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! You can also check out Healthy Chili Recipes Your Family Will Love! for more great chili recipes like this one.


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 3-4 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 square thumbnail photo

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.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

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. Thanks — you can never have too many slow cooker chili recipes in your repertoire!

  2. how many quarts is your slow cooker?

    I have a 3 qt pressure cooker which can also be used as a slow cooker, so I thought to cut the recipe in half and I believe it should fit okay and cook well.

    I hope so and also hope you will reply to my question, and many thanks for everything!

  3. Best chili I've ever made. Yummm

  4. This smelled great just getting assembled in the slow cooker! I have cilantro on hand to sprinkle on our bowls; can just imagine how good it tastes the next day, too. Thank you for the recipe.

  5. Thanks Tia; glad you liked it!

  6. I'm a Texan, and I take great pride in my chili making abilities. However, this chili blows mine out of the water! The refried beans are a great addition and really make the soup feel rich. We had this last night during the Super Bowl, and it was a perfect choice. Highly recommended!

  7. THANK YOU for this recipe. I made it this weekend and absolutely loved it. Made a couple of changes (black eans vs. pinto, cooked on the stove vs. a crock pot), but am in love with how it turned out!

  8. The original recipe called for a 12 oz. bottle of beer, which I replaced with a can of beef broth.

  9. Kalyn, while reading the comments, I saw the reply where you mention "skipped the beer". I assume you replaced it with the beef broth. Was the beer in the original recipe the same amount, or did you change that, too? I really want to make this recipe, but I'd like to try it using beer. I know it's not SBD, but in this case, I'm not worried about that. Thanks so much.

  10. I imagine the refried beans add plenty of creamy richness and I love the burst of lime flavor! I have my favorite chili recipe but I might have to squeeze this one in 🙂

  11. Enticing, enticing slow cooker recipes. What's a more classic use than CHILI? (Obviously one of my all time faves.) I love the flavor combos you use here – in all this time, I don't think I've ever added lime and I have no idea why it never occurred. Can't wait to give it a shot!

    – Anne (Apron Strings Blog)

  12. I love that this is slightly chili…I love a little spice but not the overly chili recipes. I love beans too. This is a treat for the whole family. Thanks Kalyn!

  13. Love chili! And with beans. I get involved in too many chili cook offs where beans are frowned upon. This is what I like!

    Dave
    and as always, thanks for making this a part of eRecipeCards.com

  14. Thanks Dara. Still trying to decide what to make for Superbowl Sunday but this may be it!

  15. What a great idea to use refried beans to thicken the chili. I'll bet this will be a big hit at the next Denny family party.

  16. Barb, we would get along well on the lime. I skipped the beer, and changed the proportions a bit for the slow cooker, but I thought it was definitely a winner.

  17. Kalyn I also saw this in the Penzey catalog and made it. I thought it was very good as did the folks I served it to. I'm a lime lover too so gave a few extra squeezes of it to inhance the flavor.

  18. Joanne, I thought the refried beans thickened it just enough!

    Thanks Kay, glad you liked it!

  19. thanks kalyn! i love this recipe! my hubby doesn't like kidney beans so i substitute black beans. this is going on my regular rotation for sure!!

    GO GIANTS!!

  20. I love that there are both regular AND refried beans in this! So much texture and flavor in one bowl.