Posted by on Thursday, March 29, 2012 in One Dish Two Ways

I’ve tried many, many variations on chili over the years. Super simple chili, chili with a gazillion ingredients, chili with “secret ingredients” like unsweetened cocoa or brewed coffee (both very good, actually). But this chili recipe is the one that’s been floating around on a piece of paper with the title of “THE Chili.” My guy took a bite of his version (with meat) and said, “This is it. You can stop at this one. It’s perfect.”

Slow-Cooker Easy Three-Bean Chili with Ground Beef (or Not)

The bonus is that it’s super-simple to throw together, and takes next to no work to cook.

It bubbles in the Crock Pot all day, simmering to dinnertime perfection. If you’re okay with the vegetarian version, it’s done when you get home. If you want the one dish two ways, just brown the ground beef, simmer some of the chili together with the meat for a bit, and dinner’s ready.


This chili freezes really well. I scoop leftovers into freezer bags, label, and stick in the freezer for super-easy future meals or even to top nachos. Double the recipe to ensure lots of extra – just make sure you’re using a big Crock Pot!


5.0 from 2 reviews

Slow-Cooker Easy Three-Bean Chili with Ground Beef (or Not)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
THE Chili recipe in our house. Three varieties of canned beans along with onions, green peppers, and fire-roasted tomatoes bubble with lots of great chili spices in the Crock Pot while you go about your day. A nice, healthy amount of ground beef goes into the carnivores’ half. Chili two ways = a happy household!
Recipe type: Main
Yield: 8 servings (4 vegetarian, 4 meat)
  • 2 15-ounce cans chili beans in sauce
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
  • 2 15-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 medium green peppers, chopped (about 3 cups chopped)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (about 3 cups chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 20 dashes Tabasco sauce
For the meat half:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  1. Add all ingredients except the ground beef to the slow-cooker/Crock Pot. Stir. Cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.
  2. In a medium or large saucepan, brown the ground beef over medium heat with a little salt and pepper for flavor, if you wish. Drain off any fat. Add five cups of the chili to the browned ground beef. Stir, continuing the medium heat, and heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes.
  3. Serve with assorted toppings such as sour cream, grated cheddar or jack cheese, fresh cilantro, or chopped green onions.