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Bowl of slow cooker chili with some cheese, sour cream and corn bread.

Classic Slow Cooker Chili Recipe

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  • Author: Erin Jensen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner/Entree
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American


Slow Cooker Chili – a classic, delicious and hearty slow cooker chili recipe that easy to make and perfect for a cold winter day!



Slow Cooker Chili

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or ghee)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 lb ground hamburger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • (1) 28oz can whole tomatoes (don’t drain)
  • (1) 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 15oz can red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 23 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Toppings (optional): green onions, cheese (dairy-free or regular), sour cream (dairy-free or regular)


  1. Bring a large cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. 
  2. Add garlic and move around the pan constantly until it is aromatic, about 10-20 seconds.
  3. Add onions and allow them to cook down, moving them around the pan, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add ground beef to the pan, season with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Move around the pan (turn heat down a bit if you need to) until ground beef is no longer pink. 
  5. Drain grease.
  6. Add to crockpot along with the whole tomatoes (use knife to cut them into quarters), tomato paste, kidney beans, bay leaf, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt and ground black pepper. 
  7. Stir to combine.
  8. Cook on low all day (6-8 hours).
  9. Make sure to taste and add additional salt and chili powder, as desired. Serve with gluten-free honey cornbread!


  • *Beans: feel free to use up to 2 cans of kidney beans or you can use 1 can of kidney beans and 1 can of another type of bean (like butter beans like we used in the photos).
  • Dairy-Free: to keep dairy-free simply serve with dairy-free sour cream and dairy-free cheese.