Hearty and flavorful, this slow cooker roasted red pepper chili has ground beef, roasted red peppers, smoked paprika, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. A delicious alternative to classic chili!
Chili will always be on rotation in my kitchen, regardless of the time of year! From slow cooker white chicken chili to slow cooker chickpea chili, there are so many ways you can get creative with it.
Filled with robust Tex Mex flavors, this chili has a few flavor upgrades to compliment the classic spices: in addition to chili powder, ground cumin and ground coriander, we boost the flavors with a splash of balsamic vinegar and the secret ingredient: cocoa powder!
Reasons you'll ♡ slow cooker roasted red pepper chili
- it's simple to prepare and cooks for 8 hours in the slow cooker (great for when you work away from the home)
- it's an upgrade to classic chili with roasted red peppers, balsamic vinegar and cocoa powder
- it's the kind of meal that tastes even better on day 2- so perfect for meal prep!
Wondering exactly how to this recipe? Watch this 1-minute video for step by step instructions! You can find more recipe videos on my YouTube channel.
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- beef- we are using lean ground beef for this recipe; feel free to swap for turkey if you'd like.
- white beans- sometimes called 'white navy' or 'cannellini beans', you can swap for regular kidney beans if you'd like.
- roasted red peppers- drain them, then chop into small pieces or strips.
- tomato sauce- not to be confused with ketchup, it is pureed tomatoes. Sometimes it is called passata.
- cocoa powder- use unsweetened cocoa powder; I promise, the chili does not taste like chocolate, but the cocoa helps enhance the richness and deepen all the flavors in the chili.
- balsamic vinegar- I often find that after long cook times in the slow cooker, a squeeze of something acidic helps revive the flavors. For this chili, we use balsamic vinegar, which compliments the beef, tomatoes and roasted red peppers beautifully.
Start by sautéing the beef
The first step in this recipe is to brown the beef in a frying pan. We do this for a few reasons: Firstly, it's thought to improve the flavors of the beef, though I'm not sure you'd notice a difference flavor-wise in this flavorful chili.
Secondly, beef can sometimes release a lot of fat, which we can easily drain off the frying pan, but becomes difficult to remove when the beef is cooked right in the chili.
Finally, browning the beef helps improve its texture by giving it a chew. I've found when cooking ground beef right in the slow cooker that it is softer, and I do miss that chewy 'meaty' texture.
Cook low and slow
Chili is one of those recipes that really benefits from a long, slow cook time. This helps all the flavors come together, resulting in a more flavorful meal. For this chili, we cook on the lowest setting of your slow cooker for 8 hours.
I tend to avoid using the 'high' setting on my slow cooker whenever possible, as this can bring the mixture to a vigorous boil, and can sometimes make certain types of meat become tougher rather than softer.
Add acid at the end
One of my all time favorite slow cooker tips is to add an acid ingredient (think: lime juice or vinegar) after a long cook time. The acidic ingredients really help 'wake up' the flavors of all the other ingredients in the slow cooker. For this recipe, we stir in a few teaspoons of balsamic vinegar to do the trick.
Don't forget to taste and add salt as needed!
I have owned Crock Pot brand slow cookers for many years now and have been extremely happy.
- this 6 quart slow cooker works great for a full batch of most recipes on my site
- this 2.5 quart slow cooker works great for smaller half batches- though I have not tried a half batch of this particular recipe in it!
Put your leftovers to good use
This chili was originally the base recipe in a meal plan that used up the leftovers. Here are some great ways to use up your leftover chili:
Chili keeps great, and even tastes better on day 2! Here's how to safely store and reheat your chili:
- fridge- cool completely, then store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days
- freezer- cool completely, then store in a plastic or glass jar, souper cube, or in a meal prep container. Freeze for up to 3 months
- thaw- in the fridge overnight, or heat gently in a pot over low heat
- reheat- in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat; alternatively you can reheat in the microwave until steaming hot
Food safety tip- do not reheat your food more than once
Find my favorite freezer containers here!
More slow cooker recipes
- Smoky Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
- Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Crockpot Taco Soup
- Vegan Slow Cooker Peanut Stew
- Thai Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Slow Cooker Black Bean Sweet Potato Quinoa Stew
- 1.5 lb Ground Beef Lean; see note 1
- 1 onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 17 oz jar roasted red peppers 500 mL; drained & chopped
- 28 oz diced tomatoes juices included
- 23 oz tomato sauce 680 mL; see note 2
- 19 oz white beans 540 mL drained and rinsed; see note 3
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- additional salt to taste
- Cook beef in a pan over medium heat, stirring to break it up for 8-10 minutes, or until no pink remains. Drain any grease from the beef as you transfer it to the base of a slow cooker.
- Add all remaining ingredients and stir up.
- Cook on the lowest setting for 8-10 hours.
- Stir in the balsamic vinegar, taste and add salt as needed.
- sour cream
- tortilla chips
- green onions
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