Super Easy Crockpot Chili

January 2, 2014


Vowing to make more home-cooked meals this year? This crockpot chili is as easy as can be.

I have yet another chili recipe for you. What can I say? During the winter I crave a mug of soup for lunch almost everyday. I also crave easy, comforting meals.


This chili recipe is simple and delicious – first brown your meat, then dump in beans and veggies, sprinkle on some seasonings and forget about it until hunger calls.

I used ground bison because it’s my favorite ground meat, but you could use beef, a mix of ground beef and lamb sausage (which we did once) or ground turkey. Bison wins in my book because it’s relatively lean, very flavorful, pasture raised and local to us.


You can customize the beans with whatever you have on hand. Or add more beans and leave out the meat altogether. Add some frozen kale or a few glugs of brown beer for more nutrition or flavor.


Not only will this recipe make a simple supper, but the leftovers are good for days.



Chili isn’t complete without a dollop of yogurt for me, but you could add anything from shredded cheese to hot sauce to avocado or pickled jalapenos.


Crockpot Chili

by Kath Younger

Keywords: slow-cooker entree beans beef butternut squash Super Bowl Weeknights fall winter

Ingredients (6-8)

  • 1 pound ground bison or beef
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes with juices
  • 1 can rotel or tomatoes with jalapenos with juices
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)


  1. Brown meat in a pan over medium high.
  2. Place squash and veggies into crockpot followed by beans and meat.
  3. Add spices and stir.
  4. Cook on 6 hours on low and serve with toppings like avocado and sour cream.
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The first of many chili mug lunches : )


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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ali @ Peaches and Football January 2, 2014 at 8:38 am

This post comes at a grea time for me. I’m back to school next week and was in the process of finding some new recipes that would be quick on class nights. Crockpot chili sounds just perfect for these frigid days. Plus, how can you resist the wonderful smell that awaits when you come home. I want to borrow my mom’s bread machine and try making some fresh bread. It might be a bit ambitious but I am excited to try!


2 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats January 2, 2014 at 8:44 am

My mom has the same crockpot and is always looking for new recipes, I’ll have to send this to her!


3 Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl January 2, 2014 at 8:45 am

I’m just like you and could eat chili or soup everyday during the winter months. Love that this chili is so simple and customizable, also the added butternut squash!


4 Jess January 2, 2014 at 8:47 am

This sounds really similar to my recipe, but I’ve never used butternut in chili before. Definitely want to try next time, I imagine it adds loads of bulk without the high calorie density…thanks for the recipe!


5 Anna @ On Anna's Plate January 2, 2014 at 8:50 am

One of my new year’s resolutions is to use my crockpot more! We got one when we married FIVE years ago, and I still haven’t used it! Gah! This looks awesome.


6 Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs January 2, 2014 at 9:24 am

Yum! I need to reunite with my slow cooker — it’s been too long! This may be just the recipe to bring us back together :)


7 Jackie January 2, 2014 at 9:24 am

Yum this looks delicious! I love anything in the crockpot!


8 emily January 2, 2014 at 9:52 am

I’m not a big chili fan but thanks to you I do dollop Greek yogurt on many savory dishes!


9 Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon January 2, 2014 at 10:00 am

I love bison meat in chili! These looks like a great cold day recipe to stick in the crockpot :)


10 Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties January 2, 2014 at 10:12 am

YUM this looks delicious! I’ve been loving vegetarian chili lately so I might add a few more cans of beans and try it that way! Thanks!!


11 Meghan @ The Tasty Fork January 2, 2014 at 10:25 am

You can never have enough crock pot recipes! It makes dinner so much easier! I’m totally gonna try this chili.


12 @Simple Green Moms January 2, 2014 at 11:52 am

Love crockpot chili! We make it all the time =)


13 Sarah January 2, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I noticed you didn’t use any broth? Do the tomatoes make enough of a broth? Thanks!


14 KathEats January 2, 2014 at 12:18 pm

I think so, Yes


15 Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog January 2, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Can’t beat crockpot chili! My go-to recipe is similar to this. I love using the crock pot on colder winter days. It’s a great way to add a bunch of veggies to a meal.


16 Jesse January 2, 2014 at 12:19 pm
17 samantha January 2, 2014 at 1:30 pm

there’s bison in cville?! where did you get the meat ?


18 KathEats January 2, 2014 at 1:35 pm

We got it at The Organic Butcher. They are Virginia bison – I don’t think necessarily from Cville


19 Lyric January 2, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Ok butternut squash and avocado in chili!? Those are like my three favourite foods. I am definitely going to try this soon!


20 Sarah January 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Does the squash break down as it cooks or are their chunks/bits left whole? I ask because my Husband is adverse to eating squash, but if he won’t notice it in the chili he won’t care. Thanks!


21 KathEats January 2, 2014 at 1:56 pm

It gets really soft, but it doesn’t break down completely.


22 [email protected] January 2, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Crockpots really are an ingenious invention, especially for new moms! Thanks for this one.


23 Kavi January 2, 2014 at 2:39 pm

This is exactly the kind of recipe I needed… it’s supposed to be -21F in Chicago on Monday, EEK!


24 Elisabeth January 2, 2014 at 2:55 pm

I actually make chili once a week (usually ground turkey & beans) & eat it every day for lunch… People ask me all the time if I’m sick of it yet, but I’m not 😉


25 Meagan January 2, 2014 at 3:14 pm

What a GREAT idea to put butternut squash in the crock pot for chili – brilliant!


26 Lisa @bitesforbabies January 2, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I still can’t believe I haven’t jumped on the crockpot bandwagon…even though I KNOW it would make my life so much easier!!


27 Christina @ The Beautiful Balance January 2, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Chili is the best to make and eat throughout the week. I always make a massive batch, freeze half, and eat the rest for lunch or dinner until its gone.


28 The Many Thoughts of a Reader January 2, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Yum. We just made some yesterday. We ate a bowl for dinner and then I froze enough for probably 4 to 6 other dinners and left enough for one more meal in the fridge for us. Love doing that. And making it different each time! I love adding beer. Even if it is just Coors that we had hanging out in the back of the fridge!


29 Alex @ Kenzie Life January 2, 2014 at 8:16 pm

This looks great and so easy! I like that it can very easily be made vegetarian. I really think I need to get myself a crockpot since I am trying to not eat out as much this year :) Thanks Kath!


30 Katherine January 2, 2014 at 8:26 pm
31 Meghan January 2, 2014 at 9:27 pm

This sounds delicious! I will have to make it :) Thanks, Kath!


32 [email protected] January 2, 2014 at 9:39 pm

PERFECTION! I had a butternut squash in my fridge that I bought on a whim, but had no idea what to do with it…ended up making this for dinner tonight, and all 4 of my little siblings loved it! Win.


33 KathEats January 3, 2014 at 6:48 am



34 Debbie @ Deb Runs January 2, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Looks delicious; and with the storm settling in it sounds perfect! Just wish I had the ingredients… I’m definitely pinning it for later. :-)


35 Michele January 2, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Looks good and I like the addition of celery. I’ve never thought to add that. I just made a huge pot of chili with ground chicken breast for the meat. I also added diced up zucchini and yellow squash to bulk it up. I am trying to get used to greek yogurt in place of sour cream so I mix one tbsp. light sour cream with two tbsp. greek yogurt and it’s not bad!


36 Carla January 2, 2014 at 10:17 pm

This looks delicious! I hope 2014 brings lots more of recipes likes this! I really like the mix of recipies and little looks into your life lately. It is making for an enjoyable blog to keep up with! Happy 2014!


37 Brad January 6, 2014 at 11:11 pm

Oh wow! Looks OK!


38 Michelle Binkley January 9, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Just made this for my family over the weekend. It is SO delicious! Thanks for the recipe.


39 Alexis January 12, 2014 at 11:31 am

Made this on Friday and have enjoyed it all weekend. Just popped some in the freezer for lunches in the coming weeks. I had to change a few ingredients as we don’t have rotel or pinto beans where I live, but still turned out delicious. Will be making this again and again. Thanks!!


40 Erin January 12, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Do you think I could cook it on high for a few hours to speed up the cooking process, or would that ruin the dish?


41 KathEats January 13, 2014 at 7:11 am

Yes you could


42 Kylene January 14, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Made this for dinner tonight, it is SO GOOD!! Love the addition of the squash. Thanks for an easy, healthy recipe.


43 Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut January 15, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Looks delish! I’m going to make it Friday so I have it all weekend. Will it turn out OK if you cook it longer? (8-10 hours??)


44 KathEats January 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm

I think that would be fine


45 Allison March 2, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Just made this for dinner tonight for me and my boyfriend and we loved it! I used ground turkey and it came out great, but I would love to try it with bison.


46 Anonymous January 18, 2015 at 8:32 am

How many people does it feed?


47 KathEats January 18, 2015 at 1:11 pm



48 Lauren March 29, 2016 at 11:23 am

What happens if you don’t cook / brown the meat first? Can’t i just put all the ingredients in raw and cook together?


49 Lauren March 31, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Thank you. It came out delicious! I ended up browning the meat – wasn’t sure if i should add the meat juices into the crock pot so i decided to indeed add the beef juice too. I used about 1.5 lb of meat instead of the 1 lb. I used BRAGGS sauce too – it’s the brown sauce called “amino acids” – apparently this is a very healthy flavorful sauce. I also baked potatoes as my side dish along with a salad. X


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