Thursday, February 02, 2012

Slow Cooker Recipe for Beef and Refried Bean Chili with Salsa and Lime (Gluten-Free, Can Freeze)

This Slow Cooker Beef Chili with Salsa and Lime is just slightly spicy and uses a can of refried beans to thicken the chili!

I made this tasty Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili with Salsa and Lime several weeks ago and then today I realized that if anyone wanted to make this easy slow-cooker chili for a Superbowl party, I better get it posted.  Not that there is a shortage of good chili recipes on the blog, with a few of them having made an appearance at Denny family Superbowl parties in the past!  What was fun about this recipe was the way it uses a can of refried beans to thicken the chili, and also the addition of salsa.  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!

Saute the ground beef until it's nicely browned.  (You can rinse the ground beef before you put it in the slow cooker if you want to cut down on the fat.)

While the beef browns, chop the onion and mince some garlic; then saute the onions until they're starting to brown, the add the garlic and saute a minute or two more.

Add the chili powder, Ancho chili powder, ground cumin, and Mexican oregano and saute the spices for a couple of minutes and then add to the slow cooker.

Rinse the beans with cold water until no more foam appears.

Add the beans and salsa to the slow cooker.  Then add the refried beans and beef broth to the pan you sauteed the spices in and whisk until the beans are mixed with the broth, then add it to the slow cooker.  (Blogger error; forgot to take a photo of that step!)

Cook the chili for 6-8 hours on low.  After about 4 hours check to see if you want to add a tiny bit of water.  When chili is done, stir in the lime juice and serve hot.

Slow Cooker Recipe for Beef and Refried Bean Chili with Salsa and Lime
(Makes 4-6 servings; recipe adapted from Penzeys catalog recipe by Kathleen Bergeron.)

I used a 2.5 quart slow cooker for this recipe. If you only have a big slow cooker, I'd double the recipe.

1 lb. lean ground beef (use beef with less than 10% fat for South Beach Diet)
2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
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 salsa (I used Pace Mild Picante Sauce)
1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
1 can (14 oz.) beef broth
2 T fresh-squeezed lime juice
lime slices for serving (optional)

Heat two tsp. olive oil in a large heavy frying pan; add the ground beef and saute about 10 minutes or until beef is well-browned, breaking it apart with the turner as it cooks.  Remove beef and place in slow cooker.  (You can rinse the browned meat in a fine strainer with hot water before you put it in the slow cooker if you want to remove some of the fat.)

Add the other tsp. of oil to the pan, add onions, and saute until they're starting to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and cook a minute or two more; then add the chili powder, ground Ancho chili pepper, ground cumin, and Mexican oregano and saute about 2 more minutes.  Scrape the onions and spices into the slow cooker, along with the salsa.

Dump both cans of beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse with cold water until no more foam appears.  Let beans drain a minute while you add the beef broth and refried beans to the pan where you sauteed the onions and spices.  Mix with a whisk or fork until the refried beans are well mixed into the broth; then add that to the slow cooker.  Add the drained beans to the slow cooker.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  (I would check after about 4 hours to see if you want to add a tiny bit of water; this is a fairly thick chili but some people might prefer it slightly thinner.)  When chili is done, stir in the lime juice and serve hot.

This freezes well and can be reheated in a microwave or in a small pan on the stove.

South Beach Suggestions: 
This chili is loaded with low-glycemic ingredients which are approved for all phases of the South Beach Diet.  However, dried beans are limited for Phase One to 1/3 to 1/2 cup serving.  Of course the chili has other ingredients besides beans, but I would limit myself to a small serving of this for Phase One.

More Chili Recipes for Superbowl Sunday:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Vegan Lentil Chili with Roasted Red Peppers, Olives, and Green Onion from Kalyn's Kitchen

Crockpot Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef, Black Beans, and Kidney Beans from Kalyn's Kitchen

Amy's Amazing White Chicken Chili from Kalyn's Kitchen

Not Just For the Superbowl Chili from Kalyn's Kitchen

Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa from Kalyn's Kitchen

Gluten-Free Chicken Chili with White Beans, Sweet Potato, and Lime from Gluten Free Goddess

Chili with Chocolate from David Lebovitz

White Chili with Turkey and Cannellini Beans from Andrea Meyers

Frito Pie with One-Hour Texas Chili from Homesick Texan

Easy Steak Chili from Food for My Family 

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) counter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


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

  2. 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!!


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

    Thanks Kay, glad you liked it!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

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

    and as always, thanks for making this a part of

  9. 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!

    1. Glad you like it. I am the same; like a little spiciness, but not too much!

  10. 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)

    1. Anne, truthfully I am starting to think of lime as an essential ingredient in chili. Love the flavor boost it adds!

  11. 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 :)

    1. Cara, it was really a good one. Never too many chili recipes!

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. Best chili I've ever made. Yummm

  18. 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!

    1. Raven, thanks for catching that! This is a small 2.5 quart slow cooker, so you should be fine. I will update the post with that information.


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