How to Make Slow Cooker Chili

My husband introduced me to this chili recipe shortly after we got married. It’s based on his mother’s recipe, but he made a few tweaks to improve it, and then I made a few tweaks. This is what we ended up with. It’s simple, but everyone always enjoys it. The addition of baked beans is what makes this recipe special. It adds a touch of sweetness.

This is a great cold-weather lunch or dinner. It freezes well if you have a lot of leftovers. I like to freeze it in single or double serving-sized containers so it’s just right for heating up for lunch for one or two people. I also like to pack it in my kids’ thermoses for school lunches.

I often have a bag of diced peppers in my freezer, ready to toss into various recipes, and I often sprinkle a few diced peppers into this chili recipe … just enough to sneak in some more veggies, but not so many that my kids notice!

Slow Cooker Chili
All you need are a few simple ingredients: ground turkey, chili beans, baked beans, diced tomatoes with chilies, tomato juice, and an onion.

Slow Cooker Chili


  • 1 lb. ground turkey or ground beef, browned
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 can (16 ounces) Bush’s Baked Beans (or I sometimes use Aldi baked beans)
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 can Ro-Tel (or any brand of diced tomatoes and green chilies)
  • Tomato juice* (optional; use as little or as much as you want)
  • Optional toppings: chili powder, shredded cheese, Saltine crackers, diced fresh onions, cooked noodles


Brown ground turkey or ground beef in a skillet with diced onion. Add to slow cooker. Add baked beans, chili beans, Ro-Tel, and optional tomato juice. Sprinkle some chili powder in if desired. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

Serve with toppings such as crackers, chili powder, shredded cheese, and/or diced fresh onions. I like to add some cooked noodles such as elbow macaroni or spiral pasta for chili mac. Or serve it Steak ‘n Shake style on top of cooked spaghetti noodles.¬†Serve it all with a side of corn bread or corn muffins and butter.

*If you want a thick chili, omit the tomato juice all together. If you want a soupier chili, add tomato juice to get your desired consistency. I usually use about one third to one half of a 46-ounce can of tomato juice., and I freeze any unused tomato juice and save it for my next batch of chili.

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