This Slow Cooker Three Bean Beef Chili is a healthy, easy dinner idea for any night of the week! A microwave shortcut makes makes it a one pot meal and cuts down on prep time.
This Slow Cooker Three Bean Beef Chili was originally a recipe I made from a cookbook review, but I wanted to spend a little time adjusting the recipe more to our family’s tastes and I am so happy with the results.
This crockpot chili is thick, chunky, and loaded with flavor.
It’s got a hint of sweetness and a smoky, savory flavor that we love from the addition of barbecue sauce.
If you prefer your chili flavor ultra traditional — no barbecue sauce, no sugar — you can absolutely leave those out, but we love the depth of flavor it adds and I highly recommend you give it a try!
Ground beef?! In the microwave?!?
This is a tip from the original recipe (out of the One Pot Wonders cookbook which I previously reviewed), and I have to say, it surprised me, too.
But it is such a great timesaver and it saves on dirty pots and pans <– two things I love.
So although you may be skeptical, give it a try and I have a feeling it’ll turn you into a believer 😉
Variations on this Slow Cooker Chili recipe:
- You can add in a ton of veggies if you want to bump up the nutritional value — chopped or shredded carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, kale — really anything you are okay with adding to your chili is fair game here. Me? I tend to go with the ones my kids will notice least 😉
- Swap the ground beef (or some of it) for ground turkey or chicken if that’s what you prefer or have on hand.
- Bump up the spice with a splash of hot sauce or sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
- Top it up! My favorite part about crockpot chili is all the things I can top it with! From chips and tortilla strips, to shredded cheese, green onions, fresh tomatoes, sour cream, avocado, you really can’t go wrong. What are your favorite toppings?
How to make this chili recipe ahead:
You can make this slow cooker chili ahead and the flavor just gets even better.
It can be prepared and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days, or frozen up to 3 months. It’s perfect for freezing single servings if you are feeding one or two!
To thaw, simply leave in the refrigerator overnight before warming through, or microwave on low heat for 2-3 minute intervals until heated.
More slow cooker recipes you’ll love!
- Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs
- Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
- Crockpot Potato Soup
- Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken (Crockpot)
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Slow Cooker Three Bean Beef Chili
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion chopped fine
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 15oz can black beans, rinsed
- 1/2 15oz can pinto beans, rinsed
- 1/2 15oz can kidney beans, rinsed
- 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup low sodium beef broth
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce optional
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Sour cream,shredded cheese and green onions for garnish
- Combine ground beef, onions, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine. Microwave on high until beef is no longer pink, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes.
- Place beef in a 4-6 quart slow cooker and add beans, tomatoes, broth, barbecue sauce if using and brown sugar. (We like our chili with a sweeter barbecue flavor, but if you prefer a traditional chili you can leave it out, or add it in later)
- Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Skim any excess fat from surface with a large spoon and season to taste before serving.
** The second time, I made this in a pot, cooked the ground beef and added everything else. I let it simmer for 45 minutes or so, covered on low, and was still great!
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