Easy Slow Cooker Chili (only 4 ingredients!)

With just 4 ingredients this slow cooker chili will quickly become your go-to for an easy chili recipe.

4 ingredient slow cooker chili

Let’s be honest. When I say my slow cooker chili is “life changing,” you may feel like I’m using a touch of hyperbole.

I am. 

I mean no disrespect to the deeper issues being considered in the world today, but I’m not a heavy-hitting newsy reporter. I’m a podcaster who talks about eyelashes. Life Changing Chili is big news for me. Hyperbolic language about recipes is what food bloggers specialize in.

I’ve been making this recipe regularly now for three years and have called it “life changing” to friends each time I share it with them. Why?

Because this slow cooker chili will forever change the way you view how easy chili can be and will very likely become a recipe that you make over and over.

Let’s get straight to the specific reasons this chili is so life changing.

  • First, it’s 4 ingredients. I challenge you to put together a healthy dinner with fewer ingredients (calling pizza delivery doesn’t count). 
  • Second, it requires little to no effort. If you can brown ground beef, open a jar and few cans, you’re a master chili maker in the making. 
  • Third, it’s delicious. This one is self explanatory. 
  • Fourth, well did you read 1 through 3… do you really need another reason? If so, then consider that this recipe is made mostly with kitchen staples. You can pretty much always keep the ingredients on hand.

As with most things that seem too good to be true, there is one small caveat. It’s VERY important that you not take liberties with this recipe, specifically the beef, beans and the pasta sauce I recommend below, with this last one being really important. 

Between myself and my friend Robin,  we’ve both probably made this slow cooker chili over the last year I’m guessing around 30 times. 

“Good grief Regan! Why?” 

It has turned into our go-to recipe we make for friends in need, impromptu dinners to feed a crowd or just an easy weeknight meal that requires little effort. I cautioned Robin the first time I shared my coveted recipe with her about the importance of using the variety of beans and pasta sauce mentioned below. She’s confirmed my guidance upon testing and re-testing… and now, I’m sharing it with you.

4 ingredient slow cooker chili

4 Ingredient Life Changing Chili

With just 4 ingredients this slow cooker chili will quickly become your go-to for an easy chili recipe.

  • Author: Regan Jones, RD
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker


  • 1 pound 85/15 ground beef
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 cans mild or medium chili beans
  • 1 jar tomato and basil spaghetti sauce (I use either Classico or ALDI SimplyNature brand)*


  1. Cook ground beef and drain. 
  2. Combine cooked beef with remaining ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on HIGH 4 to 5 hours or on LOW 8 hours. 


*While brand choice sometimes doesn’t matter in recipes, my experience is that it does matter in really short ingredients lists. Quality can differ, as can flavor and texture and with only a few ingredients, it can make a big difference in the final dish. I’ve recommended these brand choices because they’re what I always use and my family loves this dish. I have no paid affiliation with any of these brands at this time. 


  • Calories: 330
  • Sodium: 805mg
  • Carbohydrates: 27g
  • Fiber: 7g
  • Protein: 23g

Keywords: chili

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This Unmillennial Life ® by Regan Jones. All images & content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images or content without my permission.



  1. Frances on October 12, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    Have been wanting to give this one a try for a long time. I never used chili beans before and the thought of “Italian pasta sauce” was interesting. This turned out very much a great chili, Used my Penzey chili powder 3000 2 tabs. Nice and spicy but not overly. I did only one difference and used low fat ground turkey, I can see beef would be richer but this was very good and I will do again. Great to keep these things on hand. Anyone ever do a vegetarian version with “meatless crumbles”? I often need or want to do vegetarian dishes.
    Liked this a lot.

    • thisunmillenniallife on October 13, 2019 at 5:54 am

      So glad you enjoyed it!