Freezer Friendly Southwest Chili















When the nip is in the air, it reminds me to break out the crock pot and put some chili on. I love how easy this southwest version comes together using freezer ingredients. I have 2 pounds of 93% lean ground turkey thawed and it is crying out for its chili partners. I grab a green pepper and onion and quickly dice it up and throw it in the crock pot set on low before heading out the door to an apple farm with the kiddos. When I return three hours later the turkey and vegetables are perfectly browned and there is no fat to drain off. I’m loving that.

I add the remaining freezer ingredients I have thawed in my thawing box: 2 bags cooked black beans and 1 bag store-bought frozen corn (I used pinto only for the photo because that’s why I have on hand; pintos and black beans are fantastic. Then I add 2 cans diced tomatoes, 1 tomato paste and seasonings.

**I often add 1/2 -3/4 cup butternut or pumpkin puree I have on hand, just for added nutrition. Or I’ll add frozen shredded zucchini from my summer stash.

I use the two diced tomato cans to add water to the soup and voila’ I’m off to do more chores and blogging. I fix it and forget it, that’s what I love about crock pots.

I love it even better when I take a night off from cooking and have a second batch waiting in the freezer. All I have to do is thaw it overnight and reheat it the next day. That’s my kind of chili on a chilly evening.


Southwest Chili 

  • 2 pounds cooked ground turkey or beef
  • 1 finely diced onion
  • 1 finely diced green or red pepper
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 2 bags thawed, frozen black beans or 2 cans black beans (even pintos or both works like the photo above)
  • 1- 16 oz. frozen corn
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 -6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 4 cups water
  • **1/2 cup optional ingredients like frozen butternut squash, pumpkin or zucchini

Brown the meat with the onions and pepper in the crock pot on low for three hours. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on high for four hours or low four to six hours.

This is a double batch of our favorite southwest chili. Make a lot, freeze a lot and serve it frequently in the following ways:

  • with homestyle cornbread
  • on a bed of brown rice
  • on a bed of tortilla chips with cheese and sour cream and fresh cilantro
  • in a bag of fritos camping or tailgating
  • over a crock pot baked potato with cheese and jalepenos
  • over whole-grain spaghetti noodles
  • stuffed inside whole wheat tortillas or taco shells
Freeze It: Allow chili to cool for two hours with the lid removed and refrigerate; bag in quart size bags like my freezing soup tutorial the next morning.
Reheat It:

  • Warm in a stock pot on medium heat until hot
  • microwave on 50 to 70% power level until hot
  • Warm in crock pot on low for 4 to 6 hours until hot
What’s your favorite way to eat chili? This is linked to the pumpkin/squash recipe swap and it’s a keeper

3 thoughts on “Freezer Friendly Southwest Chili

  1. Judy

    I made this recipe and I really like it. It has a different taste than my other chili recipes. I love all chili but it’s good to have different types and tastes. I had it with cheese topped tortilla’s and it was great.

  2. Lauren

    It says “cooked ground beef” in ingredients, but you cook it in the crock pot first, right? Put beef in raw with onions and pepper?

    1. admin

      Lauren, I just discovered you can do this and it’s safe according to the USDA because the crock pot cooks above the 165 degree temp thus killing bacteria. So yes, it is a timesaver to cook raw beef or turkey in the crockpot with your chili and break it up at the end. I plan to do a post on this timesaving tip.

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