Easy Crockpot Chili Recipe

slow cooker chili recipe

After a winter’s day doing projects outside on the homestead, you just can’t beat homemade chili.

The best part about this crockpot chili recipe is that it is incredibly forgiving. Use any type of meat you like, and definitely play around with the spices and seasonings too. Dump it all into your slow cooker ahead of time so you can enjoy the day’s activities with the rest of the clan, without having to fuss over the meal.

And if you serve this with homemade cornbread, or my chewy french bread recipe, you will be a rockstar for sure!

Crockpot Chili Recipe

  • 2 cups dry beans* (I like to use 1/2 black beans and 1/2 pinto. Use what you have in your pantry! You could use canned beans here, if you must, but I prefer cooking with organic, dry beans.)
  • 1 pound ground venison, antelope, beef, turkey, or pork (or you could use stew meat)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or bacon fat (omit this if your meat is especially greasy)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups crushed or diced tomatoes with juice (or approx. 2 cans if you don’t have homemade)
  • 3 cups beef broth (how to make your own broth)
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Garnish: sour cream and shredded cheese (optional)

*Or, omit the dry beans and use one quart jar (4 cups) of home-canned beans instead.

1. Soak the beans. Cover them completely with water and allow them to sit overnight.

2. The next morning, brown the meat in a frying pan.

3. Place the browned meat into the slow cooker. Then add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or bacon grease to the pan. Saute the onions until tender, then add the garlic and cook until soft. Add to the slow cooker.

4. Drain and rinse the soaked beans and add them to the slow cooker.

5. Add tomatoes, broth, and all of the seasonings except the salt. Adding the salt too soon will prevent the beans from becoming soft enough. Hold off on the salt until they are done cooking.

6. I set my slow cooker on high and let it cook for 6-7 hours. However, all crockpots are different, so plan according to how your appliance works.

7. You’ll know it’s done when the beans are tender and the house smells heavenly!

Garnish your homemade chili with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.

easy crockpot chili recipe

Slow Cooker Chili


  • 2 cups dry beans OR 4 cups cooked/canned beans
  • 1 pound ground venison, antelope, or beef
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or bacon fat
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups crushed or diced tomatoes with juice (approx. 2 cans)
  • 3 cups broth or stock
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 T. dried oregano
  • 2 T. cumin
  • 2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • Garnish: sour cream and shredded cheese (optional)


  1. Soak beans overnight
  2. Next morning: brown your meat
  3. Add browned meat to crockpot, add coconut oil or bacon fat
  4. Saute the onions until tender, then add the garlic and cook until soft
  5. Add to slow cooker
  6. Drain and rinse soaked beans and add them to the mixture
  7. Add tomatoes, broth, and all of the seasonings except the salt (Adding salt too soon prevents beans from getting soft)
  8. I set slow cooker on high and let it go 6-7 hours, but crockpots vary, so plan according to how your appliance works
  9. Add salt when beans are done cooking
  10. We like to garnish with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese


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  1. Yum, can't wait to get my deer meat. In my son's freeze just have to go get it or him to bring it to me. Never made chili with dry beans. Will have to do that to next time. Like the lemon tip. Will have to try that. Heard of using baking soda also to help with that.

  2. Jill, Thanks for linking up to the Bean Recipe Exchange! I'm so glad you added your Venison Chili recipe – I've never made beans in the crockpot, but I love how this eliminates the need to cook the beans separately and then add them to the dish. Anything that makes it easier is always welcome! I'm going to give it a try this next week.

    I have to tell a funny story…. I grew up on venison, especially venison chili. When I went to college, the dorm cafeteria was having chili one night and despite living in TX where they hunt lots of deer, I could not figure out how the "college" had enough venison to feed all the students chili. I was shocked and appalled when someone told me it was made with hamburger! Can you believe I was 18 and had never had nor heard of chili made with anything other than venison, armadillo, or rattlesnake? No joke. I knew I was the resident "country bumpkin" at that point.

  3. We love venison. This looks like a great recipe. I am looking forward to trying it. Thanks for posting it on the recipe exchange:)

  4. Sounds yum-o! I'm always looking for new venison recipes.

  5. this sounds really similar to my favorite chili recipe! i LOVE chili. i've never had a bowl i didn't like… :)

    i awarded you a Stylish Blogger Award! head to http://www.agoodandsimplelife.com/2011/01/stylish-blogger-award.html to check it out!

  6. Dogpackmomma says:

    Another great recipe! Thanks & Happy Trails!

  7. Victoria M says:

    Sounds delish! I usually do mine 1/2 cow and 1/2 bear. Everyone loves it. I am a huge fan of game meats.

  8. I’m making this recipe today with ground elk. Excited to taste it. I feel a need to check with you regarding the 1/4 cup measure of chili powder. It seems like an awful lot of chili powder to me. Is this measure correct? How spicy does it make the chili? I have a picky 4 year-old at the table. :)
    Thanks so much,

    • Hi Michelle,
      Well, my chili powder is fairly mild- so if you have the hotter stuff, you can definitely start out with less and adjust to taste as you go. And that elk sounds delish!!

  9. Deanna Furrey says:

    Hi Jill, thanks for this recipe. I have a question though. If the beans are already cooked, ( I had them in the freezer) will it hurt them to cook in the slow cooker for that long? I love your site, it’s one of my favorites!