Best Ways to Thicken Chili in a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot
You might want to thicken chili in a slow cooker if you are trying to make a large batch and you don’t want it to be too watery. Or maybe you are serving it at a party and you want it to look and taste its best. No matter what your reason is, there are several ways that you can thicken chili in a slow cooker including;
Powdered starches like potato, arrowroot, or cornstarch and flours like all-purpose and chickpea flour will thicken slow cooker sauces. Another favorite method is to can use thickening ingredients like diced potatoes, whole, refried beans, mashed beans, or breadcrumbs.
When it comes to thickening chili in a slow cooker, there are a few common challenges that people face. One of the most common problems is that the chili is too watery. Another common issue is that people want to make their chili thicker and creamier, but they don’t know how. Finally, many people don’t know when the best time to thicken their chili is.
No matter what your reason is, there are several different ways that you can thicken chili in a slow cooker. By using natural starches from ingredients or a great thickening agent like powdered starch is added towards the end of cooking.
How do I Thicken Chili in a Slow Cooker?
When it comes to thickening a beef chili in a slow cooker there are several ways that you can thicken chili in a slow cooker. Firstly you can use additional ingredients like use tomato paste, extra meat, bread crumbs, tortilla chips, extra beans, or blended beans. Secondly, you can use cornmeal, cornstarch, potato starch, or all-purpose flour. Another way you can slowly simmer off excess liquid.
How to Thicken Chili Without Flour or Cornstarch
The easiest way to thicken chili is by using tomato paste. Tomato paste is a thickening agent that will give your chili a thicker consistency with extra richness.
Do this by adding a small can of tomato paste to your slow cooker chili recipe. You can find this thick paste at your local grocery store.
Regardless of whether you are cooking with ground beef or ground turkey another way to thicken chili is by adding extra meat. This will enhance the flavor of your chili and it will also help to thicken it up.
To use this method the best way is to cook the extra meat by browning it off over medium heat before adding it to the crock pot. and adding it to the slow cooking while on high for around 30 minutes.
The soupy chili with too much liquid will be turned into a flavorsome dish and your Chili will be thicker.
Pro Tip: Consider the flavor of your dish when adding extra ingredients and starches. Although it is a personal preference you may need more chili powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, chili sauce, a variety of chili peppers, or green onions if you are after a hot chili.
Another way to thicken chili is by adding bread crumbs. This is a common thickening method that is often used in soups and stews.
To use this method, add 1/4 cup of bread crumbs to your chili. You can find bread crumbs in the baking aisle at your local grocery store.
Extra Beans or Blended Beans
If you want to thicken chili and make a hearty chili, then you can add extra beans or blended beans. This will also help to add more protein and fiber to your chili.
To use this method, choose your favorite can of beans such as white beans, black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans simply add them to your chili.
Alternatively, mash a can or cup of beans using a potato masher and add it to your chili, chickpeas are great mashed as a thickening agent.
Another way to thicken chili is by adding diced potatoes. This is a common thickening method that is used in many soups and stews.
To use this method, add 1/2 cup of diced potatoes to your chili. You can find diced potatoes in the canned food aisle or the fresh produce aisle at your local grocery store just chop them into small pieces.
If you want to thicken chili and add a little bit of crunch, then you can add tortilla chips. This is a common thickening method that is used in many Mexican dishes.
To use this method, the slow cooker should be set at medium-high heat. Then at least 30 minutes before cooking time is complete add 1/2 cup of finely crushed tortilla chips. Keep the lid off the slow cooker and stir every 5-10 minutes.
How to Thicken Watery Slow Cooker Chili
Simmer Excess Liquid Off
If you have made your chili and it is too watery, then you can simmer the excess liquid off. This is a common thickening method that is used for many soups and stews.
To use this method, remove the lid of the slow cooker and set it to high heat. Cook for 30 minutes or until the chili liquid has reduced to your liking. Then, stir and serve.
Powdered Starches for Thickening Chili
Cornmeal is a common thickening method that is used in many soups and stews. The ratio is 1 tablespoon of cornmeal per cup of liquid.
Another way to thicken chili is by adding potato starch. This is a common thickening method that is used in many soups and stews.
Another way to thicken chili is by adding all-purpose flour. A flour slurry is a common thickening method that is used in many soups and stews.
How to Use Powdered Starches to Thicken Chili in a Slow Cooker
Follow these steps when thickening with powdered starches
- Remove 3 – 4 cups of chili liquid from the slow cooker and place in a small saucepan. See the packet of cornstarch or similar for the correct amount of starch to add to the water
- Over low heat add cornstarch and stir until combined and thickening
- Add thickened liquid back into the slow cooker. Cook chili for an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to thicken all liquid
Make a Roux (Using Potato Starch or All-Purpose Flour)
A roux is a combination of flour and fat that is used to thicken soups, sauces, and stews.
In a small saucepan, melt 1/4 cup of butter over low heat. Slowly add 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour while whisking constantly. Cook roux for 1 – 2 minutes or until it is bubbly and golden in color.
Whisk roux into chili and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Starch to Liquid Ratio
When thickening soups, stews, and sauces it is important to use the correct ratio of starch to liquid. The general rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or flour for every 1 cup of liquid.
When using the Roux Method use 1 tablespoon of powdered starch plus 1 tablespoon of fat or butter. This ratio will thick 1 cup of liquid.
Pro Tip: Do not boil powdered starch for too long as it will not stay thick but thin out again. Simmer liquid to the required thickness and serve.
Making Slow Cooker Chili Thicker and Creamier
There are several ways that you can make your chili thicker and creamier. One way is to add dairy such as milk or sour cream. Another way is to add a thickening agent like cornstarch.
One way to make chili thicker and creamier is by adding dairy such as milk, sour cream, or cheddar cheese. This will help to add a richer flavor to your chili as well.
To use this method, add 1/2 cup of milk, sour cream, or grated cheese to your chili. You can find milk, cheese, and sour cream in the dairy aisle at your local grocery store.
Another way to make your chili thicker and creamier is by adding a thickening agent such as cornstarch. This will help to add body and texture to your chili.
To use this method, add 1 tablespoon cornstarch to 1/2 cup of cool water and combine to remove the grainy texture then add to your chili. Give it a good stir and a further 15 minutes of cooking for a hearty slow cooker chili.
Pro Tip: Make sure to add it gradually and stir well so that it doesn’t clump up.
What do I do if my chili is too watery?
If your pot of chili has too much water, you can use a cornstarch slurry, dairy, or roux. You can also add some breadcrumbs, tortillas, or diced potatoes to help thicken it up. Just make sure to stir well so that the starch doesn’t clump up.
Can you leave the lid off the slow cooker to thicken?
Yes, you can leave the lid off of your slow cooker to help thicken the sauce. Just make sure to stir occasionally so that it doesn’t burn.
What do I do if my chili is too thick?
If your chili is too thick, you can add some more liquid such as water, chicken broth, or tomato paste to the Instant Pot.
Check out this article where I deep dive into Uses for Leftover Liquid From a Slow Cooker
What is the best gravy thickener?
The best gravy thickener is usually cornstarch or flour. You can also use arrowroot, potato starch, tapioca flour, or xanthan gum. Just make sure to whisk well in cold water so that it doesn’t clump up.
Check out this article where I deep dive into How to Thicken Stews, Sauces, and Soups in a Slow Cooker
How much cornstarch do I need to thicken a slow cooker sauce?
If this is your first time thickening a recipe the general rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or flour for every 1 cup of liquid. When using the Roux Method use 1 tablespoon of powdered starch plus 1 tablespoon of fat or butter. This ratio will thick 1 cup of liquid.
How to thicken chili with baking powder?
When using baking powder to thicken sauces the powder and water must be combined into a smooth slurry. It can then be added gradually to the dish over low heat stirring continuously to avoid lumps forming.
Learn how to thicken recipes using plant free ingredients 15 Ways to Thicken Vegan Recipes
Wrap Up – How Do I Thicken Sauce in a Slow Cooker?
So you see there are easy ways that you can thicken and cream your chili depending on what ingredients you have on hand. The most common way is to use a tomato sauce or cornstarch slurry, but you can also use dairy or roux methods.
For thick chili remember to stir well so that the starch doesn’t clump up. If all else fails, you can add some breadcrumbs, corn chips, diced potatoes, or tomato puree to thicken your chili. Enjoy!
Check out this delicious Thick Chili Recipe from Don’t Sweat the Recipe
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Michelle – Author
Hi, I’m Michelle the founder, owner, author, and editor of OvenSpot. My passion for one-pot cooking commenced when I was working to prepare cafeteria lunches for school students. I am now on a mission to assist you in choosing the cooking pot or appliance you will use every day. As well as in-depth information to assist you in using and caring for your cookware and appliances.
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