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Overhead photo of a bowl of slow cooker chili on a teal gingham napkin.
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5 from 1 vote

Slow Cooker Chili

This Slow Cooker Chili is a hearty bowl of comfort food that's made with ground beef, three different kinds of beans, and dark chocolate! Let your slow cooker do all of the work for you and then pile on all of your favorite chili toppings before devouring!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time6 hrs 10 mins
Total Time6 hrs 25 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 362kcal


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef 85-90%
  • 1 white onion finely diced
  • 1 green pepper finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste or 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 (10oz.) cans Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 (15oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1 (16oz.) can dark kidney beans drained
  • 1 (16oz.) can light kidney beans drained
  • 1 (16oz.) can white kidney beans Cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar packed
  • 2 teaspoons salt more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper more to taste
  • ½ ounce dark chocolate bar 60-75% bittersweet baking chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon tabasco sauce optional
  • sour cream optional topping
  • cheddar cheese optional topping
  • corn chips optional topping
  • scallions optional garnish


  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the ground beef to the man and cook until brown, breaking the beef up as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Drain the beef and add it to a slow cooker.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan with the diced onion and pepper and cook until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic paste, chili powder, cumin, and paprika to the skillet with the vegetables and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly so the garlic doesn't burn. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, beans, and beef stock to the slow cooker and stir in the sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • Cook on high for 2 to 4 hours or low for 5 to 6.
  • Serve hot with your favorite fixings like sour cream, cheese, corn chips, and more.


  • Add more beef broth for a looser chili.
  • Without the tabasco sauce, this is a pretty mild base chili with low heat. Add additional chili powder or tabasco for more heat.
  • Chocolate and sugar should not be skipped, it adds a lot to the flavor and balance of the dish even though they aren't large quantities. 
  • Granulated sugar may be used in place of light brown sugar.
  • Smoked paprika could be used in place of regular paprika for more heat.
  • Store in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • Freeze in quart-sized Ziploc bags, removing any excess air, for up to 6 months.
  • Ground chicken, turkey, sausage, or meat substitute can be used in this recipe.


Calories: 362kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 820mg | Potassium: 465mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 907IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 3mg