This Easy Slow Cooker Chili recipe is a hearty dish that’s comforting on a cold winter’s day.
After I spend a couple of hours shovelling the sidewalk and driveway, the last thing I want to do is make dinner. This easy slow cooker chili recipe is a dinner staple at my house in the winter months, because I can throw it together in the morning, and it’s ready when I’m tired and grumpy in the evening. I love the bold flavours and spiciness of this recipe, but if you’re looking for a milder chili you might want to check out my white turkey chili instead.
Like all of my favourite recipes, this spicy beef chili is comforting, hearty, and super easy to make. I promise, the hardest thing about this recipe is browning the beef! And really that’s not hard, it’s just a bit messy. I’ll admit that browning meat is not my favourite thing to do, but I always make sure to do it. It’s the only way to get that delicious rich beefy flavour in your chili.
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 it’s a good idea not to skip that step.
Once you’ve brown the meat, everything else is pretty much throw-and go. This is a chilli con carne with beans recipe, because I like adding beans to my chili. I know that’s a big no no to die-hard chilli con carne fans, so if that’s you, you can leave the beans out but you might have to adjust the liquid quantities a bit. If you are using the beans, make sure that you drain and rinse canned beans, because that salty sludge has no place in your food. In fact, a dietician once told me that you can drastically reduce the amount of sodium in canned beans, just by washing them!
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 tex-mex dish, actually.
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 it adds a nice flavour to this 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! I like to serve this chili with garlic bread, cheddar jalapeño corn bread, or breadsticks, because I love carbs 🙂
Do you like your chili straight up or with a side dish? Let me know in the comments!
Easy Slow Cooker Chili
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion , diced
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 19 oz can red kidney beans , rinsed and drained
- 1 19 oz can romano beans , rinsed and drained
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp roasted cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne , or to taste
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1 tbsp hot pepper 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.
- sour cream
- shredded cheese
- hot sauce
- sliced jalapeños
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