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Kid Friendly Slow Cooker Chili

Slow Cooker Chili Recipe - Photo

This kid friendly slow cooker chili recipe has the perfect amount of spice for kids and is a great easy recipe for busy chilly winter nights! I love to serve this meal as a make your own with a toppings bar which makes it fun for kids and allows them to personalize it.  This meal is also great for when you are having winter gatherings with other families!  It can be hectic with a lot of kids running around and I love that you can get this all set up before hand.  While the ingredient list is a little longer than some of my other recipes there is very little chopping and measuring to do!

Slow Cooker Chili with Beer - Photo

This recipe can be flexible to your families personal preferences.  

Slow Cooker Chili Adaptations:

  • Meat: Use what you love, the combination of turkey and beef has been been working best for our families tastes.  You can do all beef or all turkey if you prefer.
  • Beans – not all kids/families like beans. You can eliminate, choose a different type or serve on the side.  
  • Spice – I put in a range, my family prefers less spice so we use the lower end.  Feel free to add a little more if your family likes more heat. 
  • The addition of the pumpkin or butternut squash puree is optional.  I like sneaking in a little extra veggies and I love the subtle flavor it gives. 
  • I use crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce because my kids don’t like large chunks of tomatoes. Diced tomatoes also work in this recipe if you prefer.  
  • The alcohol in the beer cooks off but if you prefer not to cook with alcohol you can substitute chicken or beef broth.  
  • It can be made in a traditional slow cooker or made easier in a multi-use cooker like the ninja foodie (this is the one I have).  I love that I can sear right in the pot and I don’t have to dirty an extra pan.

Kid Friendly Slow Cooker Chili Recipe - Photo

Family Slow Cooker Chili Recipe - Photo

Slow Cooker Chili

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Course:Main Course
Keyword:crock pot, crowd pleasers, Dairy Free, family dinner, game day food, Gluten Free, Holiday, Kid Friendly, Slow Cooker, winter


Chili Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey I used 93% lean
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder we use 1
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground cumin we use 1
  • 1 teaspoon paprika or more to taste
  • 1 12 ounce bottle of beer
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 - 2 cups 1 can pumpkin or butternut squash puree optional
  • 1 15 ounce can of kidney beans or pinto drained and rinsed
  • 2 15 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes

Optional Toppings / Serving Suggestions

  • avocado, cheese, sour cream, oyster crackers, rice, cauliflower rice, chips, cornbread


  • Chop the onion into small pieces (about 1/4 of an inch).
  • In a skillet or the pot of your multi-function slow cooker add the teaspoon of olive oil and onion. Cook until translucent (3-5 minutes).
  • Add meats breaking up into pieces and then add salt and spices. Cook until lightly browned (about 5 minutes).
  • Add beer and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
  • If you need transfer to slow cooker and add remaining ingredients (bay leaf, puree (optional), beans, and crushed tomatoes).
  • Cook on low for 4-8 hours. It will be ready at 4 but can go as long as 8 hours and tastes better the longer it cooks.
  • Serve with your favorite sides/toppings - see suggestions above.


See above for all tips & adaptations suggestions
This can be made in a traditional slow cooker or a multi-use pot like the ninja foodie. It could also be made on the stove and simmered for 1-2 hours (the longer the better).  
Did you make this recipe?I would love to see your creations! Snap a picture and tag @kristanwatson or #foodplaygo on Social Media!

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