Shredded Beef Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne - so fast to prepare! The shredded beef soaks up the thick, rich sauce so well.
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4.89 from 42 votes

Shredded Beef Chili Con Carne

My favourite way of making chili con carne - with shredded beef! If you skip the optional searing step which I often do, this takes literally 5 minutes to prepare, then just "set and forget". Freezes exceptionally well.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 15 mins
Course: Beef, Slow Cooker
Servings: 12 - 15 cups
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats


  • 3 - 4 lb / 1.5 - 2 kg beef chuck roast, or any other beef suitable for slow cooking, see notes, brisket
  • 2 tbs olive oil, optional - for searing the beef
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, white, yellow or brown, diced
  • 1 large red capsicum/bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste, see notes
  • 3 tbsp cornflour / corn starch mixed with a splash of water
  • 2 cans 15oz/400g red kidney beans, total of 30 oz / 800g, drained
  • 28 oz/800g can crushed or diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup water or beef stock
  • 3 tsp salt, plus more to taste, separated
  • Black pepper


  • Cut the beef into two equal size pieces so you have two pieces roughly the same size.
  • Season the beef with 1 tsp salt and a good grind of black pepper.
  • Heat olive oil in a fry pan over high heat.
  • Add the garlic, onion and capsicum (bell peppers) and saute until caramelised, around 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer onion and capsicum into the slow cooker.
  • Return fry pan to high heat and add the beef. Sear the beef on all sides until well browned. Remove the beef and place into the slow cooker.
  • Pour the 1 cup of water into the fry pan and bring to simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to mix the brown bits in. Pour the water into the slow cooker with the beef, making sure to get all the brown bits into the slow cooker.

Slow Cook Beef

  • If you did the Searing step, then add the remaining ingredients into the slow cooker (remember you already used the 1 cup of water to deglaze the pan so you don't need to add more).
  • If you chose not to do the Searing step, then simply place all the ingredients into the slow cooker.
  • Cook on high for 8 hours. This will make the beef "fall apart" at a touch.
  • Remove beef from slow cooker and shred with two forks.
  • Return shredded beef to slow cooker.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve

  • Serve with rice and garnishes of choice, such as sour cream, guacamole or diced avocado, grated cheese, coriander/cilantro.


1. Any cut of beef suitable for slow cooking will work for this recipe. Just make sure to use a budget cut that has fat in it and is not lean because otherwise the shredded beef will be dry. It is easiest to make this using one or two large pieces of beef rather than steaks because it is faster to shred and cooks faster. If you are using steaks or large cubes rather than 1 or 2 large pieces then you should reduce the cooking time otherwise you may overcook the beef.
If using BOLAR BLADE ROAST, it will require 10 hours in the slow cooker (per reader feedback). Shreds great and is leaner than chuck.
2. Searing the beef adds extra flavour as well as helping to seal the juices in the beef. It is an optional step. Because my slow cooker has a sauté setting, I find it quite easy to do this step. But I have made this many times without searing the beef and I think there is little difference.
3. I use cayenne pepper instead of chili powder. The reason for this is that chili powder differs quite a lot depending on where you buy it and which country you are in. In Western countries, chili powder is not just chili, it also has garlic, cumin, oregano as well as paprika (sometimes). In Asian grocery stores, chili powder is often (but not always) pure chili. However, cayenne pepper tends to be more standardised across the board. Therefore, I use cayenne pepper + other spices to get a consistent flavour.
4. This freezes very well and lasts for up to 3 months.
5. This can also be cooked on the stove or oven. For the stove, do the Searing steps in a heavy based pot and cook it in that pot. Add 1 extra cup of water, place the lid on and simmer for about 2 1/2 hours on a low heat, or until the beef it fall apart tender (test with a fork). If there is too much liquid at the end, just remove the pieces of beef, remove the lid and let it simmer for the sauce to reduce.
It can also be made in the oven - bake for around 2 1/2 hours at 170C/335F, covered the whole time. You should not need to add the extra cup of water for the oven as long as you cover it with a proper lid or a double layer of foil.