Table of Contents
  1. Why use a slow cooker for this chili?
  2. Why does cooking chili all day make sense?
  3. Watch how to make this slow cooker chili
  4. Slow Cooker Chili Recipe

Sending a chili recipe out into the world may be one of the most controversial things to do. We each hold dear to what chili is to us, which is oftentimes heavily influenced by what we had while growing up. Nothing beats Mom’s chili, right? Also, no two moms seem to have the same chili recipe.

Growing up in the Midwest, our chili is by no means an authentic recipe. It was often on the sweeter side, always included ground beef, and, if made in my mom’s house, it was prepared in the slow cooker all day long. Mom’s chili had no odd ingredients. Instead, she used what we always had on hand in the pantry.

And here’s the greatest thing about this chili: for me, nothing is more nostalgic or more delicious on a cool day.

Hand holding white bowl pouring red colored chunky chili into bowl with rest of soup on white countertop

Why use a slow cooker for this chili?

This chili tastes the same whether you use a slow cooker or a stockpot on the stove. When it first was invented, the slow cooker was an incredible time saver because you can simply place all the ingredients in the cooker, turn it on, and at the end of the day have a soup that’s ready to eat. There’s no watching a stovetop or adjusting the heat. For anyone making soup, that’s an incredible decrease in the amount of work. So go ahead and let the slow cooker do all the work!

Slow cookers have two settings: low and high. Both settings warm up to the same temperature, but low gets to the desired temperature slowly while the high setting gets there quickly. Pretty logical, right? For this recipe, either setting will work as follows:

  • High setting: will be ready in approximately six hours
  • Low setting: will be ready in approximately eight hours
Top down view of big red kettle with wooden spoon in the middle of bright red chili with beans and meat and a bay leaf

Why does cooking chili all day make sense?

There are not too many soups that can cook for so many hours and still retain their great texture without seeming… blah. This chili uses raw vegetables and a few spices. During the long cooking process, the spices, vegetables, and tomato pureé have time to truly mix and become full-flavored. To ensure the flavors stand out after a long cook time, strong amounts are needed. The flavors meld together to create a well-rounded chili that can only be created with a long cooking time.

Large red Dutch oven sitting on white countertop with wooden spoon pulling up some of bright red chili showing the beans and meat and red sauce

In case you canned tomato juice along with me this summer, this is the perfect recipe to use it up! No need to purchase the store version anymore!

Watch how to make this slow cooker chili

YouTube video
Top down view of red Dutch oven sitting on white countertop filled with red chili with peppers, crackers, and cheese in other bowls all around

Slow Cooker Chili

4.50 from 32 votes
What could be better than a slow cooker chili where all of the work is done by the machine? Throw all of these ingredients together, set the timer for a few hours, and at the end, there will be a delicious, warming soup to enjoy!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12 servings


  • 1 lb ground beef cooked
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 ½ cups chopped peppers (sweet or spicy)
  • 1 15-oz can kidney beans
  • 1 15-oz can pinto beans (half whole and half mashed)
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 cups tomato pureé


  • In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine the cooked ground beef, onion, peppers, kidney beans, pinto beans (both the whole and mashed portions), molasses, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, bay leaves, and tomato pureé. Stir to combine and turn the slow cooker on high for 6-8 hours.
    1 lb ground beef, 1 cup chopped onion, 1 ½ cups chopped peppers (sweet or spicy), 1 15-oz can kidney beans, 1 15-oz can pinto beans (half whole and half mashed), 2 tbsp molasses, 2 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika, 1 ½ tsp salt, 3 bay leaves, 6 cups tomato pureé
  • Once the chili is cooked and slightly thickened, remove the bay leaves, and flavor with any additional salt as needed. Serve immediately or keep warm until ready to serve.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 220kcalCarbohydrates: 35.7gProtein: 17gFat: 2.5gSaturated Fat: 0.8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.6gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 22.6mgSodium: 552.9mgPotassium: 1184.7mgFiber: 6.5gSugar: 12.2gVitamin A: 101.8IUVitamin C: 42.6mgCalcium: 96mgIron: 5.6mg
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Difficulty Easy
Method Slow Cooker

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I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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  1. I love your style snd method of teaching. It’s ‘matter of fact’ and just perfect! I tried your chocolate chip cookies and they are very good-even with some milk chocolate chips which is a little offensive to my dark chocolate cravings

  2. 8 cups tomato purée- would that be tomato sauce if I was buying it from the store? Or is that too thick? I’m a little confused.

  3. Both the chili’s I tried are amazing. The chicken white chili is my favorite, but, the slo cooker one comes in a close second!

  4. 5 stars
    I absolutely loved this Chile recipe – I did add a few squares of dark chocolate at the end.

    Definitely the best I have had.

    Terry Vasey

  5. 5 stars
    I usually make a labor intensive chili on the stove using tons of ingredients so I was a bit skeptical but needed an easy prep meal with the convenience of the crockpot since I was going to be out all day. This chili had comparable flavor to my stove top chili with a fraction of the work and ingredients, win! I made a few modifications. I made sure to get a nice browning/fond on my beef, added garlic, and then bloomed the spices in fat from the beef. After adding the beef to the crockpot, I deglazed the pan with the onion and peppers before adding them as well. I didn’t have pasata so used a combo of crushed tomatoes, sauce, and a sqeeze of tomato paste. Added a 1/4 circle of Mexican chocolate but forgot the bay leaves. It was going at a pretty hefty boil in my (8 qt) crockpot on high so I turned it down to low about half way Hubby loved it too! Will definitely make this again!

  6. I would like some clarification on whether or not to drain the cans of beans on your slow cooker chili bean recipe?

    1. Hello!

      I do not drain the beans, I do make sure to say in a recipe when they need to be drained and rinsed. This recipe I use them as is with their liquid.

  7. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness this chili was the best I’ve ever had.
    I’ve been looking for easy recipes this one is on the top of my list!!!

    Lisa Garcia
    Aurora Colorado