Slow Cooker Beef Chili from Skinnytaste

This slow cooker beef chili, from Skinnytaste, is easy as can be to make, satisfying beyond words to taste. All you do is dump the familiar chili ingredients in a crockpot. And just like that, dinner is done.

An earthenware bowl filled with slow cooker beef chili, topped with cheese, tortilla chips, and cilantro, with a spoon resting in it.

This slow cooker beef chili is a lifesaver on hectic weeknights as well as when it’s your turn to feed a crowd, whether you need something for after soccer practice or that school potluck tonight that your second grader forgot to mention until this morning. No slow cooker? No problem. This chili turns out just as tasty when made on the stovetop—you’ll find those instructions in the variation just beneath the recipe.–Angie Zoobkoff

Skinnytaste's Slow Cooker Beef Chili

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 25 M
  • 5 H, 20 M
  • Serves 6 to 8
4/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Skinnytaste Fast and Slow cookbook

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  • For the slow cooker beef chili
  • For the cilantro sour cream
  • For the slow cooker beef chili toppings


Make the slow cooker beef chili

Place a large deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper to taste. (If you’re using beans and tomato sauce that are canned with salt, you may wish to reduce the amount of salt to 3/4 teaspoon.) Cook, using a wooden spoon to crumble the meat as it cooks, until no trace of pink remains, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain all the liquid from the pan and discard. (But don’t pour it down the drain! You definitely want to let it cool and then toss it in the trash.) Add the tomato paste, onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 4 minutes.

Transfer the beef mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the water, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, and bay leaves. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 7 to 9 hours.

Make the cilantro sour cream

Combine the sour cream, cilantro, and cumin in a small bowl and, if desired, add a few drops freshly squeezed lime. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve the slow cooker beef chili

Remove and discard the bay leaves. Taste the chili and adjust seasoning to taste, adding more chili powder, salt, and pepper if desired. Ladle the chili into individual bowls and let each guest help herself or himself to a dollop of the sour cream mixture and some cheese, red onion, and, if desired, tortilla chips.

Print RecipeBuy the Skinnytaste Fast and Slow cookbook

Want it? Click it.

    Stovetop Beef Chili Variation

    • T-shirt variation

      To make this slow cooker beef chili on the stovetop, in step 2, leave the beef in the pan and add the water, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to medium low, cover, and gently simmer for about 1 hour. Continue with step 3.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    I really enjoyed the versatility and simplicity of this slow cooker beef chili recipe. I chose the stovetop method and it was satisfying to prepare a home-cooked and nutritious chili for my family in such a short amount of time. The chili took about 15 minutes prep time and about 30 minutes simmered on medium-low heat and dinner was served. While the chili was simmering I prepared the toppings. My family enjoyed the chili and toppings and I wouldn’t hesitate to make this recipe again. I usually make chili with ground beef but for this recipe I used 2 pounds ground chicken breast instead for a healthier alternative. Even with the “extreme” substitution, my family gave the chili a 9/10 in the flavor category. Win! I really enjoyed the fact that this recipe yielded a delicious chili despite the substitutions I made. My standard “go to” chili recipes have more chili powder and seasonings and less tomato so I wondered if the recipe would be balanced in flavor or overpowering in tomato flavor but found the chili to be seasoned perfectly. I also thought the addition of water would make the chili watery but it was fine. I failed to find the “no salt” beans or tomato sauce at the grocery store so I reduced the salt to 3/4 teaspoon. I served the chili with all of the recommended toppings, including grated sharp Cheddar cheese, chopped raw white onion (I used the remaining half of the white onion leftover from the chili for garnish), and tortilla chips. The sour cream, while flavorful, could have used a hint of lime juice or even a little salt. Even though I love the flavors of cilantro and cumin, I am a sour cream purist so I actually prefer sour cream plain or with just a touch of lime juice. I'm not sure if I would make the sour cream topping again if it was just me but my husband loved it! The chili is a for sure a make-again recipe.

    Yum! As soon as I stirred in the spices I knew this slow cooker beef chili was going to be a winner! The aroma was amazing! This is a wonderful and mild chili with lots of varied textures and flavors. The chickpeas were a great addition to the regular beans. The sour cream mixture was lovely and added an extra flavor boost and the crushed tortilla chips added a nice crunch. The whole family enjoyed the meal and loved the choice of extra toppings.


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