DJ Foodielow-carb, low carb, sugar free, sugar-free, gluten-free, gluten free, primal, paleo

Slow Cooker Chile Colorado

Prep: 30 min | Cook: 8 hrs | Total: 8 hrs 30 min | Servings:8


Slow Cooker Chile Colorado
Slow Cooker Chile Colorado
Slow Cooker Chile Colorado
Chile Colorado (red chile) is something that actually stems from the Old West, back when "Cookies" made chow from the chuck wagon for the cowboys. It's a deep red chili that cattlemen ate while driving herds around the southern US and northern parts of Mexico. Dishes existed similar to the modern Chile Colorado in this area, before it was U.S. territory. The Europeans later brought spices with them, which were infused into the indigenous foods, resulting in the chuck wagon version, as well as today's slow cooker varieties.

It's firmly Tex-Mex, but has roots in Spain, Mexico and India, believe it or not!

Thickness Note: Even without the addition of extra moisture, this was still a bit soupy. In the future, I would add about 1/4 cup of peanut flour to the mix. This will help thicken it up with flavors that would complement such a dish. Alternately, you can remove the lid from the slow cooker for the final hour and let some of the water evaporate. This will thicken the sauce. Finally, you could strain the meat through a colander, then reduce the sauce in a separate pot, later adding it back to the meat. I left it "as is" in an effort to simplify the recipe. "As is" was quite tasty, but I was left feeling like I'd like a thicker sauce.

. .
IngredientsCaloriesFatProteinCarbsFiberSA'sNet Carbs
6 each (102g)  assorted dried chilies (guajillo, ancho, new mexico, etc.)1026125424030
3 lb (1362g)  beef chuck, trimmed and cut into cubes33602462670000
2 tsp (4g)  cumin seed, ground15.8801.76.4401.32
1 tbsp (14g)  light oil (for sautéing ... such as coconut, olive or ghee)1201200000
4 each (12g)  garlic cloves16004004
1 small (110g)  onion, cut into large chunks440110208
1 small (74g)  red bell pepper, seeded and cut into large chunks22.940.744.441.4802.96
1 each (65g)  poblano chillies, seeds removed and cut into large chunks13.11.563.021.1101.91
1 tbsp (2g)  fresh oregano, chopped2.
salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste0000000
Totals (of 8 Servings):3695.56265.11g281.36g77.64g29.31g0g48.33g
Per Serving:461.9533.14g35.17g9.7g3.66g0g6.04g *


  1. Split the chilies by either tearing the tops off, or using kitchen scissors to cut them open. Remove the seeds from the peppers and discard (feel free to leave a few, if you like a spicy chili).
  2. You can do this in a hot pan, but I usually toast the chilies directly on a hot burner element, or over a hot burner flame. Over a medium-low temperature, toast the surface of the chilies by placing them in the flame, or directly on the burner surface. This will cause a quick blistering. Do not burn the chilies. Simply toast the surface for about 15 seconds, in a few spots around the chilies. This makes for a richer and more developed flavor.
  3. Fill a bowl or measuring cup with about 4 cups of hot tap water. Place your toasted chilies in the hot tap water, so they may soften.
  4. Pre-heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Turn your slow cooker to a low-temperature.
  6. Season your beef with salt, pepper and cumin.
  7. Add a little oil to the pan, and evenly distribute a handful of beef cubes. You want to sear the beef, to add a nice color, as well as lightly toasting the cumin. If you add too much beef, it will crowd the pan and your beef will not sear. When the beef has begun to color, toss the beef around in the pan, until all pieces of beef are very nicely caramelized and seared. Add the beef to the slower cooker. If you have more beef remaining, repeat this step until all the beef cubes are nicely caramelized and in the slow cooker.
  8. Add your onions, garlic, fresh peppers and oregano to a blender, with a little salt and pepper.
  9. Remove your chilies from the hot water and also add them to the blender. Save the water.
  10. Puree the onion-chilies mixture. If you need to add any moisture to get the blender going, add small amounts of the water from the chilies, just to get the blender moving. You won't need much! Discard whatever you don't use.
  11. Once the vegetables have been pureed, add the sauce to the slow cooker.
  12. Stir the beef into the sauce.
  13. Add the lid to the slow cooker and allow to cook on low for 8 hours.
  14. Serve with favorite sides and grilled low carb tortillas!

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* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition ...


Why do some make it with beef and some with pork? What is the best?

 Delroy Johnson  3/3/2018


---Reply posted by DJ on 3/3/2018
Hi Delroy, I'm honestly not sure why some make it with pork and others with beef. A quick Google didn't yield any results, just lots of variations, all more or less pointing to various chile histories. I'm sure I could spend some time digging into it (pigs didn't exist in the US until roughly the mid-1550's) ... My suspicion, though, is that a lot of it comes down to what's readily available at the time, or what's more cost effective. Personal tastes may also play a part, but I suspect the earliest versions were more related to cost or availability. Which is best? This is the personal preference part. In my mind's eye, I view beef as the more traditional version (I could be wrong), but I typically prefer pork as a meat. This, however, is just me. Which do you prefer?

I love the background information on this recipe and appreciate you sharing it. However, another way to thicken up the sauce is by by boiling up some water in a medium pot and adding all those dried chiles from your recipe along with onion, garlic and spices from your recipe. Boil everything together, turn of burner, and let everything sit for about 30 minutes before putting it in the blender. Then strain and add to beef cubes. I usually add to beef cubes and patato cubes. Authentic El Paso Chile Colorado, yum! Just the way my Mami and Abuela taught me.

BTW, love the toasting or searing of the chile idea, I will try it soon. Thanks!

 Monica  2/21/2016


Do you use 6 chilies all together or 6 of each? 

 Josh   2/25/2015


---Reply posted by DJ on 2/25/2015
Whoops! 6 "total" ... like 2 of 3 different varieties, if that makes sense ...

Thanks for the input, Sandy!

 DJ  9/24/2014


Mission makes a low-carb tortilla (called "Carb Balance") that's available in many grocery stores, at least in my area (near San Francisco.) The size I buy has a net carb count of 6 per tortilla, which isn't bad at all, compared to 23 for a comparably-sized regular tortilla.

 Sandy B  9/24/2014


Unknown ... I don't understand the question. Can you rephrase? Sorry!<br /><br /> CBinLB, I don't. They're actually a brand of low-carb tortilla called "Mama Lupe". I've always ordered them from I hope this helps!

 DJ  7/31/2014


First, this recipe looks amazing. Truly. But I was wondering... do you have a recipe for low carb tortillas that are pictured with the chile? They really look wonderful. Thanks much.

 CBinLB  7/31/2014


do you have to collate the chiles while you add it to the crockpot?

 unknown  7/31/2014


Hi Rose, none of the chilies in this recipe are particularly spicy. Some do have a bit of heat, but it's far from outrageous. That said, I hate to suggest it's appropriate for a small child. It likely is, but ... I honestly am not sure. Sorry!

 DJ  7/6/2014


I have a toddler in the house and I was just wondering how spicy this is. She can handle some spice but I don't want to scare her away with too spicy.

 Rose  7/6/2014


Hi Brooke, do you have any Latin markets in your area? This is probably your best bet. Or ... even a nearby city? They're dried, so they last a while. Google your area to see if there are any Latin or Mexican markets. Beyond that, are there are great Mexican restaurants in your area? Maybe ask them if they'd be willing to sell you a few. Stranger things have happened! I know I've been asked these kinds of questions in restaurants I've worked in and ... 9 times out of 10, if I've got it on hand, I usually just give it to them! I hope this helps! (also, you can just use Anchos and California or Guajillos ... )

 DJ  4/17/2014


I can never find a New Mexico chile. Any advice as to where I can get one? I live in North Mississippi.

 Brooke A.  4/17/2014


Fantastic, Andrea! I'm so glad to hear it! :)

 DJ  12/8/2013


I just made this dish and it is amazing. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes!

 Andrea  12/8/2013


Thank you, Andi! Your idea sounds absolutely amazing! I'd eat that for days! Report back and let us all know how it turns out!

 DJ  3/22/2013


This recipe looks absolutely delicious. I'm going to try Chile COlorado-stuffed Sweet Potatoes this week.

 Andi Houston  3/22/2013