Nothing beats a warm bowl of chili, especially in the cooler months! This Slow Cooker Chili is super easy to throw together, and simmered low and slow for 5 hours! A quick and easy make-ahead meal that makes tons of leftovers! It’s freezer-friendly as well, and perfect for other fun foods like nachos and chili dogs. This easy, kid-friendly chili recipe will make weeknight dinners a breeze!
We love making healthy chili recipes at home! For something a little lighter, try our Slow Cooker Turkey Chili, and if you want to skip the meat, our Vegetarian Quinoa Chili is a quick and easy stovetop dinner you will love!
I absolutely love chili. It’s super hearty, meaty, rich, and thick. Chili is the ultimate comfort food. Perfect for lazy fall and winter days, I find that chili is even better in a slow cooker. This easy chili recipe takes little to no effort and tastes amazing. Cooking it low and slow really allows the flavor to develop and the chili to thicken.
This is truly the best Slow Cooker Chili! It’s super healthy and loaded with vegetables like onions and tomatoes, and plenty of protein including ground beef and two types of beans: red kidney beans and black beans. The chili is super filling and hearty and will keep you satisfied throughout the day.
Recipes that come together in minutes are my go-to for busy nights during the week or weekend, and this slow cooker chili recipe is just that. Take 10 minutes to throw all of the ingredients into the slow cooker, and 5 hours later (or longer if you want to leave it!) this delicious healthy dinner recipe is ready to eat! If you have leftovers, check out my suggestions below, or freeze the leftover chili for next week!
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Homemade Slow Cooker Chili Ingredients
- Beef: Ground beef is the classic ingredient for this recipe, however you can substitute ground turkey or chicken for a lighter option.
- Onions and garlic: Onion and garlic add a ton of flavor and nutrition!
- Tomatoes: Most of the sauce is made of tomatoes. I used 2 cans of crushed tomatoes which are the perfect consistency to this slow cooker chili recipe!
- Water: Did I mention that this chili is THICK? Adding a little water helps to (literally) water it down a little.
- Seasoning: Oregano, chili powder, and ground cumin give this slow cooker chili the classic comforting chili flavor.
- Cocoa powder: Cocoa adds a rich depth and is absolutely delicious in this recipe. It feels really indulgent!
- Chipotle chili powder: This adds both smokiness and spice to the dish. It’s SO good! Feel free to substitute chilies in adobo sauce if you have that on hand instead!
- Beans: Both kidney beans and black beans are added to make this chili even more filling. Plenty of healthy, plant-based protein to keep you satisfied!
How to Make Chili in a Slow Cooker
This chili is super easy to throw together and only takes 10 minutes of prep time.
Prep the beef and onion: Firstly, heat a large skillet with olive oil, and then add in ground beef and onion. Cook until meat is browned and no longer pink. Drain off the excess grease.
Add them to the slow cooker: Secondly, add the ground beef and onion mixture to a slow cooker.
Throw in everything except the beans: Next, add in the rest of the ingredients except the beans.
Cook! Cook the chili on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. 30 minutes before serving add in the beans.
Season: Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve: Finally, serve immediately with your favorite toppings!
How Long Should I Cook Chili in a Slow Cooker
Cook the chili on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. 30 minutes before serving I add in the beans to heat them through. This ensures they are still nice and firm and aren’t mushy.
How do I store the leftovers?
- Fridge: Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freeze: This chili recipe is great for meal planning and is a great freezer friendly meal! Freeze it in an airtight container or ziploc freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw it completely at room temperature before following the reheating instructions.
- Reheat: When you’re ready to reheat the food, heat it in a pot on the stove until it’s piping hot. If it turns out to be too thick, add a little water.
How do I serve this recipe?
The options are (nearly) endless, but here are some of my favorite ways to eat slow cooker chili:
- Shredded cheese (I like cheddar)
- Sour Cream
- Green Onions
- Tortilla Chips (on top or underneath)
- Avocado slices
- The BEST Cornbread
- Healthy Cilantro Lime Brown Rice
- Spanish Rice
- One Hour Focaccia Bread
- Sweet Potato Biscuits
Recipes to add this slow cooker chili to:
- Chili Dogs
- Baked Potatoes (red, white, or sweet potatoes)
- Chili Cheese Fries
- As a dip
- Chili Burritos or burrito bowls
- As a salad topping
- Chili Sloppy Joes (with these homemade buns)
- Chili Mac & Cheese
What is the best secret ingredient for chili?
I have two secret ingredients for this recipe:
- Cocoa Powder: This adds an amazing richness to chili. Who knew that adding a little chocolate to dinner could be so good?!
- Chipotle chili powder: A kick of spice and a hint of smoke is what Chipotle chili powder brings here. However, if I can’t find it in powder form I use adobo chilies instead.
Love this Slow Cooker Chili? Here are some more Mexican inspired recipes to try!
- One Pan Mexican Pasta
- Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole
- Huevos Rancheros
- Mexican Salmon Salad
- Easy 20 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Healthy Mexican Quinoa and Turkey Stuffed Peppers
- One Pan Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake
Slow Cooker Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder, you can substitute chilies in adobo sauce as well. Add to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 15 ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- Heat a large skillet with olive oil.
- Add in ground beef and onion. Cook until meat is browned and no longer pink. Drain excess grease.
- Add the ground beef and onion mixture to a slow cooker.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients except the beans.
- Cook the chili on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. 30 minutes before serving add in the beans.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately with your favorite toppings!