Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne

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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!
Author: Meggan Hill
5 from 17 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



  • 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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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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  1. This turned out great! I actually used stew meat because that’s what I had on hand and I didn’t use any garlic because I’m allergic πŸ˜¬πŸ™„! I also used my pressure cooker on the stew setting for 1 hour and it came out perfect and was a big hit! I will definitely make this again!5 stars

    1. Hi Jennifer, yes. 8-10 hours on low. It “used” to be 8-10 hours on high, apparently my slow cooker was very old and tired? But since I’ve upgraded to a new one (just a basic model but it’s not 20 years old), it works a lot better. I’ve been trying to spot recipes that have bad directions which make no sense, and it looks like you found one. I’m so sorry about that! I’ll fix the recipe. Thank you! -Meggan

    2. Do you ever add ground beef as well and if so do you brown it in the bacon fat before like with the steaks?

  2. Made this today and was excellent. Really great depth of flavor from browning the meat and onions first. In the spirit adding flavor at every step, used the chicken stock to deglaze the pan before adding to the slow cooker. Also found that adding a squeeze of lime while serving brightens it up nicely after such a long cook.
    Great recipe. Thanks for posting.5 stars

  3. Prep Time: 5 Minutes LOL. Why is this number always so low? Anyway this is in the slowcooker and should be ready for the Niner victory tonight.

    1. Hi Jim, sorry about that! In theory the prep time is how long it takes to gather your ingredients and get them prepped (I am sure you know that). So some idiot (me) was like – the only prep here is chopping an onion, that only takes 5 minutes, hooray! When in reality the prep is also pulling spices out of the cupboard and measuring them out, opening cans, whatever. I’ll go through the motions and time it and put in the right number. Also, today is a tough call for me – born and raised in Wisconsin but been living in California wayyyyy too long. May the best team win! -Meggan

    2. That and cooking the bacon, searing the meat, sauteing the onions :-) I used Guinness instead of broth, a can of refried beans, a can of black beans and added a Jalapeno, a can of hot diced green chilies and a couple of Red bell Peppers. This recipe is all a 4 quart slow cooker can handle. Thanks for the recipe!

    3. See that stuff is not part of the prep time by my definition (prep time is whatever you do before you begin the recipe). That other stuff is part of the cook time. But maybe my definition is awful? Anyway I’m really sorry for the confusion on that. Thanks for not ripping me a new one. I appreciate all your ideas and feedback! -Meggan

    1. Hi Jessica, I put it in the slow cooker. I noticed it didn’t say in the recipe card. I’ll update that right away. Sorry about that! -Meggan

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