This is an easy and delicious crock pot chili recipe that is bursting with flavor!
[You’ve come to the right place. This is chili, made easy.]
[12 y/o Biscuit wrote this, cuz I can]
We’re going to do this parenting style. I said Biscuit could write the post with me but to use proper grammar. We shall see how this works.
Biscuit. What’s next?
[to eat pie. done.]
Whatever. Let’s do this post. What is the first step for chili, child?
[Enough with the pie stuff, first what you have to do is get your ingredients. Or just ask your Mom [or Dad] to do it, I guess.]
Crock Pot Chili
Back to Mom now. At least for a few minutes.
This easy crock pot chili recipe is one I’ve honed over the last ten years–and I’m sharing it with you!
I found a chili recipe ages ago, then another chili recipe, and another. I mixed them together, modified it, added to it, and well… The best. chili. ever.
I’ve had friends who have stayed overnight eat it for breakfast. Seriously. I watched them reheat it in my microwave and eat it standing up in my kitchen at 9am on a Sunday morning. And when I say eat, what I really mean is inhale.
The ingredients are easy, the prep time is minimal. [We get most of our ingredients from Meijer, so if you live near a Meijer try there before anywhere else.]
Mom: That’s not an advertisement. No kick backs. That was literally my Biscuit just telling you where we buy our groceries, as you can see.
Easy Chili Ingredients
Most of the ingredients start in a can or are pantry staples, so it is easy to keep them on hand. Also, I like to use reduced sodium ingredients (high blood pressure). Either way, good food always starts with good ingredients. That doesn’t mean you have to buy organic, or even name brand, but look at the ingredients. Sometimes they add stuff you don’t need.
However, onions and celery are pretty much just onions and celery.
Mr. Alexander chopped these for me. He’s a good chopper. I adore him for that quality. [He cuts the onions because I always cry when cutting them.]
I have a thing with beans.
I really, really don’t like beans. Of any kind.
When I was growing up, my mom used to run kidney beans through a food processor before she put them in chili because I hated them so much. But there are nutrients and protein in beans, so she was right to hide them in the chili…. Plus, I didn’t notice the pureed beans. Just a bit of skin every now and again.
That said, there are a handful of recipes I really love beans in, and chili is one of them.
You know. Now that I’m 30-11 years old. 30-11-ish years old. My birthday is next month, so then I’ll be, um, 30-12?
After ten years of trial and error and playing around, after using “chili beans” already mixed in a can, after using dried beans and soaking them overnight, this is the mixture I’ve settled on:
1 15 oz can Pinto Beans
1 15 oz can Light Red Kidney Beans
1 15 oz can Dark Red Kidney Beans
1 15 oz can Black Beans
As with everything I make, I buy low sodium beans (that darn blood pressure), but I find it doesn’t make much difference. There is so much flavor in this chili, you can go either way based on preference and availability. (Note: I cut salt out of this chili about a year ago, and Mr. Alexander never noticed. Shh. Don’t tell him.)
(P.S. He doesn’t read the blog, so what he doesn’t know….helps my blood pressure.)
Crock Pot Chili Secret Ingredients
A few of these ingredients are the ones that really give this crock pot chili extra flavor.
First, you may have noted in the picture above a little can diced green chilis and a large can of diced tomatoes.
These are two of my secrets. First off, the green chilies add a little extra kick.
Second, I like my chili to be thick and hearty, but I don’t like huge chunks of tomato. Originally, I used stewed tomatoes but they just didn’t break down as much as I’d like. In the intervening years, I’ve changed to diced.
My next secret ingredient is the meat mixture. I used to make this chili with 2 pounds of ground beef. Then I substituted 1 pound of beef with 1 pound of pork. Finally, I switched that out with hot breakfast sausage. I’m partial to Bob Evans Zesty Hot Sausage. It gives this crock pot chili yet a bit more zing.
My last secrets are the spices and the liquid. I add a bit more chili powder, cumin and freshly cracked black pepper than were originally called for, adjusting them up over time even as I slowly removed the salt. (Again, shhhhh….don’t tell).
I add basically little to no water to this. I let the tomato sauce be the star, adding even more than was originally called for. This is what gives it that rich, thick flavor.
So this is what crock pot chili looks like when all the ingredients are mixed. My suggestion is to leave it in the crock pot for 5-6 hours on high, or 8-9 hours on low.
If you don’t have a crock pot (or it doesn’t fit) you cook it on the stove top in a Dutch oven, or even a regular stock pot. Bring it to a boil, then simmer for 2-3 hours. I would recommend that if you use a stock pot to be very careful about the temperature and stir regularly to prevent burning.
In either case, you have the ability to control temperature, so it can cook a bit faster on the stove top. That said, the longer you cook chili, the longer the flavors meld and the tomatoes and onions break down, the color deepens, and then suddenly:
Quite frankly, we almost never put toppings on my crock pot chili. It stands on it’s own two bean-y feet. But if you do like toppings, you can’t go wrong with cheese and sour cream.
Other possibilities I played with? You can add corn or bacon bits, or substitute ground turkey if you prefer. Again, this recipe was 10 years in the making, and I’ve played around with all of it.
This is our final winner. Serve it with fresh baked cornbread and it’s little slice of heaven on a fall day.
It’s thick enough you can spork it, too!
Delicious Crock Pot Chili
- 5 qt or larger crock pot
- 1 lb ground beef browned
- 1 lb zesty hot pork sausage browned
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 3 ribs celery diced
- 1 15oz can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15oz can pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15oz can light red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15oz can dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 4oz can diced mild chilies undrained
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes undrained
- 52 oz tomato sauce (1 29oz can, 1 15 oz can, 1 8oz can)
- 12 oz tomato paste
- 2½ tsp ground cumin
- 3½ tbsp chili powder
- 1-2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup water
- In a large skillet, brown ground beef and sausage until cooked through. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, dice onion and celery. Set aside. Open all aluminum cans and drain beans. Do not drain diced tomatoes or chilies.
- Add all previous ingredients into the crock pot, including tomato sauce and undrained diced tomatoes. Measure and add spices. Stir to incorporate. Add 1 cup of water if needed. NOTE: As the chili melds and breaks down, juices are released. You like won't need even a full cup of water. I suggest waiting until farther in the cooking process.
- Cook in the crock pot for 6-8 hours or more on low, or 4-6 on high. If you use a Dutch oven or stock pot, bring to a boil, then lower to simmer for 2-3 hours. If using a stock pot, keep heat low and stir frequently to prevent burning.