Making a hearty chili recipe in a crockpot takes the classic recipe to an entirely different level. A kielbasa chili with both smoked sausage and beef (or ground turkey!) will be a welcome change at the dinner table. It's a WHOLE LOTTA YUM!
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Beef and Sausage Chili
This is our family's favorite chili recipe that the kids request over and over. It has both ground beef AND kielbasa sausage in it--the kielbasa is the key ingredient in this recipe that truly makes this smoked sausage chili out-of-this-world!
Not only is this chili with sausage and ground beef naturally gluten-free, but it's also sugar-free if you buy canned beans and tomatoes without sugar, and it can easily be dairy-free if you skip the shredded cheese garnish.
Why You'll Love This Sausage Chili Recipe
- The addition of smoked sausage makes this the most hearty chili...ever!
- It's an easy recipe to customize if you want to change the ground meat, sausage, or use fresh or frozen vegetables.
- By using a crockpot, it just needs 15 minutes of prep in the morning and then dinner is done!
- The sausage chili is gluten-free, and can easily be sugar-free and dairy-free with easy swaps
If you're looking for crockpot chili recipes, our hearty smoked sausage version will seriously become a favorite!!
One of the great things about making a hearty sausage chili recipe is that it's SO easy to makes swaps and substitutions based on what's in your pantry and fridge! Whether you change the type of ground meat, use a different type of smoked sausage or chicken sausage, or use frozen bell peppers instead of fresh, chili with sausage is extremely versatile.
- Ground beef - ground turkey also works very well and is a variation we make often
- Kielbasa sausage - precooked smoked kielbasa or any pre-cooked sausage can be swapped
- Bell pepper- green adds a nice color contrast but any color of bell pepper will work
- Garlic cloves
- Kidney beans - buy organic if you want to keep this sugar free
- Canned diced tomatoes - buy organic if you want to keep this sugar free. Costco is a great place to get a case for a low price.
- Tomato sauce - buy organic if you want to keep this sugar free
- Bay leaves
- Sea salt
- Chili powder
- Dried oregano
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
The exact quantity of each ingredient is down in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Making Smoked Sausage Chili
Making smoked sausage chili just requires a couple of prep steps like browning the meat, then you dump all of the ingredients in a crockpot, and let it slow cook all day while the delicious smells waft throughout the house.
It's always a good kitchen habit to prep all of the recipe ingredients and have everything ready to go. You'll need the onion, green pepper (or in my case used red peppers from my garden!), kidney beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, olive oil, ground meat, and kielbasa smoked sausage.
Measure out of the dried herbs and seasoning you'll need.
Brown the Meats
Brown your ground beef and drain it, if needed. We do not recommend the really low-fat ground beef or basically fat-free turkey, it just doesn't turn out as well. Our preferred ground beef is a 80/20 blend, the added fat gives the meat tons of flavor!
Brown the kielbasa and drain the grease.
Add Ingredients to the Crock-pot
Put both of the meats in the crockpot and add the rest of your ingredients. Blend well.
Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours, until hot and the flavors are blended.
Garnish & Serve
Garnish with cheese, sour cream, or chives, if desired.
Serves 6 hearty bowls of sausage chili. Enjoy!
- Use a different type of precooked sausage like andouille to make it spicy, or chicken sausage to make it lighter
- Using ground turkey instead of ground beef (along with chicken sausage) makes a healthier lower-fat version
- Make a black bean sausage chilli to change things up
- Skip the cayenne pepper if you don't have it and just add a touch more black pepper
- If you're in a hurry skip browning the smoked kielbasa sausage, you'll still need to brown the beef.
- Swap frozen bell peppers for fresh if you don't have any on hand. No need to defrost first!
- The beef and sausage chili recipe was adapted from the Logger's Chili in the Simply Classic cookbook.
How to Freeze Chili?
Smoked sausage chili freezes well, put it in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. For longer storage, use something like a Seal-a-meal
Can You Double the Recipe?
If you have a large enough crock-pot we highly recommend doubling the kielbasa chili recipe. It's so good and having another batch on hand makes weeknights even easier so you can eat it twice in one week. It's also a great dish to double and freeze one batch for later.
What to Serve with Chili?
All the classic chili sides go well with beef and sausage chili too! Since it's such a hearty beef and sausage chili recipe, it doesn't need much on the side! Here's a list of our favorites.
- A simple green salad
- Bread or rolls
- Corn on the cob
- Roasted vegetables
More Chili Recipes
More Kielbasa Sausage Recipes
- Creamy skillet kielbasa with sauerkraut
- Air fryer kielbasa
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Yumm looking so delicious ???
Thank you! 🙂