A delicious, easy recipe for Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne. Find all my tips and tricks for adding the most flavor to your chili every step of the way!

A delicious, easy recipe for Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne. Find all my tips and tricks for adding the most flavor to your chili every step of the way!

When it comes to slow cookers, it’s easy to take shortcuts and sacrifice flavor for convenience.

But then one day you wake up and you realize: If I am going to make chili, I want it to be the best chili anyone has ever had! Despite the fact that I made it in a slow cooker.

Let me show you how to add more flavor and love in every step of your chili-making for the best, most delicious results, even in a slow cooker.

How do you make Chili con Carne?

  1. Start with bacon (it’s always a good idea).
  2. Cook some bacon in a Dutch oven or stock pot to render the fat. You can use that fat to brown (aka ADD FLAVOR) to the beef in your chili.
  3. Cut the beef into large pieces so there is more surface area available for browning, then brown the bacon in batches so the beef gets brown, crusty edges (and doesn’t steam).
  4. Next, soften onions in the remaining bacon fat/beef juice. You could add the onions, raw, right into the slow cooker. But, why not add even more flavor by cooking them in bacon fat?
  5. When it comes to canned tomatoes, you can easily add more flavor to your chili depending on which tomatoes you choose. Opt for fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chilis for the most flavor.
  6. Finally, the spices. I use regular chili powder and chipotle chili powder for more heat and flavor. I also add cumin, oregano, coriander, thyme, garlic, and lots of salt and pepper.

A delicious, easy recipe for Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne. Find all my tips and tricks for adding the most flavor to your chili every step of the way!

How do you make Chili con Carne in a slow cooker?

Once you have all your delicious layers of flavor as outlined above, everything goes in the slow cooker until the beef chunks are so tender, they fall apart.

In my slow cooker, this takes about 8 to 10 hours on LOW.

When the chili is done, feel free to skim off any accumulated fat at the top that has melted off the beef roast.

A delicious, easy recipe for Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne. Find all my tips and tricks for adding the most flavor to your chili every step of the way!

What does Chili con Carne mean in English?

Chili con Carne means “Chili with meat.” So while the meat is required, the beans are not. Feel free to leave out the can of kidney beans (or add a second if that’s your style).

Is Chili con Carne a Mexican dish?

Chili con Carne is a Texas dish, not a Mexican one.

Not only did it originate in Texas, but it has been the official state food since 1977.

How to garnish Chili con Carne

I like a simple combination of sour cream, cheese, scallions, and cilantro. You can also try oyster crackers, diced avocado, additional chili powder, or Frito corn chips.

Slow cooker chili con carne in a white bowl.

Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne

A delicious, easy recipe for Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne. Find all my tips and tricks for adding the most flavor to your chili every step of the way!
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 8 hrs 20 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Calories 163


  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 (3 to 4 pound) boneless beef chuck roast or chuck pot roast
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles undrained
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Shredded cheese sour cream, cilantro, or scallions, for serving, optional


  • In a Dutch oven or large stock pot, fry bacon until crisp. Transfer to a plate and crumble when cool. Reserve bacon fat for cooking beef and keep hot.
  • Meanwhile, cut beef into 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch thick steaks. Season each side generously with salt and pepper. Working with one large steak at a time, fry in reserved bacon fat until well-browned on each side. 
  • Transfer to a cutting board and repeat with remaining steaks. Cut each browned steak into 1-inch to 2-inch cubes and transfer to slow cooker. 
  • Add onion to pot with bacon fat and beef juice. Stir until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.
  • To the slow cooker, add the crumbled bacon, tomatoes with chiles, chicken broth or water, beans, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, chipotle chili powder, thyme, and coriander.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours or HIGH for 4 to 5 hours. The beef should be falling apart and tender. Strain excess fat off the top if desired. Shred the beef gently with tongs or two forks.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with toppings such as sour cream, cheese, scallions, and cilantro.

Recipe Video


Searing the chuck roast adds more flavor but is COMPLETELY optional. If you decide to skip this step, proceed to Step 2 after seasoning the roast with salt and pepper.
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen The Best Simple Recipes 2013 (Quick All-American Chili).


Calories: 163kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 10gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 494mgPotassium: 668mgFiber: 8gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2467IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 108mgIron: 5mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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  1. D’aww! So cute! This tutorial includes so many great tips for making chili con carne. I love how you’ve taken such effort to maximize the flavor in the dish. One of my favorite cozy winter foods. <3 5 stars

  2. I Followed this receipe, with all fresh ingredients grown at home. Omg, shame on me for not setting some to the side to freeze as Dave mentioned. Its all gone!5 stars

    1. Hi Linda, yes, about 1 cup, possibly a little more. I need to make this again so I can measure it exactly. Thanks!

    2. Thanks, Megan.

      I should have asked before, but what color bell pepper is typical?



    3. Hi Lauren! I think that is totally a personal preference. I would say green is typical because that’s what my mom ALWAYS used growing up, but I tend to veer towards red peppers because they are a little sweeter and my husband won’t notice them (he apparently doesn’t like bell peppers). Whatever you want to do is fine! Thanks.

  3. Another fantastic way to use chuck Roast ( I like to start mine on a grill using natural lump charcoal ) Thanks and keep up the great work its appreciated5 stars

    1. Thank you so much Michael! I am planning to make this recipe again soon and would love to start it on the grill as you suggested. I’m more of a propane girl myself, but nobody is perfect. :) Thank you so much for your comment and have a great day!

    1. Really! But! We’re talking about the Americanized chili powder blend that you buy at the grocery store, no just 1/4 cup cayenne pepper. In case that makes a difference to you. If I buy chili powder at an international foods market, it’s just ground up hot peppers and then NO, do not use 1/4 cup of that. Which BTW I’ve tried because I didn’t understand the difference. But if we’re talking about the regular blend of chili powder that is somewhat dark brown in color, yes 1/4 cup. BUT, another but, if you don’t like spicy food (as my mom doesn’t), then maybe just 1 tablespoon. But yes, I do regularly do 1/4 cup of chili powder in all of my chilis.

  4. Oh YUM! How did I miss this one? What a great twist on a burrito! Gotta try this one. I generally make 16 quarts of chili at a time and freeze half of it because it does not take long to disappear. :-)5 stars

    1. Hi Terri! The bacon goes in the slow cooker with everything else! I must have a typo where that’s not specified. Sorry for the confusion. Just add it and get all the bacon-flavor-love in your chili. Thanks!