Monica's favorite gear for
making Slow Cooker Chili
This Crock Pot has great features. It is the #1 recommendation of Cooks Illustrated. I especially like that it automatically switches to the warm setting with the cook time is finished.
This set of four colored mats is handy when I'm doing multiple chopping tasks to prevent cross contamination of veggies and meat. They bend for easily transferring the chopped food to the slow cooker. Easy, sterile clean-up in the dishwasher, too.
I like a bowl with handles for easy eating anywhere.
Also available: brown crocks
This is my favorite slow cooker cookbook. It is packed with great recipes and lots of time-saving prep tips. My chili recipe is based on one from this cookbook.
This workhorse is the #1 recommendation of Cooks Illustrated's Test Kitchen. I have the 11-cup model (no longer available) and love it.
I use these for refrigerating or freezing individual portions of leftover chili.
Also available: 2-cup containers

Slow Cooker Pork Ranch Chili

Thick, hearty, and meaty

This hearty, flavorful, high-protein chili is so easy to make. It uses simple shortcuts without compromising flavor. You can serve it in a bowl or make it a topping for a baked potato. It's thick enough to spoon over tortilla chips and top with melted cheese for some amazing nachos. This is the first time I've made chili using pork, and it's quickly become a favorite.

The idea for this recipe came from my favorite slow cooker cookbook: America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution--Volume Two: The Easy Prep Edition. I incorporated some time-saving tips from the book along with a few of my own. (view cookbook on Amazon)

Easy & Healthy. Here's how I simplified and healthified this recipe:

  • I used very lean pork, removing all of the visible fat before I started so that I didn't have to fret about skimming it off later.
  • I used taco seasoning mix--a one-step seasoning for chili. (I also used this to season my Quick Turkey Chili and Thick & Hearty Steak Chili.) It has everything needed to make an amazingly flavorful batch of chili. This is so much easier than adding a bunch of spices individually.
  • I used 4 good quality canned ingredients to speed up prep time.
  • I gave the chili a veggie boost by mincing a variety of vegetables that disappeared into the chili as it cooked. It's a way to sneak in some nutrition, and no one will guess the veggies are there.

Nutritional Information per 1 heaping cup serving: 361 calories, 9.4g fat, 391mg sodium, 28.4g carbs, 6.4g fiber, 6g sugars, 40.1g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 6 (using WW online recipe builder)


Step-by-step photos for making
Slow Cooker Pork Ranch Chili

Step 1. Assemble & prep the ingredients:

  • canned fire roasted diced tomatoes -- you can use regular diced tomatoes, but the fire roasted variety gives the chili a flavor boost
  • canned pinto beans -- you can substitute other canned beans, or use a combination; for example, one can each of pinto and black beans is a nice mix.
  • canned tomato paste
  • canned chopped green chiles
  • taco seasoning mix -- If you buy it ready-made, choose a low-sodium variety; or make your own for a healthier, tastier option. Here's my recipe: Fiesta Taco Seasoning Mix

chili ingredients

  • Chop two onions and drain and rinse the canned beans.

Pork Chili

  • Use a lean, boneless pork roast. I used a center cut pork loin roast in this batch. I've also used pork tenderloins (when I can get them on sale). Trim off any visible fat and slice it crosswise into 4 or 5 even slices. The sliced pieces cook faster and provide a bigger surface area for absorbing the chili seasonings.
  • I use different cutting mats when I'm preparing meat and veggies. They're flexible for easily transferring the food, and they prevent cross-contamination. Mine go right in the dishwasher for easy, sterile cleaning.

view on Amazon: flexible cutting mats

Pork Chili

  • Give it a veggie boost, if you like. This is completely optional, but it increases the nutrition of the chili without changing the flavor. I used a combination of mushrooms, red bell pepper, and baby spinach in this batch, because that's what I had in my fridge. Any fresh veggie combo will do; it's a great way to use up whatever veggies you have on hand. Cut them into a fine mince so they'll disappear into the chili. I used a food processor to quickly mince all of my veggies in a view pulses.

view on Amazon: 14-cup food processor --rated #1 by Cook's Illustrated Test Kitchen.

Pork Chili

Step 2. There are two options for prepping the aromatics and spices: (1) On the stove top, saute the onions (and veggies, if using) in olive oil along with the taco seasoning until veggies are soft. (2) use the speedy prep tip I learned from The Slow Cooker Revolution: add the same ingredients to a microwave proof dish, cover, and microwave until soft. Ready in a flash! (I used the 2nd easy method.)

Pork Chili

Step 3. Spray or grease the inside of the slow cooker, add the sauteed/microwaved onions combo, beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, and green chiles; stir to combine. Nest the pork slices vertically into the other ingredients, leaving space between the slices.
Step 4. Cover and cook on high 6-7 hours or on low 9-10 hours. (Note: slow cooker temperatures and times may vary.)Pork Chili

Step 5. The chili is ready when the pork pulls apart easily with two forks. Use the forks to separate the pork slices into bite size pieces and stir them into the mixture. Your chili is ready to eat! (By using lean pork and removing all visible fat before cooking it, you don't have to worry about doing that now or skimming grease off the top of the chili. This is a low fat chili from the get-go when it's prepared this way with lean meat.)

Pork Chili

Thick or brothy? This recipe makes a thick chili. If you prefer it brothier, all you need to do is add 1-2 cups of water or chicken broth.

Spoon up a bowl and enjoy this hearty, tasty chili. I like to garnish mine with chopped green onions or cilantro. It's good accompanied with the crunch of tortilla chips.

pork chili

Jalapeno Cornbread or Cheesy Corn Cakes are also favorites to serve with chili.

pork chili

This chili refrigerates and freezes well. I portion mine into 1 or 2 cup containers so that it's ready to thaw for one or two bowls.

view on Amazon: 1 cup containers, 2 cup containers


This meaty meal is a big ol' bowl of comfort.

pork chili

Make it a Yummy day!


Link directly to this recipe Print this recipe
Slow Cooker Pork Ranch Chili
By Monica              Servings: 10-12 servings
  • 3 lbs. lean, boneless pork roast
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium taco seasoning (2 store packets; or for homemade recipe go to:
  • 2 ( 4 oz.) cans diced green chiles
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 ( 6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 2 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, rinsed & drained
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • FOR VEGGIE BOOST (optional; may substitute other vegetables)
  • 2 cups roughly chopped mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup taco seasoning (in addition to that above)
Cut off as much visible fat from the pork roast as possible. Slice pork crosswise into four to five equal pieces (approx. 1 to 1-1/2" thick). Set aside.

If including the optional VEGGIE BOOST, mince the vegetables. A food processor is recommended for making the task quicker and easier.

In microwave safe bowl, combine onions, minced vegetables (if using), olive oil, and taco seasoning. Cover and microwave on high power for approx. 5 minutes until onions are soft; stopping and stirring after 3 minutes. (Alternative stove top method: saute onions & veggies, olive oil, & taco seasoning in skillet over medium high heat until onions are soft.)

Spray or grease inside of 5-1/2 to 7 quart slow cooker. Add onion mixture, green chiles, tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, and salt; stir to combine.  Add pork pieces, partially pressing them vertically into tomato/bean mixture so there is space between them. Cover and cook on high 6-7 hours or low 9-10 hours, until pork is tender and easily pulls apart. (Note: slow cookers times and temperatures may vary.) Use tongs or 2 forks to break apart pork into bite-size pieces. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.

If chili is thicker than desired, stir in 1-2 cups water or chicken broth.

Optional garnishes: chopped cilantro, shredded cheese, chopped onions, sour cream, bacon crumbles

This recipe refrigerates and freezes well.

Nutritional Information per 1 heaping cup serving: 361 calories, 9.4g fat, 391mg sodium, 28.4g carbs, 6.4g fiber, 6g sugars, 40.1g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 6 (using WW online recipe builder)
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Posted on Saturday, December 14th, 2013

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