We might be a little biased, but we think this slow cooker chili recipe is the best chili ever! Whip up a batch as a perfect game day snack, or enter it in this year’s chili cook-off. It has all the beefy, spicy flavour you know and love, but we added a few secret ingredients that take things to the next level. Adding smokey bacon and pickled jalapeno slices really amps up the flavour, and we snuck in one extra ingredient that contributes a malty backbone to the stew. Vegetarian? Check out this veggie-based chili recipe.
How do you make the best chili recipe ever?
Everyone has a secret chili ingredient, and few people are willing to share theirs. We’ll tell you ours: it’s beer! How do you choose the best beer? Well, you can use any kind you like, but the style will affect the overall flavour. Darker beers like stouts and porters add roasty, robust flavours while lighter beers contribute more moderate levels of maltiness. Anything with a lot of hops (such as an IPAs or pale ales) will add a touch of bitterness to your chili, so it’s best to stick to the low-hop beers.
Can you put raw beef in a slow cooker?
Yes, you can totally cook raw beef in a slow cooker! Many chili recipes (including ours) have a step for browning the beef before it goes into the Crock Pot. While this step isn’t necessary, caramelizing the meat creates richer, bolder flavours. But, if you don’t want to clean the extra dish or you don’t have time to make it happen, feel free to skip this step!
How long does chili take in a slow cooker?
If you’re browning your beef ahead of time, your chili can be ready in 4 to 5 hours on low (or, 2 to 3 hours on high). Because all the ingredients are already cooked, you only need to simmer the chili until the flavours meld together. If the meat is raw, increase the cooking time to 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound bulk pork sausage
- 2 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained (Kidney beans are one of the many essential food items that should be on your vegan shopping list.)
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, undrained
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with onions, undrained
- 1 can (12 ounces) beer
- 6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeno slices
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and chopped green onions, optional for garnish
Yield: 12 servings
Step 1: Cook the beef and sausage
Start by browning the beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. It may dirty an extra pan, but it’s totally worth it because it increases the depth of flavour. Cook the beef for 6 to 8 minutes until it’s no longer pink, breaking it up into crumbles as you go. Drain the fat and transfer the beef to a 6-quart slow cooker. Repeat this process with the sausage.
Step 2: Load up the slow cooker
Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker, except the optional garnishes. Stir until everything is well combined and cook, covered, on low for 4 to 5 hours. Since all the ingredients are already cooked, you only need to heat everything through and allow the flavours time to meld together.
Step 3: Garnish and serve
Ladle the chili into individual bowls and top with shredded cheese, sour cream, and chopped green onions, if using. Alternatively, you can spoon the chili over hot dogs, spaghetti, nachos or French fries.
Pro Tip: Don’t worry if you have a ton of leftovers! After the chili cools down, freeze it in individual portions or press it flat in gallon-sized freezer bags for easy storage. It will stay good in the freezer for 4 to 6 months. Next, learn 18 more slow cooker recipes that are potluck-worthy.