Slow cooker chilli con carne is a hearty, comforting dinner perfect for cold weeknights. It is made with minced beef in a flavored tomato sauce, and is really popular with the kids!
Chilli con carne is a European favorite, and quite similar to the Tex Mex chilies that are so popular in the US. It’s a dish made with a tomato based sauce, beans, ground beef and spices, all cooked together in a stew.
In this recipe, we make our chilli in the slow cooker. The Crockpot allows you to prepare the chilli in the morning, and then leave it to cook slowly throughout the day. In the afternoon, you will have dinner ready whenever you feel like it!
I love how convenient and easy this recipe is, and there’s plenty of opportunities to amend it to suit your preferences, whether you want to make a spicy chilli con carne, or a milder version.
This recipe is also dairy free, gluten free and nut free, and it only requires 10 minutes of active cooking time to prepare!
To make this easy chilli, you will need lean ground beef, canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce (UK: tomato passata), canned pinto beans, onion, a pepper, garlic, and seasoning.
For seasoning, we use salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, chili powder, paprika and smoked paprika. However, you can add or omit any spices as you please, or even use a store bought chilli seasoning packet if you prefer!
Start by preparing the ingredients. Finely dice the onions and pepper, and grate the garlic or dice it very finely.
Heat some olive oil or cooking spray in a pan on medium heat. Add the ground beef, and cook until all the meat has browned. Add diced onions to the beef, and sauté for a few minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.
Then, add all the seasoning and garlic, and stir to coat the meat evenly for about one minute.
Pour the meat and onions into the slow cooker.
If the timer runs out and you’re not ready to eat yet, you can leave the slow cooker on the warm setting to keep the dish hot for a few hours.
Here’s my best advice to help you make a fantastic slow cooker chilli con carne:
- Make sure to cook the ground beef, onion and seasoning in a pan before transferring it to your slow cooker. This step really helps bring out all the delicious flavors in the ingredients.
- Avoid removing the lid from the slow cooker as the chilli cooks. This will remove a lot of heat from the Crockpot, and could increase the cooking time substantially.
Chilli con carne is best served as a main course for lunch or dinner. You can serve it alone, with your favorite toppings and garnishes, or with a side dish. Here are some of my favorite options:
- Guacamole with Lemon – The creamy guacamole complements the chilli really well.
- Chili Lime Rice – This is an excellent rice dish to serve with chilli, but any rice will do!
- Air Fryer Baked Potato – Top your baked potato with this comforting chilli for the ultimate easy dinner.
- Healthy Mashed Potatoes – These creamy mashed potatoes with Greek yogurt are a little healthier, and still delicious!
Chillies are really easy to vary depending on your personal preferences. Here are some great suggestions to how you can adapt the recipe to suit your needs:
Spicy chilli: If you want a really spicy chilli, simply add more chili powder along with finely diced raw chili. You can also serve the dish with sliced raw chili on top.
More beans: Feel free to add more beans if you want to add extra protein to the dish. Any drained, canned beans will work, such as kidney beans, black beans or white beans.
More veggies: You can definitely add more vegetables to the dish if you prefer. Dice all vegetables into bite sized pieces, and add them to the chilli along with the other ingredients. You can try adding carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, green beans or zucchini.
You can store leftover slow cooker chilli con carne in a sealed container in a refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat the leftovers in a microwave, a slow cooker, or in a pot on the stove top, and serve the dish hot.
This dish is also really well suited for freezing, and is therefore an excellent freezer meal. Freeze the chilli in portion sized containers for up to 6 months, then thaw and reheat as needed.
Frozen chilli can be thawed in a refrigerator overnight, or in a microwave using the defrost setting.
I love to make a big batch of chilli and freeze it down for future meals. It’s a great way to prepare for busy days ahead, or to ensure that you have delicious home cooked meals readily available in the future.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can put raw mince in the slow cooker, however it’s generally recommended cooking it first as it will taste better.
Chilli shouldn’t be cooked for longer than 6 hours on low, but you can leave it in the slow cooker on the warm setting for up to a total of 12 hours.
Absolutely. You can substitute the beef with ground turkey, chicken or pork if you prefer. The instructions remain the same.
You might also like these recipes
- One Pot Turkey Chili
- Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- Vegetable Stew With Dumplings
- White Chicken Chili
- Turkey Sweet Potato Chili
- Slow Cooker Chicken Stew
Slow Cooker Chilli Con Carne
- Start by preparing the ingredients. Finely dice the onions and pepper, and grate the garlic or dice it very finely.
- Heat some olive oil or cooking spray in a pan on medium heat. Add the ground beef, and cook until all the meat has browned. Add diced onions to the beef, and sauté for a few minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Then, add all the seasoning and garlic, and stir to coat the meat evenly for about one minute.
- Pour the meat and onions into the slow cooker.
- Add the diced peppers, canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and drained and rinsed canned pinto beans to the slow cooker. Leave it to cook for 2-4 hours on high, or 4-6 hours on low heat.
- If the timer runs out and you're not ready to eat yet, you can leave the slow cooker on the warm setting to keep the dish hot for a few hours.
- Store leftovers in a sealed container in a refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in a freezer for up to 6 months.
- Add extra chili powder if you want your chilli to be quite spicy.