Chili cook-off season is in full swing (although if you’re asking us, every season is chili cook-off season), and there’s only one thing we love more than a solid chili recipe: a solid Crock-Pot chili recipe. The set-it-and-forget-it style of cooking slow cookers are known and loved for works perfectly with chili because that’s exactly the kind of technique required to make the perfect chili—low and slow. Here are 8 delicious Crock-Pot chili recipes:


Easy Slow Cooker Chili

We wanted to find at least one recipe for just a solid, traditional, no-frills slow cooker chili, and this one fits the bill perfectly. Total prep time is only about 45 minutes, and a lot of that is sautéing the vegetables and meat to start bringing out their flavors. The recipe not only calls for the standard garlic, red bell pepper, onion, cumin, and chili powder, but also includes heat with pickled jalapenos and green chiles—a perfect combination for just enough heat. Let it cook for six to eight hours, then BAM! Far as solid chili goes, this is perfect. Recipe


Freezer to Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

The best thing about chili is that it comes in all different shapes and sizes. Chicken makes for great chili protein because it tends to take on all the characteristics of the spices it’s cooked in. This recipe includes white-meat boneless breast, cut and chunked with kidney and black beans, tomato, green and red peppers, chili powder, cumin, and even a little oregano and paprika to round it off. The recipe doesn’t call for it, but you can also season and lightly pan fry the chicken prior to the slow cooker to give the it its own distinct character. Recipe


Crockpot Turkey Chili

And for those who’re craving chili but don’t want to wait until cheat day, turkey is a perfect lean protein that goes excellently with chili because of its unique flavor profile. Mixed with the right ingredients—like olive oil, onion, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and tomatoes—you’ve got yourself some delicious chili that can be done in just over four hours from prep to table. Not bad, eh? Recipe


Creamy Enchilada Crockpot Vegetarian Chili

We know what you’re thinking, and yes, under normal circumstances the word “vegetarian” is sacrilege in our chili. But this? This is one of the best no-meat chili recipes we’ve ever come across, and the fact that it can be done in a Crock-Pot in five hours from start to finish is even better. Four different types of beans (black, white, red, and pinto), a delicious adobo sauce, and even some cream cheese for a fuller texture spells out “perfection.” Another cool thing about this recipe is that the leftovers can be frozen for later and blended into a delicious bean dip at the drop of a hat. Just bake it for a bit with some cheese on top, and voila. Recipe


Slow Cooker Beer Chili

Whether you’re throwing it in a pot of brats, laying it under a chicken on the grill, or mixing it with chili, beer is a miracle elixir that has the power to completely revolutionize the food you’re cooking. Don’t believe us? Look no further than this recipe for the perfect slow cooker beer chili. Calling for fresh tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, dried parsley, dried oregano, a little turmeric, red curry powder, and of course one bottle of your favorite beer (we recommend a medium-bodied lager or something lighter), this recipe is ideal for those who want a real lively chili without too much heat. Additionally, while it doesn’t call specifically for any protein, this is the kind of recipe that’ll go good with anything—beef, sausage, turkey, whatever. Recipe


Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Chili

A good chili manages to overlay many dimensions of flavor into a single bowl without making things too overwhelming. There’s a lot going on in this recipe, like packed brown sugar, chopped sweet peppers, cayenne, crushed red pepper, jalapeno, onion, and tomato sauce. But we can tell you first hand that nothing gets overbearing or overpowering, and they all mix together to complement one another quite well. There’s a distinct sweetness from the peppers and brown sugar, but it’s tamed perfectly by the jalapeno and cayenne. As described, it’s sweet and spicy, and if you like your chili sans beans and full of flavor, this one is perfect. Recipe


Emeril’s Chuck Wagon Chili for the Slow Cooker

Ninety percent of the chili you’re going to eat—either at your office chili cook-off or your friend’s Super Bowl Sunday party—will incorporate ground beef. While we have nothing against a solid 80-20 mix of the good stuff, we would argue that for chili, we’re always looking for a little more. Beef chuck is an excellent addition to chili because when steeped in these delicious spices for long enough, it becomes incredibly tender and delicious. You’re going to cut and cube a total of four (yes, four!) pounds of delicious beef chuck, and then mix them with things like ground cinnamon, tomatoes, garlic, and jalapeno. The mix renders the beef super tender. That and the fact that the recipe also calls for beer, semisweet chocolate, bay leaves, brown sugar, and cilantro makes it an absolute hit with us. You probably won’t see a need to try any other chili after this. Recipe (IMAGE)


Slow Cooker Beef Short Rib Chili

Beef short rib is an excellent alternative to the standard boring old ground beef, and this recipe is ideal because of its ease and ingredients. Sear the short rib on each side until brown, sauté the vegetables and garlic until lightly caramelized, then just throw it all in the slow cooker for around six hours. The parsley, cilantro, hot sauce, chili powder, stewed tomatoes, various peppers, carrots and celery come together in almost a sort of stew-like concoction, but it’s still very distinctly chili. We really like beef short rib under any circumstances, so tossed with kidney and black beans and thrown into a chili, we’re practically in love. Recipe

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Unzip your coat and have some mulled wine on the house—you’ve arrived at your final gifting destination: The Holiday Gift Guide. It’s like your friendly neighborhood one-stop holiday shop, except instead of balsa wood ornaments, ours is packed with thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list. Future heirlooms, small-but-significant stocking stuffers, and gear for getting out there (or staying in)—are all right here. There’s no music playing in the background though, so you’ll just have to hum Bing Crosby while you click around instead.

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