Home Cooking: Slow Cooker Chili Three Ways

Three slow cooker chili recipes that allow for spending time with company.
Courtesy Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

I ran into Nathan Moorfield in City Market last week. I’m frequently running into Nathan in City Market which might be an indication that he enjoys cooking as much as I do. He confirmed this by telling me that he often shares my recipes with his colleagues at Breckenridge Associates Real Estate.

I’d been wandering the aisles wondering if I should make chili for this week’s column. Nathan gave the idea an enthusiastic thumbs-up, mentioning our first snow, football season, autumn leaves and chili’s place as the perfect food for a crowd.

So here you go, Nathan! First up, beef chili made with delicious chunks of chuck roast. Next, shredded chicken in a white chili. And finally, vegetarian chili with hearty sweet potatoes.

The recipes share similar ingredients, so if you’re cooking for a crowd you can easily make all three. Also, with each recipe I’ve offered time saving alternatives, such as swapping fresh chicken for store-bought rotisserie chicken, and ground beef for chuck roast.

All three recipes are made in a slow cooker, so while the chili cooks you can enjoy your friends.

Chuck Roast Chili in a Slow Cooker

Use chuck roast or ground beef (brown ground beef before adding to slow cooker)

Serves 4


  • 2 pounds chuck roast cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 4-ounce can of green chilies
  • 24-ounce can of fire roasted whole tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 14-ounce cans kidney beans


The ground chuck cubes can be quickly seared before adding to the slow cooker, or not. I usually don’t brown ahead. Put everything into the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. Once the meat is cooked through, add in the kidney beans, let them warm, taste and adjust seasonings.

Chicken Chili in a Slow Cooker

Use uncooked chicken breast or rotisserie chicken if you’re in a hurry

Serves 4


  • 1 pound or about three chicken breasts
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 4-ounce can of green chilies
  • 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 cans of cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon cumin 
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of corn massa which is a thickener  
  • 1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilis 
  • If you want a more heat add in 1 Tablespoon diced jalapeños or 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes  


Into your slow cooker add the three whole chicken breast, the diced onion, diced pepper, 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock, and 3 cloves of garlic. turn the slow cooker on high and cook for 30 to 45 minutes until the chicken breast are cooked through.

Remove the chicken breast and shred into large pieces, then add back into the slow cooker.  Add two cans of cannellini beans that have been rinsed, green chilies, cumin, diced tomatoes, and then in a measuring cup whisk together one cup of sour cream and one cup of water with 1- 2 Tablespoons of masa flour.  Then stir this into the slow cooker and turn the heat down to low and cook for 30 minutes.  Garnish with cheese, avocados, fresh cilantro.

Sweet potato and black bean chili in a slow cooker

Use sweet potatoes, chunks of fresh pumpkin or your favorite squash


  • 2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut into one and a half inch chunks
  • 3 – 14-ounce cans of black beans (swap out for your favorite beans)
  • 1 24-ounce can of whole tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced


Put all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on high for 1 hour or low for 3 hours, or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Home Cooking” publishes biweekly on Thursdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson taught herself to cook after college when she discovered dinner parties were a cure for loneliness. Her latest cookbook is “A Year in the Mountains Cookbook.” She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at

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