The One I’ve Been Waiting For — Easy Slow Cooker Chili

I don’t come from a place where chili is a thing. Heck, I’m from California — we put barbecue chicken on pizza. We don’t have things. What this means is that I don’t have firm and fixed ideas about what should and shouldn’t be in chili, and as a result, I’ve tried many a chili recipe over the years. I’ve tried white chicken chili, turkey chili, chili con carne, chili without beans, vegetarian chili, what was supposed to be Cliff Huxtable’s super spicy chili from the Cosby Show, and even a really weird one from epicurious that had green olives and raisins (which wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t chili. I may not be a firm con carne or con frijoles person, but I feel about chili the way the Supreme Court feels about pornography — I know it when I see it).I never really settled on THE chili — the one that becomes my go to recipe, that I make again and again — until I found this chili. It presents a mild heat without bowling you over with spiciness, it has beans, which I like, and meat, which I also like and it has tomatoes without being a tomato stew. Best of all, it is easy as pie to make and can be made in the crockpot, which means all I have to do is chop an onion and brown a little ground beef in the morning, dump it in the crockpot with several cans and spices, and I have a nice bowl of chili waiting for me when I get home. It’s also great for a Super Bowl party — hearty and warming, and there’s no last minute fuss to prepare it when your guests arrive.

Chili 1Now that I’ve found this chili, it’s the one I keep coming back to. Occasionally I look at other chili recipes, and I may even try one someday (but not with raisins!) but this has become what chili is.

5.0 from 1 reviews
The One I've Been Waiting For -- Easy Slow Cooker Chili
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • Recipe: Easy Slow Cooker Chili
  • Summary: This easy crockpot chili is my go-to recipe. Adapted from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook.
  • Ingredients
  • 2 lbs ground beef (I used organic grass fed beef, but this can also be replaced with ground turkey)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained
  • 2 11.5 oz. cans Ro-Tel (When I lived in New York, where Ro-Tel isn’t, I’d see this in recipes and wonder what the hell it was. It’s canned diced tomatoes and green chiles. If you don’t have Ro-Tel, you can use 2 cans diced tomatoes and add another can of diced green chiles, below.)
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
  • ¾ c. beer (light beer, like Corona, but sometimes I make it with dark)
  • 2 tsp chili powder (I use Penzey’s Chili 3000 blend, but any blended chili powder will do)
  • 1½ tsp. ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt to taste
  1. Chop the onion and mince the garlic.
  2. Brown the ground beef with the onion and the garlic until no pink remains.
  3. Put browned meat with other ingredients into crockpot or slow cooker, give it a good stir, and leave to cook on low for8-9 hours or high for 4-6. (I think it’s better when it’s cooked on low, and even better if you eat it the next day).
  4. Serve to your Super Bowl watchers topped with an option of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro, diced onions and crumbled tortilla chips with a nice cold beer and watch it disappear.

36 comments to The One I’ve Been Waiting For — Easy Slow Cooker Chili

  • I feel the same way about chili, living in Washington,I never grew up eating “the real deal chili” nor had a handy recipe that I knew like the back of my hand. That all changed when I married a Texan and he has a very good idea of what should be in chili. All I know is that chili is even better when served over a good cornbread!

  • I am totally addicted to my crockpot. You comment about CA not having a “thing” made me laugh. Its so true.

  • Christina

    Will Nuni eat it?! I’ve never found a great chili recipe either…but if it’s kid friendly, I’m in!

  • Midwesterners love their chili. Like you (before this recipe) I don’t gave a go-to chili recipe. I own “Not Your Mother’s…” and have skeptically passed by this recipe multiple times. So happy to know it works! I’ll have to try.

  • I love my slow cooker! I have a bunch of healthy slow cooker recipes that I post on my blog if you’re interested.

  • Allison

    i’m with you on this one. i’m from los angeles and i have no idea what THE chili is supposed to be! i tried one recipe and it wasn’t bad and now i am way interested in trying this one too! thanks.

  • Isn’t the Penzey’s chili blend great? I haven’t found my go-to chili recipe yet. Your sounds just about perfect!

  • Katie B

    Wish we had room for a slow-cooker in our kitchen—all these recipes sound fantastic!

    BTW, Cy made your turkey sloppy joes yesterday and they were fantastic!

    Also good to note: Trader Joe’s has a Rotel equivalent—at least here in CA.

    • Kate

      Katie — Anything that can be made in the slow cooker can be made in a dutch oven on the stove top or in a slow oven. I’d add an extra cup or so of liquid, and cook over low heat for about 3 hours.

  • I like the addition of beer in this chili! Love the heaps of cheese in the top photo….this is picture perfect chili that I am sure tastes fabulous!

  • my fave thing to put in chili is pineapple!

  • A great slowcooker recipe that I am printing out as I type this! Perfect for busy winter weeks.

  • I’ve always felt that chili is sort of personal; many people have their go to recipe and don’t care to try any others. I’ve avoided including a chili recipe on my meal plans but I’ve decided to use this one because it’s good and simple and if there is someone who does need a recipe, this recipe is the perfect one to try.

  • You made me laugh. I’ve lived in California for most of my life, and we do have some interesting flavor combos. I’m a chili aficionado (self-appointed) and you’ve got every single ingredient that would make this chili be “the one”. It’s close to my own version, but I’d like to try yours. I make my own chili seasoning, but have yet to figure out how to make it into a recipe. I just grab, throw and taste.

  • Selena

    I always look up a chili recipe, cook it and then loose it. That will tell you that none were ever worth keeping around!! Until now, right now I am printing this one up and it is going in my “keep” recipe file!! Yummy, this is now “the” chili recipe!

  • Skscheuer

    Should I drain the can contents or throw them in as they are????

  • Jen Tietjen

    This chili recipe was delicious! I substituted the cumin for crushed red pepper and only used 2 tsp of chili powder. It was fantastic! Will definitely be my go to recipe!

  • Kimberly Figgins

    I want to know if I am to drain the contents or not too!?!?!?! UGH!!! I am sitting here with this meat and pan of grease wondering…..

  • Kimberly Figgins

    You know, I’m going to drain it. I’ll let you know how that goes tonight! Fingers crossed!

  • Kate

    I usually drain the beans but not the tomatoes.

  • I made this recipe this weekend with some slight tweaks and it rocked!

    Instead of the 4oz extra green chiles, which I forgot to pick up, I threw in some jalapeno slices.
    Instead of canned beans I used 50/50 dry kidney and pinto beans, soaked overnight and rinsed. I might use less next time.
    I used a full 12oz bottle of beer because it didn’t look like I had enough liquid to start. Probably the amount of beans. After going all day though, it started to seem too thin, so I did the last hour on high with the lid sideways. I used a local amber ale and the flavor was perfect.

  • Frances

    This is just incredible. First time I’ve made chilli so I did a lot of research, so glad I found this. I halved it, used black beans instead of pinto because that’s what I had. Couldn’t find ancho chile powder in London but piled in the jalapeños and some smoked paprika. Ridiculously easy and so good, thank you for an amazing recipe!

  • Shelly

    This recipe blew my mind!!! Instead of beef i did 1 lb pork loin w salt n pepper cooked as directed w garlic n onion. shredded it up after it was done and put it back in the crock pot! For the seasonings i just did 1 tsp cumin, and 1/2 tsp of chipotle chile pepper Mmmmmmm so good! I just won my first chili contest w this! 5 stars!!!!!!

  • Micheal Deane

    I cooked your chili and loved it. More like that would be nice.

  • Gotta come to new england for good chili i guess some good chili also google a new england boiled ham dinner its to die for lol

  • Lauren

    This looks great. Any idea how many people this serves?

  • Katrina Knapp

    I have been looking for a good chili recipe. I made this last night and it was perfect! I’m so glad I stumbled upon this page.

  • yes just cooked a crockpot full of chiil for tommorow do i leave it sit in CP overnight or refrigerate it thanks

  • bing

    does this fill the crockpot
    how many does it serve
    sounds great

  • Brandy

    Just made this tonight, but I added 2 cans of chili beans, 2 cans of V8 tomato juice (the 6 oz cans), Cayenne pepper, tobasco, red and black pepper. Needless to say, it is almost gone. This recipe is excellent as a base for your own twist on the recipe. Thanks to this base, I now have my very own chili recipe :)

  • Liz

    How many servings does this make?

  • Thor

    This has become my go-to recipe for chili. Super easy. Though I’ve made a few changes:

    I do 1 lb of ground beef with about 1/2 lb of ground sausage

    I also up the bean count to 3 cans of beans (usually kidney, pinto, and black)

    To simplify, I use the store-bought chili seasoning packet. If I had a vacuum sealer, I’d make my own and store it…but at $0.79…it gives a decent enough flavor for us!

    And ditto to this being served on cornbread!

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