Slow Cooker Taco Spice Chili

Let the crockpot do all the cooking for dinner with this crazy flavorful slow cooker taco spice chili recipe!

In between all the dessert and cookies lately, I’ve been depending on my slow cooker at suppertime. My crockpot typically sits in the pantry, but it now claims a permanent spot on the counter. You see, my oven is always preoccupied. (Looking at you, cookie addiction.) Dinner doesn’t stand a chance in there. In fact, I even started making my baked chicken teriyaki in the slow cooker. Put it all in the crockpot. Cook 6 hours on low. Then shred the chicken. Cook 1 more hour. OH SO TASTY teriyaki. ♥

Slow cookers save the day for most of us; they make life easy. Dinner is already on its way once breakfast is over. A slow cooker helps us feel like we have our act together. A slow cooker feels like magic.

Let the crockpot do all the cooking for dinner with this crazy flavorful slow cooker taco spice chili recipe!

And chili… that’s magic too. It’s a staple meal because it requires little thought and prep. There’s only 2 of us, so leftovers feed for days making it one of the most convenient and practical options. Slow cooker chicken chili is typically our chili choice, but lately I’ve been switching it up for a new variation. Similar flavors, but meatier and chunkier with bolder, brighter, zestier flavors. This taco spice chili is relatively healthy and packed with quinoa, lean ground turkey (you can use beef!), sweet potato, and veggies.

If you have 20 minutes, you can prep this meal and move on to the next item on your to-do list. *Crossing fingers that item is cupcakes for dessert.* The first step is to cook the ground meat. Do this on the stove in a super hot pan. Oil and heat it first, then drop the meat in. Right before it’s fully cooked, add taco seasoning.

Turkey for slow cooker taco spice chili on

Slow cooker taco spice chili on

You can make your own taco seasoning or buy it from the store. You’ll need 2 Tablespoons for the meat and 2 Tablespoons for the chili. If using store-bought packets, 2 packets is enough for the entire recipe.

There’s also black beans and corn for a southwestern feel (**Chili’s style**), green pepper, onion, tomatoes, sweet potato, and quinoa. Sweet potato is optional, but adds another texture and makes this a heartier dish. I add quinoa toward the end of cooking time. This is optional too, but here’s why quinoa is a good idea: it soaks up a lot of liquid so the chili is thicker, chunkier, more delish.

There’s a fiesta of bold spice flavor in the chili, too. Flavor’s most definitely kicked into high gear when you add 2 more Tablespoons of taco seasoning, some ground cumin, jalapeño, and chili spice.

Let the crockpot do all the cooking for dinner with this crazy flavorful slow cooker taco spice chili recipe!

Bring it home with a big satisfying scoop. Make sure you serve this with skillet cornbread!

More Favorite Slow Cooker Recipes


Slow Cooker Taco Spice Chili

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: serves 10-12
  • Category: Chili
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American


Let the crockpot do all the cooking for dinner with this crazy flavorful slow cooker taco spice chili recipe!


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds 92-97% lean ground turkey (or beef)
  • 4 Tablespoons taco seasoning, divided (2 standard packets or make your own!)
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (7 or 8 ounce) can tomato sauce*
  • 2 cups chicken broth (I use reduced sodium)*
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (14 ounce) can corn (drained and rinsed) or 1 package of frozen corn
  • 1 (14 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small jalapeño, minced (remove seeds and ribs)3
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 hour before finishing: 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the ground meat. Cook for 4 minutes, then add 2 Tablespoons of taco seasoning. Using a wooden spoon, break the meat up as it cooks. Allow it to cook completely, about 4-5 more minutes. You want it completely cooked.
  2. Transfer the cooked meat to a 5 quart or larger slow cooker. (Here’s one I own and love!) Add the remaining ingredients– including the remaining taco seasoning and except for the quinoa. Stir everything together until combined. Cook on low for 7 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  3. Stir in the quinoa. Cook for 1 more hour on low or 30 more minutes on high.
  4. Serve chili warm topped with chopped green onion, shredded cheese, and/or sour cream. And serve alongside my favorite cornbread! Keep leftovers in a large tupperware in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat in the microwave.


  1. Freezing Instructions: Chili freezes wonderfully for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat in a large pot on medium heat for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Tomato Sauce: You can use homemade tomato sauce instead of canned.
  3. Broth: You can use vegetable or beef broth instead of chicken broth.
  4. Spiciness: If spicy isn’t your thing, leave out the jalapeño! Or add more based on how spicy you like things.
  5. No Slow Cooker? No Problem! Follow recipe through step 1. You can cook the meat directly in a very large pot or dutch oven and just use that to cook the chili too. Once meat is cooked, add the remaining ingredients except for the quinoa. Stir everything around until combined and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the quinoa and cook for 10 more minutes. Serve warm.

Keywords: slow cooker chili, taco chili, crockpot chili

Let the crockpot do all the cooking for dinner with this crazy flavorful slow cooker taco spice chili recipe!


  1. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    This slow cooker chili looks sooo mouthwatering, Sally. I don’t use my slow cooker often and I’m not sure why. This chili looks like the perfect place to start. I love my chili spicy so I’m definitely going to add more jalapeños to mine. Can’t wait to try this perfect winter comfort food.

  2. Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It says:

    I just got a Crockpot for Christmas so I’ve been pinning SO many chili recipes to make! This just made it to the list! 🙂 I can imagine you need something salty to balance out all the sugar of cookie testing! 😉

  3. Patricia @Sweet and Strong says:

    This sounds delicious!  Chili is one of my favorite meals in the Fall/Winter months, but I’ve never tried it in the crockpot OR with with quinoa or sweet potatoes.  

  4. Sally, love the addition of sweet potato and quinoa! I will definitely be making this over the weekend. Your branded wooden spoons are so cute! Where did you get them done?

    1. Thanks Theresa! They were actually sent to me last year from a brand I work with. I can ask them!

  5. Hi Sally,
    Happy New Year !!  When I saw that you had a chili recipe on here today, I couldn’t read it fast enough.  LOL  Not sayin’ I don’t like the sweets but seem to always be on the hunt for a new healthy meal.
    I have been making every kind of chili, red and white, 50 ways to Sunday.  I also make my own Taco Seasoning and keep it in a canning jar in the fridge and use it all year and never looked back at those store packets ever again.  What a difference making your own Taco Seasoning.  Simple ingredients are pretty much already sitting on most home spice racks.
    Some of my chili recipes are “keepers” over the years and some recipes have never seen the light of my stove ever again…..but reading the ingredient list for this one….I already know–she’s gonna be a keeper.
    I look for high protein content like the turkey and also enjoy the combo of Sweet Potato and Black Beans.  I also go one step further and do Organic as much as possible.  Been doing Organic for a few years now–especially for meats/dairy/canned tomatoes.  I’m so stoked over this recipe I’m actually running out first thing this morning to pick up the organic turkey and will search for organic quinoa. Everything else is in my pantry is a “winter staple” which includes cans of chopped chilis and cans of chopped jalapeños ….to use for recipes on a whim. However this recipe deserves a fresh jalapeño for sure.
    Sally–a suggestion if I may–I’ve been doing for years and would like to pass on to you and your readers who may not have tried it–when I make a pot of “red” chili…..I add a heaping Tablespoon of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder to the seasonings and sprinkle over the meat while browning.  It’s a nice healthy, tasty addition whenever there is a combination of tomatoes, cumin, chili powder and oh those sweet potatoes.!!  Flavor and Anti-Oxidants !!  The Cocoa Powder is a win/win.!!
    OK.  Gotta run to the store and for sure will be making your cornbread recipe on the side.  
    Thank you Sally !!  

    1. Hi Brenda! I think you’ve mentioned the cocoa to me before and I LOVE that idea. It’s in many chili recipes, I have yet to try it! I really hope you enjoy this one considering you’re the chili connoisseur!!

      1. Hi Sally,  
        Made your Slow Cooker Taco Spice Chili and did not add the cocoa powder.  I wanted to stay true to your recipe.  And omgosh–A new chili recipe that’s a “keeper” for me. The jalapeños, black beans, sweet potato are really a match made in heaven.  I ate 2 bowls as soon as it was done and a 3rd bowl at suppertime.!  I made your cornbread too.  There was a note at the bottom of cornbread recipe for add-ins so I added in one cup of canned corn to the corn bread.
        It was a perfect supper.  
        Thanks Sally !!

      2. So happy to hear you liked it! I love chili because you can be so creative with the ingredients!

  6. Hey!
    If I made the chicken teriyaki in the crock pot, would I add the pineapples in during cooking or right before serving? I’ve never put pineapple in the crockput, so I’m not certain what the outcome would be.

    1. Hi Valarie! I actually have been leaving the pineapples out of the teriyaki. But when you make it, don’t add the pineapples to the crockpot. Stir them in about 10 minutes before it finishes so they’re warm with the sauce and chicken.

  7. Huge lover of my slow cooker, this chili looks like another winner for it! We’re at that time of year where the best dinners are the warmest ones, so we’ve been having lots of soups and stews over here. “Taco seasoned chili” sounds interesting, and I can’t wait to try it. I especially love the addition of sweet potato in this, never put that in chili before but I like the idea. So we get to eat a comforting bowl of this healthy chili right before our 2 peanut butter chocolate cupcake dessert right? 😉 of course

  8. I have your Slow Cooker Chicken Chili in my crock pot today <3 I am definitely adding this to next week's menu! Looks so good!

  9. looks really good! slowcookers truly saves our hectic and busy lives. 
    please check out my blog :

  10. Chili looks yummy but we are not quinoa lovers. Do you think rice or couscous would work? Would an hour be enough time for them to be cooked through?

    1. You can leave it out completely and not replace with anything. BUT either rice or couscous would work, though maybe add it in 2 hours before cook time ends.

  11. Sara @ Last Night's Feast says:

    This look amazing!!

  12. Sally, this is EXACTLY what I need right now! I’ve got most of the ingredients in the pantry …and I’ve also got a crock pot that has been sitting stored away all sad and lonely. I love quinoa but have never thought of it in chili – so now I’m thinking: Tonight is Chili Night! (with a side of Corn Bread 🙂

    1. I hope you try it! Quinoa is now my favorite addition to chili. It helps the chili become this even more satisfying, hearty dish.

  13. I agree, chili is the PERFECT easy meal, and you can mix it up so many ways!

  14. can you please do some very healthy vegetarian dinner recipes? ps great photography!!☺

    1. Here are all of my vegetarian recipes 🙂

      My site isn’t the best place to find a large variety of dinners, sorry!

  15. Penny Schulte says:

    Made this chili for dinner tonight and it was really delicious!! I had ground pork on hand so I used that instead of turkey. I love the sweet potato and quinoa additions. I also made my own chili seasoning as suggested. So healthy and yummy!! Thank you Sally and Happy New Year! 🙂

    1. Glad you liked it, Penny! Happy New Year to you too 🙂

  16. Michelle @ Brown Butter and Biscuits says:

    This looks incredible and so cozy! Perfect for winter 🙂 I love the simplicity and deliciousness of chili!

    1. It’s definitely made here regularly all winter! Hope you love it, Michelle 🙂

  17. Jess Wright @ The Cookbook Obsession says:

    One of my family’s favorite turkey chilis is very similar to this. You’ve inspired me to try a more taco spice palette and do it in the slow cooker <3 I'm pumped!

    1. Definitely try the slow cooker method! So much easier and less to clean! Hope you love it 🙂

  18. I really appreciate that you take the step to brown the meat first, so important for good flavor. BTW, do you shoot in natural light or artificial?

    1. Natural 🙂

  19. Chava Mazal of Almost Kosher says:

    This looks perfect for the season! I’ve been craving chili something crazy ever since it got so crazy cold. I think this is in the menu for next week.

    1. Let me know if you try it!

  20. OMG! This looks delicious! I will have to convince my boyfriend to cook this for me this weekend since he loves to cook. Also, here in Louisiana, it is officially Mardi Gras season, and I was wondering if you have considered creating a king cake recipe or a king cake inspired dessert. I have always wanted to make some!

    1. I don’t have a king cake recipe! I made one several years ago– it was delicious. I can’t remember which recipe I followed but this one has plenty of great reviews:

  21. Inci @ Bella's Apron says:

    I recently made a very similor meal and I just love how great it tastes. Love your pictures and I couldnt agree with you more on the slow cooker method. Thanks for sharing

  22. Precious @ Precious Core says:

    This looks absolutely delicious and so colorful! My crock pot has been sitting idle in my counter for a while now. Time to bring it out and experience all this home made dinner magic.

    1. Yes! Definitely start using it more! It makes dinner time so much easier 🙂

  23. Great idea! The crock pot is such a time saver and this sounds like a delectable recipe. Chili for dinner tonight.

    1. Hope you love it, Gail!

  24. have made a standard version of this before in a slow cooker, but this looks better with sweet potato – love them – and even quinoa! thank you for this!

  25. Victoria Starkey says:

    I’ve never been a huge quinoa fan, but what better (and easier) way to sneak in the health benefits than incorporating it into hearty chili? This looks amazing and healthy; it’s going on my meal plan for next week! Everyone loves your baking recipes, but your cooking recipes are just as wonderful. Fingers crossed for a Sally’s Cooking Addiction down the road (really though).

    1. That would be a fun book to write!

  26. Thanks Sally, Tuesday night dinner in our house is usually “Chili Tuesday” and your recipe looks great. Thanks also for including the link to make your own taco seasoning; I look forward to trying this rather than the full of #@$% store bought stuff!

    1. I’m glad you’re making the homemade taco seasoning at home. I prefer how it tastes!

  27. Made this today. It was great! My slow cooker cooks a lot faster and/or hotter that most apparently. I think It was done about 2 hours earlier that the cook time. So, I will make adjustment for that. I used pork in mine as well, and my hubby loved it!

    1. Happy to read that!!

  28. Anna Cisneros says:

    Thank you Sally!! After loving your slow cooker chicken chili, I’ve been searching for another good chili recipe. Well, I made this today and OMG!!!

  29. This is probably a really strange question but what is tomato sauce? I live in Australia and what we call tomato sauce here is actually ketchup. So when I read recipes like this one I’d love to try them but I am not sure what to use for tomato sauce? I’m assuming it is something similar to what we call passata? 

    1. I’m not familiar with passata but after a quick search online, this seems like the best option.

  30. This is my new favorite chili recipe!! I made it over the weekend and it is so good. I love the taco seasonings with the sweet potato and corn. I’m so excited to have it for lunch this week. Another winner, Sally!

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