If your chili is too watery, here are some great tips for how to thicken chili in a slow cooker or Crock-Pot. Here you will find a variety of ideas that use everyday pantry items to thicken the chili.
You get home from a busy day at work to the aroma of homemade chili that has been simmering in your slow cooker all day. However, when you lift the lid, the chili is very watery for some reason. Sometimes liquid has gathered on your lid and dripped into your chili throughout the cooking time. If you want your chili to be thick and hardy without compromising changing the taste I have several ideas for you.
😊 Why thicken chili?
Chili is a stew-like soup traditionally thick with ground beef, tomato sauce, and sometimes beans. There is not much liquid added to the chili when cooking, just the juice from the tomato products. Chili is a hearty, thick stew that can be spooned onto cornbread or over air fryer baked potato.
How to make chili thicker
Here you will find several different ways to take your watery chili and turn it into a thick, perfect consistency.
A great way to make your chili thicker is to add pinto beans, chili beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans (navy), or kidney beans. You can add one variety or all of them. If you are a bean lover then be sure to visit my how to can beans post. It saves you money and they are more flavorful than grocery canned beans.
You could also scoop out a few cups of the beans and chili, run them through the blender and then return it to the chili in the slow cooker. This will guarantee no change in flavor.
If you desire a more chunky consistency, use a potato masher to press on the beans right in the slow cooker, then stir well. The beans will break into small pieces, and the starch in them will help thicken the chili.
If you do not like the texture of beans in your chili, you could add a can of refried beans. They give it great flavor and thickness without the texture.
Add more meat
Sometimes chili is too watery because it lacks enough meat. If you add more meat to an already cooked pot of chili, it's best to sautee the meat in a pan until done and then add it to the slow cooker. You could use ground beef, ground sausage, or ground turkey. Heat on high for 20 more minutes then.
Add tomato paste
Tomato paste is a great way to add a tangy thickening agent to your chili. The thick paste is very concentrated, so it will help thicken the chili. However, you might need to add more seasonings if you want less tomato flavor. Start with a small 6 oz can, whisk it in, and then simmer on high for an hour.
Add a tablespoon of cornmeal to the chili and cook on high for 20 minutes. If it is not thick enough, you can repeat the process. The drawback is the chili can be a bit gritty from the corn meal.
Remove the lid
If you remove the slow cooker lid and turn it up on high, the water will bubble out in the form of steam. This method might take a few hours.
Turn your Crock-Pot too high. Mix a few tablespoons of cornstarch in a cup of cold water, set aside. Scoop out 4 cups of chili liquid and put them in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on high heat. When the pan of soup boils, whisk in the cornstarch water until thickened. Next, pour this pan of chili in your slow cooker and whisk together.
This method will only work if you remove 4 or 5 cups of chili from the slow cooker. To thicken the chili, melt 5 tablespoons of butter in a pan and heat until melted over medium-high. Next, whisk in two tablespoons of all purpose flour to form a thick creamy flour slurry. Using a large measuring cup, pull out the watery juice for the chili. Whisk this into the butter and flour over medium heat. Once thickened, return to the slow cooker, stirring it in well. Cook on high for 30 minutes.
You can add a 1/2 cup of instant potato flakes to your crock pot chili to help thicken it up. Sprinkle in the flakes and gently whisk them throughout. Leave the lid off and turn the crock pot to high. The potato starch will start ticking your chili, but it is best to simmer for 30 minutes.
Potato Starch can be used to replace cornstarch in most baking recipes. Potato starch powder tolerates higher temperatures than cornstarch, making it an excellent thickener for sauces, soups, and stews. It adds moistness to many baked goods and is an essential ingredient in gluten-free baking.
Tortilla chips are one of my favorite ways to thicken my white bean chili or white chicken chili recipe. After the soup is cooked for several hours in the crockpot, crush 5 to 6 oz of tortilla chips in a zip lock bag. They should be tiny crumbly pieces. Sprinkle the crushed chips into your chili recipe. Place your slow cooker on high with the lid off and stir every 5 minutes for 30 minutes.
Masa harina is the secret to my Texas Roadhouse Chili! Masa flour is corn flour. Turn your crockpot to high, then add two tablespoons at a time to your chili. Wait 10 minutes to see if it is thick enough. If not, repeat the process. It does add a bit of corn flavor to your chili recipe.
My husband's favorite way to eat his chili is with crushed saltine crackers. The crackers absorbed the juice to make a thicker chili.
If your cili con carne is too thin after cooking time remove the lid. Cook on high for 20 minutes to 30 minutes to allow the liquid to cook off and thicken up.
Cornstarch, potato starch, and chickpea flour are several thickening agents used to thicken soups, stews, and sauces in the slow cooker. All you need to do is add a tablespoon or two of either one during the last hour of cooking.
Whisk together equal parts cornstarch and water to make a slurry in a cup. You can figure 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to one cup of water for every cup of liquid you want to thicken in your slow cooker.
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