Slow Cooker Beef Chili

My daughters will both eat this, which shocks me, and it’s my husband’s favorite recipe. It seems just very basic and plain, but the flavor is very good! No weird stuff to repel children, all prep done ahead of time, and it freezes very well for up to two months. I adapted it from America’s Test Kitchen: Slow Cooker Revolution.

I like to make it on my baking day, when I cook and bake ahead as much as I can for the week. I am usually cooking bacon to stash in the fridge, so I have a skillet of bacon grease available.  It makes a lot, so I usually serve half and freeze half in a gallon freezer bag.

You will need:

2 slices white bread or hamburger buns, torn into quarters

1/4 cup milk

2 lbs ground beef, 90% lean if available

3 tablespoons bacon grease (or vegetable oil)

3 onions, finely minced

1/4 cup chili powder

6 garlic cloves, pressed

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes

1 15 oz can of kidney beans or whole pinto beans, rinsed

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons of canned chiles in adobo sauce, finely minced

1/2 of a bottle of beer


1. Using a fork, mash bread and milk into a paste in a large mixing bowl. Then using hands, Mix in ground beef, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

2. Heat bacon grease or oil in a large skillet. Add onions, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and red pepper flakes, and cook on medium heat until the onions begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 4 minutes more, until the onions are browned.

3. Add the beef mixture to the hot skillet, 1 pound at a time, breaking up into small pieces, and cook until no longer pink. Add half a can of crushed tomatoes, scraping pan to get any browned bits.

4. Pour contents of skillet into slow cooker. Add remaining crushed tomatoes, beans, soy sauce, sugar, diced canned chiles in adobo sauce, and beer. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

5. Serve with diced tomato, sour cream, cheese, and crushed tortilla chips.