This slow cooker chili recipe is filled with flavors of America's Southwest, with roasted green chilies, ground beef, fire roasted tomatoes, and plenty of seasonings, so easy to make!
The Best Slow Cooker Chili Ever
Hello, spicy food lovers! Are you ready for a bowl of chili? If you're a spicy food lover, I'll bet you're a big chili lover, too.
When the weather turns colder, my mind quickly turns to thoughts of comfort food in pots - we're talking thick, hearty soups, simmering spicy stews, and OF COURSE, loaded pots of chili cooking low and slow on the stove or in the slow cooker.
Seriously, give me some chili and I'm happy to lounge around all day in the house in my comfy clothes with a good book while the cold weather rages outside.
Like this recipe. I'm busting out the crock pot for my Southwest Style Slow Cooker Chili, and I think you're going to love it.
Like this particular recipe brings in the flavors of the American Southwest, including roasted poblano peppers for a rich, earthy flavor. Poblanos are exactly that, rich and earthy, particularly when they are roasted.
Their skins char and puff up, making them easy to peel off, leaving the thick pepper flesh with a smoky flavor you can't get anywhere else.
Roasting poblano peppers is rather easy. If you have questions about roasting, see our page - How to Roast Chili Peppers.
The only other cooking is cooking the ground beef up in a pan along with your sweet onion. Into the pot that goes, along with fire roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans, and plenty of seasonings. Try my Homemade Spicy Chili Powder Blend for this recipe.
The rest is waiting, and that is the hardest part. So let's get cooking my crockpot chili recipe!
Let's talk about how to make Southwest style slow cooker chili, shall we?
Southwest Style Slow Cooker Chili Ingredients
- Olive Oil. For cooking.
- Ground Beef. Use 80-20 ground beef. Lean ground beef is good, but I prefer a bit more fat content. You can use other ground meats if you wish, like ground turkey, pork, or chicken, though I love a good beef chili.
- Chili Peppers. I'm using poblano peppers today, though Hatch chiles are amazing here.
- Beans. I'm using light red kidney beans, though you can use others, like pinto beans or black beans.
- Fire Roasted Tomatoes. I use canned, though you can use fresh tomatoes or crushed or diced tomatoes as well. You can roast them when you roast the peppers.
- Tomato Sauce.
- Seasonings. Chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper, coriander, cumin.
- For Serving. Fresh chopped herbs shredded cheese or queso fresco, corn chips, pan seared jalapeno peppers, hot sauce, etc.
How to Make Southwest Style Slow Cooker Chili - the Recipe Method
Browning the Beef. Heat the oil in a large pan skillet over medium high heat and add the ground beef and chopped onion. Cook them down about 10 minutes, or until the beef is cooked through. Add them to your slow cooker.
Roast the Peppers. While beef is cooking, set your oven to broil. Slice the poblano peppers in half lengthwise and set them on a baking sheet. Broil them in the center of the oven about 20 minutes, or until the skins char and puff up.
Peel the Roasted Peppers. Remove, cool slightly, and peel and discard the skins. Chop the poblanos and add them to the pot.
Add Remaining Ingredients. Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir them up.
Then! WAIT. Ugh. The waiting part is rough, especially when you work from home and you can smell the pot cooking down there, filling the house with those wonderful aromas.
Slow Cooker Chili. Cook them on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust for seasonings if you wish.
Serve Your Chili. Serve in bowls with your favorite fixin’s. I used tortilla chips, queso fresco, fresh herbs and pan seared jalapeno slices.
Boom! Done! So easy to make, right? Easy chili recipe. I need chili now! Serve warm with all your favorite toppings. We love this recipe. The slow cooking really helps to develop those wonderful flavors.
Recipe Tips & Notes
I usually use poblano peppers or Hatch green chiles for this recipe, though you can use others. Consider Anaheim peppers, cubanelles, or other thicker walled peppers that are great for roasting. Green bell peppers can work, though they have no heat.
They key is roasting the chilies before adding them to the slow cooker. Roasted peppers add a depth of flavor you can't get anywhere else, and they really bring the flavor of the chili to a whole new level of deliciousness.
Yes, I use beans in my chili. Feel free to omit them. I am NOT a purist when it comes to chili. If it tastes good, it tastes good! And yeah, this one sure does. Use your favorite beans, drained and rinsed.
You can use your favorite American blend of chili powder, though I enjoy a blend of ancho powder, guajillo powder, and New Mexican hot chili powder. Add brown sugar for a touch of sweetness to your chili.
Bring in all the fixin's you prefer. I always love a bit of melted cheese on my chili, fresh chopped green onions or herbs for a pop of freshness, and particularly, for me, pan roasted jalapeno peppers because we all know about my particular #JalapenoObsession. Truly, I can't help myself.
I also enjoy serving a bowl with tortilla chips for a bit of crunch factor. AND! Do not forget the hot sauce. Hot sauce is a must. For me, anyway. Can't get enough. Use sour cream for a creamy touch.
Store any leftover chili in sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it for up to 6 months.
That's it, my friends. Low and slow! Let me know how this recipe turns out for you. I hope your family loves it as much as we do. Send pics! Share it on social media, if you will! I would GREATLY appreciate it. And please, look out for my new cookbook!
If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you'll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don't forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I'll be sure to share! Thanks! -- Mike H.
Southwest Style Slow Cooker Chili Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds 80-20 ground beef
- 1 large sweet onion chopped
- 4 poblano peppers chopped (or use Hatch chiles)
- 2 cans light red kidney beans
- 28 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes or use equivalent fresh
- 14 ounce can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
- FOR SERVING: Fresh chopped herbs, shredded cheese or queso fresco, corn chips, pan seared jalapeno peppers, hot sauce, etc.
- Heat the oil in a large pan and add the ground beef and chopped onion. Cook them down about 10 minutes, or until the beef is cooked through. Add them to your slow cooker.
- While beef is cooking, set your oven to broil. Slice the poblano peppers in half lengthwise and set them on a baking sheet. Broil them in the center of the oven about 20 minutes, or until the skins char and puff up.
- Remove, cool slightly, and peel and discard the skins.
- Chop the roasted peppers and add them to the pot.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir them up.
- Cook them on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, stirring every now and then. Adjust for seasonings if you wish.
- Serve in bowls with your favorite fixin’s. I used tortilla chips, queso fresco, fresh herbs and pan seared jalapeno slices.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 5/10/22 to include new information. It was originally published on 12/13/17.