30 min active, 4-8 hours in slow cooker
6 quarts
This is a slow cooker (crockpot) version of a family friendly chili. It has flavor and depth, but only half an alarm on the heat scale.
  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 3 cups V8 juice
  • 1 quart crushed tomatoes in purée
  • 2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained
  • 1 large onion, chopped (almost 3 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • ½ cup chili powder (vary to your taste, and if yours is the HOT variety, use less)
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • up to ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional, omit for ½ alarm version)

I admit it, I’m a wimp when it comes to hot and spicy! Dose individual bowls with hot sauce for a spicier version, or add cayenne pepper to the pot to make it hotter for everyone.

This makes a big quantity of family friendly chili, and I use a 6-quart slow cooker. Of course you can cut it in half, if your pot is smaller. Use this as a guide and adapt to your personal taste.

brown ground beef

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. You’ll probably need to do this in 3 or 4 batches, so as not to crowd the pan. When each batch is browned, drain the fat well (I drain mine in a colander) and place the cooked meat in a large (6 quart) slow cooker pot.

combine everything in the slow cooker

Put it all in the slow cooker. Put everything else in the pot, too. Stir, cover and cook. I tend to start mine on HIGH for an hour or two, then move the setting to LOW for at least 3 more hours.

serve with extra goodies

At my house chili is often served with cheese muffins, or fresh-baked oatmeal bread. The chili keeps very well and reheats beautifully. It freezes with no loss of texture.


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