Five Ingredient Slow Cooker Chili

A bowl of chili
Brian Hagiwara/Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
321 Calories
11g Fat
31g Carbs
25g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 321
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 50mg 17%
Sodium 925mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 7g 23%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 11mg 53%
Calcium 116mg 9%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 728mg 15%
*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.)

Next time you go to the grocery store, don't overlook the canned bean and vegetable section, as these pantry staples can help you make dinner with ease, high-quality nutrition, and a ton of flavor. Canned legumes and tomatoes make the base for an infinite number of dishes, from stews to soups, casseroles to thick and creamy chilis like ours. Five ingredients including beans, tomatoes, beef, onions, and chili powder are all that you need to make this flavorful and filling meal. Brown the beef, mix with the rest of the ingredients in your slow cooker, add a bit of water, cover, and come back 8 hours later to a kitchen filled with comforting aromas. This chili is great served with saltines, cornbread, cheesy bread, or corn tortillas. Keep leftovers in the fridge for a couple of days, or freeze for up to three months and microwave for a quick lunch or dinner—if needed, thin out with vegetable broth when reheating.

Prep the chili in the morning, turn on the cooker and serve dinner by using just two pots total, one for browning the meat and the slow cooker itself. Easy to prepare and clean up, this is a great busy weeknight meal, but also a delicious chili to serve during a family affair over the weekend. If feeding a large crowd, double the ingredients for a massive batch of steaming chili. Make your meal a chili bar by serving toppings on the side, like crema, shredded cheese, slices of avocado, chopped fresh veggies, hot sauce, diced jalapeños, corn tortillas, and steamed rice or quinoa.

Choose between beef or pork sausage, or make a mixture of both for a tasty meat combination. If you're a meat lover, consider topping the chili bowls with crispy bacon or add slices of kielbasa or spicy chorizo to give the chili some kick. Even though you're browning and draining the beef before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients, use lean but don't go for the extra lean as some fat in the meat adds flavor to the preparation. If, on the other hand, you prefer to skip the meat, this recipe still makes a great vegan chili. Replace the pound of beef with an additional can of any beans of your liking, plus 2 cups of cubed root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, rutabaga, or celeriac root. Alternatively, use one pound of meat substitute, mixing it with all of the ingredients without browning first.


  • 1 pound ground beef, or ground pork sausage

  • 2 medium onions, chopped

  • 1 cup water

  • 3 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 2 (15-ounce cans) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Steps to Make It

  1. Brown ground beef in large skillet and drain.

  2. Add to 3 to 4 quart crock pot along with remaining ingredients.

  3. Cover crock pot and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours until vegetables are tender.

Thickening Your Chili

If you like your chili thicker, combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch with about 1/4 cup water and blend well, then stir into the chili for the last 30 minutes of cooking.

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