The Easy Way to Make Chili in a Crock-Pot
The best versions of chili are simmered low and slow for hours, a method of cooking that produces the tenderest meat and richest, most flavorful sauce using only the essential ingredients and seasonings. Cook yours in a Crock-Pot, and you'll achieve all the characteristics of a great chili with the convenience of a hands-off approach. This recipe has everything you want in a pot of chili, but with the ease of a relatively short list of ingredients. Most are pantry staples that call for no more prep-work than opening a can or jar. Using cubed chuck instead of ground beef eliminates the step of browning the meat in a separate pan before adding it to the Crock-Pot, while also giving the chili an arguably superior flavor and texture. With just minutes of your time in the morning and this easy, one-pot recipe, you'll have a thick, steaming pot full of chili ready and waiting by dinnertime.
Total Time: 3 to 8 hours | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 6 to 8
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (6-ounce can) tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds cubed chuck
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, or black or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- Add to the Crock-Pot the diced tomatoes with their juice, tomato paste, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper. Use a whisk to blend the tomato paste and seasonings into the diced tomatoes as thoroughly as you can.
- Add the chuck, onion and beans to the pot, and stir to incorporate them into the wet ingredients.
- Cook the chili on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the meat is very tender and soft. If you're home, stir the chili every few hours; otherwise just stir it thoroughly before serving.
- Some chili powders are hotter than others, so taste a little before adding it to the pot. If it's hot, reduce the amount to 1 to 2 tablespoons, or if it's very mild you can add a little more. If your family enjoys spicy chili, you can also add a minced jalapeno or a little cayenne pepper along with the chili powder. Cumin and paprika are also nice additions.
- The recipe is easily customized according to your preferences. You might like to add mushrooms, bell peppers or a can of mild green chilies. If you don't want the beans, just omit them.
- Serve the chili with a variety of toppings, such as sour cream, grated cheese, diced red or green onion, pickled jalapeno slices and crispy tortilla strips. Cornbread is a perfect side dish.
- If you have leftovers, use them for chili cheese fries, chili dogs, nachos, chili mac and cheese, or stuffed peppers.
A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.