How to Thicken Up Chili in a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot?

Chili is absolutely a comfort food. Many people prefer this item. Right! Yes, but sometimes chili can dissatisfy you! Guess how! I’m talking about watered-down, thin chili because thick Chili is preferable to actual chili.

But when people want to thicken chili in a slow cooker, they may face a few challenges. The common crisis is that the chili remains too watery. But people prefer to make thick and creamy chili. Still, they don’t know how to thicken up chili in a slow cooker? There are many ways to thicken up chili in a slow cooker.

The easiest way is to use natural starches from cooking ingredients. Another way is to add a thickening agent at the end of the cooking. Powdered starches are used as a great thickening agent. Powdered starches include arrowroot, potato, and cornstarch. Besides, chickpea flour and flours like all-purpose can also thicken chili in a slow cooker.

Here we’ll illustrate all the easiest ways to thicken chili in detail. So, you should read the whole content attentively. Then, you will be able to gain knowledge on thickening the chili in a slow cooker or a crockpot.

Thickening Chili? What’s That?

It is weird to hear that some people still don’t know what thickening Chili is! Now, we’ll talk about thickening chili in short. Generally, chili is a traditional food that is stew-like. It is cooked with a variety of chili peppers, tomatoes, and meat for a long time.

Sometimes add mushrooms, beans, and even a bit of dark chocolate in chili.  Each ingredient makes the chili special to eat.  Chili is filled with flavor. Different peppers give heat, tomatoes add tanginess, and beans add a savory taste to chili.

But nobody prefers watery and thin chili. If you add too much liquid accidentally, it will be soupy instead of being a stew. Thereby, you need to thicken the chili. Now the main issue is how you will do that! There are three basic ways to thick chili.

how to thicken white chicken chili

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Adding A Thickening Agent During Cooking

It is the easiest way. At first, the thickening agent, including flour or cornstarch, is dissolved into a little amount of water. Then add the mixture to the chili as the chili cooks.

The starch-containing thickening agents absorb the extra liquid from the chili. And makes it thicken. Mashing tomatoes or beans also releases starch that thickens the chili.

Thickening After Serving

You can thicken your chili after serving if it is soupy. You just add crumbled cornbread or tortilla chips as a topping after serving. You can also add shredded cheese to make the chili thick, cheesy, and delicious.

Letting It Thicken Naturally

It seems to be the simplest way. Let the chili cook down until the excess liquid evaporates. However, this way takes a lengthier time than the other methods.

Read More: How to Cook Neckbones in a Crockpot – A Quick & Easy Recipe

How To Thicken Up Chili In A Slow Cooker?

There is some simplest way to thicken chili in a slow cooker. But several people don’t know when the best time is and how to thicken the chili. Let’s discuss that.

You can add cornmeal to chili to thicken it when using a slow cooker. For this, you need to add one tablespoon of polenta or cornmeal to the chili. Then let the chili proceed to cook for 10 minutes. If the Chili isn’t thickened enough that you want, add another tablespoon of cornmeal. Again, let the chili cook for 10 minutes.

You can also use tomato paste instead of cornmeal. Stir the tomato paste with the rest of the chili to mix well. Then cook it for 10-15 minutes before adjusting the flavor.

How Do You Thicken Chili In A Crockpot?

Since a crockpot cooks food at a constant lower temperature, you can’t use flour or cornstarch. This is because you won’t be able to bring the chili to a boil in a crockpot.

Thicken chili in a crockpot is somewhat similar to the thickening chili in a slow cooker. You can’t boil chili in a crockpot. So, you have to use cornmeal, polenta, or Masa Harina instead of cornstarch or flour.

You need to add two tablespoons of cornmeal to the chili. Let the chili cook for a few minutes in the crockpot. If the thickness isn’t enough, add a spoon of cornmeal. After waiting some time, the chili should thicken considerably.

You can also use the simmer extra liquid off method. In this method,

  • Firstly, separate the lid from the slow cooker. Then set the heat at high. If your crockpot is not hot enough, follow these steps.
  • Cook the chili for 30 minutes until the chili has congealed to your preference. Then stir it well and serve.

What Will You Do If Your Chili Is Too Watery?

The best strategy to thicken too watery chili is to cook the chili at low temperature until all the extra liquid has vaporized. In this method, the texture and taste of the chili won’t change.

However, it’s a time-consuming method. That means around 1-3 hours can need to simmer off the excess water. So you should b careful the whole time so that nothing is scorched.

Adding tomato paste is the faster way to thicken watery chili. You can also add cornstarch slurry into the chili. Then simmer for 10 minutes. Finally, the chili will be thick.

To thicken the too watery chili in a slow cooker, there is another amazing way. You can use oats in the chili. Add one tablespoon of instant oats. Cook the chili on medium-high heat. Then, you can thicken the watery chili in a slow cooker.

Besides, some starchy vegetables like carrots, onions, celery, and potatoes can help to thicken the watery chili. Add the pieces of this vegetable into the chili and cook.

Related Read: Can Crockpot Go in The Dishwasher? – Facts Discussed

How Should You Thicken White Chicken Chili?

White chicken chili is a more delicious edition of traditional chili. It contains a light texture and gives a creamy taste. Using flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot slurry, you can thick this type of chili. You can also use potato starch.

Mix the cornstarch or flour with cold water. Then whisk the mixture carefully so that there are no clots. Stir the final mixture into the chili. Now, boil the chili for 5-10 minutes. Finally, the thick white chili will be ready with a gloss.

how to thicken chili with flour

How To Thicken Chili Without Flour Or Cornstarch?

Don’t have flour or cornstarch, but you want to thicken the chili. So, how to thicken chili without flour or cornstarch? Well, you can follow these steps.

  • Extra Meat: Adding extra meat to chili will not only thicken the chili but also increase its flavor of the chili. In this method, you first have to cook the extra meat over medium heat until it has brown. Then add it into the crockpot. After this, cook slowly on high heat for approximately 30 minutes. Finally, the chili will be flavorsome and thick.
  • Bread Crumbs: To thicken chili you have to add ¼ cup of bread crumbs to the chili.
  • Blended or Extra Beans: This will not only thicken the chili but also add more fiber and protein to the chili. For the chili, you can use different types of beans like black beans, kidney beans, white beans, and pinto beans. A cup of mashed beans is added to the chili to thicken it. Mashed chickpeas are tremendous as a thickening agent.
  • Diced Potatoes: You can use canned food for diced potatoes. Cut the potato into small pieces. Then add ½ cup of it to the chili.
  • Tortilla Chips: When using the tortilla chips, the slow cooker keeps them at medium-high heat. Then add ½ cup finely chopped tortilla chips to the chili. Remove the lid and stir for 5-10 minutes.

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How To Use Powdered Starches To Thicken Chili?

Powdered starches like all-purpose flour, potato starch, and cornmeal are generally used to thicken chili in a slow cooker. All are used in many stews and soups. Remember, one tablespoon of cornmeal is added per cup of liquid.

However, follow the below steps when using the powdered starches as a thickening ingredient:

  • First, take 3-4 cups of liquid from the chili in the slow cooker. Please keep it in a small saucepan. See the right amount from the packet that adds to the water.
  • Then add the correct amount of starch to the water over low heat. Stir the mixture until it is mixed and thick.
  • At last, the thickened liquid is back to the slow cooker to add to the chili. Then cook the chili for extra 30 minutes. Stirring the chili sometimes to congeal all liquid.

Some Frequently Asked Questions for You:

How Do I Thicken A Beef Chili In A Slow Cooker?

If you want to thicken a beef chili in a slow cooker, there are some ways that you can follow. Firstly, additional ingredients like extra meat, tortilla chips, tomato paste, bread crumbs, and blended beans are used to thicken a beef chili.

Secondly, you can add cornstarch, cornmeal, all-purpose flour, or potato starch. And the last way is to simmer the chili for a long time to evaporate excess water.

Can You Remove The Lid Off Of Slow Cooker To Thicken Chili?

Yes, you can remove the lid of a slow cooker or crockpot to thicken chili. You have just stirred the whole liquid chili sometimes. Because it may burn if you don’t stir.

What Do You Do If The Chili Is Too Thick?

Sometimes chili is too thick, but we don’t know what to do. This is very easy to thin the chili. You just add some extra liquid like water, tomato paste, or chicken broth to the instant pot.

What Is The Best Gravy Thicker?

Usually, flour or cornstarch is used as the best gravy thicker. You can also use xanthan gum, topic flour, or potato starch. But whisk nicely in cold water. Make sure that the mixture doesn’t clump up.

Can You Thicken Chili Con Carne In A Slow Cooker?

Mix cornstarch and water well to make a slurry. One tablespoon of cornstarch is used for 1 cup of water for each cup of chili liquid to thicken chili in a slow cooker.


You already understand there is no fixed way to thicken the chili. Sometimes it can depend on a person’s choices. Always consider the taste and texture of the chili when adding extra starches or ingredients.

Although all the ways are almost the same for the different recipes thickening the chili. But sometimes, adding or processing methods are different. So, never worry if the chili becomes too watery. Now you know the way of fixing it. Hope we can deliver the best information to you.

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