This recipe for The Best Crock Pot Chili gets better as it cooks low and slow in the slow cooker. Ground beef, seasonings and tons of flavor!
THE BEST CROCK POT CHILI
For me, there is nothing more comforting on a cool fall day than some delicious chili and warm CORNBREAD straight out of the oven! I actually won a chili cook-off with this recipe so I can promise you that it is one that most people love without it being too spicy or overwhelming with strong flavors. Most of us want to enjoy the flavor of the chili - not just spiciness and heat.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Yes! This is really where the crock pot shines. Chili loves to cook slowly for a longer amount of time. It also wastes a whole lot less electricity than if you let it cook on your stovetop all day!
I have two actually. A can of refried beans and Worcestershire sauce. The refried beans really give the chili a nice thick texture (and flavor!) and the Worcestershire adds just a tiny background flavor that people can never quite put their finger on but makes all the difference!
In general, the longer the chili gently simmers, the better and deeper the flavors get. See my question below about overcooking.
Strictly speaking, you do not. You could technically put in a very lean meat in with your other ingredients and let it cook then break it up as you go or at the very end. However, I have found through lots of trial and error that it really is best to brown the meat first. It makes a huge difference in the overall final dish and helps to keep the chili from getting too greasy.
I think 8 to 10 hours should probably be the maximum amount of cook time. After that, the beans start to break down from being overcooked. It's not going to make you sick or anything but you start losing that optimal texture and flavor. If you have a programmable slow cooker, set it for about a 6 hour cook time then let it go to the "keep warm" setting until you're ready to eat.
Cornmeal helps. Start with a tablespoon then stir for a few minutes. Continue adding cornmeal and stirring it in until you reach your desired thickness. You could also use an extra can of kidney beans or pinto beans and mush them up really well then add to the crock pot. Allow the mixture to continue to simmer for about an hour and you should see the chili start to thicken.
When you've cooked chili and stored it in the refrigerator overnight, then go to pull it out the next day to reheat, it always seems to taste better, right? You aren't imagining that - Chili is so much better the next day! Basically that time it is hanging out in the fridge is giving time for those chili flavors to really deepen without overcooking. It is creating it's own unique flavor that you just can't get from the chili while it is still cooking. So save those leftovers!
Absolutely! Just pop your leftovers back into the slow cooker and (depending on how quickly you need it) set it on a high or low setting for a couple of hours until warmed through.
As I stated above, chili is wonderful when stored in the refrigerator overnight. So store leftovers in a lidded container (allow the chili to cool slightly before doing this.) Chili can also be frozen. Just make sure you are storing it in an airtight container that is freezer safe.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR CHILI: (FULL RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)
- ground beef
- chili powder
- petite diced tomatoes
- tomato sauce
- dark red kidney beans
- beef broth
- refried beans
- Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper
HOW TO COOK CHILI IN A CROCK POT:
In a skillet, brown and crumble ground beef with celery, onion and garlic over medium high heat until meat is completely brown and vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
Drain excess grease and pour beef mixture into a 4 quart (or larger) crock pot.
Open cans of tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans (do not rinse or drain) and refried beans, beef broth and dump those into the crock pot. Add chili powder, cumin, Worcestershire sauce and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cover with lid and cook on low for 4-6 hours (the longer, the better.)
Taste before serving and add more salt and pepper as necessary.
Serve with your favorite toppings.
CRAVING MORE? GIVE THESE RECIPES A TRY!
THE BEST CROCK POT CHILI
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 ½ tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ tablespoon minced
- 1 (15 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans
- 1 (15 oz) can beef broth
- 1 (15 oz) can refried beans
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper, to taste
- shredded cheddar cheese, chopped onions and sour cream
- In a medium skillet, brown and crumble ground beef with celery, onion and garlic over medium high heat (until meat is completely brown and vegetables are tender.) Season with salt and pepper.
- Drain excess grease and pour beef mixture into a 4-quart or larger crock pot.
- Open cans of tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans (do not rinse or drain), refried beans, beef broth and dump those into the crock pot. Make sure you break up the refried beans a bit after putting those in the pot.
- Add chili powder, cumin, Worcestershire sauce and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover with lid and cook on low for about 4-6 hours (the longer, the better).
- Taste before serving and add more salt and pepper as necessary.
- Serve with your favorite toppings. This is great for a crowd. It is easily doubled and you can put toppings out in bowls and let guests add whatever they like.
- If you want to turn the heat up on your chili, you can add 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced to the pot. Or, you can just add a few shakes of hot sauce.
- Also, try adding other types of beans along with the kidney beans. Pinto beans and black beans would be great in here.
- If you like your chili even thicker, add a bit of cornmeal. Or use an extra can of kidney beans or pinto beans and mash them up really well then add to the slow cooker. Simmer for an additional hour.
- Diced green peppers can also be added to this chili if you enjoy them. Sauté them along with the ground beef, celery and onion.
Originally published: January 2011
Updated & republished: September 2019