Classic Slow Cooker Beef Chili: Slow cooked all day for a quick, hearty, and delicious weeknight dinner, it’s the perfect fall or winter one-pot meal!

Classic Slow Cooker Beef Chili

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

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.

This is largely because of that long cook time.

Served up with lime tortilla chips and all of my favorite chili toppings, this slow cooker beef chili 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.

Classic Slow Cooker Beef Chili

  • Prep Time: 15min
  • Cook Time: 8-9hrs (low) or 5-6hrs (high)
  • Yield: 8-10 servings


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
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


  • 01

    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.  Stir in the diced tomatoes and their juices and scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

  • 02

    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.

  • 03

    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.

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

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