Easy Crockpot Chili – Just like my mom used to make. This super easy chili is full of delicious hearty flavor with just a little spice. The perfect chili for a chilly night.
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This is the best chili I have ever eaten. Everyone I have served it to has asked for the recipe. When I give it to them they can’t believe how simple this chili is.
Do you need to make chili for a crowd?
This recipe also scales really well. Last fall we made two huge roasting pans full of chili to serve at our son’s baptism.
This easy crockpot chili has just a few main ingredients along with plenty of herbs and spices.
Ground Beef or Turkey
This chili tastes great with either ground beef or if you want to reduce the calories ground turkey. There are so many herbs and spices that I usually can’t tell the difference.
In this recipe, I use canned beans to keep it as simple as possible. But feel free to soak a bag of dry beans and use them instead. You can also try different varieties of beans like black or pinto beans.
I like to use fire-roasted diced tomatoes to add a little extra flavor. Adding tomato paste also adds a rich concentrated tomato flavor.
Chili is a great way to sneak in a few extra vegetables. Typically I add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. But you could also try adding whatever you have in your fridge like zucchini or mushrooms.
Using multiple spices gives this chili a nice depth of flavor. For heat, I use not just chili powder but cayenne pepper and paprika too. This recipe also calls for lots of cumin which I believe gives it that quintessential chili flavor.
- Shredded Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Saltine Crackers or Oyster Crackers
- Corn Chips or Tortilla Chips
- Diced Avocado
- Raw Onion
- Sliced Green Onions
- Hot Sauce
Serve over pasta to make chili mac or cook some hot dogs and make chili dogs. This chili also makes a great topping for a baked potato or french fries. My family’s favorite way to eat chili is alongside a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
- Don’t skip sauteing the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauteing adds a nice caramelized flavor and makes sure you don’t end up with crunchy vegetables in your chili.
- You can substitute ground turkey for the ground beef to reduce the calories. I have even used leftover shredded pork, which created some really yummy results.
- Cooking the chili low and slow gives all of the different flavors time to develop. I have left this chili to cook in the slow cooker for as long as 10 hours on low and it tasted great!
- Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving. Individual tastes will vary. This crockpot chili might need a bit more heat or salt to make it your perfect chili. Start with the minimum amounts listed in the recipe and add additional seasonings to your desired preference at the end of the cooking time.
- This chili is only a little spicy which makes it a crowd-pleaser. When I serve the chili I like to offer a couple of different hot sauces for people who like their chili spicier.
Can I put raw meat in the crockpot?
I have read in several places that if the meat gets to a high enough temperature fast enough (140 degrees F in less than 2 hours), then it is safe to eat. But I like to err on the side of caution. I don’t recommend adding raw meat to a crockpot.
Beyond the safety considerations, browning the meat in a skillet first also helps to develop major flavor. Browning meats creates a delicious caramelization known as the Maillard reaction.
Can I make this chili on the stovetop?
Yes! If you don’t have a slow cooker this chili can also be made on the stovetop. After you have browned the beef and cooked the onion, bell pepper, and garlic, add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 2-3 hours over low heat. Stirring occasionally.
How to freeze
This easy slow cooker chili freezes and reheats really well. I usually have a bag or two in my freezer for a quick and easy emergency dinner.
- Pour the completely cooled chili into a zip-top bag.
- Label the bag with the contents and date.
- Lay the bag flat in the freezer to freeze.
- Chili will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Thaw the chili overnight in the refrigerator.
- Reheat in a pot over medium heat.
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