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This slow cooker chili is the perfect heartwarming (and belly warming) comfort food. Loaded with 3 different kinds of meat, kidney beans, tomatoes, and the perfect blend of spices, it’s sure to have you coming back for seconds.

A bowl of slow cooker chili loaded with toppings.
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There’s nothing quite like a bowl of warm chili on a cold day (or any day for that matter). This chili is hand down my favorite. Spicy but not overwhelmingly so and loaded with kidney beans and three different kinds of meat. Three! I love how easy it is to get on the table as well. Just wait. I’d bet it becomes your new favorite bowl of comfort as well. Especially if you pair it with my famous cornbread.

Why This Is The Best Slow Cooker Chili Recipe

You need this crockpot chili in your life for a plethora of reasons, but here are the ones that come to the top of my mind.

  • Incredibly easy. Aside from browning the beef, all you have to do is load some ingredients into a crockpot, push a couple of buttons, and walk away. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
  • A flavorful masterpiece. This chili is wonderfully rich and savory with just the right amount of heat from the chili powder and the red pepper flakes and a lovely acidity from the tomatoes. Delish!
  • Topping central. I love all of the different ways you can dress this chili up! Check out the section below titled “Crockpot Chili Topping Ideas” and start dreaming up what you want in your toppings bar.
Ingredients for slow cooker chili.

What You’ll Need

Here’s what you’ll need to make this slow cooker chili recipe. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card below for precise measurements.

  • Ground meat – I used a combination of ground veal, pork, and beef but if you can’t find it all at your local market or butcher, go ahead and use all ground chuck (or a combo of ground chuck and ground pork).
  • Fresh veggies and aromatics – I went with onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Feel free to add a seeded and diced jalapeno to the mix for a little extra heat.
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Tomato paste
  • Granulated sugar
  • Herbs and seasoning – Chili powder, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.
  • Canned red kidney beans – Be sure to drain and rinse your kidney beans, otherwise, they will add a strange viscosity to the chili.
  • Toppings – I went with red onions, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and green onions but check out the section below titled “Crockpot Chili Topping Ideas” for more ideas.

How to Make Chili in the Slow Cooker

This slow cooker chili is so gloriously easy to make. Here’s a quick overview of how it’s done. You’ll find more detailed instructions in the recipe card below.

  • Brown the meat. Brown meat over medium-high heat, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon as you go. Drain and transfer to a slow cooker.
  • Load the crockpot. Stir the rest of the chili ingredients into the ground meat in the basin of the slow cooker.
  • Cook. Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
  • Serve. Serve hot with desired toppings.
2 bowls of slow cooker chili loaded with toppings.

Tips & Variations

While this is a super simple recipe, there are a few things you want to keep in mind if you want the best result possible. Here come my pro tips and a few fun variation ideas for you.

  • Brown the meat. It might be one extra step but it really does make a difference. Browning the beef before loading up the crockpot will drastically deepen the flavor of this savory stew.
  • Drain your beans. Forgetting to drain your beans will add an unpleasant viscosity to the chili.
  • Low and slow. If you have the time to cook this chili on low for 8 hours, do it. Cooking it on high for 5-6 hours also works (just not quite as well in my opinion). Whatever you do, do not attempt to cook it for less time. The flavors won’t deepen properly.
  • Use a different protein. I use a combination of ground veal, beef, and pork but you could use just beef (or just beef and pork). You could try ground chicken and/or turkey instead for a leaner stew or impossible meat to make it vegetarian. Another option is using cubed chuck instead of ground beef. Just be sure to give it a good sear first.
  • Adjust the spice. Feel free to use more or less chili powder and red pepper flakes depending on your spice preferences. You could also add a seeded, diced jalapeno to the slow cooker for a little extra heat.
  • Consider different beans. I like red kidney beans here but you could easily swap them out for black beans or pinto beans. Some people even use a combination of several different kinds of beans.
  • Add veggies. You are more than welcome to add more veggies to the mix. Drained canned corn would be a good way to go, as would diced carrots and/or zucchini.
Overhead image of a bowl of slow cooker chili loaded with toppings.

Crockpot Chili Topping Ideas

There are so many options when it comes to topping this chili. Make your ideal toppings bar using some or all of the following.

  • Jalapenos – You could use sliced fresh jalapenos or pickled jalapenos.
  • Cheese – I went with shredded cheddar but pepper jack would be yummy as well.
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Corn chips – Fritos would be so good! So would good ol’ fashioned potato chips.
  • Cilantro
  • Diced green chilis
  • Sliced green onion

What to Serve with Chili

I could eat this slow cooker chili all day every day as is, but I enjoy it even more with the company of a side dish or two. My favorite thing to serve it with, hands down, is Cornbread or Cornbread Casserole. That being said, I have been loving it with a slice or two of Garlic Bread and/or these Twice-Baked Loaded Ranch Potatoes.

Looking to round out your meal with some veggies? Enjoy a bowl of chili with a light green salad such as my Lightened Up Kale Caesar Salad or with a serving of Roasted Parmesan Broccoli.

Overhead image of 2 bowls of slow cooker chili loaded with toppings.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

  • To store. Allow the chili to cool to room temperature before sealing it in an airtight container. You can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat. Thaw the crockpot chili in the fridge (if frozen) before reheating it over medium-low heat in a pot on the stove, stirring occasionally. You could also microwave a bowl of chili in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until warm.

More Slow Cooker Recipes to Try

If you love the ease and simplicity of cooking in a slow cooker as much as I do, you need to check out these other awesome recipes. Let me know which is your favorite!

5 from 8 votes

Slow Cooker Chili

This easy, savory, just-the-right-amount-of-spicy slow cooker chili is loaded with 3 different kinds of meat, kidney beans, tomatoes, and the perfect blend of spices. You're going to love it!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings



  • 2 pounds (907 g) ground veal, pork, and beef mix, (also called meatloaf mix)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 14.5 ounce (411 g) canned diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 16 ounce (454 g) canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 16 ounce (454 g) tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Toppings: red onions, sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions
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  • In a large skillet, brown your meat. Crumble, drain, and place in the insert of your slow cooker.
    Adding browned meat to a crockpot.
  • Add in the rest of the chili ingredients, stir with a spatula to get everything mixed well and incorporated.
    Slow cooker chili in a crockpot.
  • Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
  • Serve hot with desired toppings.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


Serving: 1bowl (300 grams), Calories: 431kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 40g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 106mg, Sodium: 847mg, Potassium: 732mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 9g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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Photographs by Eat Love Eat

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Recipe Rating


  1. Fantastic! So easy and flavorful, it’s great on its own and was the perfect topping for chili dogs the next day!

  2. I love slow cooker chili. It saves me so much time on busy weeknights and the family loves it over baked potatoes.

  3. I made this for my family members and we all enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing another winning recipe with us!