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Slow-Cooker Steak Chili

Slow-Cooker Steak Chili

I've made a fair number of chili recipes over the years, but I didn't have a go-to classic chili recipe until now.

When I first tried this one, it was pretty bland, but I played around with the spices until I had a chili I absolutely loved (it's flavorful, but not spicy). Even my three-year-old, who is definitely going through a phase where she resists new foods, tried one bite and said, "Um, I think you should only make this for the rest of our lives." I wouldn't go that far, but it is absolutely delicious. We topped ours with corn chips, cheddar cheese, and sour cream, but it doesn't need any of those to be mind-bogglingly delicious. 

Also, because this cooks in the slow cooker, you can go with an inexpensive cut of steak - it'll have plenty of time to get tender and delicious.

(P.S. I know that some Texans don't like any beans in their chili, but since I only lived in Texas for six years, I feel just fine about throwing pinto beans in there. I love how inexpensive they are, plus they add some nice texture). 

by Janssen Bradshaw

What you'll need

  • 1 cup dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 pound steak
  • 1 14-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 cups broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable work fine)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt


If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use a potato masher to break up the tomatoes and slightly mash some of the beans.

How to make it

  1. Place all ingredients in the slow-cooker (no need to cut up the steak first) and cook on low for 8-10 hours (or high for 6-7 hours). 
  2. Remove steak from slow-cooker, and cut into small chunks or strips. Set aside. With an immersion blender, do a few quick blends of the contents of the slow-cooker (not enough to make it all smooth - just to combine it a bit and break up the tomatoes). Return the steak to the slow-cooker, salt to taste, and let cook another 10-15 minutes. 
  3. Serve with your toppings of choice. Enjoy!