Slow Cooker Beef Chili

An EASY, classic Slow Cooker Beef Chili that takes no effort and makes a perfect meal the family will love. Perfect for dinner or game day!

Slow Cooker Recipes make for easy dinners on busy, cold days. A hearty meal like Slow Cooker Beef Stew or Ultimate Slow Cooker Pot Roast will warm up the entire family.

Bowl of Slow Cooker Chili with beef and kidney beans


Slow Cooker Beef Chili is a family favorite for game day party offerings. With a big crowd, the last thing you 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 and healthiest 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.

Beef chili recipes are popular on the site and you can eat chili as a quick and healthy meal, even with takeout like 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.

beef chili recipe made in the slow cooker


  • This recipe uses kidney beans, but you can certainly use other beans as well like navy beans, white beans, or black beans. The firmness of the skin of the kidney bean holds up well even in the slow cooker.
  • HEAT! If you like things spicy definitely add in the jalapeño 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.
  • You’ll only use ¼ 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. Beef broth is not recommended as it would thin the chili too much.
  • You can use Beef Base in addition to or in place of beef stock/broth. This way you can double up on the intensity without waiting for beef stock to reduce to intensify flavor.

crockpot chili with scallions on top


PS, you’ll also want to try this awesome Southern Cornbread 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 is a workhorse. There is also…
New Slow Cooker: This recipe was made in this slow cooker. You can 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 a great versatile pan in the kitchen, heavy, keeps heat well and gives the BEST sear ever.


  • Serve: You shouldn’t leave cooked meat at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Store: Let the Slow Cooker Beef Chili cool down, then seal it in an airtight container to store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze: To keep leftover chili longer, you can freeze it for 2-3 months.

crockpot chili topped with sour cream and onion

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Slow Cooker Beef Chili

An EASY, classic Slow Cooker Beef Chili that takes no effort and makes a perfect meal the family will love. Perfect for dinner or game day!
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


  • 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


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



Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 660mg | Potassium: 760mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1155IU | Vitamin C: 14.8mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 4.8mg
Keyword: Slow Cooker Beef Chili

Slow Cooker Beef Chili Collage

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!Slow Cooker Beef Chili CollageSlow Cooker Beef Chili Collage

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.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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.


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  1. Excellent. The only thing I changed was adding in a small can diced green chilis. I got nervous about liquid so I put hot water in my tomato paste can and got all the leftover tomato paste and added… probably 1/2 cup… and garlic salt, since I’m a salt freak. Next time I’m making the original amount. Had to cut in 1/2 because only I can of red kidney beans and 1 pound of ground beef. It was just wonderful!

  2. This is my go to recipe for Chili! It’s easy, doesn’t require a bunch of ingredients and super tasty! Sometimes I add a can of drained corn near the end of the cooking time.

    Thank you for this great recipe!

  3. This is a delicious chili—even my picky daughter likes it. The second time I made it I subbed ground turkey with beef bouillon added and cut the meat in half and the flavor was still wonderful. Thanks for a great recipe!

  4. As a lover of all things garlic, I would point out that it has to be added near the end. It will have been cooked to tasteless goo after 3-6 hours in the slow cooker whether fresh or granulated (powdered is more like flour). Likewise the onions but at least they can act as filler.

  5. This is my favorite chili recipe. It is not only easy to prepare but Delicious as well. Thank you Sabrina, for your tasty recipes!

  6. I see your recipes and would like to know what a serving size is considered. I see how many servings but not the size.

  7. Mine turned out dry and a little bland. I used all the ingredients as listed in the recipe. But, I may have altered the results by adding 2 medium chopped sweet potatoes, a green pepper, and a red pepper. Plus, I drained the meat after browning. To make it soupier, after the cook time was up, I added tomato sauce (needed 16-24oz) and 1-14.5oz chopped tomatoes, and cooked on high for an hour. It was okay.

    1. You changed the recipe and then gave only 3 stars? The recipe you are reviewing isn’t the one that she posted. I just find this mind boggling!

  8. This is our go to chili recipe. We add an extra can of tomatoes because we like more tomato. Thank you for our favorite chili recipe!!!

  9. This is my go-to chili and it’s the best chili I’ve ever had. I leave the crackers out and used jar jalapeños but other than that, I follow the recipe exactly. It always turns out delicious! Every recipe I’ve tried on your site has been a winner!

  10. I just used this recipe (without the jalapenos) and the chili turned out delicious. However, even after following the instructions, the chili was a bit dense with hardly any juices.

    1. My husband and I love this chili recipe!!!! I was wondering, if you make this the night before, then let it cool and put it in the fridge, can it still be heated up the next day? I am serving this for work but won’t have time in the morning to make it. Thoughts?

  11. After cooking the meat and onion I drained it. Was I not supposed to do that? The chili looks really dry after cooking for 1 hour. Thank you!

    1. We actually leave the fluid in for extra flavor and moisture. Its such a habit, I usually drain everything as well. Sorry it didn’t turn out the way you wanted!

  12. Am going to make this today. Love slow cooke anything. have a classic old pottery and metal version from 70’s. Wondering any idea what carb count would be if beans were taken out. Thanks, M

  13. Looks great but there is no way only 11 carbs. Beans have huge amounts of carbs, fiber, too, but not enough to reduce carbs that much.

    Used your recipes for years. Thanks, keep ’em coming.

  14. This is a really good chili! I don’t like it too hot so use 2 tbsp of chili powder instead of 3 tbsp. I added one can of diced mushrooms and canned corn. Thank you for the excellent chili recipe. Was just what I was looking for. I will be cooking this again.

    1. You can but I would recommend browning the beef first so it’ll have more flavor. You might need to cook it on high for 4 or stick with low for 6 since it will all be cooking in the slow cooker. Hope this helps!

  15. Hi there! I’ve made this recipe several times in my slow cooker and love it! Do you think I could make this in my instant pot?

    1. I’m sure you can though I haven’t tested it to know the exact timing. You might want look up another recipe online using one to use as a guideline. I’ll add it to my research list also.

  16. No matter how creative I choose to get in venturing out from this chili recipe, this is the one I always refer to when it is time for chili. I definitely have this one saved.

      1. Hi there I cooked this without the crackers. I feel like there is not enough salt? The video did not show adding the saltine crackers in the slow cooker, so I did not add them. Should I have added the crackers in the slow cooker with everything else before it slow cooked? Pls kindly advise.

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