An All-in-one Meal That Never Disappoints

It’s a crisp fall day. You walk through the front door and you instantly feel like you’ve walked back in time. Something smells amazing. It smells like home.

Then you realize that you’re not a kid again – that someone hasn’t spent the afternoon cooking for you. This is your handy work – and it’s the magic of a crock pot.

My favorite go-to crock pot recipe is chili with a corn bread topping – and it all cooks in the same pot. Who really likes doing dishes anyway? But what I love even more than the efficiency of this dish is the fact that my family can’t get enough of it. I made it tonight (for Gray Cup Sunday) and my six-year old ponytail and my husband had three plates, my three-year old ponytail had two plates, and I’m sorry but I’m just not saying how many helpings I had!


The flavor combination in this recipe is a little different than your standard chili. Don’t be alarmed by the olives and cocoa powder in this recipe – the combo really does work. If you do decide to make this, please let me know what you think.

All-in-one Chili & Cornbread

Adapted from recipe by Judith Finlayson (The 150 best Slow Cooker recipes)

  •  2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 2 onions chopped (or one large onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2-¼ cups tomato sauce
  • ½ cup condensed beef broth
  • 2  cans (10 oz/284 mL) corn kernels, drained or 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 can 19 oz red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup pimento-stuffed olives, sliced
  • 1  red bell pepper, diced

Cornbread Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup finely chopped green onions (optional)
  1. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, stirring and breaking meat up with the back of a spoon, until beef is no longer pink. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Drain off liquid in pan.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and heat remaining oil in pan. Add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic, pepper, chili powder, salt, allspice and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add cocoa and cornmeal and stir well. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, tomato sauce and beef broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Pour mixture into slow cooker stoneware. Add corn and beans and stir to combine. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours, until hot and bubbling.
  4. Add olives and red pepper to slow cooker and stir well.
  5. To make Cornbread topping: in a bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, granulated sugar and baking powder. Add melted butter, milk or buttermilk and egg and stir well until ingredients are combined. Add grated cheddar cheese and green onions, if using, and stir well.
  6. Drop cornbread batter, by spoonfuls, over the top of the mixture. Cover and cook on High for 30 to 40 minutes, until topping is set.


  • You’ll get two ¼ cups out of a 5.5 oz tin of tomato paste. Measure out your second ¼ cup and freeze in a sandwich bag for the next time you make this.
  • I’ve made this without pre-cooking the meat and sauce before adding to the crock pot, but I find the flavours of the sauce meld much better by pre-cooking.
  • Make sure you rinse the kidney beans, as there’s a lot of sodium in the liquid they are canned in.
  • I often substitute ground turkey for the beef – it’s healthier and tastes great.
  • Be sure to serve with sour cream, grated cheese and chopped green onion.

19 Comments on “An All-in-one Meal That Never Disappoints”

  1. Eva Taylor says:

    I immediately knew what you were talking about with the crock pot. It’s one of my most favourite things to bring me back to my childhood…the smell of home. It’s even amazing on the weekend when your out doing errands all day and you get back just in time for cocktails, and low and behold that wonderful aroma greets you as soon as you open the door. Thanks for the memory, Barb. We’re out to Niagara this weekend to chop down our Christmas tree…sounds like a great day for the chili!

    • Funny isn’t it. I’m still surprized by the aroma when I get home, even though it has only been a few hours since I put it all together. Makes you wish you had someone cooking for you every day doesn’t it? I love the idea of going somewhere like that to chop down your tree. I hope that you have some hot cider or something else warm….and enjoy the day. Sounds lovely.

  2. Debi Sereda says:

    This sounds sooo yummy! I’m going to make it for a pot luck dinner we’re going to in December. I will let you know how it turns out.. thanks!

  3. Deborah Tucker says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe… it looks delicious and I think this is one Sophie might just eat! I’ll keep you posted. Great blog Barb!~


  4. […] just started blogging and her latest blog post was of the Crock Pot Chili; what a perfect meal  — the wonderful aroma wafting through the house, welcoming us upon our […]

  5. Kristy says:

    A visitor from Eva’s site…I told Eva this chili looks fantastic and I know it would be a hit with my husband and son. Looking forward to reading more. Welcome to blogging! Oh – and I love the title of your blog!!! 🙂

    • Thanks very much for your note Kristy. I hope your husband and son like it, as it is so convenient to make with the crock pot. I’m enjoying the blogging, but finding it is a little challenging this time of year. Eva has mentioned your site to me, so I’ll be sure to check it out!

  6. I like the idea of cocoa powder and tomato in chili, so I may be stealing a few ideas from you. I don’t eat beef though, so most likely I’ll turn it into vegetarian chili or turkey chili.

  7. Another vistor from Eva’s site, and I, too, put chocolate in my chili. This recipe makes me want to get out my ancient (and not recently used) crock pot and try this! I love the olives in it…reminds me of Picadillo in a way, and the cornbread topping…well, it sounds terrific! Glad to have “found” you here!

    • Thanks so much for dropping by. I hope that you do dig out your crock pot and give this a try, as is great to come home to dinner waiting for you! We love the olives in this you’ve made me want to try to make Picadillo, which is on my list of things to try one day.

  8. Charles says:

    Coming here from Eva’s site – love this chilli recipe… especially the all in one cornbread! Beautiful and a great idea 🙂

  9. Ann says:

    This sounds absolutely delightful! I love, Love, LOVE the idea of a cornbread topping! I’m also crazy about crock-pot meals (in fact I used mine today!). I’m over from Eva’s blog….SO nice to meet you and Congratulations on your blog!

  10. Pamela Miles says:

    Believe it or not … I have never made chili. I am having my colleagues from work over for a little Christmas cheer on Wednesday afternoon so I think I will be brave and whip up this tasty batch of chili.

    Thanks Barb for the receipe and for me, the helpful tips. 🙂

  11. Laura thomson says:

    Having had this fish at your house and living it I am so glad that you posted it!
    Now I can give it a try:). Thanks Barb!

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