Not to brag, but if I had another Cook-off, I would have won it again and again. This Crockpot Chili Recipe combines all the flavors of my original Award Winning Chili but also has some new unexpected ingredients.
Although Chili soup is a traditional Tex-Mex recipe, I added a few non-traditional ingredients and gave my best Crockpot Chili an Italian spin.
See, I've had tremendously good reviews on my Cook-Off Winning Chili so I decided to recreate it but with a few minor changes.
So an extremely flavorful (no joke), hearty and so satisfying soup that even my 2-year-old devoured without saying a word. And she's not used to eating spicy food.
This Italian Sausage Slow Cooker Chili is delicious to make throughout the year but tastes especially good during cold winter months.
Because there's no better time for a bowl of warm and comforting soup than when it's cold outside.
As I said before, this recipe is adapted from my Cook-Off Winning Chili and if you had a chance to try it, you know it's amazing.
This nontraditional Crockpot Chili from scratch features all familiar ingredients but you'll also notice some unexpected players.
All these ingredients contribute to even more flavorful Chili and make it hearty, delicious, and simply the best.
- meat - I used Italian pork sausage and ground chicken. You can substitute the sausage with ground turkey, beef, or even deer. Some of my readers on Pinterest actually said they made this Chili with deer meat and it was a delicious
- vegetable base - onion, bell peppers, garlic
- Parmesan rinds - this is an optional ingredient, but you should have no problems finding it in any grocery store. Just look in the cheese aisle and the rinds are usually sold in small bundles
- canned tomatoes🍅 and tomato paste
- beans - I used white beans and Kidney beans. However, you can use any beans you have on your hands
- broth - I used chicken broth
- spices - chili powder, Cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, Tuscan seasoning (substitute with Italian seasoning), brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt
- olive oil
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add Italian pork sausage and ground chicken.
Cook, stirring occasionally, and break up the big chunks with a fork until the liquid evaporates and the meat is thoroughly cooked and slightly brown, about 10-15 minutes.
2. Transfer cooked meat into a bowl of the slow cooker and add onion, bell pepper, garlic, Parmesan rinds, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, and spices.
3. Cover your slow cooker with a lid and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. Serve with your favorite toppings (see my suggestions below)
By the way, did you try my BEST Vegan Chili? It's made with protein-packed chickpeas, veggies, and beans. Chili is ready in no time and is healthy and kid-approved.
💭 Frequently Asked Questions
Can you add raw meat🍗 in a slow cooker for Chili?
Technically you can, but I would advise against it.
Browning meat prior to cooking helps to develop a deeper and richer flavor of Chili.
So despite that, you'll have to make one extra step, this step is essential to ensure the best and most delicious soul food Chili ever.
In case your slow cooker is up for an upgrade, I highly recommend you consider a 3-in-1 multi-cooker, like this one I've used this particular brand for a few years now and I couldn't be happier with its functionality.
It has a prebuilt "brown/saute" mode which eliminates the need to use a separate pan for browning meat.
Also, if you want less cleanup, I recommend using these Slow-Cooker liners. They're Amazon best-sellers and are super affordable.
How much Cayenne Pepper should I add to Chili?
Obviously, everyone has their own preference as to how spicy they want Chili to be. Having said that, here are my suggestions:
- If you're going to serve Chili to smaller kids, I found ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon to be a good amount of Cayenne pepper.
- If you like it really spicy, aim for 1 ¼ teaspoons of Cayenne Pepper.
How can I make my crockpot Chili recipe less spicy?
If your Chili is too spicy, there are a few ways to dilute the spiciness.
1. Add dairy. A good dollop of sour cream and/or a generous sprinkling of shredded cheese should do the trick and make Chili less spicy.
2. Add more toppings:
- cubed avocados
- cherry tomatoes
- pitted Kalamata olives
- Tortilla chips
All of these are great choices for diluting the spiciness of Chili.
🍴 Serving suggestions
I love serving Chili with Mozzarella, Sharp Cheddar cheese, and a generous dollop of sour cream.
♨️ Freezing and thawing
- cool Chili completely
- divide it among quart-size freezer-friendly zipper bags (I like these BPA-free double-zipper bags)
- seal the bags and lay them flat in the freezer.
That way, Chili will last up to 4-6 months in the freezer.
Place the bag with frozen Chili in a bowl with warm water and let it come to room temperature. After that, transfer Chili to a pot and bring it to a gentle boil.
🍲 Similar Recipes
Friends, if you like this recipe, please take a second to leave me a comment and PIN IT! I would greatly appreciate this!
Crockpot Chili Recipe
Click on the highlighted link to purchase the necessary ingredients
- 1 lb Italian pork sausage see the notes
- 1 lb ground chicken breast or thigh
- 1 large onion finely minced
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 6 cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 Parmesan rinds optional
- 2 cans (14 oz each can) diced tomatoes
- 1 can 14 oz kidney beans
- 1 can 14 oz white beans
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 32 oz chicken broth
- 4 tablespoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoon Tuscan seasoning
- 2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1 cup Sharp Cheddar cheese shredded
- 8 tablespoon sour cream for serving
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet and on a medium heat.* (See the notes)
- Add Italian pork sausage and ground chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the big chunks with a fork until the liquid evaporates and meat is thoroughly cooked and slightly brown, about 10-15 minutes.
- Transfer cooked meat into a bowl of slow cooker and add all remaining ingredients except cheese and sour cream.** (See the notes)
- Cover with a lid and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream and both type of cheese.
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Do you want ZERO mess after cooking your Chili? These Slow Cooker liners are perfect for cooking soups, pot roasts, casseroles and other foods. When you're done eating, simply remove the liner and throw it away. These Reynolds Kitchen Slow Cooker Liners are Amazon best-sellers and cost under $6.