Personal finance and frugal living expert Lauren Greutman's budget-friendly Slow Cooker Chili is perfect for making ahead and freezing. She started doing that several years ago and has never looked back. Lauren suggests serving it with cornbread or whatever you like, but says it makes a great chili dog, too. 

For more budget-friendly and easy slow cooker recipes by Lauren, check out her Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken and Slow Cooker Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • ½ large onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chocolate chips or cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Half of a 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • Scant 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Half of a 15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed


Serves: 4


Place the ground beef in the bottom of a slow cooker. Top with all the ingredients up to the crushed tomatoes. (Use the cayenne if you want more heat.) Add the tomatoes, water, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Cook on high for 4 hours, medium for 6 or low for 8.  

Mash the meat with a potato masher to break it up. Add the kidney beans, stir, then cook for another 20 minutes.