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.