Jan 31, 2020

Slow Cooked Chili

Slow Cooked Chili is an EASY homemade Chili recipe made with sausage for an extra punch of flavor! Sausage, beans, and vegetables are slow cooked in a chunky sauce that's spiced just right.

This hearty Slow Cooker Chili recipe simmers up to 10 hours on low in the slow cooker, but if you're short on time, you can crank the slow cooker up to high and you'll be enjoying this chili recipe in just 4 hours.


As far as I'm concerned, homemade chili is really about the deliciously spicy sauce, and the best way to develop that sauce is to cook the chili ingredients low and slow which is why I use a slow cooker to make my chili recipe. 

It's also super easy to make chili in the slow cooker. Basically, all you have to do is brown the sausage in a skillet, transfer it to the slow cooker and add the remaining ingredients. The chili simmers for about 8 hours and all there's left to do is decide which toppings you want to pile on.

I really feel like this is the BEST Slow Cooker Chili Recipe! When my daughter was younger we would run concession stands for her 4H club and this chili SOLD OUT every time! It was the most requested item at our stands, hands down!


The ingredients you'll find in chili recipes vary widely, but there are some common ingredients you'll find in many classic chili recipes such as meat, tomatoes, beans, onions, green peppers, and seasonings like chili powder and garlic. The following are the ingredients in my Slow Cooked Chili recipe:
  • Mild Italian Sausage, ground - Many classic chili recipes will use ground beef, but I've found sausage to be a great addition to chili. I usually go for a mild Italian sausage, but if you want to spice things up even more, you can bring some extra heat with hot Italian sausage
  • Light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained - I use canned kidney beans in my chili. Canned beans are easy to use and budget-friendly. They also hold up well in the slow cooker without getting mushy.
  • Canned diced tomatoes - Another easy and budget-friendly ingredient that works well in chili. Look for diced tomatoes seasoned with basil, garlic, and oregano
  • Tomato Sauce - Again, use your favorite canned tomato sauce for this easy slow cooker chili recipe
  • Fresh onions, green peppers, & garlic - freshly diced onions, green peppers, and garlic can be put into the slow cooker raw and will season the sauce as it simmers
  • Chili powder - use a good quality chili powder for best results or you could even make your own with a mixture of quality spices such as paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic & onion powder, cumin, & oregano
  • Salt and pepper - I use kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for best results


  1. Brown the sausage - do you have to brown the sausage before putting it in the slow cooker? In my opinion, yes! When you brown the sausage you are getting a little bit of a sear on it which adds tons of flavor to the meat and, therefore, to the chili as well. I like to use a screaming hot cast iron skillet to brown the sausage to get the best sear.
  2. Transfer the browned sausage to the slow cooker and add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker. Give it a good stir, put the lid on the slow cooker, and simmer the chili on low for 8 hours (no more than 10 hours).
  3. Alternately, you can cook the chili on high for 4 hours.
  4. Just before you are ready to serve the chili, assemble your favorite toppings to serve with the chili and don't forget the cornbread!!
  5. Enjoy!


Having lots of delicious toppings available for chili makes for a fun dinner. Have a chili bar and let everyone help themselves!
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  • Cilantro
  • Fritos
  • Tortilla chips
  • Cheez-its - This is Don's favorite topping, so I had to include it in this list
  • Avocado
  • Green onions
  • I know I said it before, but don't forget the cornbread!! We especially love my Honey Cornbread Muffins with chili

Slow Cooked Chili
Slow Cooker Recipe
Yield: 8

Slow Cooked Chili

Slow Cooked Chili

Slow Cooked Chili is an EASY homemade Chili recipe made with sausage for an extra punch of flavor! Sausage, beans, and vegetables are slow cooked in a chunky sauce that's spiced just right.
prep time: 15 Mcook time: 8 hourtotal time: 8 H & 15 M


  • 1 1/2 lbs Mild Italian Sausage, ground
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) Light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cans (14.5 ounces each) Diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) Tomato sauce
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Toppings (optional)
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  • Fritos
  • Cilantro


How to cook Slow Cooked Chili

  1. In a 10" skillet over mid-high heat, brown 1 1/2 to 2 pounds sausage. Transfer to slow cooker.
  2. Next add kidney beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, diced onions, diced green peppers, minced garlic, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons salt, & 1 teaspoon pepper to the slow cooker. Stir all the ingredient together until combined. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.


You may substitute ground chuck in place of the sausage or even do a 50/50 mix of sausage and ground chuck
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  1. LOVE chili in the summer...with a fistfull of cilantro and cool sour cream...YUM!

    1. YAY! I'm not the only crazy! I am right there with ya on the cilantro, but was fresh out! Which is so sad because it is one of my favorite things and so yummy in the chili!


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