving 8 yields about 400 calories per serving, using 85/15 beef.
    % Daily Values*Total Fat 18.28g28% Saturated Fat 6.787g34% Polyunsaturated Fat 0.695g  Monounsaturated Fat 7.83g Cholesterol 77mg26%Sodium 730mg30%Potassium 540mg Total Carbohydrate 28.37g9% Dietary Fiber 7.4g30% Sugars 5.86g Protein 29.46g  Vitamin A 232%Vitamin C 206%Calcium 73%Iron 245%

    1. So glad you enjoyed it! I use a program that automatically computes the nutritional information for me. I’ll have to double check it, thanks.

        1. It didn’t pick up a few of the ingredients but based on my nutritional information, it looks to be around 280 calories for a 1 cup serving. Enjoy!

  14. I am preparing this chili recipe now and I don’t have can beans. I have dry beans so do I increase the liquids…add liquids ?

    1. Dry beans need to be soaked overnight before using them in a recipe so they won’t work as a last minute substitution. Sorry.

  15. This is hearty and delicious! I didn’t use jalepeno (had to keep it mild for the kiddos), and I used one can of dark red kidney beans and one can of cannellini beans. Since my husband doesn’t like tomato chunks (weirdo), I used tomato puree instead of diced. The spoonful of beef base was a great tip.

    This is the first chili dish I’ve eaten that I didn’t have to add a bunch of sour cream or cheddar cheese to. It’s excellent by itself. Thanks so much!

  16. This Chili is the best Chili in the world, I literally just got done making it and trying it for the first time, and it was AMAZING!!! I did season the ground beef with salt, pepper, and garlic salt though, gave the beef a really good flavor, so that’s all I did different from the recipe. Over-all, insanely good Chili, and easy to make to boot not to mention inexpensive. I will be recommending this till the day I die.

  17. I’m making chili for the first time ever and this recipe is by far the best I’ve come across! And the comments have helped me to add/remove as I go!! Thanks so much for sharing this with us and I will let you know how it turns out!!

  18. I made this chili for my cats quincenera party. Everyone loved it! I used ground turkey and added a chopped poblano pepper and skipped the saltines. Easy and very delicious thanks Sabrina! Love your blog!

  19. I made this precisely by the recipe but it was very bland and way too thick without any sort of added liquid. Maybe I’ll try adding some beef base and another can of tomatoes.