My Favorite Slow Cooker Chili Recipe

February 21, 2021
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My favorite slow cooker chili recipe tastes like comfort in a bowl and is made with ground beef, beans, and chiles. It is perfect for a cold day or for a game day get-together. Grab your spoon and enjoy.
Bowl of chili with shredded cheese and corn bread muffins

There are few things better than a warm bowl of chili on a chilly day (no pun intended). Made from ground chili beef, dried and toasted Mexican chiles, tomatoes, and beans (don’t tell any fellow Texans that I put beans in my chili) this slow cooker chili recipe is like comfort in a bowl. It is perfect for those cold days when you just need something that is hearty and will warm you from the inside out.

I make my chili in a slow cooker. I mean who doesn’t love to come home and have dinner already made? My current slow cooker also browns which makes recipes like this chili recipe a one-pot dish. If you don’t have a slow cooker or crockpot you can easily make this chile in a dutch oven or stockpot.

Don’t tell my fellow Texans that I like beans in my chili.

Happy Eats!

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Let’s Talk Ingredients

overhead shot of slow cooker ingredients - chiles, ground beef, 2 cans of beans, can of whole tomatoes, mexican oregano, cumin seeds

For my chili recipe, I don’t have a long list of ingredients. Other than the toasting of the chiles it is a pretty simple recipe with little prep.

  • Ground Beef or Chuck: While you can use any ground of beef (or even turkey) I prefer the beef that is ground specifically for chili. The courser grind of beef really makes it stand out in the recipe. I also go for an 80/20 beef (or turkey) so that the meat doesn’t dry out during the cooking process.
  • Beans: I go for a combo of pinto and red kidney beans in my recipe but I have also made this recipe with black beans.
  • Tomatoes: Since I am using dried and toasted chiles in my recipe, I use a regular can of whole peeled tomatoes.
  • Chiles: I prefer a combo of Ancho chiles and Guajillo chiles in my recipe. Ancho chiles are more commonly found and they can easily replace the Guajillo chiles in this recipe. In my recipe post for Red Chile Chicken Street Tacos, I explain more about Guajillo and Ancho chiles.
  • Spices: Other than salt and pepper this recipe also calls for chili powder, garlic powder, cumin seeds, and Mexican oregano. The cumin seeds are also toasted along with the chiles but if you have to substitute for ground cumin skip the step that has you toast them.

Let’s Talk Toppings

Bowl of chili with cheese, green onions, and corn bread muffin

There are so many toppings that you can put on your chili. These are a few of my favorites.

  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Avocado
  • Jalapeno
  • Green Onions
  • Cilantro
  • Diced White Onions
  • Corn Bread
  • Tortilla or Pita Chips
  • Saltine Crackers

What to Serve with Chili

Chili only freezes well but also keeps in the refrigerator for several days which makes it great for leftovers. There are so many ways to serve chili you could have it in a different dish every night for a week. These are a couple of my go-to ways for serving chili.

  • Traditional Bowl of Chili – Grab a bowl, spoon, and your favorite toppings for a hearty bowl of chili.
  • Frito Pie – Serve chili with your favorite corn chips and cheese for a game day get-together.
  • Baked Potato – Stuff a traditional russet or sweet potato with chili for a great gluten-free dinner.
  • Corn Bread Casserole – Top your chili with your favorite cornbread batter and then bake in the oven.
  • Chili Queso or Cheese Dip – Combine your favorite queso or cheese dip with equal parts chili and serve with tortilla chips for a great appetizer.
  • Chili Cheese Burgers – Skip the mayo, lettuce, and tomato and instead top your burger with some chili and a slice of cheddar cheese.

Let’s Get Cooking

Are you ready for a bowl of hearty chili? I prefer to use my slow cooker but you can also use a dutch oven, large saucepan, or stockpot.

Pro-tip: Make a little extra chili as it freezes well. It makes for a great quick and easy comfort meal.

Bowl of chili with shredded cheese and corn bread muffins

Slow Cooker Chili

My favorite slow cooker chili recipe tastes like comfort in a bowl and is made with ground beef, beans, and chiles. It is perfect for a cold day or for a game day get-together. Grab your spoon and enjoy.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 5 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 477 kcal


Chile Sauce

  • 3 Guajillo chiles, dried
  • 1 Ancho chiles, dried
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, whole
  • 1 15 oz can of tomatoes, whole and peeled
  • ½ cup beef broth

Ground Beef

  • 1 lb ground beef or chuck, chili grind
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano, dried
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 1 15 oz can of pinto beans, drained
  • 1 15 oz can of red kidney beans, drained


Chile Sauce

  • In a small cast-iron frying pan, toast chiles and whole cumin seeds for approximately 30 seconds. Once you begin to smell the chiles and cumin seeds they are done toasting.
  • Blend toasted chiles and cumin seeds with beef broth and tomatoes until pureed. Set aside.
    Chile sauce

Ground Beef

  • In a medium frying pan brown ground beef and add salt, pepper, Mexican oregano, chili powder, and garlic powder while browning.


  • Place browned ground beef in slow cooker.
    overhead shot of ground beef in slow cooker
  • Stir chile sauce into ground beef.
    Overhead shot of chile sauce being poured into slow cooker with ground beef
  • Stir drained bean into the ground beef and chile mixture.
    Overhead shot of chili in slow cooker with beans, chile sauce, and ground beef prior
  • Cover with lid and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Taste and add salt, pepper, or additional chili powder as needed. Add ½ teaspoon at a time to avoid over spicing.
    Overhead shot of chili in slow cooker without lid
  • Serve warm with favorite toppings.


If you using a slow cooker that browns then brown the ground beef in the slow cooker and then add chile sauce and beans.  Switch setting to low and cook for 5-6 hours.
Chili will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Chili can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container.


Serving: 1 servingCalories: 477 kcalCarbohydrates: 44 gProtein: 34 gFat: 18 gSaturated Fat: 7 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 75 mgSodium: 1093 mgPotassium: 135 mgFiber: 15 gSugar: 5 gVitamin A: 30 IUVitamin C: 16 mgCalcium: 9 mgIron: 30 mg
bowls of chili with shredded cheese and corn bread muffin

Did you make this recipe?

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