Recipe: Crock-Pot Chili

by Brad Nelson   2/20/17

This recipe is for maximizing the output of a 6.5 quart slow cooker. This is very convenient for preparing the night before and having for lunch or dinner the next day. I’ve made this at 8:00 pm at night and had it the next day for lunch. It doesn’t seem to overcook.


1-3/4 lbs. xx-lean ground beef
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 – 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained (I used the “no salt added” kind)
3 – 16 oz. cans chili beans in sauce, undrained (again, I used the “low salt” variety)
3 – 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons chili pouder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 large red bell peppers


1) In a 12-inch skillet, cook beef and onions over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown. Drain.
2) Mix all ingredients in 6.5 quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours +.

Because I’ve generally reduced salt in the things I eat, I don’t need a lot of salt to get the taste. If you need to add more, then do so. But I like to start light and then add in the bare minimum as needed. This recipe also has about half of what is typical for the amount of ground cumin. I find that cumin can be overpowering. If you like more then add more.

This is not quite a health food but it’s not too bad, particularly if you use the xx-lean ground beef. And adding a little grated cheese on top is a nice, if not low-fat, addition. If you like to really start from scratch and soak your own beans and make your own sauce, more power to you. But a can of chili beans is very convenient and not too expensive. Perhaps some of you can recommend the very best canned varieties to use. Those who are from Texas and declare that this isn’t real chili are forgiven and indulged beforehand.

Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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21 Responses to Recipe: Crock-Pot Chili

  1. Rosalys says:

    “I find that cumin can be overpowering.”

    You sound like my husband. I love to spice up my scrambled eggs; garlic, sage, and cumin are a particular favorite combination – of mine at least. The last time I did this for breakfast, a few weeks ago, my husband said he would prefer it if I left out the cumin. NOW he tells me! I’ve been doing this for years. I think maybe his taste buds are going a bit senile.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      First off, Rosalys, thank you for taking interest in chili. For some people, this is a very serious subject…right up there with football and politics. I have yet to hear from Mr. Kung about what I’m doing fundamentally wrong, but I’m sure we will.

      I like the sound of garlic and sage in scrambled eggs. For my own taste, I would probably substitute a few squirts of Tabasco sauce in place of the cumin. It sounds as if your husband is a long-suffering cumin eater, putting your feelings above his own comfort. In these parts, that’s what we call a real man. Who knew spices could be so meaningful?

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        If I can convince my wife to write down the details of her chili, I will let you know. But, as I am sure you can imagine, this is not high on her list of priorities.

        As to scrambled eggs, I like to mix in Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper while beating the eggs. Before pouring this mixture into the frying pan, I saute’ chopped garlic chives or scallions in butter and a little oil with diced ham or diced hard salami.

        • Rosalys says:

          I’m drooling!

          As for sauces, I prefer Frank’s RedHot. It has all the heat, but more flavor than Tabasco.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          That sounds like good and proper enhanced scrambled eggs.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          My favorite omelet (which is basically just scrambled eggs in a special design) has ham, cheese, and mushrooms. Elizabeth puts mushrooms in with the eggs and cheese after pouring them into the pan; we currently don’t have any diced ham, and in any case can only manage a modest amount of breakfast meat because of sodium limits.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I hope your wife can find time to share her chili recipe. I’m certainly looking for more ways to use vegetables in it to lighten it up a bit. Maybe she has some ideas in this regard.

      • Rosalys says:

        Well Brad, now that I know he doesn’t favor cumin, I have been leaving it out of the eggs. He is a man worth making this sacrifice for!

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Isn’t there a story about a man who sold his chickens to buy his wife ground cumin…and the wife who sold her frying pan in order to buy her husband chicken feed? Or am I getting the details a little mixed up?

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Isn’t there a story about a man who sold his chickens to buy his wife ground cumin…and the wife who sold her frying pan in order to buy her husband chicken feed?

            It’s called, “The Gift of the Maggi.”

            One will have to have read O. Henry and might have had to live overseas to get it.


  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Elizabeth says this is reasonably similar to her recipe, except that she doesn’t use beans now because of my psychological aversion to them.

  3. Rosalys says:

    Whenever I make chili I make a big, big batch. I use to freeze the extra, but now that I have a pressure cooker, I process it in quart jars. Still got some on my shelf. Since the seed thought has now been planted into my psyche, I’ll be thinking about chili and within the week I’ll open up one of those jars and have it for supper. Corn bread goes nicely with it.

  4. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Sounds good to me.

  5. Steve Lancaster says:

    That recipe will produce a food that is called chili in many parts of the country, but is not chili. True chili, and I cannot stress this enough, does not, repeat, not contain beans, unless you are looking for a replay of Blazing Saddles.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I’ll take it as a given that beanless chili is as legitimate as bean chili in the same way that red chowder and white chowder are both chowders.

      As for this particular recipe, no one who has partaken of it has had a Blazing Saddles experience. Either the long cooking or perhaps the generous portion of red bell peppers is cutting that effect.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Standard Texas chili is indeed made without beans, as I was pleased to learn eating out there on a convention trip to Austin.

  6. Anniel says:

    This may sound crazy to some, but my oldest daughter always puts dark Mexican chocolate in her chili. Try it sometime, it is really delicious. Needless to say that her half-Latino children love it.

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