If you’re just getting into the world of making chili, consider this the gateway recipe.
This chili is loaded with flavor, comes out thick and flavorful every time, and is always a crowd pleaser.
My spicy chili recipe is great for throwing in the slow cooker early in the morning. Takes about 15 minutes to prepare, and by the time everyone is home from their day you have a wonderful batch of spicy chili on the table.
It’s SOLID chili recipe that I make regularly throughout the year, and the family absolutely loves it!
So lets get into the crux of how this chili is made, what’s in it, and what you’ll need to get started.
Now when I think slow cooker, I think tossing it all in the crock pot and setting and forgetting. But sometimes you miss out on a dimension of flavor.
To make this crock pot chili, here’s what I like to do:
Don’t have a crock pot? Dutch oven cooked at 325 works just as well too! (see my youtube video… )
Before you go “THATS NOT CHILI! THATS STEW!”
Here me out. Chili comes in all shapes and forms.
Yes, I am well aware of the controversy surrounding the addition of beans in chili is almost as heated as the debate over pineapple on pizza. Some people just can’t handle the thought of beans mingling with their meaty chili, while others embrace the legume-laden dish with open arms (and spoons).
While you may argue that the original chili recipe from Texas, the birthplace of chili, doesn’t include beans.
And yes I get it. Texas born chili aficionados believe that chili should be all about the meat and spices, and adding beans just muddles the flavors.
But from this SoCal native bean-in-chili loving guy that puts lots of words in a post where all you want to do is just get to the darn recipe, here’s my take…
Beans add texture, flavor, and nutritional value to the dish. Plus, beans have been a staple ingredient in chili for decades, so why mess with a good thing?
In the end, it’s all a matter of personal preference. Whether you like your chili with or without beans, one thing is for sure: there’s nothing like a warm bowl of chili on a cold day to warm the soul (and the stomach).
Some like there chili beanless, some like it with beans. And I love each equally – when pouring in a bowl and devouring with the family? This is it for me!
If you want to go beanless, this recipe will still work, but I’d suggest doubling the amount of meat
This is a dish I’ll make for potlucks and is always gone at the end of the day. I would never claim this ‘AWARD WINNING SPICY CHILI’ but if you want a solid chili recipe that can please others (and hey build on it my friend. make this your own!) this is it!
My spice mix for chili needs the following:
It’s a solid base chili seasoning, and we’re going to crank up the heat by adding chili peppers to the chili. I love the flavor of serrano, jalapeno is a good starter, and sometimes I’ll add a fresh cayenne or habanero in as well.
It’s all up to you on what you prefer and what your friend and family can tolerate on the Scoville unit scale.
And just a warning.
You’re dealing with chili peppers and the capsaicin (it’s what makes peppers hot. I googled this, I’m no doctor) will stay in your fingers for awhile. So if you were to say, oh i don’t know, put your contacts in after handling the jalapenos? You’re going to have a bad time.
I’ve never done that. Not once. Not never…
Obviously you need a crock pot or another means of slow cooking for this recipe. As it is written, this spicy crock pot chili yields about 16 servings which will last us the week in the fridge.
so to accommodate I recommend using use a 6 qt Crock Pot for this. If you have a 4 qt, I would suggest adjusting the serving size between 8-10. Same would apply if you’re going with a Dutch oven
As seen in the video, I enjoy cooking chili in the Dutch oven as well. I can brown the meat, drain and still have bits of that cooked on flavor left in the bottom of the Dutch oven.
And it goes right in the oven at 325 while it cooks. That is a downside. You have the oven running all day which isn’t ideal for summer.
Or if you have a pellet smoker, like a , can set it to 325 and place your Dutch oven inside your !
You can cook on the stove top, but heat management become an issue since the heat source isn’t enveloping the Dutch oven. You’ll risk burning the bottom if you don’t baby sit it all day
Love it or hate it, the instant pot pressure cooking has its place. And being able to sear your food, then bring it down to a slow cook and walk away from it all in one device is where it stands out.
You can follow the exact steps in this recipe, just set your IP to sear while browning, then set it to slow cook and let it ride for the rest of the day.
Don’t want to wait all day? Set the instant pot to the Chili/Beans setting and cook them for 20 minutes, and let the pressure release.
And if you want to combine the two, check out the new instant pot dutch oven. its the best of both worlds!
I’ve seen masa used, potato flakes, and even a corn starch slurry. They’re all well and good, but I’m a fan of using beans that have been pureed.
I think for this recipe in itself it makes the most sense. Maybe a chili con carne recipe or something along those lines may work better with masa or potato flakes.
Beans are a good thickening agent for chili because they contain a high amount of starch and fiber.
When beans are cooked in the chili, the starch and fiber break down and release into the liquid, creating a thick and hearty texture.
In addition to their thickening properties, beans also add flavor, nutrients, and protein to the chili.
So.. There’s that.
If you want to use a heartier meatier chili check out my latest Chipotle Chuck Wagon Chili
Garnishes are up to you but there some staples that you can’t miss
And save some spicy chili for leftovers, because they’re going to make a great topping for carne asada fries
I love this recipe! I’ve been using it for years now and finally just have to leave a comment that it is the best! I wanted a recipe that my husband & son would like and this did it! I get nothing but compliments – even from my 75 year old neighbor who is very picky about what she eats!
Been using this recipe as my baseline for years now. And while I tend to stray and experiment, this is what I start from every single time.
Thanks David! I do the same exact thing. What have you added?
Love the recipe, but am curious on what brand you use for your beans? I cannot find any that are 16 ounces (for the kidney beans at least) Thanks in advance.
I think S&W? don’t worry too much about the exact ounces on the canned beans, I think 15oz may be the one that is more readily available, and works just fine!
I’ve made this exact recipe 3 times now and absolutely LOVE it!! Thank you for sharing 🙂
Thats so awesome to hear. Glad you enjoy it Tiffany!
Have tried other chili recipes but keep coming back to this one. Sooo good! Ty for sharing
Love to hear it!! 🙌🙌🙌
The nutritional information lists 1g of trans fat. Is this accurate? From whence does the trans fat come?
Hi Joshums! The plugin I use for my nutritional information comes from a third party database, so I believe it is accurate. I dug a little on the back-end and it appears the trans fat is coming from the ground beef.
Made it today although I halved it. I left out the jalapeño to soften the spiceness . Turned out great. I prepped everything the night before & grilled the meat just before starting the Crock Pot. I’ll make this again!
This recipe is AMAZING. I made it for a friend but kind of want to keep it for myself. I followed all of the same directions except simmered it on the stovetop for about 2.5 hours instead of in a crockpot. I used 1.5 jalapeños for 8 servings and that gave it a pretty good kick. I really can’t get over how good this is. The flavor is amazing and it’s a really simple recipe to follow.
So glad you enjoyed it! This is one of my recipes I keep close to my heart and make it all year around. If you can handle the heat try with habanero next time ???
Make something similar, using either a rump roast (cut up) or stew meat. I’ll used 6 cans of beans (two each of kidney, black and chili). I go a little further on my heat: 2 cans hot Rotel, 3 jalapenos (pureed) and 6-7 habaneros (pureed). The meat I cook overnight with half of the peppers. The rest of the peppers go in with the beans, onions and garlic.
Yes please this sounds delicious and I always have the horrible habit of cutting chili peppers and then instantly feeling the need to rub my eyes. It’s like they literally only get itchy after I cut up some spicy peppers! So frustrating!
It’s the worst!
Ouch! Putting in contacts after touching peppers!
Such a great looking chili! Love the photos. So perfect for autumn.
I can’t tell you how many times my eyes have had a run-in with jalapeño peppers. Even after I’ve washed my hands 5 times — they still burn like crazy when I take out the contacts. I love chili — I’ve been on a turkey chili kick for a while, but you’re winning me over with this one!
I totally want this for lunch right now! I love all that cheese.
Has anyone tried this with cubed beef as opposed to ground? Any thoughts?
second time making this now and it’s easily one of my fav slow cooker recipes already. thanks for sharing.
thanks so much, I’m glad you like it!!
Made this today && was very pleased with how it turned out. Only thing I did differently was left it in the crockpot for closer to 8 hours (work ran late) but it just brought the flavors out more. Will definitely make again!????
I’ve definitely left it cooking on lower for 8-10 hours before, its great to come home to!
I made this tonight, exactly as written—it looks beautiful and, Whoa Nelly! does it have some kick! Very tasty, indeed. Thanks so much for sharing!
Thanks Donna! I love my chili spicy – glad you enjoyed!
I love making chili but I like to look for different recipes and ideas. I never heard of the blended beans for thickening – I am making this tomorrow and I will leave feedback.
How about freezing? Anyone know how this would do if you froze portions of it after it’s cooked? As I’m the only spicy food fan I’d have to make this for just me and freeze and bring for lunches and such
I’ll probably be doing another batch in a week or so, I’ll make sure to throw some in the freezer and see how it comes out and update this post!
I always freeze my chili. Never an issue, always good. I use those square ziploc containers, but do NOT microwave in them (in fact, don’t microwave chili in general 😉 )
trying this this weekend and going to try eating it with hotdogs, burgers, and fries.
Make sure you remember to turn your crock pot on after you get everything in there! I’ve heard that is a common error when crock-potting : )
This looks so damn good. Love the idea of using the beans to thicken it up. Thanks for sharing, Derek!
Michelle @ blackberrybabe.com
I don’t have a blender. Would using a potatoe masher work to make bean paste? Or is there a substitute or store bought version?
A potato masher would work! I have heard or other ways to thicken up chili but a lot use starches or flour which i’m not really keen on.
As a update, potato masher worked and the chili came out good. However, I should have checked the size of my crock pot before starting, because mine only fits about 8 servings and I prepped for the 16 per the recipe.
Good to hear on the potato masher. I’ll be sure to mention the crock pot size needed for this serving. Thanks for the feedback!
I would also include what crock pot setting you would recommend (high vs low).
Looks pretty good, I’m gonna try this recipe this week. Are you draining your cans of beans? Where did all that liquid come from between pictures 8 & 9?
Yeah sorry about that. What happened was I took half the tomatoes and beans and then took the picture in step 8. Then i added the rest and stirred it up and took the shot in step 9. I thought it was going to get too messy if i tried to take a shot with step 8 with the full set of tomatoes and beans.
The liquid you’re seeing is actually coming from the diced tomatoes. The beans have been drained.
Yesssss. So much deliciousness! Love me some chili. I’ll eat it year round – not just in winter! 🙂
Thanks Kelly! I was going to hold this recipe till the fall by had a craving so I just had to post it!