Slow Cooker Pinto Bean Chili With Ground Beef

Easy slow cooker chili recipe

The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 7 hrs
Total: 7 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
401 Calories
13g Fat
43g Carbs
29g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 401
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 50mg 17%
Sodium 220mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Dietary Fiber 11g 41%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 30mg 151%
Calcium 119mg 9%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 1243mg 26%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Chili powder, peppers, and tomatoes flavor this easy pinto bean chili. The recipe is made with dry pinto beans, which are cooked in the slow cooker and then combined with the browned ground beef. 

Serve these flavorful pinto beans with freshly baked cornbread and a basic tossed salad. Or serve the chili over hot cooked rice or spaghetti.

Chili freezes beautifully, so make extra and freeze half for a future meal. The leftovers can be used in a variety of dishes. Add leftover chili to burritos, omelets, or tacos, or use the chili as a topping for nachos or baked potatoes. See the tips and variations for more ideas.


  • 1 pound dry pinto beans

  • 3 1/2 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 small hot pepper, such as jalapeño or serrano, chopped

  • 1 pound ground beef (at least 80 percent lean)

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • Kosher salt, to taste 

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Sour cream, guacamole, chopped fresh cilantro, shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese, tortilla chips, sliced green onions, shredded lettuce, sliced ripe olives, or diced fresh tomatoes, optional, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for easy slow cooked chili beans

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

  2. Rinse and sort the pinto beans, picking out any malformed beans or small stones.

    Pinto beans in pot

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

  3. Combine the pinto beans and water in crock pot.

    Pinto beans in slow cooker

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

  4. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or until beans are tender (this step can be done quickly on the stovetop as well).

    Cover and cook

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

  5. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and hot pepper and cook until softened.

    Heat onion, bell pepper, and hot pepper

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

  6. Transfer to the slow cooker.

    Onion and beans in slow cooker

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

  7. Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook until no longer pink, turning and stirring frequently.

    Add ground beef

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

  8. Drain thoroughly and transfer to the slow cooker.

    Ingredients in a crock pot

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

  9. Add the tomatoes and chili powder to the beef and beans; stir to blend. Taste and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed.

    Add tomatoes and chili powder

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

  10. Reduce the slow cooker heat setting to low; cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours longer.

    Cook chili

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

  11. Top chili servings with your favorite optional garnishes.

    Add toppings to chili

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic


  • Refrigerate or freeze leftovers for a future meal. Or double the batch and freeze half.
  • Use leftover chili in burritos, tacos, or omelets, or use it as a pasta topper. It makes a tasty topping for baked potatoes, or hot dogs too!
  • For fast microwave lunches, freeze leftovers in single-serve portions.
  • If you prefer a stovetop version, try this Ground Beef and Pinto Bean Chili recipe.

Recipe Variation

  • Use small red beans or Great Northern beans in the recipe.
  • For a leaner chili, use very lean ground beef or ground turkey.
  • Add another pound of ground beef for a "meat-lovers" chili.
  • Replace some of the ground beef with lean ground pork, or add 1/2 to 1 pound of ground pork to the ground beef.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Leftover chili can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days.
  • Chili is a great dish to freeze. Simply place it in an airtight container or freezer bag and put it in the freezer, where it will last for up to six months.

What can you do if chili is too spicy?

If you find your chili is too spicy, an easy fix it to simply add a dairy products, such as cheese, sour cream, whole milk, or yogurt. A little bit of sugar is a great way to balance out the heat of chile peppers too.