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Slow Cooker Queso Chili is creamy, cheesy, and oh-so perfect for dinner tonight. This chili is packed full of yummy Southwest flavors with corn, black beans, peppers, and savory beef in a rich, flavorful sauce. Serves 4 to 6.
I’m here today with a family favorite chili recipe that you can warm up with this week, or save it for breaking out for your Super Bowl celebration that’s coming up in a couple of weeks.
If you’ve been around here for a bit, you know that I am a huge chili fan. Cozy chili recipes are all I look forward to when the weather turns chili. It’s usually a recipe I save for Halloween because I had a tradition of warming up with a bowl that time of year. Of course now, I can enjoy it all year long if I want to. Because I’m an adult.
And I do what a want.
When my son’s schedule allows me to…
Slow cooker recipes are a life saver when you want to come home to a warm meal without having to do any work when you get home. I swear, they are even a life saver for those of us who are at home all day and are just trying to make it to bedtime without losing their mind.
beef – I like to use lean ground beef for this queso chili, generally 80-90% lean.
peppers – bell peppers give so much flavor to this soup! I like to use two different colors, one red and one green, but you can use whatever colors you prefer!
onion – yellow onion provides a lovely flavor for the soup, and I think it’s a lot less sharp than white onion.
fire-roasted tomatoes – while regular diced tomatoes will work in this recipe, there’s a lot more depth with the fire-roasted tomatoes!
spices – I use a simple combination of ground cumin, chili powder (you can use regular or ancho!), salt, and black pepper.
green chilis – there’s a subtle heat from the green chiles as well as a flavor that pairs so well with the Southwestern flavors of the soup.
black bean and corn – you can use homemade or canned for this! I just grab cans, drain them and rinse the beans and corn really well. You can even use frozen corn – just thaw and drain it!
cream cheese – it makes the soup extra creamy! You can use full-fat or low-fat – the choice is yours.
pepper jack cheese – a little more heat comes to the part with this cheese and it melts so easily into the chili!
this recipe’s must haves
To prep all the ingredients, you’ll need a cutting board and a chef’s knife.
If you are cooking the vegetables and the beef on the stove, you can use a cast iron skillet. Then pile everything into the slow cooker to cook.
I love my Instant Pot Duo, primarily because I can do all the sauté work in the pot and then cook it on slow cook mode.
After the first slow cook, you’ll need a wooden spoon to incorporate the remaining ingredients and finish off the chili.
here’s how to make slow cooker queso chili
Sauté Vegetables and Brown Beef
In a skillet over medium-high heat (or on the Sauté setting for your Instant Pot), sauté onions and peppers for about 3 minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Pour onion mixture into the slow cooker and set aside. Add beef to the skillet and cook until the beef has browned, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Drain the fat from the beef and add it to the slow cooker. Add tomatoes, chilis, water, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.
Add Cheeses, Beans, and Corn
Stir in cream cheese, black beans and corn. Stir, replace the cover, and keep on low heat, stirring occasionally until the cream cheese is melted. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir in pepper jack cheese until melted. This will take another 5 minutes or so. Serve immediately.
what to serve with queso chili
The cheese stands alone so well with this queso chili (joke intended LOL). There’s really only a couple of things that I would recommend to accompany this chili:
- Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits are flaky, warm, and full of buttery flavor that will pair perfectly with this chili!
- Fritos! I love the crunchy snack piled into a bowl of chili because it’s just so YUM.
- Don’t like Fritos? Grab the blue corn tortilla chips!
Slow Cooker Queso Chili
Creamy, cheese, and packed with Southwest flavors!
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 bell peppers, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 (14.5-oz) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 4-oz can diced green chilis
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 14-oz can corn, rinsed and drained
- 1 14-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 oz light cream cheese
- 6 oz Pepper Jack cheese
- Toppings: cilantro, Fritos or tortilla chips
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add onion and peppers. Saute for about 3 minutes until slightly softened. Stir in garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add onion mixture to your slow cooker insert.
- Return skillet to the heat and add beef. Cook until browned, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Drain fat from the beef. Pour beef into slow cooker.
- Add tomatoes, chilis, water, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir together, cover, and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.
- Stir in corn, black beans, and cream cheese. Keep on low heat and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cream cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in pepper jack cheese until melted.
- Serve with your favorite toppings!
To make in the Instant Pot, cook vegetables and brown beef separately in the Instant Pot on the Saute setting. Drain fat from the pot and add in tomatoes, chilis, water, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and cook on High pressure for 20 minutes. Manually release pressure.
Set to Saute and add corn, beans, and cream cheese. Stir to combine and cook until cream cheese is melted. Add in pepper jack cheese and stir until melted.
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