Classic Slow Cooker Chili Recipe
An easy slow cooker chili recipe with Ground Beef, beans, tomato sauce, and the best homemade chili seasoning. It putters away in the slow cooker for the juiciest beef and rich flavor.
Thank you to Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. on behalf of the Beef Checkoff for sponsoring this Slow Cooker Chili recipe. I received compensation, but all opinions are my own.
The Best Way to Cook Chili:
Slow Cooking chili is a classic way to cook chili. It’s the easiest chili because you can set it and forget it and this is how the award-winning chilis are achieved. The low and slow cooking process melds the flavors of the chili seasoning into every bite and the beef becomes so tender, juicy, and irresistible. You can slow cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours.
Ingredients for Slow Cooker Chili:
- Ground Beef – no other protein does it quite like beef and Ground Beef tastes amazing. We use lean (90/10 or 93/7) to eliminate the need to spoon out excess fat. If yours has a higher fat content, you can spoon out the excess fat when it renders in the skillet.
- Onion – we love a generous amount of onion because it adds amazing sweet notes to the chili and disappears into the chili as it slow cooks.
- Beans – you can change up the beans based on what you have on hand, but the classic beans for chili are kidney beans (we love dark red), and black beans. Be sure to rinse and drain the beans in a colander for the best chili consistency and color.
- Tomatoes & Tomato Sauce – We love the combination of canned diced tomatoes (with their juice) as well as tomato sauce to give the chili a saucy consistency with great texture. For added flavor, we add a can of diced tomatoes and green chilis.
- Chili Seasoning – we make a simple homemade blend with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Do you Prefer a Spicy Chili?
To keep it kid-friendly, this classic chili is mild and not spicy. If you prefer a spicy chili, you can either add hot sauce to your bowl when serving or if you want the entire batch to be spicier, add an extra tablespoon of Chili Powder and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of Cayenne Pepper to give it a spicy kick.
How to Make Slow Cooker Chili:
Making chili in the slow cooker doesn’t get any easier. It’s as simple as browning the beef and onions then adding all of the canned ingredients to the slow cooker and turning it on. If you have a multicooker with a slow cooker function, you can saute and slow cook all in the same pot.
- SAUTE the beef and onions in a skillet then add garlic and seasonings to the pan.
- TRANSFER the beef mixture to a 6 Qt Slow Cooker.
- ADD REMAINING INGREDIENTS – rinsed and drained beans, diced tomatoes with their juice, and tomato sauce.
- SLOW COOK – cover and set the slow cooker on low 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours then season more to taste if needed.
Our Favorite Chili Toppings:
We love to serve this family-style where everyone can build their own chili bowls with the toppings they love. Toppings can vary based on what we have in the fridge, but these are our favorite toppings for chili
- Cheese – mild cheddar is the classic choice, but Mexican shredded cheese works equally well
- Onion – chopped green or red onion adds a fresh pop of color and flavor
- Avocado – because we can’t help putting avocado on everything, especially chili.
- Cilantro – for garnish and adding fresh flavor
- Sour cream – balances the dish (especially great when chili is served over a baked potato)
- Sliced jalapenos – you can use any hot pepper for a spicy kick
How to Serve Chili:
Chili keeps really well in the refrigerator so we love to get creative with leftovers. There are so many ways to serve classic chili and really it can be served almost any time of day. Some of our favorites include:
- Chili Cheese Dip – Sprinkle chili with cheddar cheese and serve as an appetizer with tortilla chips.
- Chili Dogs – Top a hot dog with chili and shredded cheese to transform it into a chili cheese dog.
- Chili Stuffed Baked Potatoes – topping a baked potato with hot chili is a delicious gluten-free option and a fun way to serve a crowd.
- In a Bowl – loaded with all of the toppings and tortilla chips or pita chips on the side (this is our family favorite)
Why We Love This Family Friendly Dinner:
With so many families staying home together now, juggling homeschool, and cooking more than ever, it’s a great time to get kids in the kitchen and teach them through cooking. This slow cooker beef chili is a great way to teach your children cooking skills. Children can learn:
- Food safety tips like washing hands after handling raw meat
- The importance of using separate plates and utensils for raw and ready to eat foods to prevent cross-contamination
- How to measure spices and weigh ingredients
If you let kids help with preparing the meal, they are more likely to enjoy eating it. It also makes for a memorable photo-op moment!
Classic Slow Cooker Chili Recipe
An easy Slow Cooker chili recipe with Ground Beef, beans, tomato sauce, and the best homemade chili seasoning. It putters away in the slow cooker for the juiciest beef and rich flavor.
- 2 lb lean Ground Beef (90/10 or 93/7)
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 15 oz black beans drained and rinsed
- 30 oz kidney beans two 15oz cans, drained and rinsed
- 30 oz diced tomatoes with their juice
- 10 oz diced tomatoes and green chilis with their juice
- 30 oz tomato sauce
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté beef until it releases fat (4-5 minutes), breaking it up with a spatula.
Add onion to the skillet and sauté until tender (4-5 minutes). Add minced garlic and seasonings: cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Cook another 30 seconds stirring constantly. Transfer to a 6 Qt slow cooker.
Add remaining ingredients into the slow cooker: rinsed and drained beans, diced tomatoes with their juice, diced tomatoes and green chilis with juice and tomato sauce. Stir to combine and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Season to taste if desired and serve warm.