How long to cook chili? (+5 mistakes to avoid)

In this article, we will answer the question “How long to cook chili?”, and what are the mistakes you need to avoid when making chilli?

How long to cook chili?

Chilli needs to be cooked for 6 hours on low heat to make the perfect chili with tender meat and flavorful gravy. Read on if you want a complete guideline on how to make the best chili at home along with the mistakes to avoid while cooking.

How to make slow cooker chili?

Slow cooker chili is the most nutritious and delicious dinner. It is packed with protein and flavors. Follow the instructions below to make the best chili using the right ingredients.


Olive oil

Any vegetable oil like canola and sunflower works fine if you do not have olive oil or if you want to skip it. The oil will be used for sauteing vegetables.

Ground beef

Using ground beef with an 85:15 ratio of lean meat and fat respectively adds just the right flavor and visual appeal in terms of browning.

Yellow onion and garlic

Yellow onion adds a sweet and sour flavor to the chili. While garlic adds a pungent flavor to the recipe. Use fresh garlic to get maximum flavor. 

Canned tomatoes with green chilies

If you canned find canned tomatoes with chilies, you can add them separately. Use 1 can of tomatoes and one can of green chilies (diced) instead.

Tomato sauce

Tomato sauce is the base of many stews. Here, it serves the same purpose while imparting balances sweet and tart tomato flavor.

Beef broth

For a thinner end-product that has a soupy texture, add beef broth. It brings out a lot of flavors while thinning the gravy.


Chili powder, cumin, paprika, sugar, coriander, salt, and pepper are the key flavor ingredients. Do not omit any of these if you want to make a classic chili recipe.

Cocoa powder

This ingredient might seem odd here but trust me it is not. Cocoa powder adds a lot of depth by intensifying the flavor of other ingredients.

Dark and light kidney beans

You can use only one type equal to the amount of both types of beans. 


Saute the flavor ingredients

Use a non-stick deep skillet for sauteing the aromatics. First heat the oil. Then add the onions and saute for about 3 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Now add garlic and saute for 30 seconds or until the garlic starts giving off a strong aroma.

Process beef

On a medium-high flame, brown beef in a greased deep skillet. Remove all the fat from the beef or leave some if you like the flavor that the fat imparts. Transfer the browned beef in a slow cooker.

Add liquids and seasonings

Add diced tomatoes, beef broth, tomato sauce, cumin, paprika, cocoa powder, chili powder, sugar, coriander. Last but not the least, add S&P. 

Cook slow

Patience is the key here if you want to extract maximum flavors into the gravy. So, cover the lid of the cooker and let everything cook for about 5-6 hours.

Add beans

Stir in dark and light kidney beans. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add your favorite toppings and serve warm.

Mistakes to avoid when making chili

Not browning the meat first

Whether it is diced or ground beef, chorizo, or bacon, you need to brown it first. This extra step adds a lot of flavor and texture to the meat.

Using store-bought chili seasoning

The key to a delicious chili is to make it with homemade chili seasoning. Add garlic powder, cumin, and oregano for herbaceous undertones. Roasted cumins for an earthy flavor.

Seasoning at the end of cooking

Add spices and seasonings while you are cooking or before simmering the chili. When the spices are cooked with the other ingredients, they penetrate and absorb into the meat resulting in a flavorful chili. When spices are simmered along with the other ingredients, they develop more complex flavors.

Not adding an acidic ingredient at the end

Cooking the chili for such a long time deprives it of intricate flavors. Add lime/lemon juice, tomato juice, apple cider, or sherry vinegar at the end for a tangy hint.

The citrus punch is an exciting addition to the flat flavor of the chili.

Not adding the toppings

Greek yogurt and sour cream, avocado, and shredded cheese balance the hotness of the chilies. Scallions and cilantro enhance the visual appeal by breaking the color, while sliced jalapeño gives a punch of heat.


In this article, we answered the question “How long to cook chili?”, and what are the mistakes you need to avoid when making chili?