6-Hour Slow Cooker Chili {my family’s favorite!}

Everyone should have a go-to chili recipe. Don’t you agree?

I still think Mom makes the best chili in the world. Part of the reason is that I love how she seasons it and how she adds a little brown sugar to give just a hint of sweetness. But it took me a long time to figure out that it was her use of fresh canned tomatoes that put its flavor over the top. For all those years growing up, I just took it for granted. How I now yearn for her chili filled with summer preserved goodness.

For a long time, I struggled to find a chili recipe that both Blake and I wanted to call “ours”. But then he had something very distinct to say after I tried the 6-Hour Slow Cooker Chili recipe from the Williams-Sonoma catalog back in 2004. He said, “Never make chili any way but this way again.” It’s true. I even wrote down his quote on the page I tore from the catalog…

“Never make chili any way but this way again.” Blake, 12.04.04

It might seem that this was a monumental moment of our relationship. If chili can really make that happen for a couple, I’m not completely certain. But I do know that this recipe, since December 4th, 2004, has provided the base for our family’s go-to chili recipe. And I always get compliments on it. Especially from The Big Guy.

Honey Cornbread Muffins from afarmgirlsdabbles.com - These cornbread muffins are slightly sweet, with a moist cake-like crumb from buttermilk and butter in the batter. #cornbread #muffins #muffin #honey

I like to make a batch of Honey Cornbread Muffins to serve with this chili, they’re the perfect chili dippers. Our family also likes Fritos corn chips, for scooping up the chili. So much food fun is all about the dipping and scooping, don’t you agree?!

6-Hour Slow Cooker Chili {my family’s favorite!}

Yield: 10-14 servings

Cook Time:6 hours

Calories per serving: 530


  • 3 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 (14.5-oz.) cans diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 2 (14.5-oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • 3/4 c. ketchup
  • 2 c. low sodium beef stock
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 c. cornmeal
  • 3 to 6 T. medium chili powder, to taste
  • 2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
  • 3 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 to 1/2 c. brown sugar, to taste
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


* Please note that this recipe is highly adaptable, and I encourage you to play around with the kinds and quantities of herbs and spices to fit your own tastebuds.

* And…this recipe makes a large quantity. You will need a slow cooker with a minimum capacity of 5 quarts.

In a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat, brown the beef. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a slow cooker. Pour out any fat left in the saute pan. Add the ground turkey to the saute pan, brown it, and transfer it to the slow cooker with a slotted spoon. Add all the remaining chili ingredients to the slow cooker and stir to blend. Cover and cook for 6 hours according to manufacturer’s instructions. My slow cooker only has a “high” and “low” setting, and I usually cook on high for 5 hours and then turn it to low for the last hour.

Ladle chili into warmed bowls and garnish with sour cream, chopped red onion, grated cheddar cheese, and chopped cilantro. I also like to serve this chili with Fritos Scoopsand some fabulous cornbread muffins.

Heavily adapted from a recipe I tore out of the Williams-Sonoma catalog many years ago.



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