Slow Cooker Beef Chili

This classically seasoned ground beef chili is one for the ages.  There is no fancy footwork, no esoteric ingredients, no cutting edge flavors, no surprises at all.  Which in my decades of chili making, is really what I think people want from a bowl of chili.

You could 100% make this chili on the stovetop if you don’t have a slow cooker, or aren’t in a slow cooker frame of minds.  Instead of cooking it on low for 8 hours, just simmer it for 1 on the stovetop. The slow cooker advantage, of course, is that you can (in the immortal words of I have no idea who) set it and forget it.  Make it early in the day, leave it safely bubbling away in the slow cooker, and come home to a comfort food dinner.

Slow Cooker Beef Chili

Chili Bean Choices

I used kidney beans (classic) in this chili, but you can use any beans you like, such as chickpeas, cannellini beans, black beans, pinto beans, or a combination. 

Chili Variations

Chili is imminently flexible. Use any color bell pepper you like, use any type of onion you have (or shallots), leave out the meat and add two more cans of beans for a vegetarian chili. If you don’t have fresh garlic, use garlic powder.

This is not a very spicy chili, just moderately spicy, so if you are interested in more heat you can add more chili powder and also garlic powder., or a shake or two of cayenne or a squirt of hot sauce. Maybe some some minced jalapenos (leave some or all of the seeds in the more seeds, the more heat), and/or bump up the amount of chili powder and garlic in the recipe.  You can also offer sliced fresh or jarred jalapeno peppers as a topping choice for those looking for more spiciness.

Slow Cooker Beef Chili

How to Serve Chili

Chili begs to be served over rice.  Brown or white, your choice. It also begs (I am once again anthropomorphizing a food) to be topped.  Cheese, scallions, sour cream, salsa, tomatoes, avocado or guacamole, or as many as you see fit to pile on.  A loaded bowl of chili is a thing of beauty.

A super classic, soul satisfying chili, made in the crockpot.

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Slow Cooker Beef Chili

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Slow Cooker Beef Chili

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Slow Cooker Beef Chili

A super classic, soul satisfying chili, made in the crockpot.
Yield: 8 people
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes



  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper cored seeded and diced (green, red, orange, or yellow, your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, chick peas, or pinto beans drained and rinsed (or a combo, or whatever beans you prefer)
  • 2 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To Serve

  • Hot rice brown or white
  • Crumbled queso fresco or cojita cheese or shredded cheese
  • Sliced or minced scallions
  • Sour cream
  • Diced avocados or guacamole
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes
  • Lime wedges


  • Spray a large skillet and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the beef and saute breaking it up with a spoon or spatula into crumbles, until it is browned throughout. Drain in a colander.
  • Carefully wipe out the skillet and return to medium heat. Add the oil, and then add the onion and bell pepper and saute for 4 minutes until the vegetables have started to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute until you can smell the garlic. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and oregano, stir to combine, and then turn the mixture into a slow cooker. Add the browned beef, kidney beans, tomatoes, cayenne and salt and pepper and stir well. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  • Serve in bowls with the desired toppings.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 523kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 390mg | Potassium: 1443mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1317IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 9mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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