This slow cooker steak chili is a hearty and flavorful dish that combines the rich taste of beef steak with a savory and spicy chili base. If you like a chunky chili, this hearty steak chili is for you. It has bite-sized pieces of tender steak and chunky crushed tomatoes for robust flavor and texture in every bite. Better yet, it's chock full of protein and fiber to keep you plenty full.
The combination of spices and seasonings creates a complex, sweet and savory flavor profile. And after slow cooking for hours, the flavors all meld and the aromas intensify, filling the kitchen with feel-good smells.
If the chili alone isn't enough to make your mouth water, the toppings certainly will. After all, the best chili has all of the toppings. Serve your bowl of chili with sour cream, tortilla chips, cornbread, green onions, and shredded cheddar cheese.
This steak chili has a deep, rich red color that reminds me of our beef birria, a slow-cooked Mexican beef dish known for its tender shredded meat and rich, aromatic broth.
How to Make Slow Cooker Steak Chili
Here are the basic steps, with images, for this slow cooker steak chili. Skip down to the recipe card below for the full instructions and a printable recipe.
Sear the steak: Pat dry and season the steak before searing it over medium high heat in small batches for 1-2 minutes on two sides. After each batch, transfer beef to the slow cooker.
Saute onions and garlic: On medium heat, add the remaining oil and the onion, cooking to soften, 4-5 minutes, and the garlic for another minute, until fragrant. Scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
Mix the spices: Add the brown sugar, spices, and tomato paste and stir until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes: Stir in the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce, simmering for 3-5 minutes.
Transfer it to the crock pot: Pour the tomato mixture into the slow cooker over the steak. Add the beans and stir in the beef broth, making sure the beef is surrounded by sauce.
Cook low and slow: Cover and cook on high heat for 3-4 hours or low heat for 6-8 hours.
What Cut of Steak Should I Use?
I like to use beef stew meat for this slow cooker steak chili. Beef stew meat is made from cuts of beef like chuck roast and round roast that have a lot of connective tissue. All that connective tissue breaks down low and slow and melts in your mouth. You can also purchase a whole chuck steak and cut it yourself if that's what you have on hand.
Be sure to read our guide to different cuts of beef to learn more about each cut and the best recipes for each.
Steak Chili Recipe Variations
- Add freshly diced tomatoes in place of the crushed tomatoes.
- Stir in more veggies like diced carrots or bell peppers for extra crunch.
- Stir in your own secret ingredient like a light beer that can pair nicely with the smoke and heat of a spicy steak chili.
- Swap out the steak for ground beef or venison.
- A few squeezes of fresh lime juice is a great addition to open up the flavors even more.
- Need more heat? Add a pinch (or more) of red pepper flakes.
- Swap kidney beans for chili beans, black beans, or pinto beans if desired.
Freezing and Storing Tips
Another great thing about chili? Sometimes it's even better the next day! It's also a great dish to freeze. You can either freeze it before cooking everything or freeze it when it's done if you have leftovers.
How to store in the fridge: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, place the chili in a pot on the stove over medium heat and stir occasionally until heated through. You can also reheat it in the microwave, but be sure to stir it well and heat it in small increments to prevent overheating.
How to freeze before cooking: After mixing all of the ingredients together, add all of it to a large freezer bag and seal it shut. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the fridge and dump everything into the crock pot and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
To freeze after cooking: Allow the chili to cool to room temperature and store in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in fridge and warm up on the stove or in the microwave.
If you make this crock pot steak chili recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Hearty Chili Recipes
- Love beef chili? Try this easy no bean chili next time.
- If you like your bowl of chili with a little kick to it, try this sweet and spicy chili. If you want to take down the spice level, just add less chili powder.
- Do your taste buds want a departure from the same old classic chili? You have to try this best turkey pumpkin chili or buffalo chicken chili.
- Are you more of a fan of white bean chili? Our vegetarian chili or white chicken chili are the way to go.
Crock Pot Steak Chili
- 2 lbs beef stew meat or chuck steak cut into 2-inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil divided
- 1 large yellow onion finely diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 1 (5.5-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1 cup beef broth or beef stock
- 1 (14-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (Note 1)
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Sour cream
- Jalapeno peppers
- Tortilla chips
- Green onions
- Pat the steak dry and season it generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large dutch oven or skillet over medium-high heat. Working in two to three batches, sear the steak for 1-2 minutes on two sides, adding more oil as needed. Remove the beef chunks after each batch and transfer to the slow cooker.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the remaining Tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and cook to soften, 4-5 minutes, Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant. Scrape any brown bits (fond) from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the brown sugar, spices, and tomato paste and stir to toast the spices until fragrant. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
- Carefully pour the tomato mixture into the slow cooker over the steak. Add the beans and stir in the beef broth, gently nudging the bits of steak to make sure they're surrounded by sauce. Cover and cook on high heat for 3-4 hours or low heat for 6-8 hours.
- Taste the chili and season with more salt to taste. Serve with sour cream, tortilla chips, cornbread, green onions, and/or cheddar cheese.