Award Winning Chili – Crockpot

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb hot sausage (like Jimmy Dean)
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper , diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp cayenne
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 2 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Brown the ground beef and sausage in the oil in large skillet, then put in crockpot.  In same skillet with meat drippings,


lightly saute all the vegetables, then add to crockpot.  Add all the spices to the ingredients in crockpot and stir.  In separate bowl, mix together the next 5 ingredients (Worcestershire, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes).  Then pour into crockpot and stir to combine.  Cover and set crockpot temperature on Low. Cook for 7 to 8 hours (or more is fine).  During the last 30 minutes, stir in kidney beans and continue on Low.

Serve in bowls along with toppings like chopped green onions, shredded cheese, sour cream, black olives, crushed corn chips, etc.


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Kevin - January 30, 2012

Thanks for the awesome chili recipe. Entered my first chili cook-off ever today following your recipe to the letter. Won first place in two out of three categories! That was some of the best tasting, spicy chili I’ve ever tasted! I’ll be making this chili again. Easy to make and inexpensive too!

CJ - February 14, 2012

Made this the other day for the family. Super-hot but majorly tasty. Will absolutely make again. Thanks!

TessToo - September 26, 2012

Can you tell me how many people this recipe will feed? I need to make a LOT of chili for a chili cook-off soon. I love your recipe, but I need to know how much to multiply it to feed everyone. Thanks for posting such a great recipe!

    The Hillbilly Housewife - September 27, 2012

    You can use a couple ways to judge how many people this will feed. Using the ‘1/4 pound meat per person’ scale, this recipe SHOULD feed 8 people. Realistically, this recipe will feed about 6 people, if it’s the main dish. Of course, you can stretch the servings and keep the chili frugal by adding more beans. And cornbread and salads will make it go further, too. I hope this helps, TessToo. Thanks for asking.

      TessToo - September 30, 2012

      Thank you SO much for the reply! I can’t wait to see how this does at our cook off!

Jeff - October 9, 2012

Do we need to drain the grease after sauteeing the veggies?

Agatha - October 21, 2012

Made this for our neighborhood chilli cook off, guess who won first prize! Thanks!! Everyone loved the heat and the taste!!

Shawna Anderson - October 22, 2012

How much does this make? What size crockpot do you need?

Gen - October 23, 2012

So yummy! I added 1pm of stew meat & it’s delish! Definitely making again…but cutting the spice level by half for survival of my taste buds ha!

The Big Heavy - November 9, 2012

I substituted Chipolte as I had no cayenne. Can’t wait to try this.

    The Big Heavy - December 1, 2012

    Everyone loved it. Chipotle gave it a nice kick. Making another batch today.

DaniDoodles92 - November 10, 2012

Do you think this recipe’ll be alright if I leave it on low for about 12 hours? I also wanted to use dried beans that I’ll soak ahead of time…should i throw them in at the beginning of the cook time, because they’re going to be raw?

Chris - December 25, 2012

Crazy good chili recipe! I have to say: it packs quite a punch as it is HOT! I am wondering, to cool it down for a future batch (and make it a little more kid friendly) should I substitute the hot sausage with the regular one? Let me know your thoughts. Great recipe and fun to make-

Zac - December 29, 2012

I’ve experimented with different chili recipes over the years. This is hands down the best I’ve found! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Randall - March 17, 2013

Awesome chili. I added hatch and habeneros to it with a dash of liquid smoke…earned a win in my first cook off. Thanks!

Nathan - April 3, 2013

This chili is amazing and I won 2nd place at a chili cookoff, so thank you! I would say that 2 tbsp of cayenne pepper makes it VERY hot, so if you don’t like spicy food, I would cut back on that.

Beth - August 18, 2013

Can you tell me which spices to remove to reduce the ‘heat’…as I have a stomach problem and cannot heat very hot spicy food but my husband loves chili, being from Texas! Thanks.

    Hillbilly Housewife - August 19, 2013

    That’s easy :)
    Use regular Jimmy Dean Breakfast sausage instead of hot. Leave out the Cayenne Pepper and go very easy on the Chili powder. Make the chili and then just hand your husband a bottle of Texas pete or the likes to add some heat to his chili.

Diane - October 30, 2013

This chili was good but had too much heat to serve to my kids. I will try it again and leave out the Cayenne.

Craig Brewczynski - November 15, 2013

How big of a crock pot do you need? I’d like to double the recipe and don’t know if I will need to or one large one. Also, has anyone tried leaving out one tablespoon of the cayenne? Was it still too spicy? Heat doesn’t bother me but I want others to be happy with it.

Craig Brewczynski - November 18, 2013

Followed the recipe but only put 1 tablespoon of the cayenne. CAME IN LAST in the chili cook off!!! I didn’t think it was that bad but no where near award winning. Sorry!!!

A bishop - January 3, 2014

Dear Hillbilly, thanks a million for the recipe! & for the clear & easy to follow instructions

Mona - February 2, 2014

Can I cook it in the crock pot on high for 4 hours instead of low for 8 hours?

Angela - August 1, 2014

A crowd-pleaser. Since my crockpot died, how would I make this via stovetop and/or oven?

Justin - October 11, 2014

Should you chop up the bay leaf or leave as a leaf?

I added a half cup water during cooking and hickory parsley. Just my taste.

Served chili topped with sour cream with chives on top of a bed of white rice with a side of salty tortilla chips. Made for a nice south west chili flavor.

Leslie - October 28, 2014

How much ground beef. I would assume 1lb

shane coughlin - October 28, 2014

I have been making this for years now. We have an annual chili cookoff and I have had to stop making it for that because it sucks when the host wins; so I just make it for friends and family and do something goofy for the event. This is some serious good stuff and I wanted to thank you for making my task of turning out a great homemade chili easy a could ever be. You have quality tastebuds and this does not disappoint. people are talking about cutting the spice but the thing is that the spices are perfectly balanced and the layers of heat (which is the true sign of a great chili) are stunning while using the things that are most likely already in your pantry. Freakin awesome, everyone should have confidence in making this recipe word for word and all youll be left with is an empty crock pot. Thank you again

D - November 1, 2014

Obviously being a man I didn’t read the directions to a T….so if I just threw everything in the pot (beans included) it should still turn out alright, right? Lol

Dave - January 29, 2015

I won my companies Chili Cook-Off by following this recipe exactly. People loved the classic chili flavor and texture with the heat from the sausage. It’s a winner!

Doug "Frog" - February 17, 2015

Well, it’s that time of year again. The Annual Elks Lodge Soup, Chowder and Chili Cook-Off this coming Saturday. Last year I took Second Place with this recipe simply because it was a bit too hot. ( I must admit I got a bit heavy handed with the Cayenne…) I also substitute a can of Rotelle for a can of diced. Adds a bit of zest.
Wish me luck!

Eddie - March 6, 2015

I just put everything in the crockpot and it seems really dry. Will it become wetter as it cooks ? Do I need to add broth ?

    holly - November 2, 2015

    i plan on making this tomorrow. Did yours turn out ok? Did you need to add more liquid of some kind?

holly - November 2, 2015

i plan on making this tomorrow. Is it ok to put the kidney beans in in the beginning, instead of waiting for the last 1/2hr?
Also, any suggestions/recommendations beside maybe using normal sausage instead of spicy, so it isn’t too spicy for the kids?
It seems like it would be very very think. Has anyone had to had a bit more liquid, and if so, in what form?
Also, i think i might leave out the celery, bad idea?

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