Slow Cooker Freezer Meal: Fall Chili

I have been making chili since college.  It was one of the very first things I learned how to make.  I did not grow up cooking, so when I got to college I had no idea how to feed myself anything other than pre-made, packaged foods.

To remedy that, I hired Jill Welch, a personal chef (aka the Kitchen Goddess and also a home birth midwife) and she gave me a few private cooking lessons.

I have changed her recipe over the years and it has morphed into what is below.  I usually only make it once a year on Halloween.  It makes a TON of food.  I usually cook it fresh (as opposed to assembling and freezing like my other slow cooker freezer recipes) and then we eat of it for several days and then I freeze the leftovers in 2 cup portions.  I love making it for Halloween, we usually always have some sort of party before and after trick or treating and it is a such an easy way to feed a lot of people for cheap.

P.S. I love these bowls and mat for when Penelope eats soup, or in this case chili, since it keeps the bowl in place via a suction cup type thing. She still makes a mess, because she wants to do everything herself, but this eliminates the possibility of the bowl being flung across the table and chili ending up on my curtains.

This makes a ton of chili.  As you can see, it fills my 6 quart slow cooker up, which is great, because that means lots of chili to put in the deep freezer!

Fall Chili

Fall Chili


  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 4 cups of kidney beans
  • 4 cups of pinto beans
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • salt
  • chili powder
  • cilantro


  1. Soak beans overnight
  2. Chop all veggies
  3. Add meat, then veggies on top, into slow cooker
  4. Cook on low for 8 hours

If you are interested in more slow cooker freezer recipes check out my cookbook From Your Freezer To Your Family, Slow Cooker Freezer Recipes For Every Season.

About the Author

Hiya! I'm Stephanie. Mama and Baby Love is all about helping mothers on their own personal health and healing journey and enjoying life along the way. You can learn more about me and what I'm all about. Sign up for my newsletter for more tips, info and inspiration!


  1. The Annessa Family says:

    Great recipe, thanks for sharing!


  2. convert photo to 3d says:

    Amazing dish. Great recipe. It sounds really delicious and spicy. I just fall in love in the food.

  3. I just found your blog and I love it! I'm juggling my five-month old, working full time, AND being on a SUPER tight budget, so I'm all over crock pot meals and meals I can freeze for later! Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. Inelegant_Life says:

    Do you brown the beef before putting it in? It’s the first recipe I’ve seen that doesn’t mention cooking the beef before putting it in the crockpot.

  5. Would love to make this tonight and don’t have time to soak the beans overnight. Is it possible to use canned kidney and pinto beans instead? Not sure, since I’m new to the slow cooker. Please let me know.

    • Yes, you can use canned. It is just healthier to use the non-canned kind. Even organic cans have BPA in them. Also, when you soak beans it makes them easier to digest.

  6. Making this right now for my freezer club – I just addded 2 Tablespoon of chili pepper and 1/2 Tablespoon of salt and a sprinkle of dried cilantro. Does that sounds about right? Thanks so much for sharing your recipes – I am trying to implement more “Nourishing Traditions” principles into my life.

  7. Do you cook all of it then put leftovers in the freezer? Or do you divide it up?

    • Yes, this recipe I cook first and then put the leftovers in the freezer. Then I just heat to warm to serve. I put them in individual servings when I put them away in the freezer. It makes a great lunch that way or a dinner for one person when my husband is out of town. :)

  8. So I’ve got your chili in my crockpot as I type. It smells amazing but I’m a bit perplexed by the lack of liquid. It’s sort of just beans, meat and a few veggies. Did you add stock or water at some point? Thanks!

    • Usually the juice of the tomatoes is enough for me. If you need to add some stock or water, 1/2 at a time so it doesn’t get soupy, but you shouldn’t need to add anything. :)

  9. I am not sure what BPA is, so I am off to look that up next, but do we not have to worry about the tomato cans having it? or do you mean jars of tomatoes that you have “canned” yourself? Sorry, this is probably silly! I just keep running into more and more things that I need to cut out of our diets lately!

    • Not silly at all! The cans at the grocery store, even organic brands, have BPA in them. Glass does not have petro-chemicals in them, so anytime you can buy a glass jar of a canned food items please do. And if you are canning yourself in a glass jar, then that’s even better!

  10. Natasha C says:

    Soooo silly question…but after soaking the beans, drain then add to the the slow cooker?

  11. Marianna Rocha says:

    Do you need to stir this at all? I am very new to crock pot cooking and I super scared to leave something all day. I work full time and am a soon to be mom so this sounds right up my ally.

  12. This is probably a dumb question but I am just learning some of this. When you say 4 cups of beans, is that before or after soaking and if after, how do you know how much? Last time I tried to make a chili I think it had a similar amount of beans so I soaked 8 cups total and there was no way even half would fit into my crockpot after soaking. What am I doing wrong?

  13. Sounds yummy. My husband refuses to eat beans, so I always have to make two versions :(

  14. What size cans od crushed tomatoes do you use? The small 15 oz or so… Or the large ones? (24-26 oz?)

  15. Yum! This sounds – and looks – delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  16. Prepping this now for tomorrow!! Can’t wait :)

  17. Logistical question: Is that 4 cups of dry beans, or 4 cups of soaked beans? Eight cups of soaking beans fills my crockpot, and I haven’t even added the other ingredients.


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