This Classic Crock Pot Beef Chili is slow cooked all day for a quick, hearty, and delicious weeknight dinner. It’s the perfect fall or winter one pot meal!

Classic Crock Pot Beef Chili served in a white bowl with sour cream, cheese, limes, and corn bread.

Even though I’m totally ready to shovel out the grill and make some chicken fajitas, this slow cooker beef chili is still a much more relevant meal for March in New England.

And hey, with more snow forecast again this week (and maybe next week too!), I might just take advantage of this one-pot, cook-all-day-long recipe by busting out the slow cooker this week.

Classic Slow Cooker Beef Chili

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I made this slow cooker chili for my book club girlfriends a while back and since being out of the house for a minimum of 10 hours each day prevents me from being able to spend the time I want to devote to cooking a fantastic meal for them, I thought this would be perfect. It was!

The long, slow cook allows for all of the best chili spices to mingle up into the beef and red kidney beans.

In fact, as much as I adore my black bean and beef chili – and have for years! – this slow cooker beef chili has quickly become a new favorite. And this is largely because of that long, slow cook time.

Served up with lime tortilla chips and all of my favorite chili toppings, this slow cooker beef chili recipe completely knocked it out of the park on a cold night in with great friends and a few bottles of wine.

And quite befitting of our group, where we always have more to talk about than the book itself, we lingered at the table over dinner and a pumpkin bundt cake with cream cheese frosting for dessert, long into evening.

A good night, and meal, with friends indeed.

Leftover Chili

In spite of serving 6 friends and Kyle, there was still A LOT of chili leftover at the end of the night. So, what can you do with leftover chili?

Well, of course you can freeze leftover chili! Almost any type of chili freezes really well. Sometimes I put a few servings in a zip top bag and squeeze all of the air out.

Other times, I pack the leftovers into Souper Cubes to freeze. This way, the chili is packed into exactly 2 cup servings and I can reheat only the amount I need for a quick lunch or easy dinner.

Nachos are a fantastic way to use up leftover chili! We make these sheet pan nachos every single time we have chili leftovers and they never disappoint.

If you’re a carb-loving bunch, chili loaded baked potatoes are one of the most simple dinners you could make. Just like my beef taco and chicken taco loaded baked potato recipes, a super flavorful protein like chili with all its toppings is the perfect way to stuff a hot baked potato.

Beef Taco Loaded Baked Potatoes

beef taco loaded baked potatoes

What To Serve with Beef Chili

My go-to chili side dish will always be some type of cornbread. And yes, that’s even if I’m scooping chili from the bowl with giant Fritos or tortilla chips.

My favorite cornbread recipes to make with chili are jalapeño cheddar cornbread and this skillet cornbread with honey butter slathered all over the top if it.

Of course, Jiffy cornbread mix works just as well so if that’s what you’ve got, go for it!

Classic Crock Pot Beef Chili served in a white bowl with sour cream, cheese, limes, and corn bread.

Classic Crock Pot Beef Chili

Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 45 minutes

Crock Pot Beef Chili is the perfect fall and winter meal to slow cook all day and pile up with toppings for dinner at night. This beef chili recipe is a classic one with just a little heat that you can dial up or down depending on preferences. Freeze leftover chili for future meals or use the leftovers to make nachos!

Ingredients

For the chili:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 medium onions, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 (15.5 oz) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (28 oz) can tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2-4 tsp minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (optional)
  • 2 lbs 85% lean ground beef
  • Ground black pepper

Toppings suggestions:

  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • Diced avocado
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or Monterey jack, pepper jack, colby, etc.)
  • Diced raw onions
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chopped scallions or chives
  • Tortilla chips, Fritos, or both (!!)
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, garlic, chili powder, tomato paste, cumin, red pepper flakes, and ¼ teaspoon salt, and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened. 
  2. Stir in the diced tomatoes and their juices and scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Transfer the onion mixture to the slow cooker and mix in the beans, tomato puree, soy sauce, oregano, sugar, and chipotle until evenly combined. Season the ground beef with salt and pepper (just on the exterior of the molded chuck of meat) and break it up into smaller pieces in the slow cooker while you stir it into the other ingredients.  Cover and cook for 8-9 hours on LOW or 5-6 hours on HIGH.
  3. Before serving, skim off any visible fat floating on the top of the chili.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with toppings.

Notes

adapted from The Best Slow and Easy Recipes, by the editors of Cook's Illustrated

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