Perfect for a cold winter night and a game day cookout, this Crock Pot Chili makes a big batch of this fan favorite. The best part? It makes so much that the whole family can have a big bowl of chili the next day—and maybe even the next day after that.
Easy to make and even easier to fall in love with, homemade chili is the ultimate comfort food for a reason. Hearty, packed with veggies, and loaded with our favorite toppings, this slightly spicy chili is a great way to not only feed a crowd, but to sneak more veggies into your kid's diet. Whether eaten from a bowl or scooped with tortilla chips, this chili will warm even the coldest souls.
What You Need to Make the Best Pot of Chili
Chili is always the right choice. So get your ingredients ready, dump 'em in, and walk away for a few hours, by the time you come back a thick chili you can stand a spoon in will be ready for you.
- Ground Chuck - lean ground beef works best!
- Onions - chopped
- Green Bell Pepper - chopped
- Garlic Cloves - minced
- Diced Tomatoes - don't drain the juice! It adds to the recipe.
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Chili powder
- Black Pepper
- Ground Red Pepper - add a little spice!
- Bay Leaf
- Light Red Kidney Beans - make sure to drain and rinse them before using.
How to Make This Easy Slow Cooker Chili
The beauty of slow cooking means that once you've done the prep and poured it in the crock pot, you're basically all set for the next 6-8 hours. Follow these steps to make the best chili recipe around.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, work in batches to brown the raw ground beef
- Once browned, crumble into pieces, drain the excess fat, and place in your slow cooker.
- Saute onion and garlic in the same pan used to brown beef. Add to slow cooker.
- Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili beans, green peppers, and seasonings to your crock pot and mix thoroughly.
- Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low 7-8 hours. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
Serve with your favorite toppings and a side of cornbread or these yummy cheddar biscuits.
What to Serve With
Chili is all about personal tweaks, so this is really your time to shine! Make a chili bar full of classic toppings like cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions, corn chips, and hot sauce!
Leftover chili is one of the best ways to mix things up. Try adding it eggs in the morning, use it to top off a chili dog, or try mixing it with this creamy mac and cheese for some yummy chili mac.
And if you are looking for a lighter take on chili, this ground turkey chili and chicken taco chili are great options!
Expert Recipe Tips
After cooking the onions and garlic, add a little olive oil and saute the tomato paste until it reaches a dark red shade. This caramelizes the tomato paste and adds deeper flavor!
A little bit of brown sugar or even a piece of chocolate adds a subtle touch of sweetness and umami to the dish.
Looking to thin out a thicker chili? Instead of water, try using beef broth instead for more depth.
Leftovers and Reheating
Chili is even better the next day thanks to all that chili seasoning melding together as it sits. Store your leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for no more than four days or freeze it for up to four months. This is one of those tried and true recipes that can be made any way you like and last for a long time!
Pro Tip - freeze chili in individual portions to have some whenever you like without having to defrost the whole batch!
A touch of sweetness can turn a good chili great. It balances out the spicy, savory flavors without overpowering or changing the flavor profile. Give it a try, and start with a small amount if you're hesitant!
The best beans to use are ones that will keep their shape and texture through the long cooking process. Dark or light kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans are all great options.
A Dutch oven works just as well! You can even make this on the stove top in a heavy-duty pot; just adjust the heat and check in on the chili after 3-4 hours.
More Recipes to Try
A good chili is hard to get off the mind. Here are a few other hearty options for when you're craving a bite of comfort food.
Dive into a great chili recipe and let the good times (dinner) roll. If you've tried this recipe, please rate the recipe and drop a comment below to help out the next reader.
Big Batch Crock Pot Chili
- 4 lbs ground chuck
- 2 medium onions - chopped
- 1 green bell pepper - chopped
- 2 garlic cloves - minced
- 3 14 ½ oz cans diced tomatoes, untrained
- 4 8-oz cans tomato sauce
- 1 6-oz can tomato paste
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 16-ounce cans light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- Toppings: sour cream - shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, sliced ripe black olives
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, work in batches to brown the ground chuck.
- Crumble, drain and place in a 6 quart or larger slow cooker.
- Stir in the onion through kidney beans.
- Cover and cook on High for 5 to 6 hours or on Low 7 to 8 hours. Remove and discard bay leaf. Serve with desired toppings and some cornbread. Told ya it was simple.
Nutritional informations provided as a courtesy and is only an approximatation. Values will changes based on ingredients used.
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Belinda @zomppa says
I miss real snow!! Now it's just cold...no snow, just cold - not fun! This big batch is absolutely perfect for these face-freezing days.
After the temps got down to the 20s last night here in FL, I have changed my mind about wanting snow. We just couldn't take it here. As it is, I have a casserole in the oven for breakfast and the dryer running with laundry I started at 6:30 am to heat up the house!! The chili looks like just the ticket for a cold day.
Blog is the New Black says
I want snow, too!!!! Love chili this time of year...
Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says
The cold might be easier to handle if there were at least flurries to go along with it. I'm all set with a winter like last year though. Not again thanks. 🙂
Sandra's Easy Cooking says
Absolutely amazing recipe, and photos are as always so tempting and beautiful! Very well done, and Have a wonderful New Year!!!!
Nothing like chili when there is snow on the ground and you've been out snow shoeing or skiing. That and an ice cold beer in front of the fire is FANTASTIC! Making this recipe soon, only thing i am going to do is make it with some venison chop meat. I recently stumbled across this blog looking for a venison recipe and I have been hooked ever since. Keep these great recipes coming!
I would totally use venison if I had some. Sadly, I haven't had any yet this year winter. *Fingers crossed*
I was lacking a lot of holiday spirit before I left Memphis for the holidays. The warmer weather really does prevent it! But then again I grew up in Rochester, NY so I'm still just not used to it being warm-ish this time of year. Still didn't have any snow while I was back home though :-(.
Love that this chili was made in a slow cooker. I've thought about making my chili recipe in there before but wondered how it would work out.
Isabelle @ Crumb says
I only ever make chili in enormous batches... it just doesn't make sense to do otherwise, considering it doesn't take much longer to make a double-sized batch, and the leftovers freeze beautifully. 🙂 Love the idea of making it even easier by using a slow-cooker... sounds perfect for a lazy weekend.
Lauren at Keep It Sweet says
This chili would be perfect for a cold and snowy day! I love the snow but wish we got snow days as adults:-)
My Hubby and I were just talking yesterday about making chili. We do not have snow yet, but chili sounds good. Love your photos!
Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts says
Oh yum! What a great bowl of chili! This CO winter thing is strange to me. We got 8 inches of snow a couple days before Christmas, but it is all gone and has been in the 50's for the last few days.
Kiri W. says
Dang, I really need to get myself a slow cooker already! Though I only cook for two, so I'm not sure how big a batch would make sense, haha. Looks like a wonderfully hearty, warming chili!
I only cook for two as well, but this is one of those worth it meals. It also makes great quick meals later when I don't want to cook. Since its stocked in the freezer, I can just pull it out when needed. 🙂
I want snow too!! In the worst way...I am a snowboarder so this 50 degree weather we have been having HAS TO GO! I hate it haha
This chili does look super easy, I dunno where I might have gotten that idea from 😉
It is DEFINITELY chili season here. Freezing! This looks great.
i love making huge batches of chili and soup too. This one looks so hearty and delicious!
Taylor (Dionnes doter) says
I'm with you, let's have some SNOW! C'MON! 🙂 I have everything I need for this chili so I can make it when it does. Love the chili and those bowls!
Tony B says
Nice find.... Southern Living isn't in my magazine rotation so thanks for sharing it.. Great pics as well.
I realize the recipe states to use a six quart or larger crock pot; however, what is the actual yield?
A ton. I have never measured it out because we always freeze batches for later. I have had hungry 6 people over for dinner with this recipe and everyone left with hefty size to go portions as well. This is a feed the football team sort of meal.
Val Corso says
This is in my crockpot now, I figure next week the leftovers will give us a break from being turkeyed to death but with 2 teenage boy chiliholics in the house I don't know... The only changes I made were to use half the ground beef called for, it makes it more economical and I'm glad I did, usually my crock pot is big enough to handle anything I put in it but it's filled to the brim. There was only room for one large onion and I reduced the chili powder, I'm not used to making giant batches of food but it looked like an awful lot. In a little while I'll taste it and add more if needed. Now comes the hard part, waiting all day to eat it while the house smells so good!
I just made this recipe for my son's first birthday party and it turned out great!! If anyone is wondering how many people it feeds we had about 25 people there, and the only changes I made were I added an extra can of tomatoes and some more spice, only cause my chili powder was a little old and blah. Lol but I got a lot of complements. Thank you for posting this. I'm just a little disappointed there were no leftovers.
It does stink that there are no leftovers! I love this recipe because I know I don't have to cook for a few days ;D
This recipe is the closest to the way Mom used to make chili that I've seen anywhere, and she made the best chili ever (naturally). Thanks for this. I'm going to make some today, and keep those six cans of chili I have in he cupboard on hold for emergencies!
I’d only ever made New Mexico style chile before the other day when I needed to find a recipe for western chili for a work thing. I searched “big batch chili” in Pinterest and this was the first recipe I read. I decided to try it and it was fantastic. I tweaked the recipe a little because I’m not a huge fan of beans in chili or bell peppers in general, so I skipped those and used a couple of jalapeños instead. I thought I had crushed red pepper but I didn’t so I substituted the same amount of Hatch red pepper seasoning.
I mean it, this was the best chili I’ve ever had, and it got rave reviews at work. I’m going to make some again today so I don’t have to share it. A+
Regan Leger says
By chance i was wondering if you knew where to find those bowls
Hey Regan, these were a family hand me down. however, I know that my family got them from (and this is awful) back in the day when you could trade in cigarette points for things out of a catalog. I have seen very similar ones made from tin at REI or similar ones in antique stores. Good luck!
I was looking for a recipe with more precise measurements since I was making for a party. Kept the bones of this recipe but doubled the chili powder and added cumin and garlic salt. I used pinto and kidney beans! Super good and easy to make a head!
Can you make this a day before
Absolutely, and I would encourage you to. The flavor is better when it sat for a day. Store the chili in an airtlgiht container once it has cooled in the fridge and then reheat in batches as needed, or if feeding a crowd, reheat in the slow cooker.
If was 18 degrees last night here in Wisconsin and there's been snow on the ground for some time.
This is a beautiful recipe to get through the cold weather yet to come in February the month we have ourcoldest weather to come.
So I'll be enjoying this chili and hunkering down to get through the coldest time.
Enjoy this recipe folks!
Will this fit in a 7qt crockpot?
It should! Let me know if you have any troubles with it.