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This easy crock pot chili recipe is easy to throw together and the slow cooker does all the hard work! There is nothing better than delicious chili in the Fall and Winter months.

Close up image of chili in a crock pot with a wooden spoon.
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Chili is something my family looks forward to and this classic slow cooker chili recipe is exactly what they want. It is the perfect and easy winter recipe.

Now that I brown my ground beef or turkey before I freeze it, making it in the crockpot is a breeze. I know your family is going to love this Winter Crockpot Recipe too. This really is a great recipe. Also check out Slow Cooker Brisket Chili.

When I have people over for the big game, this is my go-to chili recipe. Everyone loves this recipe and always comes back for more. My favorite thing to do is have a chili bar. I make several pots of chili and have my guest bring over their favorite topping.

The kids love it and the adults do too! Everyone tries different toppings and really brings everyone together and that is my favorite part.

Ingredients for easy crockpot chili:

  • Lean Ground beef – You can use ground turkey or ground chicken
  • Diced tomatoes – Crushed tomatoes work great or you can use a can of each.
  • Tomato sauce
  • Chili seasoning – Try making your own. We love using my homemade chili seasoning
  • Garlic salt
  • Onion – chopped (you can also add in diced green bell peppers or red bell peppers)
  • Kidney beans – You can also use pinto beans or chili beans
  • Shredded cheese or Sour Cream to serve

How to make chili in a crockpot

Cooked ground beef in a large cast iron skillet
  • Step 2 – Place the browned ground beef in the bottom of a crock pot.
Ground Beef in a slow cooker
  • Step 3 – Place all the remaining ingredients except for the shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream in the crock pot.
  • Step 4 – I cook this easy chili recipe on low for 6-8 hours or cook high for 3-4 hours.
  • Step 5 – This chili recipe is pretty thick as I love a thick chili in the winter time.  Once it has cooked, if you would like it to be thinner, I recommend adding 1 cup of beef broth to the crock pot for approximately 30 minutes. 
  • Step 6 – Stir occasionally until the chili is the consistency that you would prefer.
Chili in a crock pot with a wooden spoon
  • Step 7 – After this cooking time, top this chili with cheese, sour cream, and even some chopped green onion.  Yummy!

Tips for the Best Chili

  • We like to saute onions prior to putting them in the crock pot. But it isn’t necessary. You can also add in the spices to really enhance the flavors.
  • Cooking the chili on low in the crock pot helps the flavors to blend well together.
  • You can cook this chili on the stove top as well. We cook it on low and if the sauce gets to thick, we add in a little water. See How to Thicken Chili for tips.
  • Have you tried adding in some pepperoncini juice? It adds really good flavor and can be your secret ingredient.
  • Adding in a chili more chili powder or slice jalapenos really adds an additional kick to the chili.
  • Add in Bell Peppers or Red Peppers for some textures. The peppers are healthy and the kids won’t know they are eating them.
  • I usually have a variety of beans in my pantry. So I tend to mix and match the beans and use what I have.

Can I make this chili in the Instant Pot?

Yes you can! We love using out instant pot any chance we can. It has been a game changer for my family. You can easily brown your meat, saute your onions and vegetables and then add the rest of your ingredients.

Cover and set your pressure to about 20 minutes. Once it is done cooking set your pressure to release naturally before opening the lid.

Your chili is done quick and everyone has a warm bowl of chili to end their day.

close up image of chili in a crock pot.

Can you make your own chili seasoning mixture?

The short answer on this one is YES, definitely!  I love making my own chili seasoning mixture.  It not only saves money but I love knowing exactly what’s in my food.

Close up image of chili in a black bowl topped with cheese, sour cream and green onions.

Do you need to drain canned beans for this chili recipe?

For this recipe, I generally do not drain the kidney beans that are used in this easy crock pot chili as I find that it does not change the recipe or flavor if they are drained or not.

However, if you are going to use black beans instead of kidney beans (which would taste great too), I recommend that you drain and rinse the black beans prior to adding them to your slow cooker.

Close up image of chili in a black bowl topped with cheese, sour cream and green onions.

How to freeze Crock Pot Chili

We love to freeze chili. It freezes great and reheats really well. We think it actually taste better the next day.

I like to freeze small batches for quick lunches or for the kids to grab for an after school dinner. Chili is the perfect meal to make a double batch so you can freeze for dinner the next week.

Check out Can You Freeze Chili for more tips and tricks.

Ways to use leftover Chili

There are so many different ways to use leftover chili. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Top a Baked Potato
  • Chili Mac and Cheese
  • Top on a hot dog for the best chili dogs
  • Chili Cheese Fries
  • A frito Chili Cheese Wrap
Close up image of chili in a black bowl topped with cheese, sour cream and green onions.

Best Sides for Crock Pot Chili:

I love serving this easy crockpot recipe with some homemade cornbread.  Here are a few delicious side dish options that you can choose from.

Did you know that I also make my own homemade cornbread mix to make preparing cornbread even easier?  I love having these cornbread mixes on hand so I can whip up some delicious cornbread in no time at all!

Close up image of chili in a black bowl topped with cheese, sour cream and green onions.

How to add in vegetables

One of my favorite things about crock pot recipes is that they can easily be alter to fit the needs of your family and this best crockpot chili recipe winner for dinner is no different!

If you like spicy chili, I would recommend adding approximately ¼ cup of green chilis to this recipe or you can add your favorite hot sauce to add a delicious kick to this already easy and yummy recipe.

If you are needing more vegetables for your family and you, adding them to this easy crock pot chili is easy and simple.  I have often added green peppers or carrots if I have them on hand to add even more nutrients to this already healthy recipe.

Favorite Chili Toppings

Chili is delicious but the chili toppings is what really makes chili go from good to delicious! Here are a few of the best chili toppings.

  • Sour Cream
  • Cheddar cheese (or any kind of shredded cheese. Pepper Jack is delicious too)
  • Saltines or Ritz Crackers
  • Fritos or any kind of chips – Some like to use tortilla chips or Doritos
  • Diced onion – Green onion or red onion is a personal favorite
  • Hot Sauce – a quick splash will spice it up.
  • Cornbread – crumbling cornbread on top of a hot bowl of chili is also delicious.
  • Lime Juice – My friend loves topping her chili with this.
  • Check out What to Serve with Chili for more ideas.
Close up image of chili in a black bowl topped with cheese, sour cream and green onions.

Try these other chili recipes:

Close up image of chili in a black bowl topped with cheese, sour cream and green onions.

Crockpot Chili

4.95 from 167 votes
Quick and easy Crockpot Chili Recipe – Try this easy slow cooker chili recipe that the entire family will love. Easy Crock pot recipes.
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours
Servings 6
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Calories 555


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 14 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chili seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 cans kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

For Serving:

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  • Brown the ground beef and drain off any excess grease. Put the browned meat in the crock pot.
  • Toss everything else in the crock pot and stir together (except for the cheese and sour cream).
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
  • Serve with topped with cheese, sour cream, and even more chopped onions if you would like.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Refrigerate the leftovers in an air tight container for up to 5-7 days.  

Nutrition Facts

Calories 555kcal, Carbohydrates 13g, Protein 34g, Fat 41g, Saturated Fat 18g, Polyunsaturated Fat 2g, Monounsaturated Fat 16g, Trans Fat 2g, Cholesterol 137mg, Sodium 1096mg, Potassium 1027mg, Fiber 4g, Sugar 8g, Vitamin A 2994IU, Vitamin C 13mg, Calcium 232mg, Iron 6mg

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Eating on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. Together we are going to cook real food… for real families!

4.95 from 167 votes (117 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Helena says:

    5 stars
    Quick, easy, inexpensive, and delicious! Perfect meal for busy families on-the-go and easy on the budget.

  2. DV says:

    To make it cheaper, I added more beans (5 cans of kidney, pinto, black, gabanzo) and one pound of ground beef instead.

  3. Joshua S says:

    5 stars
    Came across this recipe couple years ago and it is FANTASTIC!!! I now use your recipe and dropped mine. ? My family and friends love it. I will now use this recipe until i die. ???? Just made it again tonight since we had a bad ice storm. YOU MUST TRY. IT IS GOOD and EASY to make.

  4. Carrie Barnard says:

    I just do green onions on top as extra toppings.

  5. Gianna says:

    Planning on making this Sunday! Do I use a regular white onion or green onion? Or just use the green onion on top as extra

  6. Amber Perry says:

    I put tomato juice in the chili. Grew up with doing this. Taste amazing!

  7. Tammy says:

    5 stars
    The recipe (or my version of it) turned out great!! How do I save this as a readable (not so crazy with pictures and text) recipe? Thank you!

  8. James Calhoun says:

    5 stars
    I’m a 71 year old senior man and I saw your recipe for sloppy Joe’s. I’m handicapped retired and my wife works full time. She has made Sloppy Joe’s in the past with man witch , not my favorite but when your hungry and the kids liked it. We have a Ninja crockpot so after reading your simple recipe I said to myself I’m gonna try it. All I can say is THANK YOU, my wife was surprised I had made dinner so she didn’t have to cook. The reward was she loved it and she hates change. I honestly have to say it was the best Sloppy Joe’s I’ve ever had and between the two of us there was nothing left.
    I went to the grocery store yesterday and got all of the stuff to make chili from your recipe and can’t wait to try it. Again thank you for posting these recipes, I also saw some recipes for soup and I’m definitely going to try some of those. Please keep the recipes coming, it gives this old man something to look forward to.

  9. Amber says:

    I always put tomato juice in it instead of tomato sauce. Grew up with this. Really good.

  10. Michelle says:

    5 stars
    So easy to make and taste like it was cooking all day

  11. Mary says:

    5 stars
    Chili is definitely a house favorite!!! This is the best recipe! So easy and flavorful!!! We love it!! Cornbread on the side!!! Yum

  12. Brandy says:

    5 stars
    so good and easy.

  13. Erika says:

    5 stars
    So easy and yummy! I just love your recipes!

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