We’re going to talk about this awesome easy slow cooker chili recipe in a minute. But first, I want to explain why I haven’t blogged in several weeks.
January is always a stupid month for me. For the past few years I have spent the first month of the year sorting through paperwork for my taxes, and contemplating the future of my blog. After 5 and half years, it’s becoming tricky to find ways to keep things fresh around here! It took several weeks, but I finally finished sorting out my tax papers and I’ve come up with two new features for my blog. I’m not saying what they are yet… but it’s so exciting that I won’t be able to keep the news to myself for long. Stay tuned!
Now that February is here, it’s time to get back to sharing recipes! This easy slow cooker chili recipe is totally a dinner staple at my house. It’s comforting, hearty, and super easy to make. The hardest thing about this recipe is browning the beef, and really that’s not hard, it’s just a bit messy. Browning meat is not my favourite thing to do (sometimes the smell of fat makes me feel sick), but I always make sure to do it. You just won’t get delicious rich flavours without browning your meat.
Also, if you don’t brown your meat you lose the opportunity to get rid of a lot of fat in this dish. There is a common misconception that all slow cooker dishes can be made by throwing in ingredients and letting it cook all day. If you throw in the ground beef without browning and draining it, you’re going to end up with a horrible greasy mess. Even lean beef can release a lot of fat during the cooking process, so please don’t skip that step.
Once you’ve brown the meat, everything else is pretty much throw-and go. Do make sure that you drain and rinse your canned beans though, because that salty sludge in the can has no place in your food. I’ve used red kidney and romano beans (a.k.a. cranberry beans), but you can use any beans that you like. Black beans would be very good in this dish actually.
FUN FACT: Have you ever wondered what Chilli Con Carne is? Apparently, it’s a Tex-Mex dish that means “chili with meat.” Some people think that it’s sacrilege to add beans to this dish, while others happily enjoy Chilli Con Carne with Beans.
You can also alter the amount of heat in this dish. I used a small amount of cayenne pepper, so feel free to bump that up if you like. I also use Frank’s RedHot Chile ‘n Lime Hot Sauce because I it adds so much flavour to chili, but you can use any hot sauce that you enjoy. It’s funny, I don’t like the original Frank’s RedHot sauce, but the chili and lime version is one of my favourites… it’s also kind of hard to find so I try to stock up on bottles when I see them.
I prefer to cook this chili on high for about 5 hours, because the chili cooks down and there’s not a lot of liquid left in the slow cooker. You can definitely cook this on low for 8 hours, but you might find that there is more liquid left in the crock pot. If this happens, and it bothers you, you can always put the chili into a large pot and turn the heat up on high. This will help the liquid evaporate quickly, but be sure to keep an eye on it (stirring often), so it doesn’t burn.
Once your easy slow cooker chili is done cooking, go crazy with the toppings! You can use sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, hot sauce, jalapeños, whatever! Get creative and tell your friends you’ve made your family’s signature chili recipe for them. No one needs to know 😉
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 2 lbs lean ground beef (defrosted, if using a frozen product)
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (19oz) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (19oz) romano beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (28oz) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (6oz) tomato paste
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne (add more if you want a spicier chili)
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1½ cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1 tbsp hot pepper sauce (like Frank's RedHot Chile 'n Lime Hot Sauce)
- sour cream
- shredded cheddar cheese
- sliced avocado
- more hot sauce
- Place a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat.
- When the skillet is warm, add the oil and warm through until the oil is shimmering.
- Meanwhile, line a plate with paper towels and set near the stove.
- Brown the beef in batches, using a heat-proof spatula to break up big clumps. Once the meat is browned, use a slotted spoon to transfer beef to the prepared plate.
- Once the meat has been browned, lower your heat to medium and add the onion to the pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes, so the onion can begin to soften. Then add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the drained beef, onions and garlic to your slow cooker, and turn off your stove.
- Add the rest of the ingredients (except the toppings) to your slow cooker. Use a wooden spoon to stir everything together, then put the lid on. Set your slow cooker on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
- Be sure to adjust the seasoning before eating, if needed. Serve with desired toppings.