Unusual Chili Recipes – 4 Wacky But Wonderful Chili Meals

Got a hankering for chili, but tired of the same old bean chili you’ve had countless times? Good. It’s time to shake things up a little and try something different to get your taste buds excited. Here are four unique recipes for chili that will give your chili cravings some much needed variety.

=> Pumpkin Chili Mexicana

The sweet, earthy taste of pumpkin takes this dish to a whole other level of savory goodness.

In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add in the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender.

Add in the turkey meat and cook until browned; drain.

Add in the tomatoes with juice, pumpkin puree, tomato sauce, beans, chilies, corn, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

=> Memphis Barbecue Shrimp Chili

Here’s a very unique chili recipe that comes straight out of the Memphis barbecue tradition. The consistency will be very soup like and is meant to be served over rice or French bread.

1-1/2 pounds medium shrimp, 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped, 1-1/2 cups of barbecue sauce, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon hot sauce, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, 1-1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1 lemon, sliced very thin, white rice and or French bread.

Peel and thoroughly clean the shrimp.

In a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter and oil. Cook the garlic until it’s nice and soft.

Add in the shrimp and cook until pink.

Add in the barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, liquid smoke, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and chili powder.

Simmer all for 10 minutes. Add in the parsley and lemon slices. Continue to simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.

Serve chili over white rice and/or French bread.

=> Italiano Chili Con Carne

Italian meets Southwestern in this easy-to-make chili dish.

1 green pepper, 6 to 8 large onions, 1 pound ground beef, 1 medium can of tomatoes, 1 can of kidney beans, 1 can of spaghetti sauce.

In a skillet, cook the ground beef until brown; drain.

Dice up the green peppers and onions and add to a saucepan. Add in the cooked beef and the tomatoes. Let simmer until all ingredients are well done. Add in the beans and spaghetti sauce; heat thoroughly.

Season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar.

=> Picante Cincinnati Chili

This Cincinnati version is known as the sweet chili and is served over spaghetti noodles. The picante sauce adds a nice twist to this popular dish.

2 pounds of ground beef or pork, 2 large onions, chopped, 2 cloves of garlic, minced, 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce, 1 can picante sauce, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 to1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 2 bay leaves, 1 pound thin spaghetti, cooked.

Topping: Shredded cheddar cheese, 1 chopped onion, kidney beans, heated, Oyster crackers.

In a large Dutch oven or pot, brown the beef or pork along with the onion and garlic. Add in the remaining ingredients, except for the spaghetti and the toppings. Cover and let simmer for 1 hour; stirring occasionally.

Remove the bay leaves. Serve the chili nice and hot over the cooked spaghetti. Use toppings as desired.

A rich and hearty chili that has been slowly braised with red wine, dried peppers, garlic, and tangy mustard. It may sound like an odd combination, but this Braised Chili with Red Wine is spectacular!

A few years ago, we were hanging out with some of our dear friends watching football and eating food. Our friend had been bragging about his chili for quite some time, and he was anxious for us to impress us with his signature recipe.

I was a bit skeptical.

Now I love chili, but doubted that his chili was going to wow me.

I was wrong.

His secret was red wine and mustard!! I had never heard of such a combination, but it is delicious!

Red Wine Chili

This chili is rich and hearty and full of unique flavors. The red wine adds depth and the garlic adds sweet undertones. Through in the dried chilis and mustard for tang and heat and this chili has it all.

How to Make Braised Chili

  • In a large heavy bottomed stock-pan, brown beef with onions.
  • Drain off fat, and return beef to pan.
  • Add in red wine and bring a boil, scraping off any browned bits on bottom of pan.
  • Let simmer for 5 minutes for alcohol to evaporate.
  • Add in tomatoes, mustard, garlic cloves, dried chili, water, seasonings, and beans and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 hours, until garlic cloves are sweet and tender.

More Chili Recipes

  • Butternut Squash Chili
  • Instant Pot Chili
  • White Chicken Chili
  • Smokin’ Hot Chili from Hey Grill Hey
  • Korean Chili con Carne from Taste with the Eyes
  • Chicken Chili
  • Lentil Chili
  • Black Bean and Quinoa Chili
  • Slow Cooker Chili

Wine and Mustard Braised Chili

A hearty chili made with beef, beans, red wine and mustard. 0 from 0 votes Pin Course: Main Course Cuisine: American Keyword: Wine Braised Chili Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 4 hours Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes Servings: 8 Calories: 368kcal Author: Kristen Chidsey


  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 onion diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic whole
  • 1 dried ancho chili omit if you can’t find it or if you don’t like heat
  • 2 cups dry red wine like a cabernet or merlot
  • 1 28 ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 16 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups red beans rinsed and drained or dried and prepared at home
  • 1 tablespoon chili seasoning
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard


  • Over medium heat, brown meat with onion. Once meat is browned, drain fat.
  • Add in red wine and deglaze pan. Let simmer for 5 minutes, for alcohol to evaporate.
  • Add remaining ingredients to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low and simmer for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Before serving, fish out the dried pepper and discard.
  • I leave the garlic cloves in the chili because at this point they are tender and sweet.

Nutrition Facts Wine and Mustard Braised Chili Amount Per Serving Calories 368 Calories from Fat 108 % Daily Value* Fat 12g18% Saturated Fat 4g25% Cholesterol 40mg13% Sodium 245mg11% Potassium 1124mg32% Carbohydrates 35g12% Fiber 9g38% Sugar 7g8% Protein 20g40% Vitamin A 1025IU21% Vitamin C 18.7mg23% Calcium 82mg8% Iron 6.4mg36% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. I would love to know how you enjoy this recipe!Snap a picture and tag #amindfullmom on Instagram or Facebook – I would love to see!

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Kristen Chidsey

Hi, I am Kristen, creator of A Mind “Full” Mom. I believe that making a wholesome family meal does not need to be hard or expensive! I love nothing more than to share with you delicious solutions for your hungry family. Follow me

Latest posts by Kristen Chidsey (see all)

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5 Secrets to Master Your Instant Pot

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Expert Tips to Get More from Your Instant Pot

Dragon’s Breath Chili

  1. Add the bacon grease and butter to a large stockpot over high heat. Add the Anaheim chiles, poblano chiles, red bell peppers, jalapeno chiles and onions, and cook until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Add the chuck and brown, about 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and sausage and brown, stirring gently, trying not to break up the ground beef too much. Cook until the meat is nicely browned and cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, cayenne, coriander, cumin, granulated garlic, granulated onion, paprika, salt and black pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the tomato sauce and paste, and stir to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Stir in the beer and stock. Add the kidney and pinto beans; lower the heat and simmer, about 2 hours.
  3. Serve the chili in bowls over Double-Fried French Fries and garnish with crackers, green onions and Cheddar.

Double-Fried French Fries:

Yield: 8 servings

  1. Peel the potatoes on the sides, leaving the ends with the skin on. Cut the potatoes into 1/3-inch slices and then slice into 1/3-inch sticks.
  2. Fill a large bowl with water and soak the potatoes, submerged, at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. This will help remove the excess starch from the potatoes and keep them from oxidizing.
  3. Fit a heavy stockpot with a deep-fry thermometer and heat the oil to 325degress F.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the water and pat dry to remove excess water. Carefully place two handfuls of potatoes into the hot oil. There should be at least 1 inch of oil above the potatoes. Parcook until the potatoes are light brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the potatoes, gently shaking off the excess oil and let them drain on a rack. Repeat the process until all of the potatoes are parcooked.
  5. Raise the heat of the oil to 350 degrees F. Cook the potatoes again, two handfuls at a time, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oil, shake off the excess oil, place in a bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Repeat the process until all of the potatoes are cooked.

10 Unique Chili Recipes for Super Bowl

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While January brings winter’s perpetual gloom, it also brings two essential American traditions: the Super Bowl and chili. American Football is so American that only American teams play in the world championships and an American team, obviously, always wins. Originally from Texas in the late 1900s, chili is so American that Americans constantly duke it out to claim their region’s version as “the best” ever. The combination brings us an adrenaline, beer, bean, and melted cheese-fueled extravaganza that the whole family can enjoy—especially when the halftime show is good (read: Beyonce). I even have friends who never watch sports, but will fight their managers or call out sick to make sure they can enjoy the Super Bowl and all its food-filled glory.

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The best part about chili or chili con carne is that it comes in all shapes and sizes—even sin carne (without meat). Essentially, it is just a spicy stew made of meat, fat, chili peppers, and salt. So, even the tomatoes and beans are optional and you can always make substitutions if you’re going all keto this year. This is what makes it such a great dish. Between my recent battles with acid reflux, my sister’s gluten intolerance, as well as the increasing number of people who are paleo, vegan, vegetarian or can’t do dairy, we are entering a world where making American classics requires flexibility. So, if you are living in this brave new world with me, I have decided to put together a list of mouth-watering chilis that keep your taste buds salivating regardless of your diet.

Paleo Chili


Can you keep a secret? This bean-free, non-dairy, and Whole 30 approved recipe is how you honor your New Year’s resolution to get summer abs while indulging in bacon and Italian sausage. This recipe is so good, people have won chili contests. So, you can deny yourself while feeling free to treat yourself. Get the Paleo Chili recipe.

Lamb Chili

The Food in my Beard

This decadent chili calls for three types of lamb. It gets smokiness from lamb bacon, heart rich flavor from lamb leg and texture from ground lamb. Dried chilis provide ample heat while creamy white beans and sour cream help cool things down. Get the Lamb Chili recipe.

Crock Pot Paleo Sweet Potato Chipotle Chili

Cotter Crunch

Given my general holiday weight gain, one good paleo recipe deserves another. Sweet potatoes and chipotle flavor this hearty, juicy, sweet meat chili. The best part of the recipe is that it is basically only five steps before you garnish and it is done in a Crock Pot. You can cook the perfect meal while making sure the rest of your life is perfect. Get the Crock Pot Paleo Sweet Potato Chipotle Chili recipe.

Killer Vegan Chili

Eat Healthy Eat Happy

This vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free recipe had me at avocado instead of vegan cheese, but it didn’t stop there. When I was vegan, I struggled to find satisfying proteins. While veganism is not for me, adding nuts and nut butter to dishes always made my tummy happy and hit tastebud home runs. This recipe cracks this same code by adding walnuts, quinoa, and black beans to get that full range of protein and healthy fat. Get the Killer Vegan Chili recipe.

Now that we have been good, why should all the healthy people have all the fun? Let’s move on to some exotic chilis.

Peruvian Chicken Chili with Peanuts

Chicken Satay is a major thing, so this chicken and peanut chili is as well. Paired with allspice and jalapeño with milk and Parmesan to cut the heat, this chili will take your mouth around the world and back. Get our Peruvian Chicken Chili with Peanuts recipe.

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Slow Cooker Gourmet

All white bean chilis are significant, but this comfort food combo is a brilliant ode to Super Bowl Sunday. It brings together buffalo sauce for spice and ranch dressing to cut the heat in a chicken broth with sweet corn and white beans. Did I mention the suggested blue cheese topping? Clearly, adding blue cheese is never really a suggestion. So, let’s just refer to that as mandatory. Get the Buffalo Chicken Chili recipe.

Pork Chili Verde

Favorite Family Recipes

The addition of white beans dares to blur the lines between chilis, but a single look at the spicy green stew and you know this is a toasty green chili. Tender pork is cooked with cumin, chicken stock, cilantro, and oregano to a dish that begs for some sour cream and/or tart cheese. My vote is with Manchego or Parmesan as the cheese. Get the Pork Chili Verde recipe.

Chili Mac and Cheese

Belly Full

Together, two distinct foods can be terrible, but here they are downright indulgent. Winter is a dark time, so you need your comfort food. Just think, ground beef, garlic, macaroni, and cheddar cheese. Taking the first bite will require a moment of silence or a moment for moaning. To heighten flavor, replace the store marinara with a homemade marinara and, for the love of good cheese, buy some fresh English or Irish cheddar instead of something grated and processed. Trust me. Get the Chili Mac and Cheese recipe.

Beer and Steak Chili

Sugar Spun Run

Steak is a denser, juicier cut of meat than most people have experienced in chili. This jalapeño and Anaheim peppered chili is coupled with dark notes of cocoa, molasses, and—of course—a nice thick beer. Opt for a milk stout or nut brown ale, but feel free to trust your taste buds. Get the Beer and Steak Chili recipe.

Slow Cooker Kielbasa and Barbecue Beans

Mom on TImeout

Tired of traditional chili flavors? Break out! After a thorough review, the recipe is still a stew of meat, fat, chili, and salt, so I welcome it to the fold. The addition of bacon and kielbasa is genius because…bacon and kielbasa. Then, the stewed molasses, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard will make your mouth recall that last great summer BBQ. This chili is basically “winter therapy,” so sign me up. Get the Slow Cooker Kielbasa and Barbecue Beans recipe.

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Related Video: How to Make the Perfect Dip for Your Super Bowl Party

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6 Awesome Cookoff-Winning Chili Recipes

These chili recipes are the chili cook-off champions! And they could be your ticket to a blue ribbon, too.

1. Boilermaker Tailgate Chili

Recipe creator MIGHTYPURDUE22 says, “This is the chili recipe the gang eats at Purdue Boilermaker football games. I always prep and cook the chili the night before and then reheat the next day. This is a combination of many different tomato-based chili recipes. Good luck and enjoy.”

Image zoom Photo by Molly

“This Chili recipe has now won us 2 Chili cookoff blue ribbons! It is still our only Chili recipe. Just two minor alterations: 1) We used a whole bottle of Guiness beer and 2) only used 2 cans of spicy chili beans, and cooked it all day on low in our HUGE slow cooker. Fantastic! Great flavors — our new favorite chili recipe for all football Sunday gatherings! Lot’s of chopping but oh-so-worth-it in the end.” — Patti Fritz

“I can’t praise this chili enough! The meat melted in your mouth, the flavors tingled nicely all the way to your toes. I just won a chili cookoff with it.” — VORCHA

“My husband used this recipe for his office chili cook-off competition and has won two years in a row, and he’s been in two different companies!”

— Amalloch

“I have won 1st place in 4 different cook-offs with this recipe. I do replace the ground beef with 1 lb stew meat and 1 lb roast (whichever kind is on sale) cubed. I mix up the beans a bit using 1 can black beans, 1 can dark kidney, and 1 can spicy chili. The flavors are amazing as they are written! But the texture of the different beans and meats makes it blow the judges and crowds away!” — TXRachel

2. Debdoozie’s Blue Ribbon Chili

Deb, who submitted this 5-star chili, says, “This is the tastiest, easiest chili recipe you’ll ever find. I recommend serving it with sliced jalapeno chile peppers and crackers or cornbread.”

Image zoom Photo by cookin’mama

“I live in Texas where the chili cook-off competition is fierce, and I had to enter it in the “Non-Texas” category because it has beans in it. Mine was lucky no. 7 (out of 14 in the category), and it won! It is a true blue-ribbon recipe. It got lots of compliments. It could have been a might spicier for my Texan taste, but for those not used to spice it’s perfect — award-winning in fact!” — Tamara

“This truly IS the best and easist recipe EVER! I do it in the crockpot to make it even simplier. I, too, have won chili cook-offs with this without changing a thing.” — lbarbour

“Be sure to enter this chili in contests at work…it WINS all the time.” — DEBZDOO

3. Flatlander Chili

George Couch created this chili, and modestly describes it as “Easy to make, great anytime, and always a favorite.”

Image zoom Photo by Rock_lobster

“I won the chili cook-off with this recipe last night. Everyone commented that they liked the combination of spicy and sweet.” — MikeLikesToEat

“My two daughters and I used this recipe for our Girl Scout Father/Daughter Chili contest and won “Best Overall Chili” out of over 30 contestants!” — David P.

“I just won the chili cook off with this recipe. I too made some adjustments. I used tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.The rest of the recipe, I copied exactly as written. Yummy!” — Nancy Morrison

Related: How to Make Chili Like a Champion

4. Washabinaros Chili

Recipe creator AARONCH asks, “What happens when you have a Japanese friend that likes chili? You make him wasabi chili.”

Image zoom Photo by Meredith

“This chili recipe has won me back to back office chili cook-offs. Naturally I took all the credit, but time to give the credit where it is due. Thanks. Great flavor. I make sure to use a different dark beer each time I make it for a different angle. I like using a chocolate stout, which adds a rich and smooth consistency. Make sure the coffee used is a STRONG cup to give it a noticeable but it still wont be an overbearing kick. Kudos to the creator.” — Brad S

“I have won several chili cook-offs with this little gem. I stick to the recipe mostly, but I do usually omit the habaneros and sometimes substitute a can or two of great northern white beans for the kidney beans just because I find them more tender. I used a smoked porter for the beer the first time but lately have just been using a standard red ale with a drop of liquid smoke mixed in. I find the flavor to be almost identical. I have yet to meet anyone who does not love this chili.” — Three-Two

“I just returned home from a chili cook off and I won!! I did add a teaspoon of cocoa powder per 8 searvings. This stuff rocks!”

— Mark Fish

5. Chili I

ROBTX99, who submitted this recipe, reveals his secret ingredients: “Coffee and beer give this chili a unique and dynamite flavor.”

Image zoom Chili I | Photo by Theresa

“My wife used this recipe in her company chili cookoff and won FIRST place. Even beating her boss whose been the reighning chili champ. Wonderful recipe. This recipe is awesome!! We used 3 peppers instead of 4 and used 1/4 cup brown sugar rather then the full amount. The Starbucks Verona and the Guiness worked well together. It was the only crock pot that was sitting empty. We are making another batch today.” — erika

“This is an awsome recipe. We used it for a chili cook off and won 1st place. Don’t change a thing. This is the perfect chili. Everyone wants the recipe.” — LORILYNN71

“I won my office chili cookoff with this recipe! Fantastic. Followed the directions exactly as stated EXCEPT I used a dark Bavarian beer and 2 shots of Espresso. Other than that everything was exactly the same. And yes, it is better the next day. Amazing flavor!” — toddster

6. The Ultimate Chili

Recipe creator Wendy says, “Easy recipe with little preparation time. This can also be made with ground turkey, and it tastes even better the next day!”

Image zoom Photo by Meredith

“Awesome! This recipe won me top price at my company’s annual chili cook off. There wasn’t enough to satisfy the demand. Great stuff!” — RogerH

“My husband won a chili cookoff using this recipe, hands down! The only modification he made was to add a little pasta a few hours before the chili finished cooking. This chili smells so wonderful while it’s cooking that the real challenge is in actually waiting until it’s done! Thanks, Wendy!” — ERIN

If this list merely whets your appetite for chili, check out our complete collection of Chili Recipes. You’ll find beef, chicken, turkey, and pork chili recipes, plus vegetarian chili recipes, white chili recipes, and those with and without beans. And speaking of beans, these heirloom beans will take your award-winning chili to the next level.

Check out this savory cornbread waffle — it’s chili’s choice companion.

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Traditional chili recipes can be fantastic, especially for Super Bowl Sunday, but maybe you’re looking for a little something different?!! I’ve got you covered!

Here’s my Lightened Up 3 Bean Crock Pot Turkey Chili for all of you like me, who watch their calorie’s, but still want to enjoy good food without deprivation!

Here’s a Black Bean Chili with Lime from Kalyn’s Kitchen for either the Crock pot or the stove top!

This recipe for the slow cooker includes a combination of ground beef and ground turkey from A Farm Girl Dabbles!

Maybe you’d like to skip ground beef or turkey and go for chicken chili instead! Here’s my Low Fat Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili!

Do you love quinoa? This quinoa chili from Damn Delicious looks fantastic!

Interested in skipping the meat all together? This White Bean Chili will work perfectly for you from My Whole Food Life!

If you’re a fan of pumpkin you’ll want to try this Chili from the Table for Two Blog!

Lover of sweet potatoes? I’ve got a turkey sausage and sweet potato chili that will do the trick!

Here’s another vegetarian chili with butternut squash from The Lemon Bowl!

Is steak more your speed? This Slow Cooker Steak chili from Perry’s Plate looks delish!

If you want some extra spicy chili this Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili will fit the bill!

If fajita’s are always on your mind this Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Fajita Chili will be sure to please!

How about taco’s?? Love them?? Then my Crock Pot Taco Soup Chili is want you’ll be happy with!

Some really yummy spices in the Crock Pot Black Bean Turkey Chili from Jeanette’s Healthy Living!

This Smokey Chipotle Chili from What’s Gaby Cooking looks fabulous as well!

Here’s my low fat crock pot White Chicken Chili that everyone in my house loves!

For even more variety this Slow Cooker Pork Ranch Chili from The Yummy Life sounds wonderful!!

So much variety and so many choices!!! What shall one do?? Make as many recipes for a crowd in as many slow cookers you have available and enjoy taste testing all the creations! That’s my idea anyway!! The Super Bowl is really just about the food and the commercials to me. I’m not much interested in watching the game at all, sorry to say folks. Hope you enjoy all these options and start slow cooking away!! OH and enjoy the game too! 🙂

Slow Cooker Chili is one of my all time most popular recipes, come fall and winter thousands of people make it every day! And for good reason, this is the best crockpot chili around! It’s incredibly flavorful, it’s packed with protein and perfectly hearty, plus it’s a crockpot dinner everyone can agree on.

Love this recipe? Be sure to try my highly rated White Chicken Chili too!

The Best Crockpot Chili Recipe Ever!

Chili is actually one of my favorite foods and I make it all the time. It’s a recipe everyone in the family loves and it’s just good for the soul, perfect comfort food.

This slow cooker method is my favorite for chili. The flavor of the crockpot chili is rich and robust, the texture of the beef is so tender, and it turns out perfect every time!

It’s just the way the ground beef in chili should be. Six hours of slow cooking creates the best chili ever!

And have I mentioned how easy this it is to make? It’s a total breeze, so this will likely become a recipe you won’t want to lose!

Watch How Easy it is!

What Ingredients go into Crockpot Chili?

  • Olive oil: use for sauteeing. Vegetable oil will work too if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Ground beef: I recommend using 85% lean. It has a good ratio of fat for browning but not too much.
  • Yellow onion and garlic: aromatics that add lots of flavor. Use fresh garlic for best results.
  • Canned tomatoes with green chilies: if you can’t find the size listed then you can use 2 (14.5 oz) cans of tomatoes then add a 1 (4 oz) can of diced green chilies.
  • Tomato sauce: this gives it a nice tomato flavored base and makes it stew-like.
  • Beef broth: this thins it out, if you don’t want it soupy at all then you can omit it. If you want it more soup add a little more.
  • Spices (chili powder, cumin, paprika, sugar, coriander, S&P): the key to great chili. This recipe isn’t skimpy with them.
  • Cocoa powder: this secret ingredient adds depth. Don’t worry it’s not going to taste like chocolate.
  • Dark and light kidney beans: if you don’t have both shades just use two dark.

How do You Make Slow Cooker Chili?

This chili is so easy to make, the slow cooker does most of the work! Here’s how you’ll prepare it:

  • Saute aromatics, add to slow cooker: Heat olive oil in a large and deep non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
    Add onion and saute 3 minutes, then add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer. Pour onions into a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker.
  • Brown beef: Return skillet to medium-high eat, add beef and cook stirring occasionally until beef has browned.
  • Drain fat, add beef to slow cooker: Drain most of fat from beef, leaving about 2 Tbsp in with beef (this is optional, I think it ads flavor but you can drain it all if you’d prefer). Pour browned beef into slow cooker.
  • Add liquids and seasonings: Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cocoa powder, sugar, coriander and season mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook low and slow: Cover with lid and cook on low heat for 5 – 6 hours.
  • Stir in beans: Add in dark and light red kidney beans and allow to heat through, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve warm with desired toppings.

Can I Make This Chili in an Instant Pot?

Here’s the instant pot method for this Chili recipe HERE.

Can I Make This Chili on the Stovetop?

If you don’t have a slow cooker this can also be made on the stove top. Brown the onion, brown the beef, add the other ingredients except the beans then simmer 2 – 3 hours over low heat. Then stir in beans.

What Should I Serve with Crockpot Chili?

Serve with a side of cornbread or serve in baked potatoes.

How to Freeze Chili

This chili freezes really well and reheats really well. I actually almost always have some in my freezer.

It’s great for meal prep! I freeze small batches for my kids school lunch then pack it in a thermos for them. Or I’ll sometimes make a double batch (using two slow cookers) then freeze a batch for dinner the next week.

What Can I Make with Leftover Chili?

When I have left over chili I love to serve it over Navajo Tacos. Just strain the liquid using a slotted spoon to serve.

Tips for the Best Crockpot Chili:

  • Don’t skip sautéing onions before adding to slow cooker. If you do you’ll end up with crunchy onions in the chili.
  • Use good quality ground beef. I like to use 85% lean Angus beef. Avoid the beef in the tubes is this is poor quality beef.
  • For even more flavor you can bloom the spices before adding them to the chili. To do this just saute them with the onions during the last 1 minute.
  • If you have time cook beef in two batches. Cooking 1 pound of beef at a time allows more room for it to brown rather than just steam. And of course browning adds incredible flavor.
  • Avoid cooking on high heat. Cooking this low and slow allows time for those flavors to develop and meld together, and it makes the beef more tender.
  • Wait to add the beans until the end. Canned beans are already cooked so if you add them in the beginning they end up way too mushy.

Possible Variations:

  • Add a diced red or green bell pepper along with the veggies when sautéing.
  • If you like spicy chili add a seeded jalapeno or two along with the veggies.
  • Serve with grated cheddar, sour cream, diced avocados, tortilla chips or saltine crackers.
  • Leave to cool completely before storing in the fridge or freezer. Always use airtight containers.

More Delicious Chili Recipes to Try!

  • Instant Pot Chili
  • Turkey Chili
  • Vegetable Chili
  • White Chicken Chili
  • Quinoa Chili
  • Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Follow Cooking Classy

Slow Cooker Chili

4.89 from 236 votes

One of my most popular recipes and for good reason! This is the best chili I’ve ever tasted! Slow cooking it allows for the flavors to meld and the most tender beef. Try it tonight and see why everyone loves this! Recipe makes about 12 cups.

Servings: 8 servings Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 6 hours 10 minutes Total Time 6 hours 25 minutes

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies*
  • 3 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, for serving

Optionally serve with:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large and deep non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and saute 3 minutes, then add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer. Pour onions into a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker.

  3. Return skillet to medium-high eat, add beef and cook stirring occasionally until beef has browned.

  4. Drain most of fat from beef, leaving about 2 Tbsp in with beef (this is optional, I think it ads flavor but you can drain it all if you’d prefer). Pour browned beef into slow cooker.
  5. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cocoa powder, sugar, coriander and season mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Cover with lid and cook on low heat for 5 – 6 hours.
  7. Stir in dark and light red kidney beans and allow to heat through, about 2 minutes. Serve warm with desired toppings.

Recipe Notes

  • Look for tomatoes with “mild” green chilies. You can also use 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes and 1 (4 oz) can green chilies, drained.
  • If you want beef to brown better then sear in two batches. Only crumble and stir occasionally.
  • To add even more depth of flavor you can bloom the spices by sautéing them with the aromatics, add them during the last minute of sautéing the onions.
  • If you want to thin the chili at the end you can add in another 1/2 cup beef broth. If you like a really thick chili you can omit the beef broth altogether.
  • Other topping ideas include sour cream, chopped red or green onions, roasted peppers, or hot sauce.
  • If desired serve with baked potatoes, cornbread, biscuits, saltine crackers or tortilla chips.

Nutrition Facts Slow Cooker Chili Amount Per Serving Calories 415 Calories from Fat 126 % Daily Value* Fat 14g22% Saturated Fat 5g31% Cholesterol 73mg24% Sodium 595mg26% Potassium 1410mg40% Carbohydrates 38g13% Fiber 11g46% Sugar 8g9% Protein 32g64% Vitamin A 1375IU28% Vitamin C 19.7mg24% Calcium 110mg11% Iron 8.5mg47% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Course: Soup Cuisine: Tex-Mex Keyword: Slow Cooker Chili Author: Jaclyn Post originally published February 10, 2013. Photos updated February 2, 2019, text and recipe notes last updated December 15, 2019.

Chili season is upon us! Don’t know what to do with leftover chili? Don’t let it go to waste! Try one of these leftover chili recipes. Each of these leftover chili ideas will take you less than 30 minutes to prepare, and they’re healthy.

Big fans of chili over here on Fit Foodie Finds. From this green chili to this quinoa chili to this vegetarian beer chili, you really can’t go wrong! Plus, we’ll hook you up with all the leftover chili recipes you’ll ever need.

Endless Reasons to Love Chili

Chili for sure makes my top 5 favorite meals in all the land. It’s something I’ve been making for myself since college because it’s so amazing for so many reasons:

  • Cheap
  • Great for meal-prep
  • Leftovers for days
  • Ready in 30 minutes
  • Super flavorful

Usually, chili recipes serve 6 to 8, which can be a little daunting if you’re feeding just 1 or 2 people. That’s why at Fit Foodie HQ, we like to mix things up on days 2 and 3 with leftover chili. We do this with most meals that we cook, so that the food we eat doesn’t get super repetitive, but is still time-conscious and easy peasy.

Today, we’re sharing 4 leftover chili recipes so you don’t get bored and also so you don’t waste all of that delicious chili you made! Plus, it makes you feel like you’re eating something totally different than the day before, even when it’s all derived from the same recipe. Double win.

But first, check out a very basic chili recipe (+ a few of our other fave chili recipes) that would go PERFECT with any of these 4 leftover chili recipes.

Other Healthy Chili Recipes

  • Best Beef Chili
  • Black Bean Quinoa Chili
  • Lazy Girl Turkey Salsa Chili
  • Roasted Red Pepper Quinoa Chili
  • Pumpkin Turkey Chili


Best Easy Chili Recipe

Looking for the best easy chili recipe out there? You’ll love this recipe because it’s made in less than 30 minutes and healthy! The best part is that you’ll probably have leftovers so that you can make of the delicious leftover chili recipes from this post!

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes

Author: Lee Funke Yield: 6-8 1x Category: Dinner Method: Stove Top Cuisine: American

  • 1 lb. ground meat, any kind (OR omit for vegetarian)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 15-oz. cans of beans, any kind, drained and rinsed
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup broth, any kind (or water)

For the slow cooker:

  1. Place all ingredients into a slow cooker and mix.
  2. Cover and let cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8.

For the stove top:

  1. Place olive oil in a large pot and turn to medium/high heat.
  2. Then, add in ground meat and saute until fully cooked.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.


  • Homemade chili seasoning: option to replace all spices with 1/4 cup of homemade chili seasoning.
  • Nutrition information includes 1 lb. ground turkey, 2 cans of black beans, and is for 8 servings.


  • Serving Size: 1/8 recipe
  • Calories: 251
  • Sugar: 6
  • Fat: 7
  • Carbohydrates: 30
  • Fiber: 10
  • Protein: 20

Baked Potatoes Stuffed with Chili

For this leftover chili recipe, roast up some russet or sweet potatoes and stuff them with chili and cheese. Your family will think you worked EXTRA hard on this meal when you really made it in a cinch!

Pro tip: Wrap your potatoes in tin foil, poke holes in them with a fork, and roast them at 425ºF for 45-60 minutes or until they are easily pierced with a fork. Then stuff them with leftover chili, top with shredded cheese, and put them back in the oven til the cheese is melty, and voila! Dinner is served.

Chili Cheese Dip

We’ve got a famous Chili Cheese Dip on Fit Foodie Finds that everyone loves! Instead of following that recipe to a tee all you need is YOUR leftover chili, Greek yogurt, and shredded cheese!

Add about 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt and 2/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to 4-6 cups of leftover chili. Mix and bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes or until the chili begins to bubble.

Leftover Chili Shakshuka

Never had chili for breakfast? Here’s your chance! All you need to do is place about 1-2 cups of leftover (cold) chili on the bottom of a small baking dish, crack some eggs on top and bake at 350ºF for 45-50 minutes or until your eggs have cooked to desired texture.

Leftover Chili Nachos

How can your resist chili nachos? It really is the best! Top your favorite tortilla chips (ours are Way Better Snacks Nacho Cheese and Garden of Eatin’ Red Hot Blues) with leftover chili, cheese, and any other toppings your heart desires!

Pro tip: Make a family-sized batch of nachos on a baking sheet. Bake at 350ºF for about 15-20 minutes.

Chili lovers! We want to know what you do with leftover chili. Share share share please and thank you 🙂

Types of chili recipes

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