My deliciously spicy crockpot chili recipe is packed full of flavor and makes for easy, no-fuss comfort food – perfect for cold nights!
This easy crockpot chili recipe is a great way to enjoy a comforting meal with minimal prep and effort. The key here is patience. The chili cooks low and slow so the meat has time to get beautifully tender and the flavors can meld together into a warm and spicy sauce.
Table of contents
Ingredients for crockpot chili
- Ground Beef – I like to use lean meat, but you can use whatever you have available.
- Tomato Puree or tomato sauce: Use store-bought or make your own using my tomato puree recipe.
- Crushed Tomatoes
- Black beans (optional)
- Kidney Beans
- Chili Pepper: For extra spice, I use actual chili peppers, not just seasoning. I’m using jalapenos, but you can also use ancho, guajillo, habanero peppers or your favorite spicy option to match your taste.
- Onion: White onions work best, but you can also use red onions.
- Olive Oil
- Chili Spices: Use a mix of chili powder, salt and black pepper, cumin, garlic, and onion powder.
Sauté: Dice your onion. Heat a pan or a skillet to medium-high heat and drizzle in your olive oil, then add the onion and sauté until the pieces of onion start to turn translucent – about 2 minutes. Then, add your ground beef, stirring simultaneously, and cook until the meat has just browned for 4-5 minutes. Add the mixed spices, mix well, then remove from the heat.
Drain the Fat (optional): If you’re using ground beef with a higher fat content – generally, beef with 10% or 5% fat will be considered lean – you may want to drain the fat before adding it to the crockpot. Brown the meat as before, but drain any excess fat before adding the seasoning. It’ll give you a leaner, healthier chili overall.
Mix and cook: Add all the ingredients to the crockpot. Stir together until all the elements have been combined and the meat and beans are covered in sauce. Cook the crockpot chili on LOW for around 4 hours.
Crockpot chili is best enjoyed when topped with some other delicious ingredients. Classically, chili is topped with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese or a dollop of sour cream to balance out the spice – but you can use whatever toppings you like. Some of my favorites:
- Chopped Fresh Cilantro: Fresh herbs are great for flavor – you can also try it with fresh parsley or oregano.
- Onion: Sprinkle generously with chopped green, spring or red onions for crunch.
- Avocado: Dice an avocado into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle on top for color and creaminess.
- Sour Cream: You can swap this out for other creamy options like Greek yogurt, natural yoghurt or cream cheese.
- Sliced Black Olives: The delicious brine of the olives cut through the chili well and create a more complex flavor.
- Lime Wedges: Citrus helps to brighten rich sauces, so it’ll add a boost of flavor.
- Sliced Jalapenos: If you prefer your chili on the spicier side, chop up a jalapeno and sprinkle over just before serving.
- Crushed Tortilla Chips: For a crunchier texture, add some crushed tortilla chips.
- Add a few spoonfuls to baked white or sweet potatoes, add a sprinkle of cheese, a dollop of sour cream and some chopped green onions for a flavorful, gluten-free friendly lunch option.
- Serve traditionally with rice (white and brown tends to work best so it doesn’t overpower the flavor of the chili), shredded cheddar cheese and tortilla chips.
- Upgrade a classic hot dog by adding a ladle of chili over the top, with cheese and green onions to create an American favorite – the chili dog.
- Serve on its own with Tex-Mex staple sides like cornbread, guacamole, coleslaw or a fresh green salad.
- Use as the base for a burrito bowl by adding with shredded cheese, lime, avocado, sour cream and tortilla chips.
Storage and reheating
To Store: Allow the chili to cool completely before transferring into an air-tight container. In the fridge, it’ll keep for up to 3-4 days. To freeze, place individual portions into freezer-safe container or bags, where it’ll keep for 3-6 months.
To Reheat: Let the chili thaw in the refrigerator – preferably overnight. Reheat on the stove top in a pan and stir frequently, letting it cook for 5-10 minutes until cooked through. You might need to add more water to the sauce if it’s thick or dry. You can also reheat in the microwave in 30 second to 1 minute bursts until cooked through.
More chili recipes
If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
The Best Crockpot Chili Recipe
- 2 lb ground beef lean
- 28 oz red kidney beans 2 cans, drained and rinsed
- 14 oz black beans optional, 1 can, drained and rinsed
- 30 oz crushed tomatoes 2 cans
- 30 oz tomato puree 2 cans
- 1 green chili pepper medium
- 1 onion large, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves large
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1.5 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Finely dice the onion. Slice the chili. Mince the garlic. Drain and rinse the beans (if using canned). Mix the spices.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté for another 10 seconds.
- Add the beef and cook it for 4-5 minutes stirring to make sure it's browned from all sides.If you're using fattier meat, drain any excess fat before moving on to the next step.
- Add the mixed spices to the skillet, mix well, then remove from the heat.
- Add the browned mince with the rest of the ingredients in the crockpot (onion, garlic, red kidney beans, tomato paste, green chilis, crushed tomatoes) and cook on LOW for around 4 hours in the crockpot.
- You can serve it with avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips, shredded cheese, and lime, or make a burrito bowl. Check the main post for more ideas.