Christy’s Crock Pot Chili


Christy's Crock Pot Chili

Any southerner worth their salt has a great chili recipe, preferably a signature one. This is why I set out several years back trying out this one and that, tweaking and adding until I came up with one I could call my own.

Although I dearly love my mother’s chili, I wanted something a bit more involved (in terms of ingredients, not effort!). My favorite chili away from home has always been Wendy’s (yeah, I’m a simple gal), and so I knew when I came across a copycat recipe for their chili, I had found the base I wanted to start from.

I’ve tweaked it slightly over the years for my personal taste and for this tutorial I am making it in the crock pot for all of you. This prevents anyone from having to stand over the stove and fret over it while it simmers and the flavor develops fully. If you brown and freeze your meat ahead of time (like I do), this becomes a “toss it in and turn it on” recipe that will make it great for a quick and easy meal!

I remember reading a forum once where someone said they would never eat Wendy’s chili because they used the previous days leftover hamburger patties as the basis for the meat. Rather than be turned off by that like this person obviously was, my thoughts were “WOW, thats a neat idea!!!”

Being in a family with a brother who caters and a father who frequently sponsors large bbq’s for Fraternal Order Of Police members, I often get the call from time to time “We have a bunch of hamburgers lefover, do you want them?”. I take all that is offered, crumble them up and place them in freezer bags to use in this chili at a later date! *

Christy's Crock Pot Chili

For this, you’ll need: Pinto Beans, Kidney Beans, Chopped Green Chilies, Onion, Ground Beef, Tomato Sauce, Tomatoes (or canned, diced tomatoes), Celery, Cumin, and Chili Powder. (Y’all, my 29 ounce can of tomato sauce was camera shy)

Christy's Crock Pot Chili
Chop the celery…

Christy's Crock Pot Chili

Chop the onion….I used my brand new food processor coz dat’s how I roll!

Christy's Crock Pot Chili

Now, dump all canned items, liquid and all, into crock pot.
(If you have small kids, just put half the can of chilies in until you make sure they aren’t too hot. Normally they are very mild whenever I get Wal Mart brand, but I got these from another grocery store and they were uncharacteristically hot! That is the first time this has ever happened and I’ve been making this chili for years. I’ll stick with Wal Mart’s brand of chopped green chilies from now on!)
Christy's Crock Pot Chili
Add celery and onion.
Christy's Crock Pot Chili
Pour in ground beef. Add cumin…
Christy's Crock Pot Chili
Chili powder…
Christy's Crock Pot Chili
Christy's Crock Pot Chili
and water…
Christy's Crock Pot Chili
Stir and cover. Cook on low, 7-8 hours or on high, 3-4.
I serve mine with crackers, cheese, and sour cream. Goes great with cornbread!
After I put this in the crock pot my son came up to me and put his arms around my waist and pressed his face to me as he gave me the biggest hug!
He then said “Mama, I have something I need to ask you.”
“What, baby?”
“When are we gonna get to eat that chili?”

Christy’s Crock Pot Chili
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 29 oz can kidney beans (with liquid)
  • 29 oz can pinto beans (with liquid)
  • 29 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • ½ C diced green chilies
  • 3 medium tomatoes or one large can of diced
  • 1½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 C water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 T chili powder
  • ¼ C diced celery
  • 2 tsp cumin
  1. Brown ground beef until done.
  2. In large pot (or crock pot), combine the beef plus all remaining ingredients. If in pot, bring to a simmer over low heat and cook, stirring a few times an hour, for two to three hours. (You can avoid this by using the crock pot)
  3. If in a crock pot, stir to combine and cover. Cook on low 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

*Food should not be kept above 45 degrees and below 145 degrees for more than two hours should be disposed of. This is the rule of thumb I learned in college. I have recently seen where someone stated that danger zone time limit is four hours, but I stick with two to be safe. Basically, food can be kept at room temp safely for two hours but should be refrigerated or frozen after that in order to avoid food safety issues which I won’t go into now…because I want you to have your appetite for chili!

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  1. Lana Brown says

    Love that chili recipe. When I have leftover chili, I serve it over rice with some green onions chopped on top—instant red beans and rice! Hey, Christy, I never did hear what was in those boxes you needed the truck for. I must have missed that day!

  2. Michelle says

    Putting all the ingredients in the crockpot now for this! The weather here has turned cool overnight (80-ish to high 50’s – yikes!), and rain is coming< so it is PERFECT chili weather :) I added a can of the fire roasted tomatoes to see what happens.

    Have a great day!

  3. Jenny C says

    Hi Christy! With our first cool snap (50’s here is south TX) I am making your chili!! I have been waiting all summer :) At one point last month I had all the stuff to make it, but it was still 99 degrees and my husband thought I was crazy (er) :) Anyway, to my question… What size of crock pot do you make this in? I have a big one (not sure of the exact size, but the big one) and I don’t have room to add the 2 C of water. I am hoping that maybe it will cook down as the day goes on and I can add the water as it does, but not sure if this would ruin the flavor. I re read your instructions, and didn’t sneak in any extra liquid, so I don’t know what happened. I’m asking for a new crock pot for Christmas and i’m not sure what size to ask for. I am making this again and again (I tasted and it was great cold, so can only imagine the taste when it is hot and simmered) and want to make sure I have the right size :) Thank you for being you!

  4. Donna Jost says

    To Jenny C — my Mom, God bless her, would get hungry for soup in the summer months…so she’d turn up the air conditioner, and we’d have soup! I remember having chili, potato soup, bean soup, etc. during the summer months, and it was great! So now, I don’t wait for fall/winter to have soup! Love this website!! Will try this chili recipe soon!!

  5. Crissy says

    Well a crock pot of chili goes a long way in our home….chili with rice & beans the first night. Hot dogs with chili the next, and then with the leftovers I make enchilada casserole. Add a little water to it layer chili, corn tortillas, chili , shredded cheese (your choice), tortillas & repeat. End with cheese on top. You can throw in some chopped ones if you like. Warm in 350 oven until bubbly… Yum!

      • Marvon says

        Hmmmm .I have a couple of thhgtous. First, if you’re using a large can of pumpkin it may be too much. I’m not sure what size cans everyone is using but the one I used was the small can which I think is 15 ozs. The other variable may be the cooking time and temperature of the slow cooker. I can see if you have one that runs cool the muffins may be mushy. Maybe try it in the oven? The other variable may be the gluten free component. It’s not going to be your typical bakery’ type of pumpkin muffin. There may be a difference in the consistency if you’re not used to gluten free products or vegan products- however, using any store variety spice mix in place of Manna will solve that problem. I’ve been baking these by the dozens for several Halloween events (but I’m using the oven and not the slow cooker because I need more in a shorter time).VA:F [1.9.20_1166](from 0 votes)

  6. Threnners says

    Years ago I used to work for a Wendy’s supplier. They did not use leftover hamburger patties. They had an order for patties and a separate order for ground beef to be used in the chili. Or at least they did when Dave was still alive.

    Thanks for the recipe though, I was looking for a simple chili recipe!

  7. retrobella says

    Was wondering what to make for supper and this is just the thing. Still have about a foot of snow on the ground and no sign of getting above the freezing mark for about a wk. Will make some good 3 ways with the leftovers. Yum! Thanks for all the great recipes and uplifting stories.

  8. Amanda says

    Good morning, Christy! I was so happy when I read about you getting to walk some and put weight down on your kegs. God is so good! Speaking of good, this chili is yumalicious! The first time I made it I cut the recipe in half. I usually try to do that everytime I try a new recipe. But this time, I’m making the full recipe. I didn’t want to dirty up a pan this morning so I put my raw ground turkey meat in with all the other ingredients. I figure it’ll be ok. I’ll let you know how it turns out. :-)

      • Thanura says

        Jenn thanks so much for ptinsog this recipe,how simple is this!I’m looking forward to making this for thanksgiving this year.It will be nice to use my crockpot so i don’t have to spend extra time in the kitchen thus i cant enjoy watchin the thanksgiving day parade for once,Havent had the chance in over 10 yrs with three kids plus we always have the holiday at our house.I will definatly be getting many recipes from here!

  9. Sharon Carson says

    I plan to make this for a church fundraiser this coming weekend. Can anybody tell me if the batch makes anywhere near 4 quarts? I need to donate (4) one-quart containers. Thanks in advance!

  10. Geri Meuschke says

    I use my Vita Mix and chop carrots and celery for the chili, adding lots of fiber and added nutrition. Also add a can of retried beans to make it thicker! We are having a Family Fall Gathering this weekend….hotdogs on an open fire with lots of toppings, including chili!! Come on over!!
    S’Mores, too!

  11. Lindia says

    Wendy’s chili is also my husbands favorite so he went online, also a few yrs ago and found a recipe which I have been using since. It is just like yours cept for a couple differences in amounts. I also tweeked mine. This is a very good and easy recipe that makes plenty and freezes very well. I love your recipes and several have become our family favorites and go to when I need something. I enjoy getting your emails and all the interesting stories.


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