4.50 from 10 votes

Best Slow Cooker Chilli Con Carne (Easy To Make Ahead)

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Slow cooker chilli con carne is an easy make ahead meal you can enjoy on a busy weeknight and all week long.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
£1.52
Makes: 5
mains, meal prep
American
Freezable

Is chilli better in a slow cooker?  Yes, definitely! This slow cooker chilli con carne recipe is a fantastic Mexican flavored meal that is slow cooked to help marry all the delicious flavors.  The beef mince, vegetables and spices all come together beautifully to create a family favorite perfect for a busy week.

Close up of a bowl of slow cooker chilli con carne, garnished with wedge of lime, green chilli slices, coriander and sour cream.

Why make this recipe

Versatile:  Choose a different kind of meat, add beans or don’t, make it ahead of time or right before dinner.  This dish can be made to your liking and prepared when you need it.

Feed a Crowd:  This is an easy dish to stretch if you are feeding a crowd.  Just double the recipe and then add some extras like cheese, sour cream, or guacamole.

Budget Friendly:  Most of the items in this recipe can be found in your pantry.

Make Ahead:  The best part about chili con carne is that you can make it ahead of time, store it, and eat it all week for dinner and lunches.

This slow cooker chilli is flavourful due to the fresh herbs and seasoning included. Since this recipe is cooked in a slower cooker, it allows the flavours to mingle together, creating an even tastier dish. As a bonus, the longer you leave the chilli cooking (and the longer the leftovers are in the fridge), the more delicious it tastes when you finally serve it!

My Chilli con carne slow cooker recipe is perfect for meal prep for the week. It’s already split into five servings, so you can separate it into five airtight containers to pack for lunches. It also freezes well, so you can create large batches. Then, you’ll have plenty of leftovers for nights when your schedule is too full to create a home-cooked meal from scratch.

Other slow cooker recipes to try : Spanish Chorizo & Butter Bean Slow Cooker StewEasy Tuscan White Bean Soup and Tender Braising Steak with Gravy

What is Chilli Con Carne?

A little geography lesson for you here, Mexico borders the United States along the southern border of Texas.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, chilli con carne is a Mexican influenced stew that contains meat, chili peppers, tomatoes, and beans and originates in San Antonio, Texas.  Texas is known for its thick and meaty “Texas Style Chili”, so it seems fitting that this particular chili would come from there.  

Normally somewhat spicy, this chili is seasoned with paprika, chili powder, and cumin, all of which can be found in Mexican style cooking. 

Ingredients

Slow cooker chilli con carne ingredients shot

Beef Mince
Adding in beef mince aids in increasing the protein in this slow cooker chilli recipe. You can also use turkey mince or 5% fat pork mince for a leaner dish. Try this recipes using beef strips; Beef udon noodles

Plum Tomatoes (in a can)
Using canned plum tomatoes is a quick way to boost the nutrients of the slow cook chilli con carne. I prefer the end result when using plum tomatoes over chopped tomatoes, but feel free to use those if you have them instead. 

Kidney Beans/Blackbeans
Both are full of fibre and protein. You can also use other beans, such as cannellini beans or chickpeas if you prefer the flavour and consistency. If you love beans, try this easy Cowboy Caviar (Quick Recipe)

Fresh Chillies
Fresh chillies are key to creating slow cooker beef chilli con carne with the right amount of heat. Opt for Fresno chillies that are red and green when stocking up for this recipe, as they offer mild heat. If you like your chilly really spicy, you could use bird’s eye chillies as well. 

Tomato Puree
Using tomato puree helps create this dish’s delicious, adding a depth of rich tomato flavour. No tomato puree? See some alternatives : 11 Tomato Puree Substitutes In Your Pantry

Spices
Dried Chili Powder, Paprika, and Thyme take this recipe over the top, imparting the rich flavors of Mexican Cuisine.

Sour Cream
Including a dollop of sour cream makes the dish feel more decadent without adding a calorie-dense ingredient. Greek yogurt is another excellent option that will increase the protein content. It’s a lovely contrasting ingredient against the spicy chilli. 

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to make chilli con carne in slow cooker

  1. Preheat a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat, coated with rapeseed oil. Add the mince into the pan and break apart (roughly) with a spatula (Image 1).
  2. Leave to brown on a high heat for five minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for around 3 minutes, until the mince takes on some colour on both sides. Set aside (Image 2).
2 Step by step photos of mince cooking in pan, the first one with raw mince and the second with browned mince.

3. Add the onion and half of the chillies into the pan. The oil rendered from the beef should be enough to fry the onions in. Season with salt and pepper (Image 3).  

4. After 4 minutes of sauteing the onion and chilli, add the garlic to fry for a minute (Image 4).

2 Step by step photo of onions and chillies frying. The first with raw onions and chillies, the second the onions are browned with chillies.

5. Then transfer the onion/ chilli mix into the slow cooker, along with the browned beef. To the pot, also add the plum tomatoes, beef stock, spices, soy sauce, dried thyme and tomato puree. Season with salt and pepper and cook on high for 3-4 hours (Image 5).

6. After 3 hours, add the black beans, kidney beans and honey and cook for 30 more minutes. During this time, cook your rice (Image 6).

Step by step photos of slow cooker chill, the first with stock and tomatoes and the second with the mixed beans.

Try these other main course recipes ; Easy Boursin Cheese Baked Pasta, Creamy Mustard Chicken and Sausage Tray Bake with Vegetables

Slow cooker chilli con carne on a bowl on a bed of rice garnished with coriander and green chillies, partial view of chilli flakes and rice.

Serving Suggestions

Chilli con carne is delicious on its own but can also be paired with things like deliciously thick garlic toast, rice, or corn bread. Here are some delicious side dishes to try : Creamed Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts with Bacon (Pan-Fried & Easy!) or Simple Honey-Roasted Carrots & Parsnips Recipe

Tips and Tricks

  • To reduce the fat used, buy lean ground beef (around 5 % fat) and this will also reduce calories in this dish.
  • If you take the time to slowly fry the onions and garlic before you throwing them into the slow cooker, this will also help enhance the flavours
  • For some extra flavour,  add a few tablespoons of tomato paste and a drizzle of honey.
  • Top with some chilli flakes and jalapeno peppers if you like a bit of heat!

Try some sweet recipes after this chilli recipe; Chocolate Cornflake Cake, Mini Egg Cheesecake and Soft Flapjack Recipe

FAQs

Does this keep well?

Chilli con carne is a recipe that gets better over time. As the chilli sits in the pot or in a container, the flavours of the dish merry together, creating an even more flavourful dish. This flavourful recipe can stay in the fridge for about 3-5 days.

Can I freeze this recipe?

Yes, you can freeze slow cooker chilli con carne! Separate it into airtight containers with 1-2 servings before freezing. Separating it into smaller batches will make it much easier to defrost and reheat later. Chilli can stay good in the freezer for up to three months.
When reheating chilli con carne, you can put it in a small pan on the stovetop and reheat it until fully warmed. If you forgot to store the chilli con carne in batches, don’t fret! You can put it back into the slow cooker and heat it until it’s warmed and ready to eat.

Can I use pork mince instead of beef mince?

Yes, you can pork mince in this recipe! There will not be a significant change in flavour when using pork instead of beef. You can also use turkey or chicken mince to create a lighter meal. Or, use meatless crumbles to create a vegetarian-friendly option.

Can I make this recipe without a slow cooker?

Yes, you can make this chilli con carne recipe in a regular pot on the stove. You’ll find the recipe will cook more quickly. However, the flavour will not be as developed as when you make chilli in the slow cooker. Though, you’ll still have a tasty dish!

Do you have to brown meat before slow cooker chili? 

You do not have to brown the meat before adding it to the slow cooker chilli.  However, adding the meat raw will change the texture of the chilli.  You will not have the larger chunks of browned meat because the meat will cook up to be very small pieces.  If you do add the meat raw, be sure to mix the meat into the sauce well before cooking.

How long can you leave chilli in a slow cooker? 

Chilli can remain in a slow cooker until it begins to dry out, which means it is overcooked.  If you plan to leave the chilli in the slow cooker past the 6-8 hour cooking window, then it is best to keep it on warm.

Try some of the fake away recipes ; KFC Popcorn Chicken Recipe, Nando’s Spicy rice and Dorito Taco Salad

Slow cooker chilli con carne garnished with wedge of lime, green chilli slices, coriander and sour cream with spoon ready to eat.

If you tried this Slow Cooker Chilli Con Carne recipe it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

Best Slow Cooker Chilli Con Carne (Easy To Make Ahead)

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4.50 from 10 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
£1.52
mains, meal prep
American
Freezable
Servings: 5
Slow cooker chilli con carne is an easy make ahead meal you can enjoy on a busy weeknight and all week long.

Ingredients

  • 1 white onion, finely diced (£0.15)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced (£0.39)
  • 800 g (2 tins) of plum tomatoes (2x£0.40)=£0.80)
  • 500 g beef mince, less than 5% fat (£2.90)
  • 400 g (1 tin) of black beans (£0.60)
  • 400 g (1 tin) of kidney beans (£0.60)
  • 350 g white rice, rinsed (£0.48/2)=£0.24)
  • 4 fresh chillies, thinly sliced (£0.50)
  • 5 tbsp sour cream (£0.75)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree (£0.40)
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve (£0.18)
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped (£0.50)

Cupboiard Essentials

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Salt
  • 200 ml beef stock
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp cornflour + 2 tbsp water

Method

  • Preheat a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat, coated with rapeseed oil. Add the mince into the pan and break apart (roughly) with a spatula. Leave to brown on a high heat for five minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Once the mince taken on some colour, continue to cook for around 3 minutes. Set aside and add the onion and half of the chillies into the pan. The oil rendered from the beef should be enough to fry the onions in. Season with salt and pepper.
  • After 4 minutes of sauteing the onion and chilli, add the garlic to fry for a minute. Then transfer the onion/chilli mix into the slow cooker, along with the browned beef. To the pot, also add the plum tomatoes, beef stock, spices, soy sauce, dried thyme and tomato puree. Season with salt and pepper and cook on high for 3-4 hours.
  • After 3 hours, add the black beans, kidney beans, cornflour slurry and honey to cook for 30 more minutes. During this time, cook your rice.
  • Serve a portion of rice with a few ladles of chilli con carne, followed by a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of coriander, chilli flakes and a squeeze of lime juice.

Notes

  • Top with some chilli flakes and jalapeno peppers if you like a bit of heat!
  • Buy lean ground beef to reduce fat and calories.
  • Sauté onions and garlic before adding to the slow cooker to enhance flavors.
  • Add tomato paste and honey for extra flavor, and top with chili flakes and jalapeno peppers for heat.

Nutrition

Servings: 5 servings
Fat: 11g
Calories: 626kcal
Carbohydrates: 86g
Protein: 42g

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