Everyone has the perfect method for making chili, but this slow cooking chili recipe is our favorite. It is perfectly seasoned with just the right amount of heat!
(Psst: This chili is also an amazing hot dog stuffed, too)
How do you make the best Chili ever?
Everyone has a secret chili ingredient and few people are willing to share theirs. We will tell you ours: it's beer! How do you choose the best beer? Well, you can use any type, but the style will affect the overall flavor. Darker beers such as stouts and porters add roasted and robust flavors, while lighter beers add more moderate levels of malt. Anything that contains a lot of jumps (like IPA or pale ales) will add a touch of bitterness to your chili, so it's best to stick to low-hop beers. Here's more information on how to cook with beer.
Have fun and play with different styles. If you're not a big fan of beer, we recommend starting with a lager like Shiner Bock or Negra Modelo.
Can you put raw beef in a slow cooker?
Yes, you can totally cook raw beef in a slow cooker! Many recipes (including ours) have a step to brown the beef before it is put into the casserole. Although this step is not necessary, caramelizing meat creates richer and more daring flavors. But if you do not want to clean the extra dish or if you do not have the time to do it, do not hesitate to skip this step!
Psst! The slow cooker in our test kitchen allows you to brown the meat and cook it slowly in a saucepan. Learn more.
How long does chili take in a slow cooker?
If you brown your beef in advance, your chili may be ready in 4 to 5 hours on a low heat (or 2 to 3 hours at high heat). As all ingredients are already cooked, simply simmer the chilli until the flavors are mixed. If the meat is raw, increase the cooking time to 8 hours at low temperature or 4 hours at high temperature.
How to make chili in the slow cooker
yield: 12 portions
Step 1: Cook the beef and sausage
Start by browning the beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. This can mess up an extra pan, but it's worth it, as it increases the depth of the flavor. Cook the beef for 6 to 8 minutes until it is no longer pink, breaking it down as you go. Drain the fat and transfer the beef to a 6-quart casserole. Repeat the process with the sausage.
Step 2: Load the slow cooker
Add all ingredients to the slow cooker, except for optional toppings. Stir until all is well mixed and cook covered for 4 to 5 hours over low heat. Since all ingredients are already cooked, simply heat up and let the flavors blend.
Step 3: Garnish and serve
Pour the chili into individual bowls and garnish with grated cheese, sour cream and chopped green onions, if any. You can also pour chili on hot dogs, spaghetti, nachos or fries.
Professional advice: Do not worry if you have a ton of leftovers! After the chili has cooled, freeze in individual portions or press flat into freezer bags the size of a gallon for easy storage. It will stay in the freezer for 4 to 6 months.
For more chili making secrets, check with our culinary director, Sarah Farmer.
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This hearty chilli can cook up to 10 hours over low heat. It's so good to regain its wonderful aroma after a long day of absence. -Sue Call, Beech Grove, IndianaGet the recipe
Try a lighter version of the classic pepper. It is full of beans, grilled chicken and a mixture of spices. -Wilda Bensenhaver from Deland, FloridaGet the recipe
This tasty meat chili is my favorite … and it's so easy to prepare in the slow cooker. This is a great way to serve a crowd without last minute preparation. I had the idea of my mother, who often used her slow cooker for her soups and stews. -Stacy Law, Cornish, UtahGet the recipe
When it's time to build my spicy pepper, I combine all the previous night. In the morning, I load the crockpot and let it do the work. -Molly Butt, Granville, OhioGet the recipe
I took my mother's sweetest recipe for chili and made it thicker and more robust. It's a favorite, especially in autumn and winter. -Celesta Zanger, Bloomfield Hills, MichiganGet the recipe
My friend Caroline Gray and I imagined this delicious slow cooking chicken pepper. This is unusual because it uses Alfredo sauce. -Cindi Mitchell, St. Marys, KansasGet the recipe
Grilling the peppers for this pepper releases their earthy flavors – but wear gloves when handling peppers and dried seeds. – Rachel Sprinkel, Hilo, HawaiiGet the recipe
For me, football, cold weather and hot pepper seem to go together. Whether it's to cheer on the local team on a Friday night or a Oklahoma Oktoberfest afternoon football with friends, I love serving that chili on game day. – Chris Neal, Quapaw, OklahomaGet the recipe
The tender pork adds even more spice to this chili with slow cooking. You can use pork tenderloin, boneless pork roast or boneless pork chops for the pork listed in the recipe. Taste of home cooking testGet the recipe
My sister shared this white bean chili recipe with me. I usually double it and add an extra box of beans, then serve it with cheddar biscuits or hot tortillas. The jalapeno adds just enough heat to attract attention but not too much for my kids. -Kristine Bowles, Albuquerque, New MexicoGet the recipe
This hearty chili with sausage, beef, beans and barley is perfect for the frenzy at half-time. People rejoice when they see me arrive with my slow cooker! -Barbara Lento, Houston, PennsylvaniaGet the recipe
The ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning give a special flavor to my hearty chili pepper. People will come back for a few seconds. -Julie Neuhalfen, Glenwood, IowaGet the recipe
It's a healthy and hearty meal that even kids love! The satisfying chilli is ideal for football matches or trendy dinners. -Katti Scott, Manteo, North CarolinaGet the recipe
I love spicy food, so I think this chilli really hits the place. If you are sensitive to peppers, start with one or two chipotles and go up from there. -Steven Schend, Grand Rapids, MichiganGet the recipe
The preparation work of this pepper is easy thanks to several basic foods. It is loaded with shredded chicken and beans. The spicy heat can be a little tame by the sour sour cream. -Fred Lockwood, Plano, TexasGet the recipe
Pork sausage, ground beef and lots of beans make this chili a wonderful meal. I always keep one – size – sized containers in my freezer to allow me to quickly warm up the bowls on busy days. -Margie Shaw, Greenbrier, ArkansasGet the recipe
Every time we had a rally or business, people would ask my chili in Cincinnati. My husband convinced me to participate in a local chili contest and I won third place! It's fast and easy If I do not have fresh garlic, I use minced garlic in the jar. -Carrie Birdsall, Dallas, GeorgiaGet the recipe
My husband and I met while we were working at a homeless shelter where they served my chili. I have revised the chili using bean burgers. -Marty Nickerson, Ellington, ConnecticutGet the recipe
The white pepper may be a little different from what you are used to, but it will certainly warm you up on a cool night. Coriander and cumin give this chili an authentic Mexican flavor. -Shari Meissner, Chester, MontanaGet the recipe
My husband usually tries to avoid spending time in the kitchen, but he often offers to prepare this easy chili. Of course, he is still eagerly serving as a taste tester! -Linda Temple, St. Joseph, MissouriGet the recipe
I am a student and one of the things I miss most at school is my mother's wonderful cooking. This slow cooker recipe is something I can do in my dorm on a busy Sunday. I just throw everything in the slow cooker before leaving for the church and come back to prepare home-made comfort food. Be sure to serve with a good pinch of cheddar cheese, a spoonful of sour cream and lots of tortilla chips. -Bailey Starkey, Mount Vernon, WashingtonGet the recipe
Corn and black beans give chili a satisfying Mexican flavor that the whole family will love. Adjust cayenne pepper if you have young children or are looking for a little less zip. -Stephanie Rabbitt-Schappacher, West Chester, OhioGet the recipe
This colorful and hearty chili is perfect for comforting and warm meetings. My family has been enjoying it for years. -Laura Manning from Lilburn, GeorgiaGet the recipe
This chili can be loaded, but we like to prepare it even more with fillings such as pico de gallo, red onion, coriander and cheese. -Mallory Lynch, Madison, WisconsinGet the recipe
When it's cold and frosted on the outside, this meatless chilli will warm you up for sure. It is full of fiber, protein and flavors. Serve it with slices of avocado. Or add grated cheese, tortilla chips or a side of your favorite cornbread. -Liz Bellville, Jacksonville, North CarolinaGet the recipe
I love this recipe. Surprising ingredients like coffee and wine give it a rich and deep flavor that we balance by adding possibly avocado and green onion. Make a big prize and freeze the leftovers! -Terri Crandall, Gardnerville, NevadaGet the recipe
Served with a loaf of hot bread and a salad, this slow cooker chili is a good meal. The recipe was inspired by two friends when we were talking about food during a potluck barbecue. -Phyllis Shyan, Elgin, IllinoisGet the recipe
"The company I work for every year has a Chili Cook-Off and this unusual recipe has been winning," writes Carolyn Etzler of Thurmont, Maryland. "He combines two other recipes and includes a touch or two of mine."Get the recipe
My family is crazy about slow cooking because it uses ingredients you do not usually find in hot pepper. Believe it or not, I discovered that pumpkin is what makes the dish so special. Cook a jackpot and freeze for later; it tastes better, warmed up. -Deborah Vliet, Holland, MichiganGet the recipe
A hint of lime flavor that pisses the lips. The favorite of Connie Thomas's family, low in fat but nourishing. "I like to use my slow cooker," says Jensen's cook in Utah. "Just fill it in the morning and go home for a wonderful hot meal, whatever day you're busy with!"Get the recipe