This recipe for Crock Pot Chili with Salsa is the best way to make delicious chili easily and quickly in your slow cooker! Check out this and other great shortcuts to reduce prep time and still enjoy hearty and flavorful homemade chili!
👩🏻🍳 Chili with Salsa Secret Ingredient
Brrrrrr, this cold weather really makes me crave a steaming hot bowl of hearty, zingy chili! But, I have to be honest, I am not always up for chopping all those veggies.
It is a lot of work, and even though there is a big payoff in the form of yummy homemade chili, sometimes I just don't make it because of the time and effort involved.
Is the hack in this recipe a form of cheating? Maybe. But is it delicious? YES!
Call me lazy, or call me just a busy mom trying to fit it all in (in reality it is probably a little of each!), but either way, I am totally on board if there is a way to 'cheat' and get awesome homemade chili with minimal effort.
One simple ingredient ended up being the solution to all my chili woes, and the best part is that it is nothing fancy...I usually have it on hand in my pantry!
The simple ingredient is…..drumroll please…..chunky salsa! It already contains the chopped veggies, and it totally enhances the flavor of the chili. Brown the ground beef, add some beans and spices, and you are well on your way to an awesome home-cooked meal with minimal effort. Of course, you can also add other vegetables if you like; as with any chili, there are so many ways to customize!
🥘 Ingredients Needed
- ground beef - can't have a good chili without ground beef.
- onion - you can use fresh or frozen chopped onion.
- chunky salsa - the secret ingredient that makes prep for your chili a breeze!
- chili beans - another classic chili staple ingredient.
- chili powder and cumin - add some extra heat and flavor.
- Start by browning your ground beef.
- Place the ground beef in a crock pot with the onion, salsa, chili beans, chili powder, and cumin, and then cook on low for 5-6 hours. So easy!
If properly stored, your chili should last 3 to 4 days, which makes it a perfect meal to make ahead of time or make a double batch of and save for another night! Just be sure to allow the chili to cool, then transfer to an airtight container.
With proper care in storing, your chili could last up to 6 months in freezer. To thaw, leave it in the fridge overnight.
In a pinch, you could place your chili in a microwave safe container and give it a good zap (I'd start with about a minute, then continue in 30-second increments if it's still not hot enough).
You could also pour your chili into a pot over medium heat and cook again until it's all heated through.
Check out this great article on What To Do With Leftover Chili - 20 Great Ideas. With 20 ideas to choose from, there's no doubt you will find something!
- If you want to use something a bit leaner than beef, ground chicken, pork, or turkey would also work just fine in this recipe!
- Chili is such a customizable food. Add in bell peppers, corn, spinach, or whatever veggies you have on hand to bring some extra nutrition.
- This chili is great on its own but could also be served over rice or even pasta.
- Toppings galore! Top your chili with cheese (cheddar and Monterey jack are great options), cilantro, chopped chives, sour cream, or some nice buttery crackers for extra texture.
- I love using my leftover chili in these amazing Chili Cheese Grilled Sandwiches. They are a little messy to eat, but SOOOO worth it!
🥗 Suggested Side Dishes
This Crock Pot Chili is hearty enough on its own, but with a side dish it becomes a certified feast! Check out these recommendations.
🍲 Additional Slow Cooker Recipes
Crock Pot Chili with Salsa
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📋 Recipe Card
Crockpot Cheater Chili
- shredded cheddar, sour cream, cilantro
- Brown the ground beef.
- Add the ground beef and remaining ingredients to the crock pot and mix.
- Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
- You can substitute ground chicken, pork, or turkey.
- Vary your results by using bell peppers, corn, spinach, or or other veggies!
- Serve over rice or pasta.
- Some topping suggestions: shredded cheese, cilantro, chopped chives, sour cream, or some nice buttery crackers for extra texture.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days. Also freezes well in an airtight container. Make extra and freeze it for an easy meal later on!
- Use leftover chili in these Chili Cheese Grilled Sandwiches.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in Jaunary 2014, but was republished with tips, step by step photos, and a recipe change in October 2020.
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