Fall/ Meat/ Winter

The Best Slow Cooker Chili

The Best Slow Cooker Chili from A Thousand Crumbs (3 of 6)

We made it to Friday friends!!  Any exciting plans?  Christmas parties perhaps?  Maybe a little football?  My LA Rams are still in it to win it, and I couldn’t be happier!  Easily one of my favorite meals during football season is this slow cooker chili.  It’s super easy to throw together and have simmering during the day.  It is also perfect for a large crowd, and the leftovers are great to stock in the freezer for easy weeknight meals.  And plus, is there really anything better than a big bowl of hearty chili on a cool Fall or Winter day?

I should also tell you, this isn’t your ordinary slow cooker chili.  I am finally sharing my slow cooker chili secrets, including my BIG secret ingredient that makes the most epic and well balanced chili – brewed coffee!  I know what you’re thinking, “Coffee?  In chili?  Really?”  And the answer is a resounding, “YES!”  Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.  A cup of strong black brewed coffee takes your chili from, “Wow!” to “Holy cow!”

I start the recipe using the sauté feature on my slow cooker (love any chance at fewer dishes), but you can also start it on the stovetop, and then transfer everything to the slow cooker to simmer.  If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can also make this in a large pot and allow to simmer on the stove for 2-3 hours.

Now for my super secret chili tips…

The Best Slow Cooker Chili Secret #1

After you’re done browning the beef, remove it from the pan, drain the fat, but DON’T WIPE THE PAN CLEAN. These little grease deposits and leftover pan drippings really add flavor to the veggie mixture when you go to sauté the onions and peppers.

Better yet, if your slow cooker has a sauté function, use that and cook everything in your slow cooker. Be sure to drain the fat before continuing.

The Best Slow Cooker Chili Secret #2

The reason you wait until you’re done cooking the veggies to add the garlic is because garlic burns very easily.  If you add it too soon to the hot pan, it will turn bitter and ruin the flavor of the dish.  When you add it at the end, you allow the garlic to release the flavor, without burning it.  Like math, order of operations is important to pay attention to in cooking and baking.

The Best Slow Cooker Chili Secret #3

Coffee.  Strong black coffee.  A cup of brewed coffee added to chili enhances and rounds out the flavors.  If you’ve ever added espresso to a chocolate recipe before, it is a similar concept.  The coffee enhances the flavor profile and gives chili an extra depth of flavor.

There you have it!  My three secrets to take your chili game to the next level.  Now who is coming over to watch the Rams game with me on Sunday?

Recipe Card - The Best Slow Cooker Chili

The Best Slow Cooker Chili

  • Author: Amanda Prince
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 Hours (Low), 4 Hours (High)
  • Total Time: 4-8 Hours
  • Yield: 12 Servings 1x
  • Category: Soups and Stews, Meat, Winter, Fall
  • Method: Slow Cooker


This is the best slow cooker chili recipe!  Full of bold flavor, and so easy to make.  Great for football or entertaining a large crowd.  Can be made with beef, turkey, or vegetarian.


  • 1 ½ lb ground beef or turkey
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cups chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ½ cup minced jalapeño pepper, or to taste
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 32oz tomato juice
  • 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup brewed black coffee
  • 16oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 16oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • optional:  shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions for topping


  1. In a large skillet, brown ground beef over medium-high heat until cooked through.  Transfer meat to a bowl, and drain excess grease from the skillet, but do not wipe the pan clean.
  2. Over medium heat, add the olive oil to your skillet, and then the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, and parsley.  Stir occasionally, until the onions are tender.  Add the garlic.  Cook an additional 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat then add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and paprika.  Stir well.
  3. Add the meat and veggie mixture to your slow cooker.  Add the tomato juice, coffee, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and both kinds of beans.  Stir to combine everything well.
  4. Cover and set your slow cooker on LOW and cook for 8 hours, or HIGH and for 4 hours.
  5. Top chili with shredded cheese, sour cream, and green onions, if desired.
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