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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!
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?
- Start with bacon (it’s always a good idea).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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
- 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.
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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.