Slow Cooker Mexican Chili or Taco Chili is a deliciously spicy and hearty meal perfect for the cold days of winter. It’s easy to make with tons of flavor reminiscent of your favorite taco flavors and loaded with protein. This is bound to become the family’s favorite comfort dinner.
I love chilis in the winter. Whether it’s my White Chicken Chili or Chipotle Chili, It always seems to hit the spot and warm me up from the inside out. Of course, you could opt for Vegetable Beef Soup or a Beef Stew but something about chili, with it's spicy kick, always wins hands down.
When you want an easy meal for dinner, chili is a no-brainer. I opted for using my slow cooker/instant pot for the least amount of fuss. I love that you can just drop ingredients in the pot, set it and forget it until meal time. Plus, when it comes to soups and chilis, the crockpot's slow cooking method creates tender meat and a rich and flavor-packed broth that's hard to beat.
This Mexican-inspired chili version, aka Slow Cooker Taco Chili, has all the taco flavors I love but retains that chili vibe. It definitely takes the standard chili recipe up a notch. Want more good news? The leftovers are even better the second day! And it keeps in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Or freeze it for lunches and quick dinners down the road.
My favorite chili toppings
- Cheddar cheese is a must but you can also use Mexican shredded cheese
- Raw onion – gives the chili a fresh pop of flavor
- Chopped cilantro – for a fresh flavor
- Avocado – balances out the heat with its fat-base
- Sour cream – works the same as avocado at balancing the heat
- Tortilla chips -adds a salty crunch
- Change out the ground beef for ground turkey for a lower fat alternative.
- No chili powder? You can also use taco seasoning and omit the chili powder and cumin. The taco seasoning has less chili powder and a bit more cumin so there will be a slightly different (but delicious) taste.
- Use crushed tomatoes instead of the diced version.
- Replace the jalapeno pepper with chipotle peppers for a smokier taste.
- Add bell peppers, any color, for a more veggie-packed chili.
- Don't want it quite so spicy? Omit the jalapeno and use regular tomato sauce in lieu of the Bloody Mary mix.
How to cook Mexican chili on the stovetop or Instant Pot
Stovetop - Don't have a crockpot? No problem! You can brown the meat in a saucepan, add the remaining ingredients, and simmer on low for one to three hours. The more simmer time, the fuller the flavor.
Instant Pot - Want to cook this in the Instant Pot? Brown the meat on the sauté function then add rest of ingredients and cook for 10 minutes on high. Let the pot depressurize naturally for 5 minutes then release it manually. Done and done.
How to make slow cooker taco chili
Get all the ingredients ready prior to starting. This does two things, it makes sure you have all the ingredients and makes the recipe go together faster.
- Brown the meat and onions in either the crockpot/Instant Pot on sauté mode or in a skillet prior to adding to the crockpot. (photo 1)
- Add in garlic in last minute and cook until meat is done. (photo 2)
- Add remaining ingredients, stir and cover. (photo 3)
- Look at all that rich, tomato-y sauce and tender beef! Like your chili a little thicker? Just drain the tomatoes prior to adding to the mix. (photo 4)
You can serve this slow cooker Mexican chili family style or as a DIY chili-style bar with the toppings on the side. My favorite way of serving it is topped off with loads of cheese, chopped onions, avocado and a dollop of sour cream. Of course, I never turn down a bowl of crunchy tortilla chips on the side. Enjoy!
More ways to use leftover chili
- Top hot dogs or burgers
- Great as a topping for nachos or baked potatoes
- Stuff it in empanadas
- Shepherd’s pie – stir in frozen peas and top with mashed potatoes and bake
- Stir into mac and cheese
More slow cooker recipes
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos are a quick and easy way to cook tacos. Just throw everything in the crockpot and dinner's ready when you get home.
Crockpot Ropa Vieja is a tender flavorful Cuban beef stew filled with tomatoes, onions & peppers.
Crockpot French Dip creates deliciously tender shredded beef that is great as a dinner or piled high on a hard roll, topped with cheese, then dipped into its awesome au jus.
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Slow Cooker Mexican Chili
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 5 garlic cloves or 2-½ teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 14.5- oz cans diced tomatoes
- 2 15- oz cans kidney beans drained
- 1 15- oz can ranch-style beans undrained
- 1 4- oz can green chilies
- 1 jalapeno minced (optional)
- 1 cup Bloody Mary Mix
- ⅓ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- ¼ cup brewed coffee
- 2-½ to 3 Tablespoons chili powder
- 2-3 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- Garnish: shredded cheddar cheese chopped raw onions, chopped cilantro, avocado, sour cream and tortilla chips
- Brown ground beef and onions in crockpot/Instant Pot on sauté for 10 minutes or until meat is cooked through. If you are using a standard crockpot, brown meat & garlicin skillet then add to crockpot and continue with step 3..
- Add garlic in during last minute. If you have a lot of grease you can drain the meat. If you are using an organic lean beef, draining isn’t necessary.
- Stir in all remaining ingredients and cover.
- Cook for 6-8 hours on low heat or 3-4 hours on high.
- Ladle chili into bowls and garnish with your favorite toppings. Garnishes can also be served on the side so everyone can fix it the way they like it.