Traditional Fall Slow-Cooker Chili

Few things say fall like stews, soups and chilis. In our house, chili is in the rotation from Halloween to the first of March. Smelling it cook all day is part of the joy. And because you make it yourself, you get to decide the type of beans you use and just how spicy you make it. I've been keeping ours on the milder side in the hopes my son will eat it, and I never use kidney beans because I hate them. I don't care if people (hi, Mom) say it's not chili without them. Regardless of any modifications, I find it's always delicious — and perfect this time of year. And while the upside is that it's super simple, the downside is there really isn't much for kiddos to do to help.

Mmmmm chili.

Mmmmm chili.


  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of beef
  • 1 white or yellow onion (I'd prefer up to 2, but hubby complains)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 or 2 cans of pinto beans (or mix 'n' match with black beans or kidney beans)
  • 1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 4-ounce can of diced green chilis
  • 2 fresh jalapeños (optional if you're wary of the spice)
  • 1 tablespoon (or more!) chili powder 
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or more!) ground cayenne pepper 

What to do:

  1. Brown the beef and onions.
  2. Combine everything in the slow cooker.
  3. Cook on low 8 to 10 hours.
  4. Top with cheese, diced onions, fresh or jarred jalapeños, or your other favorite toppings.