Simple Recipes

Old School Beef Chili (Instant Pot, Crockpot, Stovetop)

There are few recipes that work better as a slow cooker meal than chili.

It doesn’t matter if your chili is White Chicken Chili, veggie-heavy chili with sweet potatoes and black beans, something out-of-the-box like Apple and Sausage Chili, or a traditional old-school beef chili like this one; slow cookers, Instant Pots, and chili go hand-in-hand.

In this house, we LOVE chili. It’s one of my all-time my favorite freezer meals, since it stores so well, it’s super versatile (ingredient swaps galore!) and it tastes even better after it’s hung out in the fridge for a day or two. As a longtime work-from-home mom, I appreciate fewer things in this world than a grab-and-go lunch from my fridge, and chili is of my lunchtime rockstars.

This is a perfect recipe to have on hand for an easy prep sesh, too. Just dump everything in a bag or container, freezer, or chill until you need to eat, then dump it all right into a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or on the stove.

And that’s exactly how I’ve written the instructions below in this recipe, too! As with all Prep Sesh recipes, if there are multiple ways to cook the ingredients, I’m gonna let you know. Once you’ve got the prep done, check out all the different cooking instructions, and pick the one that suits you best.

Some of my favorite ingredient swaps for this chili:

  • black beans instead of kidney beans (or a mix)
  • ground turkey instead of ground beef
  • stewed tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • prepared taco seasoning instead of the paprika-cumin-red pepper flakes combo
  • beef broth instead of amber beer

Products Used:

Instant Pot
Baggy Rack
Reusable Food Storage Bags

Ruthy Kirwan

Ruthy Kirwan is a recipe tester and developer living in NYC with her two small kids and hard-working husband. She created Percolate Kitchen in 2016 to help busy people get their act together in the kitchen. Learn more at

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