Crock Pot Beef and Three Bean Chili Recipe

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This Crock Pot Beef and Three Bean Chili is a hearty, make ahead chili recipe that’s loaded with vegetables, browned beef and so much flavor from all the spices! It can easily be made vegan or in the instant pot! It’s the perfect comforting dinner that can be made year round.

Want more Crock Pot Chili Recipes? Then you need to try my White Chicken Chili Recipe!

close up of bowl filled with three bean chili

Beef and Three Bean Chili 

One of my favorite comfort foods on a cool fall day is chili! I love the rich full depth flavor of chili! It’s basically telling you “curl up on the couch with me and watch a movie.” The vegetables, the beans, tomatoes, spices, and beef. It is one well rounded orchestra of a meal that you really don’t need to add much to. Growing up, it was something that we use to eat quite often. Probably because Wisconsin was freaking cold in the winter and chili was the best way to warm up!

I usually make my chili on the stove but with all the crock pot recipes out there I thought I would change it up.  This chili recipe has loads of vegetables in it as well as some “not so typical” chili seasonings.  I actually like the way this turned out in the crock pot better than on the stove.  As my husband says, “it has a more well rounded flavor.” haha I think he’s been watching too much of the Food Network. But he’s right, it is delicious and definitely! I promise it will be your new favorite recipe. If I could virtually share some with you now I would.

collage of how to make three bean chili

What type of beans are in chili?

When it comes to beans I am of the opinion that they are an essential part of chili! It’s not chili without beans! The most popular beans to use in chili include pinto beans, kidney beans (red and white) and black beans. 

Are kidney beans the same as chili beans?

No, they are not the same thing. Chili beans are usually pinto beans that are soaked in a chili type sauce, so there is a chili seasoning added to the beans which will change the flavor profile of your chili. I do not recommend using them. 
 
two bowls filled with crock pot chili

Ingredients you’ll need for this Three Bean Chili:

Chili is a great place to add extra vegetables, so you’ll see a few extra ingredients that you might not normally add. Just trust me and add them! You’re going to love it. Here are the ingredients you’ll need.

  • Ground Beef: I buy grass fed and use 85% lean 15% fat, you could use 80/20 too if you’d like.
  • Avocado Oil: for sautéing the onions and ground beef 
  • Onion: I like to sauté my onions before I add them to the crock pot, it adds so much more flavor. For chili I prefer to use yellow or sweet onion, however red onion would work for this as well.
  • Bell Peppers: I use both diced green and red peppers in this recipe.
  • Carrots: I know, carrots are not a common ingredient in chili. But trust me, they add a nice crunch factor, sweetness and nutrients. You won’t even notice them.
  • Chipotle Peppers: I love adding diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for a little spice and smokiness to my chili. I add this to almost all my chili recipes, it’s one of my secret flavor weapons. You can find a can or a jar of this in your international aisle or latin food section.
  • Tomatoes: This recipe calls for a trio of tomatoes as well.  I use organic, no salt added: crushed tomatoes, diced fire roasted tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  • Beef Broth: Adding beef broth gives you even more depth of flavor to this chili, it’s my secret ingredient in chili. You could sub with vegetable broth or even water if you’d like.
  • Spices: What is chili without a party of spices? My go to spices for chili are cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, coriander and oregano. Sometimes I add cinnamon in too, just to change it up.
  • Beans: This recipe calls for three types of beans. You’ll need black beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans.

beans in a crock pot of chili

How to make Crock Beef and Three Bean Chili?

This recipe is primarily made in the crock pot, however you do need to cook the ground beef before it goes into the crockpot. Heres how to make this easy chili recipe:

  1. Heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add avocado oil and onion to the skillet. Saute until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Next, add ground beef to the skillet. Cook until beef is no longer pink, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon throughout the cooking process.
  3. Once, meat is cooked through. Place ground beef mixture, red and green pepper, carrots, chipotle peppers, crushed tomatoes, diced fire roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, coriander and oregano.
  4. Stir, cover, and cook on HIGH for 3-4  hours or LOW for 6-7 hours.
  5. Then add black beans, kidney beans and pinto beans.
  6. Cook for an additional 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed
  7. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, and diced avocado.

Can I make this chili Vegetarian?

Yes! To make this Crock Pot Chili vegetarian just sub the ground beef with 3 cups dish sweet potatoes and sub the beef broth with vegetable broth. You’ll love the vegetarian version of this as well!

two bowls filled with crock pot chili and toppings

Can I make this in the Instant Pot?

Yes! You can definitely make this in the instant. Just follow the directions below.

  1. Turn Instant Pot to Saute mode. Add avocado oil and onion to the skillet. Saute until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Next, add ground beef to the skillet. Cook until beef is no longer pink, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon throughout the cooking process.
  3. Then add red and green pepper, carrots, chipotle peppers, crushed tomatoes, diced fire roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, coriander and oregano. Cancel Saute mode. Turn on Soup/Chili Mode (or pressure cooker mode) for 30 minutes. Do a natural release.
  4. Add in black beans, kidney beans and pinto beans. Turn on Saute mode for 20 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Can I freeze this Chili?

This chili recipe is freezer friendly. To freeze, allow chili to completely cool. Place in a freezer safe storage bag or container, I like to label with the date I made it. Place in freezer, chili will keep for 3 months. 

ladle scooping chili from a crock pot

Best Toppings for Chili:

Let’s be real for a second. Chili is awesome. But chili with “all the fixins,” that’s even better! Here are our favorite ways to top our chili. What are yours?

  • Diced Avocado
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Diced Green Onions
  • Pickled Onions
  • Pickled Jalapenos (or fresh)
  • Fritos (or tortilla chips)
  • Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Queso Fresco
  • Limes
  • Hot Sauce

More Chili Recipes you need to try:

three bean chili in a crock pot with a wooden spoon

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three bean chili in a crock pot with a wooden spoon

Crock Pot Beef and Three Bean Chili Recipe

  • Author: Krista
  • prep_time Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • cook_time Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • total_time Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
  • yield Yield: 10-12 1x
  • category Category: Soups
  • method Method: Crock Pot
  • cuisine Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This Crock Pot Beef and Three Bean Chili is a hearty, make ahead chili recipe that’s loaded with vegetables, browned beef and so much flavor from all the spices! It can easily be made vegan or in the instant pot! It’s the perfect comforting dinner!

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. of ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 cup of onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 green pepper, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can of diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce, no salt added
  • 1 cups of beef broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon of coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon of oregano
  • 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz. can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz. can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Toppings (Optional)

  • Green Onions, sliced
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Avocado, diced
  • Jalapeno
  • Sour Cream

Instructions

  1. Heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add avocado oil and onion to the skillet. Saute until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Next, add ground beef to the skillet. Cook until beef is no longer pink, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon throughout the cooking process.
  3. Once, meat is cooked through. Place ground beef mixture, red and green pepper, carrots, chipotle peppers, crushed tomatoes, diced fire roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, coriander and oregano.
  4. Stir, cover, and cook on HIGH for 3-4  hours or LOW for 6-7 hours.
  5. Then add black beans, kidney beans and pinto beans.
  6. Cook for an additional 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed
  7. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, and diced avocado.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
  • Calories: 395
  • Sugar: 14 g
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Fiber: 17 g
  • Protein: 28 g

Keywords: Three Bean Chili Recipe, Chili Recipe, Beef Chili Recipe, Crock Pot Chili Recipe, Easy Chili Recipe, Slow Cooker Chili, How to make Three Bean Chili, Three Bean Chili, Ground Beef Chili

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pinterest collage for crock pot three bean chili

pinterest collage for crock pot beef three bean chili recipe

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Hey There

Krista
Hi! I'm the recipe developer and food photographer behind all these easy healthy recipes! I love food, Jesus, morning lattes, and am obsessed with fantasy football!

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49 Responses
  1. Lynn

    This looks like a fantastic recipe. I’ve searching for a chili recipe for the slow cooker with a great flavour, the chipotle should cover that. There is one ingredient I am not familiar with and I’m not sure I’ll be able to find here in Winnipeg (Canada), the can of sweet can. I’ve never heard of this ingredient, what is it? Is there something I can substitute for this?

    Thanks

    1. Krista

      Oh… its a typo. It should say sweet corn not sweet can. I don’t know what that is either.. haha.. so basically you just need a can of corn to put into the chili. 🙂 Sorry for the confusion. I just updated it, good catch Lynn! Thanks so much, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

    1. Krista

      Totally my favorite chili of all time, plus there are so many veggies packed into this one. Hope you have a great rest of the weekend Chris, thanks for the sweet comments!

    1. Krista

      Thanks Lisa, your too sweet. That means alot!

      Thats what I love about this meal too, slow cooker are a life saver. Especially for a mommy! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by girl, hope you have a great rest of the weekend!

    1. Krista

      haha.. yes it is! Plus packed with veggies, but with the heat this chili packed I can guarantee any man will down this stuff. 🙂 Its a great superbowl option! Thanks for stopping by Rabia!

  2. Kendra @ Mommy, In Demand

    Yep. This will be happening on the next pay day. I love love love me a good chili and absolutely SUCK at making it on the stove. Tried about 1,000 recipes and bombed every single one of them. My mother can make it from scratch and apparently didn’t pass on that gene. So I will most definitely be throwing this baby in!

    1. Krista

      haha.. nice. Well hopefully after you make this one your chili recipe search will be done and you can reclaim the “gene” that was rightfully yours. 🙂 Hope you like it Kendra. P.S. if you like it hot then add 1-2 more chipotle peppers {we usually do that, I just didn’t want to blow the socks off of people buy putting that in the recipe hehe}

  3. Krystle Cook

    I’ve been wanting to make a homemade chili but just haven’t gotten to it yet. Yours looks yummy but I’m afraid my husband might snub his nose at it if he’s sees too many veggies. He’s so picky!

    1. Krista

      haha… my dad is the same way. While they were here over Christmas I made this dish and he loved it. He did make a comment about the veggies but he said it was still good. 🙂 Men!!! Sheesh. 🙂 Can’t live with them can’t live without them. hehe Hope you have a great rest fo the week!

    1. Krista

      Thanks Nicole, its my way of sneaking in the extra veggies. 🙂 Let me know how it turns out if you make it tonight! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Alisha

    Happy SITS Day! I recently stopped eating meat, but I think this recipe would work without the ground beef. Is there anything you would recommend doing differently if I made it without meat?

    1. Krista

      Hey Alisha! Totally understand that. I would just add more carrots and red peppers to this dish to “fill” it. But really it would be fine without the meat, the beans are the star of the show in this dish. 🙂 Hope you get a chance to try it, and go luck with the “no meat” thing. Curious does that mean, fish and poultry or just red meat?

      1. Alisha

        Thank you! I will definitely try that. Right now I’m still eating tuna and salmon, but I might do away with those over the next few months. No red meat or poultry. I’m always looking for recipes that include beans since they are a great source of protein. This one would be great!

        1. Krista

          Your welcome Alisha! Good luck with the new way of life and eating, I know it can be hard in the beginning but once you get use to it you end up feeling so much better. I know we have with just this slight way of eating Paleo. 🙂

  5. linda kirkconnell

    I plan to make this. Can you substitute chili powder for the chipotle pepper? I can’t find that for less
    than $23 a can.
    Thanks for your help.

    1. Krista

      too funny I went out to buy the stuff today and making it again tomorrow. 🙂 Hm… the can should be at your local grocery store in the latin american aisle and is usually like $1.50-3 depending. Hope that helps. Other wise I would use tabasco sauce {but the chipotle flavored kind} Enjoy it Linda! 🙂

    1. Krista

      Aw, your so sweet. It WAS delicious! In fact, my husband, son, and I downed in like 2-3 days by ourselves! Hope you and those boys of yours enjoy!

  6. Kat

    I cannot wait to start making chili! It is still a little warm where I’m at but I almost don’t care because this looks so good! My hubby loves his chili packed with beans and so I’m for sure gonna try this! Pinning!

    1. Krista

      haha.. girl. I understand, when I made this chili it was 100 degrees outside. But I figure if I make “fall foods” eventually texas will realize it is FALL and start to cool down. A girl can wish, right? I hope you and your hubbie enjoy this chili! Thanks for pinning!

  7. Cindy Eikenberg

    Krista, cannot wait to try this Chili for a football watching Sunday! Thanks so much for sharing and joining us at Best of the Weekend – pinning to our party board! Hope you have a happy Thursday and hope you can party with us tomorrow night! 🙂

    1. Krista

      Oh… nothing better than football, beer, and chili! 🙂 Sounds like a good sunday to me. Thanks for pinning and sharing, you gals rock! 🙂

  8. Lisa @ Wine & Glue

    Krista, this looks so yummy! There is nothing better than a good chili in the fall. Definitely pinning this. Thank you so much for sharing it at Wake Up Wednesdays!

  9. PJ @ Planned in Pencil

    It is totally chili season here in NW PA. I’ve made it twice in the past two weeks! thanks for sharing it at the Pinworthy Project Linkup!

    1. Krista

      oh.. so jealous! I so want it to be cool out and refreshing to step outside. But alas, I must wait longer. 🙁 Thanks for stopping by and showing some ‘love’.

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