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Kalyn's Kitchen

Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili

Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili is an easy chili recipe that cooks in a few hours in the slow cooker, and the refried beans thicken the chili and add amazing flavor! If chili with beans doesn’t work for you, check out my low-carb chili recipes.

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Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili title photo

Chili is something quite a few people seem to be making these days, now that everyone is wanting comfort food and needing to use pantry ingredients. This Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili is a delicious chili recipe that’s been popular for years, but with pinto beans, kidney beans, and refried beans, it’s definitely not a low-carb recipe.

With so many people using the slow cooker and making chili these days I thought this was a great time to improve the recipe with a new option that makes it a bit lower in carbs. (Here’s the original version for anyone who was a fan!)

My new recipe omits the kidney beans and adds one large chopped red bell pepper that’s cooked with the onion and spices. Everything else is the same, and I love the red pepper and don’t mind that there are a few less carbs either!

Either way you make it, this is a delicious chili with pinto beans, Pace Picante Sauce, a perfect blend of spices, and a can of refried beans to thicken it.  There’s also a healthy amount of lime juice, and I’d serve this with slices of lime so lime lovers (like me) can squeeze even more lime into their chili! And for those who prefer Low-Carb Chili, check out my round-up with Ten Amazing Low-Carb Chili Recipes from around the web!


Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili process shots collage

How to Make Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili:

(Scroll down for complete printable recipe, including nutritional information.)

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the ground beef until it’s nicely browned. 
  2. While the beef browns, chop the onion and red bell pepper.
  3. When the beef is browned, add it to the slow cooker and turn slow cooker to high.
  4. Add more oil to the frying pan and cook onions until they’re starting to brown, then add the garlic and cook a minute or two more.
  5. Add the chili powder, ground Ancho chile (affiliate link), ground cumin (affiliate link), and Mexican Oregano (affiliate link) and saute the spices with the onions.
  6. While onions cook, drain the pinto beans into a colander placed in the sink.
  7. Rinse the beans with cold water until no more foam appears (rinsing is probably optional.)
  8. Add the onion mixture to the slow cooker with the pinto beans. Then add the Pace Picante Sauce (or other salsa of your choice).
  9. Then add beef broth to the frying pan and scrape off the browned bits that stick to the pan. Add the can of refried beans and stir, then add that mixture to the slow cooker.  
  10. Cook chili about 3 hours on high (or you can cook for 6-8 hours on low if you prefer.) 
  11. When the Ground Beef and Refried Bean Chili is done, stir in the lime juice and serve hot.
  12. If you have a large slow cooker I’d double the recipe because this freezes very well!

Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili close-up photo

More Chili Recipes to Enjoy:

Ten Amazing Low-Carb Chili Recipes ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Slow Cooker and Instant Pot White Bean Chili ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Amy’s Amazing White Chicken Chili ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
The BEST Low-Carb and Keto Instant Pot Chili ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Healthy Chili Recipes that Aren’t Just for the SuperBowl ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili

Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili

Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes

Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili is loaded with flavor and cooks in a few hours in the slow cooker!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 T minced garlic (or less)
  • 2 tsp. chile powder
  • 2 tsp. ground Ancho chile pepper (or use more regular chile powder if you don’t have Ancho)
  • 1 T ground cumin (or less if you’re not a big fan of cumin)
  • 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 1 1/4 cups Pace Mild Picante Sauce (see notes)
  • one 15 oz. can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • one 16 oz. can refried beans
  • one 14 oz. can beef broth
  • 2 T fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • lime slices for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the ground beef until it's nicely browned, breaking apart with a turner while it cooks. 
  2. While the beef browns, chop the onion and red bell pepper.
  3. When the beef is browned, add it to the slow cooker and turn slow cooker to high.
  4. Add a little more oil to the frying pan and cook the onions until they're starting to brown, then add the garlic and cook a minute or two more.
  5. Add the chili powder, ground Ancho chile (affiliate link), ground cumin (affiliate link), and Mexican Oregano (affiliate link) and saute the spices for a couple of minutes with the onions.
  6. While onions cook, drain the pinto beans into a colander placed in the sink.
  7. Rinse the beans with cold water until no more foam appears. (Rinsing is probably optional, but it makes the beans a bit more digestible.)
  8. Add the onion mixture to the slow cooker with the can of pinto beans. Then add the Pace Picante Sauce (or other salsa of your choice).
  9. Then add beef broth to the frying pan and scrape the bottom of the pan to get off the browned bits that stick to the pan. Add the can of refried beans and stir until the beans are partly mixed with the broth, then add that mixture to the slow cooker.  
  10. Cook chili about 3 hours on high (or you can cook for 6-8 hours on low if you prefer.) 
  11. When the Ground Beef and Refried Bean Chili is done, stir in the lime juice and serve hot.
  12. If you have a large slow cooker I'd double the recipe because this freezes very well!

Notes

I used a 2.5 quart slow cooker (affiliate link) for this recipe. If you only have a big slow cooker, I’d double the recipe. This freezes well and can be reheated in a microwave or in a small pan on the stove.

I use Pace Picante Sauce (affiliate link) because it's low in carbs, but you can use any salsa of your choice.

Recipe adapted from Penzeys catalog recipe by Kathleen Bergeron.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 376Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 1299mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 10gSugar: 9gProtein: 31g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

I'd love to see your pictures if you make this recipe. Share on social media with the hashtag #kalynskitchen so I can see how it turned out for you!

Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili square thumbnail photo

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili is loaded with low-glycemic ingredients which are approved for all phases of the original South Beach Diet. However, dried beans are limited for Phase One so you should have a small serving of this for Phase One. Use beef with less than 10% fat for South Beach Diet. Chili with beans won’t work for a low-carb diet, but if you’d like a chili like this with even less carbs, I’d use the red pepper variation and just use one can of beans. Or check out my Ten Amazing Low-Carb Chili Recipes!

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Chili Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there. Click here for more Slow Cooker / Pressure Cooker Recipes on my other site!

Historical Notes for this Recipe
This chili recipe was first posted in 2012; it was updated with a more carb-conscious recipe and much better photos in April 2020.

Pinterest image of Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili

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    35 Comments on “Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili”

  1. Pingback: The BEST Slow Cooker Recipes with Ground Beef - Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker

  2. I have never really cared for chili (even though I’ve lived my entire life in Texas), but I still make a pot a couple of times each winter. It just seems like the right thing to do. My family doesn’t really love chili, either, and they usually aren’t too thrilled when I declare that it’s “chili weather”. But this recipe has changed ALL of that! This is some seriously good stuff! I guess maybe it’s the refried beans that took this to the next level, or perhaps it’s the lime juice added just before serving. I will never try any other chili recipe, and I’ve deemed it “chili weather” just 10 days after making this recipe the first time. I don’t think anyone is going to complain!

  3. This Chili recipe is amazing. I’ll be making a double batch next time. I have a lot of Chili recipes but this is my new favourite.  The refried beans make this so tasty and just the right consistency.  

  4. How long would you need to cook this if you choose not to use a slow cooker?

  5. So glad you have enjoyed it! And I like the idea of less beans.

  6. I love this recipe! I make it often. I find the thickness and flavor just perfect! I add an orange or yellow bell pepper chopped and omit one can of whole beans. So good!