This is the best slow cooker chili recipe on the internet! Our classic crockpot chili calls for ground beef, beans, and the perfect homemade chili seasoning.
The Best Slow Cooker Chili
It’s chili season, people! And you know we’re big chili fans over here on Fit Foodie Finds, which is why we’re so thrilled to share this slow cooker chili recipe. It’s simple, delicious and oh so easy to make.
Why You’ll Love it
Amazing Meal Prep: Chili is an excellent meal prep idea because it will literally give you chili for days. Plus, you can turn it into our Chili Mac and Cheese recipe for ultimate leftovers.
Healthy: Our slow cooker chili recipe is made with lean ground beef and beans making it high in protein and fiber. It’s also made with a homemade chili seasoning canceling out any additives you may find in the store-bought kind.
Set It and Forget It: Minimal prep, set your slow cooker, and you can have dinner on the table with no stress at all!
Ingredients You Need
It’s time to round up the following ingredients for your slow cooker chili! Don’t have everything on hand? We make some excellent ingredient swap recommendations below 😀
We used 85% fat ground beef for this slow cooker chili because that little bit of fat adds so much flavor. If you go any leaner, you risk compromising flavor and texture.
We pair this ground beef with beef broth for optimal flavor.
While many traditional chili recipes do not call for beans, we like to up the anty a little bit in the nutrition department and include 2 different variations to make this the most epic chili recipe.
We used a can of butter beans and a can of kidney beans for this chili to add texture and fiber.
You can’t have red chili without tomatoes! Tomatoes help make this chili thick, creamy, and so delicious. This slow cooker chili recipe calls for 3 different kinds:
- tomato sauce (gives this recipe a delicious tomato flavor)
- crushed tomatoes (adds great texture)
- tomato paste (helps to thicken and intensify the flavors)
FLAVORS & Seasonings
This slow cooker chili recipe is seasoned with the following combination of amazing flavors:
- Diced yellow onion
- Minced garlic cloves
- Maple syrup (more on this below!)
- Hot sauce (we used tabasco!)
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Ground cumin
- Smoked paprika
- Salt & pepper
Why Maple Syrup?
Every chili recipe needs a little bit of sweetness in some form to bring out all of the savory flavors from the chili seasoning. This slow cooker chili recipe calls for a little bit of maple syrup. It’s warm, unrefined, and absolutely delightful.
Don’t have maple? Swap it with some brown sugar or even some honey.
More Easy Swaps
Make this slow cooker chili your own! Make any of the following easy ingredient swaps in your own kitchen:
- Beef: Ground chicken or turkey both work for this recipe if you’re looking to swap out the ground beef. We’ve even made this chili recipe with a plant-based ground to make it vegetarian.
- Beans: Feel free to swap the beans for a different kind such as black beans, garbanzo beans, or cannellini beans.
- Broth: We love using beef broth when cooking with ground beef, but feel free to sub any broth you prefer.
Slow Cooker Chili Toppings
Never skip the toppings! We love jazzing up our slow cooker chili with any of the following:
- Tortilla chips
- Sliced avocado
- Fresh cilantro
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Diced bell peppers
- Diced red onion
- Lime wedges
Leftover Chili Ideas
Got leftovers? Here are a few ideas on how to repurpose this slow cooker chili recipe:
Chili Nachos: Are you a fan of nachos just like us? Place a bag of tortilla chips on a baking sheet. Then, top with leftover chili, shredded cheddar cheese, and other nachos toppings.
Chili Mac and Cheese: It doesn’t get much better than combining 2 of your favorite things into 1 dish. That’s exactly what we did in our Chili Mac and Cheese recipe.
To Freeze Slow Cooker Chili
Slow cooker chili is the perfect chili recipe to freeze! We wrote an entire post on how to freeze soup and it works the exact same way for chili.
- Let your slow cooker chili cool completely.
- Then, transfer it into an airtight container or freezer-safe gallon-size bag.
- Remove as much air as possible and seal.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
We recommend freezing in a freezer-safe gallon-size bag or freezer-safe storage container. Make sure that you remove as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
Store slow cooker chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To reheat: If you have multiple servings remaining in the slow cooker, heat the chili on high for 1-2 hours, or until warm, or place 1 serving of chili into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
To thin out chili: your leftover chili will likely be thicker than when you first made it, so add broth by the tablespoon per serving to thin out to your desired consistency when reheating.
Easy Slow Cooker Chili Recipe
- 2 lbs. ground beef we used 85% fat
- 1/2 medium yellow onion finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 15-oz. can butter beans beans drained and rinsed
- 2 15-oz. cans kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce we used tabasco
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoons salt or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 cups beef broth chicken broth or water works too
- Heat a large skillet over medium/high heat and add the beef to the pan.
- Break the meat up into small pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the yellow onion and garlic to the pan and cook all the ingredients together until the ground beef is almost fully cooked but still has hints of pink.
- Drain off half of the ground beef grease (keeping some in the beef for the chili) and pour the beef mixture into the slow cooker.
- Add the rest of the ingredients for the chili to the slow cooker and mix until combined.
- Cook chili on low for 3-4 hours.
- Serve with Greek yogurt, cheddar cheese, and avocado.
Photography: photos taken in this post are by Erin from The Wooden Skillet.