Crock Pot Chili

Low Calorie Crock Pot Chili

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 hrs 20 mins
Total: 5 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
267 Calories
5g Fat
26g Carbs
30g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 267
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 67mg 22%
Sodium 491mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 7g 23%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 40mg 201%
Calcium 90mg 7%
Iron 6mg 31%
Potassium 892mg 19%
*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.)

Cooking in a crock pot is an easy way to prepare food with fantastic flavors while having your hands free to create other dishes or simply to get on with your day. Chilis are a classic slow-cooked meal, but most recipes are hearty, high in calories, and filled with fats from bacon, oils, or added dairy products used as toppings like cheese or cream. While those are delicious and filling, they can be problematic if you are keeping an eye on your caloric intake or simply want a hearty dish that won't weigh you down. Our recipe for chili makes around six 300-calorie bowls and can be cooked either on high or low, depending on your time frame and needs.

After just a few minutes of easy preparation, cover, and let simmer. Perfect for family and budget-friendly meals, this chili can be made with canned beans. You can also customize it and use either ground turkey or chicken for a different flavor profile, or skip the meat for a vegetarian alternative. Use low-sodium and unseasoned beans so you can adjust the seasoning to your palate.

Serve this dish with a slice of soft cornbread or a few corn tortillas, and a crisp green salad for a well-rounded meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained

  • 1 (15-ounce) can red beans, drained

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can Mexican-stylestewed tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon ground chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Salt, to taste

  • 6 tablespoons chopped green onions, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Low calorie crock pot chili ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. In a nonstick skillet on medium heat, place the beef, garlic, onion, and bell pepper and brown until the beef is no longer pink. Drain any excess fat that cooks off of the ground beef and discard the extra drippings.

    Beef, garlic, onions, and peppers in a skillet

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. Place the beef mixture into a 4-quart (or larger) crock pot.

    Place the beef mixture into crock pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Add into the crock pot the kidney beans, red beans, diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, chili powder, and cumin. Gently stir together with a spoon until all of the ingredients are well combined. Set the slow cooker to cook on low for 5 hours, or 3 hours on high. Check the chili on occasion and give it a stir.

    Add into the crock pot the kidney beans, red beans, tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, chili powder, and cumin

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. Once the cooking time has passed, taste for seasoning and add salt to taste, if needed. Carefully ladle the chili into several bowls. Top with green onions, if using.

    Low calorie crock pot chili; top with green onions

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Other Versions of Our Low-Cal Chili

Beef doesn't necessarily have to be what makes a hearty chili. Here are other options for you to choose from:

  • Mushroom Chili: Mushrooms have a meaty quality and flavor, and are great substitutes for meat, as they add volume to stews and chilis but also a lot of flavor and nutrition. Brown 16 to 20 ounces of mixed mushrooms with the garlic, onions, and peppers as you'd brown the beef. Just add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan beforehand to avoid sticking. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as instructed but lower your cooking times to 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low.
  • Vegan Chili: Skip the beef and add 1 can of drained garbanzo beans. Simply mix all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook as instructed. To this vegan chili, you could add 1 block of pressed cubed extra-firm tofu, 16 ounces of crumbled tempeh, or 16 ounces of seitan. Add any of these plant-based proteins to the crock pot 20 minutes before the cooking time is up.
  • All-Veggie Chili: This dish is a great way to sneak in extra vegetables, and our recipe has room for other vegetables like carrots, kale, spinach, peas, or zucchini, although any other vegetable will complement the flavors without issues. For a heartier option, but still on the low-calorie side, add 1 cup of cubed sweet or white potatoes.

Do You Have to Brown Meat for Chili?

Browning the meat before putting it in the crock pot is beneficial to your chili recipes. Not only will it keep the meat from clumping together and keep that extra grease out of your chili, but it will also help provide more flavor to the meat.