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We love chili in our home. Nothing like eating some chili on a cold winter’s day!

One great thing about chili is it’s hard to mess up and it can go with so many meals or easily served as the main dish. As a busy mom, one of my favorite ways is to cook the chili slowly, in our crockpot. Not only does it allow all the flavors to really become one, but it requires minimal effort and less mess!

Since chili is a staple in our home, we’ve slowly been able to perfect the recipe. Trying different ingredients to really make it the best tasting and one that the whole family can enjoy.

There are definitely some weird things people add to chili. For example, I’ve seen jam, pickle juice, syrup, and more. But I promise you, our ingredients aren’t anything crazy but do make a difference once added.

So what exactly do we put into our chili? 

Ground Beef: Feel free to substitute with the meat of your choice. I know some prefer ground turkey or even bits of chopped up bacon. However, ground beef is the way we like to go. I usually opt to go lean as we don’t like a lot of the fat/grease.

Garlic: Garlic makes everything taste better. Whether you want to use fresh garlic or get it already minced, you can’t go wrong!

Yellow Onion: I’ll be honest, we aren’t huge onion fans in our house, but adding onion really makes a difference. Once you cook them up, you really can’t taste them in the chili. Just make sure to chop them up finely.

Chili Powder: I mean, how can you not? Part of the chili flavor comes from that delicious chili seasoning.

Onion Powder: I know, more onion. This is just used when cooking the ground beef to give it a little pop of flavor.

Dried Oregano: I love the way oregano really helps bring out the flavors in this dish.

Worcestershire Sauce: If you need to know one thing about my family, it’s that we love this sauce! Something about adding it to certain dishes just feels right and this chili is no different! It adds the perfect ‘tang’ to the dish.

Beans: We use 3 different kinds of beans in our chili, because… why not! Black beans, Kidney beans, and Pinto beans all bring their own touch and make for a gorgeous chili.

Tomatoes + Tomato Sauce: You can’t have chili without these! It gives it the perfect texture and taste.

Honey: Honey is one of our secret ingredients and one you do not want to omit. Honey gives the chili the perfect sweetness to the tart.

Ground Cinnamon: Sprinkling some cinnamon into this dish helps bring out all those homelike feels! It’s one that will have people trying to guess what’s in it as they devour their bowl of goodness!

Slow cooker chili

What if I don’t have a slow cooker?

While we definitely recommend slow cooking this in the crockpot, if you don’t have one, you can easily follow these same recipe directions and cook it in a large pot. Just be sure to keep it on low, cover, and cook until the desired temperature.

If you’re looking for a slow cooker, this one is perfect! We love that there’s a locking lid and a completely customizable timer.

How to make slow cooker chili.

Most of the work is done in the crockpot. However, you’ll need to cook the ground beef and sautee the onions in a skillet, on the stove.

Slow cooker Chili

Slow Cooker Chili

Prep Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped finely
  • 1 TBSP garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt + pepper, to taste
  • 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed + drained
  • 15 oz can of pinto beans, rinsed + drained
  • 15 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed + drained
  • 10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chilis, with juice
  • 10 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 30 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 C Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon


  • In a large skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat. While cooking, add onion powder, chili powder, oregano, and salt and pepper.
  • Once ground beef is cooked thoroughly, add diced onions and garlic. Cook another 2 minutes, until onions become a more translucent color.
  • Transfer to slow cooker.
  • Add remaining ingredients - 3 cans of rinsed and drained beans, diced tomatoes with green chilis (adding in the juice as well), diced tomatoes (also adding in its juice), tomato sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, honey and cinnamon.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Cook on high 3-4 hours; or on low 6-8 hours.


Some chili toppers we love:
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Sliced avocado
  • Crushed tortilla chips
Serve with cornbread and enjoy!
Keyword Chili, crockpot, slow cooker, winter meals


Crockpot chili