This hearty Slow Cooker Steak Chili is for those who love a classic. In this recipe, a rich tomato base is loaded with two kinds of beans, smoky spicy seasonings, and hunks of ultra tender steak.
Thank you to Ohio Beef for sponsoring this post.
These days, there’s a chili recipe for everyone. Search Pinterest long enough and you’ll find vegetarian chilis and white chilis, beer chilis and even Green Bean Chili (for the kiddo who hates kidney beans and loves pasta).
Depending on where you live in the country, you might have strong opinions about what chili *should* be. Texans give any chili with kidney beans some serious side eye. Cincinnatians love their ground beef-based chili sauce, which is typically served over spaghetti with a heapful of cheddar cheese on top. Folks across the Midwest make some form of Frito Pie or Walking Tacos, a ground beef and bean chili served over a bag of Fritos with taco toppings.
I personally haven’t met a chili I don’t like. In the fall and winter months, I’m just happy to have a warm, hearty bowlful in front of me.
Still, when I think of a traditional, no-frills chili, this Slow Cooker Steak Chili is what comes to mind. It’s got a thick tomato base seasoned with a homemade blend of smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. In the tomato stew swims a combination of black and kidney beans, as well as a can of green chilies, onion, and green pepper. But the real star of this show is the hearty hunks of beef, made unbelievably tender by a long, slow cooking time.
What beef is best for chili?
I know some of you might disagree, but after trying this Slow Cooker Steak Chili, I’m definitely on team STEAK.
My personal favorite cut is sirloin. It’s generally pretty affordable, has great flavor, and keeps its shape while still being incredibly tender. That said, I’ve also used round steak and stew beef with great success.
If you prefer shredded meat instead of chunks of beef, feel free to use a chuck roast. The magic of the low and slow crock pot cooking makes even the toughest cuts of beef ultra tender, so this slow cooker steak chili recipe is ideal for using whatever cuts you have on hand or whatever happens to be on sale.
How do you make Slow Cooker Steak Chili?
First, preheat your slow cooker while you’re preparing the other ingredients. I recently learned this simple little trick, which helps bring everything up to temperature faster and reduces your total cook time,
While the slow cooker warms up, season the steak with salt and pepper and brown it in oil for a few minutes on each side. Add the beef to the crock pot along with a diced onion and green pepper. If you don’t have green pepper on hand, feel free to omit it!
From there, it’s all about opening up some cans and adding your seasonings! I often switch things up based on whatever is currently hanging out in the cupboards.
This version calls for both diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, kidney beans, black beans, and green chilies. Feel free to substitute or experiment with what you have on hand. Use different kinds of beans or all one kind, or sub in fire roasted tomatoes or tomatoes with green chilies.
After all the cans are in the slow cooker, add in the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne, and garlic and give it a big stir! This recipe packs a nice punch of heat, but feel free to decrease or increase the cayenne and chili powder to your tastes. Again, it’s all about adapting this to your family’s tastes!
Setting the cooker to low for 8 hours is your best bet for tender beef and good flavor, but cooking on high heat for 4 hours will still work just fine.
Do you have to brown beef before slow cooking?
This is a question that comes up a lot with all of my slow cooker beef recipes. The short answer is no. It’s not harmful to put the beef in the slow cooker raw. The longer answer is, I highly highly recommend it.
Browning the beef allows it to develop a rich, caramelized flavor that I find worth the extra 10 minutes of prep and dishes!
What should I serve with steak chili?
I grew up eating chili with sour cream and shredded cheese, so these are my favorite additions. I also love a handful of Fritos for some crunch!
Of course, a big batch of cornbread is another great option, either served as a side or crumbled over top of the chili. I like my cornbread on the sweeter side and made in a cast iron skillet. I recently made this sweet skillet cornbread recipe, and it was super easy and tasty!
This recipe definitely feeds a crowd, so save it for a Saturday afternoon tailgate party or freeze leftovers for quick and easy lunches. I have a couple containers chilling in my freezer right now, and I know I’m going to be so grateful for them during those first few hazy weeks after baby #2 arrives! Just a 3 ounce serving of beef provides 10 essential nutrients and half the daily recommended amount of protein, making it a perfect satisfying meal for active kids and hangry new mommas.
Did you know there are over 17,000 beef farming families right here in Ohio? Although many people believe industrial farming has taken the place of family farms and ranches, 98% of beef farms are still family owned and operated. Learn more about beef farmers passion for caring for their animals, the environment, and the consumer in this short video featuring the Grimes family, a beef farming family from Hillsboro, Ohio. They love making memories together while caring for their cattle, and work hard every day to innovate and adapt to the latest beef farming technology!
Looking for more slow cooker beef recipes? Check out my Slow Cooker French Onion Beef Stew, Loaded Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes, plus more great slow cooker beef recipes on the Ohio Beef website!
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 lbs. sirloin steak, excess fat trimmed and remainder cut into cubes
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 28 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 4 ounce can green chilies
- 1 15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 4 cloves garlic
- Pinch sugar
- Salt and pepper
- Sour cream, cheese, and Fritos, for serving
- Preheat the slow cooker on high heat while you prepare the remainder of the ingredients.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season the sirloin with salt and pepper, then add it to the oil and allow to brown, undisturbed, for several minutes. Flip and brown on the remaining sides. Transfer the steak to the slow cooker and return the skillet to the burner over low heat. Use the juice from one of your cans of diced tomatoes or a small amount (1/4 cup) of water to deglaze the pan. Pour the liquid into the hot pan and use a spatula to scrape up any brown bits. Transfer to the slow cooker.
- Add the remaining ingredients (besides those used for serving) to the slow cooker and stir. Cook on low for 8 hours (preferred method) or on high for 4 hours.
- Serve with sour cream, cheese, Fritos and/or cornbread.
Feel free to substitute ingredients as needed. Fire roasted tomatoes or canned tomatoes with green chilies both work well for this recipe. You can use only one type of beans or experiment with different types. You may also want to adjust seasonings to add more or less heat.
To freeze, allow the chili to cool in the refrigerator, then portion into freezer safe containers or ziplock freezer bags. Allow the chili to defrost overnight in the fridge before adding to the slow cooker or reheating on the stove top.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 553