This fiery chipotle chili hits the spot on the coldest of days. Learn how to prep it, set it, and forget it with this easy slow cooker recipe.
EVERY POT OF CHILI HAS A STORY
My cooking journey began the day I started university.
Prior to that, the extent of my cooking prowess was preparing a pot of Kraft Dinner for my brothers and heating soup.
Left to my own devices and being too frugal for the school cafeteria, I began navigating my way around the kitchen.
One dish I learned how to make was stovetop chilli. I would brown my meat, toss all of the ingredients into a pot, bring it to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.
I would finish it by dousing it with Tabasco sauce because I didn’t know about chipotles in adobo sauce.
The onions were crunchy, but I was proud of myself. Then one day, to my great insult, someone suggested that I sauté my onions.
How dare they!
They were right, of course, and thankfully I took it to heart.
Then several years ago I was gifted a Crock-Pot for Christmas and that changed everything.
Over the years, my spices and core ingredients have stayed consistent with minor tweaks here and there, but slow cooking and the discovery of chipotles in adobo sauce dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s.
FIERY CHIPOTLE CHILI VIDEO
Every week I put out two new posts and videos. Here’s the demonstration for my fiery chipotle chili recipe. If you like what you see, I hope you’ll consider subscribing to my YouTube channel!
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SLOW COOKERS MAKE MEALS EASIER
Chances are you probably already have a Crock-Pot, but if you don’t own one of these handy contraptions, allow me to gush about them for a moment.
Slow cookers are a marvellous tool to have in the kitchen during the colder months. Being able to set it up in the morning and then come home to a hot meal that’s ready to go is wonderful.
It also gives plenty of time for the flavours to meld. Did I mention it’s easy?
THE FORMULA FOR FIERY CHIPOTLE CHILI
One of the first recipes I posted was for cast iron skillet burgers. In the post, I emphasize theory because if you know the theory behind how to prepare a dish, then you don’t need a recipe.
The same idea applies with chilli.
It’s such a forgiving dish and can be played around with for seemingly endless combinations. You will find the recipe below if you scroll down, but if you’re interested in learning how to make chilli without needing to rely on a recipe again, stay with me.
We’re going to go over the core ingredients together.
THE BEST MEAT TO USE FOR CHILLI
In the recipe below, I use ground pork. I find it’s the most economical option when you’re sourcing the highest quality meats.
I don’t know about you, but I like supporting local farms because I want to know that the animals were raised humanely and sustainably. Hormones and antibiotics don’t belong in my meat, and what the animals eat I eat, albeit, indirectly.
In any case, when you’re making this fiery chipotle chilli recipe (or any chilli recipe for that matter), you can use whatever meat you fancy.
If you have ground turkey in the freezer, use that. Have a hankering for beef? Make it a beef chili.
Walk on the wild side and fry up some bacon before sautéing the meat, using the bacon grease for the cooking fat.
Vegetarian? Add a 1/2 cup of rinsed quinoa (or more) to the mix. You can also make your own veggie ground round by hydrating one cup of textured vegetable protein to one cup boiling water and then seasoning it like you would any other meat. It’s a lot healthier than what you’ll get off the store shelf!
You’re going to notice when you look at the recipe that I call for two cups of dried beans that are cooked (about 6 cups).
If that’s too inconvenient, you can add two or three cans to the slow cooker, but cooking your own beans is quite simple. You start by soaking the beans overnight, one cup of red kidney beans and one cup of white kidney beans (or navy beans or great northern beans).
The next morning, you have a choice. Pop them in the slow cooker with a bay leaf for six hours or prepare them on the stove with a bay leaf. Start out by bringing them to a boil, then simmer the beans for 45 minutes.
When the timer goes off, add a teaspoon of salt and simmer for another twenty minutes before draining them. Cool and refrigerate them until use. While it does take a bit of planning to use dried beans, it’s more economic and you have full control over the sodium content.
My ideal for tomatoes would be garden-grown, home-canned jars, but we can’t all have that, myself included.
I lean towards using two 28oz cans, one diced, one crushed.
Since I prefer controlling how much salt goes into my food, I always reach for the sodium-free cans, but you do you. If you can afford it, fire-roasted tomatoes are awesome, but at almost $5.00 a can in Canada, it’s a rare treat.
When I’m making my fiery chipotle chilli, I usually chop up a couple of onions and three cloves of garlic. You can use less or more, depending on your preferences.
If you’re planning on making this recipe on the stove, I suggest giving the onions and garlic a little sauté, but if you’re sticking with a slow cooker, there’s no need to cook the allium up in advance.
I discovered these when a recipe called for them in a sauce. I only needed the sauce for my recipe, which left me with the peppers. What to do?
I made a chili with the leftovers and never looked back. These spicy little suckers come in a small can that can usually be found in the same section as the Mexican food.
Depending on the grocery store, it can sometimes be a bit of a treasure hunt. The last time my husband, Big Papa, picked up a can, he found them in the chip aisle! As is, it would make a lousy dip, so I don’t know what they were thinking.
The chipotles come whole in the can, so they’ll need to be sliced up to make them more manageable.
If you have folks at the table who are averse to spicy foods, save the chipotles for the very end so that you can set aside some regular chili before adding the can.
If you only like a little bit of spice, start out by mixing in a couple of tablespoons and build up the spice profile from there.
I like to think that my list is fairly simple. The seasonings get added to the meat when it’s being browned. As with anything you make, be sure to taste and adjust the seasonings before serving.
If I was making this chilli without the chipotles, I would put in three tablespoons of chilli powder and generous dashes of Tabasco.
These days, I try to keep a can of chipotles in my pantry, so I only put in two tablespoons of chilli powder.
I put herbs in almost everything. In chili, it’s a teaspoon of oregano.
Sea salt is a perfect option for chili. Add a teaspoon to the meat while browning. The chipotles add quite a bit of flavour to the chili, but be sure to taste and adjust the salt as needed.
Can you pronounce Worcestershire? I certainly can’t, but that doesn’t stop me from using this every time I season ground meat! A few good dashes will do the trick (if I had to count, I would say three or four).
OTHER SPICES TO CONSIDER
Spices are like an invitation to experiment with flavour.
Try making a batch with a teaspoon of cumin.
Shake in some liquid smoke.
Stir in a tablespoon of brown sugar or stir in barbecue sauce. Ask yourself what you think would work (The Flavour Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg will help you answer this question) and look at what you have on hand.
VEGETABLES FOR THOUGHT
I don’t usually put vegetables in my chili, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t!
Chop up a couple of ribs of celery; dice up green peppers; cube up a sweet potato.
Do you have anything in your produce drawer that needs to get used? If it works with the chili, toss it in!
This isn’t going to take long.
Brown the meat with the seasonings, then transfer it to the slow cooker along with everything else.
If you have some light eaters who won’t appreciate a bowlful of spicy chili, hold off on adding the chipotles until the very end.
Set the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours, depending on how long you will be away. To make everything even easier in the morning, you can prep this the night before and store the Crock-Pot bowl in the fridge until you need to head out the next day.
GARNISHINGS FOR CHILI
After the slow cooker does its job for 6-8 hours, all you have to worry yourself with is how to garnish your bowl of chili. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Sour cream or plain greek yogurt
or tortilla chips
Sliced black olives
Avocado or guacamole
Fresh diced tomatoes
All of the above!
DOES FIERY CHIPOTLE CHILI FREEZE WELL?
Yes! I like storing extra chili in litre pots or repurposed yogurt containers. Make sure you label them so you know what you’re looking at two months later! Freeze the chili for up to six months.
WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER CHILI
If you don’t want to freeze the leftovers, here are some ways you can reinvent your chili into a brand new meal. What do you like doing with your leftover chili? I hope you’ll let me know in the comments below!
Make chili cheese fries
Whip up a batch of Chili cheese dogs
Try mac and cheese with chili on top
Make a pizza and use chili as the sauce
Dress pierogies with leftover chili
Sneak some into a grilled cheese sandwich
Spruce up a baked potato
Serve it over cornbread waffles
Incorporate it into a breakfast bowl
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FIERY CHIPOTLE CHILI INGREDIENTS
1 lb ground pork
2 cups dried beans, cooked
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, sliced
1-2 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp avocado oil
2 tbsp chili powder
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt + more to taste
FIERY CHIPOTLE CHILI INSTRUCTIONS
Heat a 10" cast iron skillet over medium heat and add avocado oil.
When the oil is hot, add the ground meat and break it up.
When the meat starts to brown, add the Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, salt and oregano.
Brown the meat completely, stirring frequently.
Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker (except the chipotles if you need to set some of the chili aside).
Give the contents a stir, then set the slowcooker on low for 6-8 hours.
Add salt to taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
PRINTABLE FIERY CHIPOTLE CHILI RECIPE CARD
Fiery Chipotle Slow Cooker Chili
- Slow cooker
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 cups dried beans cooked
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce sliced
- 1-2 medium onions chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt + more to taste
- Heat a 10″ cast iron skillet over medium heat and add avocado oil.
- When the oil is hot, add the ground meat and break it up.
- When the meat starts to brown, add the Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, salt and oregano.
- Brown the meat completely, stirring frequently.
- Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker (except the chipotles if you need to set some of the chili aside).
- Give the contents a stir, then set the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.
- Add salt to taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
PIN IT FOR A RAINY DAY
Love and gratitude,