Crockpot Chili
This Crockpot Chili recipe is mega hearty, packed with flavor and can’t-stop-eating delicious. It’s made with a combination of lean ground beef, hot Italian sausage, kidney beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic and robust seasonings that slow cook all day as it fills your home with the tantalizing aroma of the BEST Crockpot Chili! Or more accurately, best chili – period. Top your easy Crockpot Chili with all your favorite toppings – cheese, sour cream, corn chips, green onions and just try and stop at one bowl. This Crockpot Chili recipe makes fantastic leftovers (it’s even better the next day) so it’s fabulous for make ahead meals and crowds and it also freezes beautifully for an instant dinner any night of the week.
Servings Prep Time
1012 10minutes
Cook Time
6hours
Servings Prep Time
1012 10minutes
Cook Time
6hours
Crockpot Chili
Ingredients
  • 1pound lean ground beef
  • 1pound Hot Italian sausage
  • 1 onionchopped
  • 1 large green bell pepperchopped
  • 1 large red bell pepperchopped
  • 6 garlic clovesminced
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes(no salt/seasonings added)
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans fire roasted diced tomatoes,with juices
  • 3 15 oz. cans dark kidney beansrinsed and drained
  • 14 oz. can mild diced green chiles
  • 1cup reduced sodium beef broth
  • 2tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 3tablespoons chili powder
  • 1TBS EACH ground cumin, beef bouillon
  • 2teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1tsp EACH smoked paprika, ground coriander
  • 1/2teaspoon pepper
  • salt to taste(I use 1/2 teaspoon – but start with less)
  • 1 bay leaf
Toppings (your favs!)
  • cheese
  • green onions
  • cilantro
  • Avocados/guacamole
  • crackers
  • chips
  • Sour cream/Greek yogurt
  • amazing with my Sweet Cornbread!
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add beef and sausage and cook until browned. Transfer to 6 or 7 quart slow cooker.
  2. To the same skillet (don’t wipe out) add onions and bell peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Transfer to slow cooker. Add all remaining Chili Ingredients to the slow cooker and give them a stir.
  3. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours (recommended) or on HIGH for 3-4 hours. Taste and add salt/pepper/cayenne pepper to taste. Serve with desired toppings such as cheese, sour cream, green onions, corn/tortilla chips, etc.
Recipe Notes

BEST CROCKPOT CHILI TIPS AND TRICKS

  • Sear beef.  For the best flavor, cook your beef in one batch and your Italian sausage in a second batch.  This allows you larger surface are for the beef/sausage to brown. 
  • Use both beef AND sausage. Adds a depth of flavor and texture.
  • Homemade chili seasonings.  The ingredient list may look like a lot of seasonings, but they take just minutes to throw into the Crockpot Chili and are my perfected spice blend for this quantity of chili.  You will never regret using homemade seasonings!
  • Season to taste. I have included quantities for all of the seasonings except the salt – this will depend on how salty your beef broth and soy sauce are as well as personal preference.  I would suggest starting with ¼ teaspoon salt, cook the chili then season to taste with additional salt as needed (I use ½ teaspoon total).  Remember, you can add more salt, but you can’t take it away!  
  • Large crockpot.  You will need at least a 6-quart slow cooker so your crockpot chili contents can fit comfortably.
  • Half recipe.  If you don’t have a large crockpot, you may half the recipe or cook in batches.
  • Stovetop chili.  Alternatively, you can simmer the chili, covered, on the stove for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally and replacing the lid. You will need to add additional beef broth as much more liquid is evaporated on the stove than the crockpot. 
  • Cook on low:  Chili is meant to cook low and slow for maximum flavor, ultra tender beef and the best marriage of flavors.  Plan on at least 6 hours. 
  • Thin chili.  After you’ve given your Crockpot Chili a good stir at the end of cooking and still want it a little thinner, you can thin with additional beef broth, stirring in ¼ cup increments until it reaches desired consistency.
  • Thick chili.  If you like extra thick chili, you can start with just ½ cup beef broth or omit it altogether.  If you would still like a thicker chili after cooking, then remove the lid of the slow cooker the last hour of cooking to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.
  • No peeking. Don’t lift the lid of the slow cooker until you’re read to test the chili for doneness (or for the aforementioned last hour to thicken chili).  Lifting the lid releases moisture and heat, and slows down cooking process.   Plan on adding an additional 15 minutes to the cooking time every time you lift the lid.  
  • Spice up chili.  Add jalapenos, hot sauce, cayenne pepper or chipotle peppers to spice it up.  You may also want to use these as a garnish so everyone can customize their own chili.
  • Refrigerate overnight:  I always like to cook my chili the day before I serve it and then refrigerate it overnight.  This doesn’t mean I don’t love a bowl (or two or three) the day I make it, but it is even more intoxicating if allowed to sit overnight.  The Crockpot Chili becomes thicker and even more flavorful as the ingredients meld and build.  This also makes for a stress-free meal any night of the week.

Prep ahead Crockpot Chili

Although this Crockpot Chili is fairly quick to prep, it still requires some chopping and stove time which can be done 100% in advance:

  • You may chop your veggies ahead of time and store them in an airtight container. 
  • You may also brown your beef ahead of time and store in an airtight container. 
  • You can combine the cooked veggies and browned meat with all the other chili ingredients in the crockpot insert, cover, and store in the refrigerator for up to two days before cooking. Add an additional 60 minutes to the cooking time.  Now all you have to do is plug in your slow cooker and push and press a couple buttons!

How to use leftover chili

  • Baked Potatoes: the most popular uses of chili has to be baked potatoes and chili dogs.  Bake potatoes, slice them open and top with spoonfuls of chili, sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions and bacon.  
  • Chili Dogs:  transform hot dogs into chili dogs by spooning on this crockpot chili recipe and topping with sharp cheddar cheese and optional jalapenos, red onions or green onions.
  • Chili Mac and cheese:  stir chili into your favorite mac and cheese recipe like this Salsa Verde Mac and Cheese or layer it in this Million Dollar Mac and Cheese.
  • Ramen: this might sound unconventional, but my husband’s favorite use of leftover chili is to stir it into ramen. The textures are a match made in heaven.
  • Rice or Mashed Potatoes:  Top rice or mashed potatoes with Crockpot Chili.  Top with desired toppings.
  • Chili Nachos:  Top your favorite cheesy chips with this Slow Cooker Chili recipe with all the toppings – sour cream, green onions, jalapenos, etc.
  • Cornbread and Chili Gravy:  Smother your favorite cornbread with chili and dig in!

HOW TO FREEZE CROCKPOT CHILI

Crockpot Chili freezes exceptionally well because it does not contain any dairy products, pasta or potatoes which sometimes can become a funny texture once frozen. This chili makes a large quantity so you may need to freeze some leftovers (although there are never any in our house).

To freeze chili before cooking:

  • Brown meat and sauté veggies according to recipe directions in a large Dutch oven (as opposed to a skillet).
  • Add all remaining chili recipe ingredients and give it a good stir to combine.
  • Divide chili into freezer friendly plastic containers or freezer bags. Squeeze out any air.
  • Label and date.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months.  Lay freezer bags flat to safe space.
  • Let frozen chili thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Transfer contents to crockpot and cook on LOW for 7-9 hours.

to freeze leftover crockpot chili:

  • Let chili cool completely.  If you have a full recipe of Crockpot Chili, you will want to divide it into multiple containers so it can cool down more quickly, otherwise it will stay at the danger zone for too long.
  • Divide chili into freezer friendly plastic containers or freezer bags. Squeeze out any air.
  • Label and date.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months.  Lay freezer bags flat to safe space.
  • Let frozen chili thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Transfer contents into a soup pot, microwave safe dish or crock pot to reheat.  To reheat in the crockpot, cook on low for 1-2 hours depending on leftover volume.