Easy Crockpot Chili Recipe for Busy Nights

Finding the best easy crockpot chili recipe has been a mission for me.

Crockpot chili is a fall and winter favorite in my house. Chili is the ultimate comfort food, and thanks to crockpots, this recipe is so easy to throw together on your way out the door in the morning!

Easy Crockpot Chili Recipe - shown are two bowls of slow cooker chili with crackers and toppings
Double the recipe & freeze leftover crockpot chili in serving-size freezer bags for a quick and healthy meal on busy nights!

The tangy, as-spicy-as-you-want bean and beef chili taste will warm your soul. It is that good.

Easy Crockpot Chili

Busy weeknights make getting dinner on the table sometimes an impossible task, but kids have to eat!  It is one of the reasons why I adore the slow cooker.

Just a few minutes in the morning and you can literally set it and forget it.

With this chili recipe, you are not giving up anything by using this convenience…in fact, I think the flavors blend together even better because it is cooked in the slow cooker!

Crock Pot Chili

This is by far the best crockpot chili recipe. While chili always makes for a quick dinner idea, crockpot chili takes it to a whole other level of easiness!

The best part is, you don’t have to mess with the stove top, your whole family will love it, AND it tastes even better the next day once all the seasoning really sits. It’s a great recipe. (This post contains affiliate links.)

Easy Crockpot Chili Recipe - ingredients
Chili is one of my favorite “last minute” recipes, because I usually have most, if not all, of the ingredients in my pantry!

Chili Crockpot Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 large (about 2 cups) onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cans (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4-5 tablespoons chili powder, more or less depending on taste
  • 2 cans (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 can (15.5 oz) chili beans, mild or hot
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) pinto beans, drained
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, more or less depending on taste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt

How to Make Crock Pot Chili

Double check that you have all of your supplies and ingredients, before you start! And don’t be afraid to make substitutions that make sense to you…the last thing you have time for is a trip to the grocery store.

Crockpot Chili Recipe - step to brown the beef
Cook the ground beef until it’s completely browned.

Step 1

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef until almost done.

Crockpot Chili Recipe - step to add the onions
Be careful not to burn the onions!

Step 2

Next, add chopped onions and garlic and cook until no pink remains in beef and onions are soft, about 3-5 minutes.

Crockpot Chili Recipe - step to add the other ingredients
Drain the meat before adding it to the rest of the chili ingredients.

Step 3

Drain well, and then add to the crockpot.

Crockpot Chili Recipe - add to crock pot step
Stir until ingredients are combined.

Step 4

Then, add remaining ingredients, and stir until well combined.

Crockpot Chili Recipe - crockpot cooking step
Now for the best part… leave it to cook!

Step 5

Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.

Crockpot Chili Recipe serving one
Search our site for a delicious homemade cornbread recipe that would go perfectly with chili!

Step 6

Serve with your favorite toppings.

Step 7

Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Crockpot Chili Recipe
Crockpot chili is one of my routine fall and winter meal prep foods! I whip up a big batch and then freeze most of it!

Crockpot Chili Recipe Notes

This recipe makes enough for a crowd. It can easily be cut in half (leave out pinto beans), or serve and freeze leftovers for another meal.

Make Ahead Tip: Cook the ground beef, onions and garlic and store in refrigerator in covered
container for 1-2 days prior to making chili.

Want a spicy chili?

Add your favorite hot sauce to the mix or chop up your favorite peppers like habanero peppers for high heat. Or if you want medium heat a jalapeno or poblano pepper will work.

Want leaner homemade chili? instead of using ground beef use ground turkey. Ground chicken is also an option for slow cooker chili recipe.

Want more flavor? Try ground pork!

The Best Crock Pot Chili Toppings

Not sure what to put on top of your chili? The options are endless, you can put all of your favorite things on top of your chili whether it’s fresh or leftover chili.

You can add stuff like:

  • cheddar cheese
  • green onions
  • fresh diced green peppers or any bell pepper
  • crushed up crackers
  • sour cream
Crockpot Chili
This crockpot chili recipe can easily be made into a vegetarian chili or vegan chili recipe with a few substitutions!

Chili Recipe Crock Pot Vegetarian and Vegan Variations

Chili is so easily adapted to fit different dietary requirements! In order to make vegetarian chili, simply omit the beef. You can use more beans, like black beans, and/ or add a vegetarian or vegan “beef crumble” substitute.

In order to make vegan chili, omit the meat, and be sure you aren’t adding any dairy products. For toppings, you can use vegan sour cream, and shredded vegan cheese.

Crockpot Chili Recipe

Crockpot Chili

This is the easiest chili recipe ever! Just a few minutes of prep time and then throwing the ingredients into a slow cooker will get you the most delicious dinner that the entire family will love.

Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 large (about 2 cups) onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cans (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 can (15.5 oz) chili beans, mild or hot
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) pinto beans, drained
  • 4-5 tablespoons chili powder, more or less depending on taste
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, more or less depending on taste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

    1. In a large skillet, cook ground beef until almost done.
    2. Add chopped onions and garlic and cook until no pink remains in beef and onions are soft, about 3-5 minutes.
    3. Drain well and add to Crockpot.
    4. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.
    5. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.
    6. Serve with your favorite toppings.
    7. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Notes

This recipe makes enough for a crowd. It can easily be cut in half (leave out pinto beans), or serve and freeze leftovers for another meal.

Make Ahead: Cook the ground beef, onions, and garlic, and store in the refrigerator in a covered container for 1-2 days prior to making chili.

How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat Crock Pot Chili

  1. Cool chili to room temperature or cool in fridge until your leftover chili is entirely cooled.
  2. Portion leftover chili into heavy duty freezer bags (I prefer the ziploc bags for how easy they seal). Fill each bag no more than 80% full allowing and squeeze excess air out before sealing allowing them to lay flat in the freezer and stack easily.
  3. Label your freezer bag, chili, and add the date.
  4. Freeze for up to 6 months…OK, 7-8 months commonly happens at my house, but optimally 6 months.
  5. When you are ready to defrost, simply transfer your frozen chili bag into the fridge and leave overnight or up to 48 hours. If you need a quick defrost, my favorite way is to use the defrost setting on your microwave.

Chili Crockpot Recipe FAQs

Can the ground beef in this chili crockpot recipe be substituted for ground turkey or another type of protein?

Yes, nearly any crumbled protein works as a suitable protein like ground turkey, ground chicken, extra firm seasoned tofu crumbles, crumbled browned tempeh, seasoned crumbled seitan, Beyond Meat beef crumbles, Boca ground crumbles or my favorite is the Morning Star Farms veggie Grillers Crumbles.

Do you need to brown meat before slow cooking chili?

Using a crockpot over hours to cook chili in this recipe is not to cook the meat, but to mix the rich chili flavors together. Whatever protein you use for making chili including ground beef needs to be browned first. We brown it with the onions for a deeper caramelized flavor which tastes great.

Can you put raw ground beef in the crock pot for chili?

Yes, you can add raw ground beef to your crockpot for making chili but you need to make sure that your crockpot got hot enough and cooked long enough to cook the ground beef thoroughly. You will be missing the caramelized goodness of browning the beef with onions!

How long can you slow cook chili?

Optimally, you can cook on a slow cooker high temperature setting for 2-3 hours or on a low setting for 4-6 hours. It is possible to leave it longer on low (for example, overnight), but it may have a slightly different texture from cooking that long.

Can you overcook chili in a crockpot?

Yes, when chili is overcooked it becomes a combination of dry and mushy and may include burned pieces.

More Chili and Cornbread Recipes We Love at Kids Activities Blog

Crockpot Chili Pasta Recipe
One pot chili pasta is a fun way to switch up your chili routine!

Chili is a fall and winter favorite for a reason! Check out all of these amazing recipes:

What did you think of the Easy Crockpot Chili Recipe?

2 Comments

  1. Laurie Rasor says:

    Have A Good Day

  2. Kristen Yard says:

    Aw, thank you, Laurie! I hope you have a good day, too! 🙂

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