Slow-Cooker Indian Spiced Lamb Chili

January 30, 2012
5 Ratings
Photo by Joseph DeLeo
  • Cook time 8 hours
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

There is nothing better than a movie night, and a perfectly spiced bowl of chili on a winter night. This recipe is a fruitful result of all the hard work I have put into being lazy. The slow cooker Lamb chili recipe below has all the taste and flavor, without the effort. Total 15 minutes of prep time and the slow cooker does the rest. To wow your guests, add a twist to chili night by serving it with Naan Bread. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my friends and I have over time! —Divya Kaur

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a fun diversion from standard chili. It's a spicy combination of meat and beans with a slight Indian flair. The ancho chili adds just the right smokiness to balance the other spices. We especially love how easy this dish is to put together, there's hardly any prep time and the slow cooker does all the rest. The results are far greater than the effort you put into it. The recipe doesn't call for garnish, but a squeeze of lime or a dab of yogurt would work nicely here. Served atop some rice, you've got a warming and satisfying meal. —Victoria Ross

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 large red onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound minced lamb
  • 1 cup dried red beans
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or replace with 2 teaspoons bouillon + 2 cups water)
  • 3 teaspoons garam masala
  • 4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a wok. Add cumin seeds once the oil is hot, fry untill the cumin seeds become a darker brown color.
  2. Add onions and garlic to the wok and sauté until onions caramelize. Add the tomatoes and saute until tomatoes are completely cooked and all water evaporates.
  3. Add the onion-garlic-tomato mixture and rest of the ingredients in a slow cooker. Set on low and let cook for 8 hours, or until beans are fully cooked through.
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See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jenn Matheson
    Jenn Matheson
  • kaye.spaude
  • Souzakh
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • Divya Kaur
    Divya Kaur

13 Reviews

Jenn M. April 2, 2020
So, so delicious! This was so good on a snowy evening with a fluffy piece of naan. Yes, I used canned beans to avoid any undercooking issues. Also only 1/2 the cayenne. Perfect! Will make again.
CHR@SF February 7, 2017
Must provide a warning for this recipe. As others have mentioned, cooking the beans according to the recipe instructions, without prior soaking, results in under-cooked beans. Our beans were al dente, and not knowing any better, we ate them anyway. The consequence was much stomach distress later in the evening. Googled "dangers of eating under-cooked beans," only to learn that beans not thoroughly cooked contain a harmful toxin, lectin (see Anyone wanting to make this chili recipe should be careful to make sure the beans are cooked through.
Helen M. August 19, 2019
the recipe states 1/2 pound of meat + other ingredients for 4 people. Is this correct as 1/2 pound is only 225g and most recipes allow 100g meat per person...
nasreenSeattle February 4, 2013
Great recipe. I tripled the recipe, used 2lb of lamb. Made this in a Dutch oven on the stovetop, added spices and lamb to onion-tomato mixture and fried it for 5 minutes before adding liquid and beans. Simmered this for 3 hours. I soaked the beans for 4 hours before cooking - they turned out just right.
kaye.spaude January 27, 2013
Thanks sc for the tip. I will start out using canned beans.
scrambled E. November 19, 2012
The flavors in this recipe are great but I did run into a big problem when the dried beans
were still hard after 8 hours. I think the problem is adding the beans and tomatoes at the
same time. The acid in the tomatoes causes a reaction with the bean skin and no matter how long they are cooked, it's basically a lost cause. Granted I don't know how old the beans were, even though they were purchased the same weekend I made the chili.
Nonetheless, research will back me up and say to add tomatoes after the beans have
softened. I ended up having to fish the beans out and add canned beans. A time
consuming task I could have done without.
Souzakh February 20, 2012
Divya I made your chili this weekend with a few adjustments. I doubled the recipe and used canned red beans only because my local grocer had run out of dried beans. Since I used canned beans I reduced the broth to 1/2 what was called for. I also reduced the Cayenne to 1/4 of what was called for and we were all sweating.

It was delicious! Even had naan bread to go with.
Divya K. February 20, 2012
That's amazing :) I am so glad you enjoyed it!!! Happy cooking!
Ethan L. April 12, 2016
100% agree bout the Cayenne. I love spicy food, and I was hesitant about a tsp of Cayenne, but I always try to make the recipe the way it was intended first, then adjust. I wish though that I had put in 1/4 tsp of Cayenne because I can only eat a little at a time because it's so hot. Otherwise, very good recipe.
LeBec F. February 19, 2012
divya, i usually do the same as you: roast seeds, grind them and sautee them in the dish. But your recipe calls for seeds and not grinding them. so this use of whole roasted seeds, NOT ground after roasting, is common in Indian cooking?thnx again.
Divya K. February 20, 2012
I am sorry I misunderstood the question before :) The answer to your question is yes, its pretty common. Most traditional Indian recipes will call for whole cumin seeds. The only time I can think of when my family recipes have called for ground cumin is when there isn't too much cooking involved for the dish- for example, Raita. Hope that answers your question.
Divya K. February 19, 2012
Hi, thank you for reaching out! to be honest cumin powder and seeds can be used interchangeably. The reason why I use whole seed is because freshly fried or roasted cumin is at the peak of it's flavor. I prefer to simply roast the cumin seeds and grind them myself just before cooking/ serving a dish. just replace cumin seeds in this recipe with cumin powder if you prefer, and it should work just fine. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family and friends have over time!!! Happy cooking :)
LeBec F. February 17, 2012
divya, i'm looking forward to trying this! As a big fan of Indian food, i want to ask about the cumin seeds being whole- i don't think i've encountered whole cumin seeds before -in meat curries, that is; do you use them often that way? thanks much.