Slow Cooker Tequila Lime Chili

We continue onto Week 6 of College Football, which means another delicious Football bite! I can’t believe we are already halfway through the college football season! Tonight is another big game, the #21 Nebraska Cornhuskers travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on the #12 Ohio State Buckeyes! It’s our first night game and I’m hoping for a win, unlike last years painful loss against the Cornhuskers.

Whenever we throw a football tailgating party, a big simmering pot of  chili always makes the menu. Football and chili are the perfect combination! Ground turkey, tequila, spices, jalapenos and beans are simmered together to make an incredible chili that your guests will be talking about for weeks! The slow cooker does most of the work, which means you will have more time to watch every play and spend time with your guests. If you are throwing a noon tailgate, set the crock pot the night before so it cooks all night long. Although this recipe requires a little prep work, it’s absolutely worth it. Before cooking, the ground turkey is mixed with a paste that’s made with milk and bread, called a panade. The panade helps to retain moisture during cooking, leaving you with tender, flavorful chunks of turkey throughout. Resist the urge to use wheat bread for the panade, its high fiber content will dry out the meat. White bread is best since its neutral flavor incorporates easily into the turkey mixture and doesn’t interfere with other flavors in a recipe. This is a recipe that you will want to serve well after the football season is over. Serve with a big hunk of cornbread for a football bite that all of your guests will enjoy!

Slow Cooker Tequila Lime Chili


1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
2 tablespoons milk
1 lb ground turkey
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 onion, minced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds remove, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes, juice reserved
1 (15-oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tequila (plus more for serving, if desired), divided
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon minced chipotle chile in adobo
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (plus more for serving, if desired)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro


Use a fork to mash the bread and milk into a paste in a large bowl. Add the ground turkey, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and stir to combine.
Heat oil until shimmering in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, chili powder, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened and browned.
Add the ground turkey mixture and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up large pieces, until no longer pink. Add the tomato sauce, scraping up browned bits.
Transfer to a slow cooker. Add the diced tomatoes (including their juice), pinto beans, 3 tablespoons of tequila, soy sauce, honey, and chipotle chile, stirring to combine. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until the ground turkey is very tender.
Stir in remaining tablespoon of tequila, lime zest, lime juice and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add additional tequila or lime juice if desired. Serve with your favorite chili toppings, such as cheese, sour cream, or tortilla strips.

Source: adapted from Pink Parsley, originally adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution

If you’ve missed them, make sure to check out the rest of my College Football Bites: :)

Week One: Make Ahead Cheesy Pigs in a Blanket 

Week Two: Mini Beef and Cheese Empanadas       

Week Three: Buffalo Chicken Dip                           

Week Four: Loaded Baked Potato Dip                     

Week Five: Pizza Pinwheels                                     

12 Responses to “Slow Cooker Tequila Lime Chili”

  1. #
    Cassie — October 6, 2012 @ 9:52 am

    Love this, Christina! Perfect flavors but so unique!

  2. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — October 6, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

    There’s just something about chili in the Fall….they go perfectly together :) Definitely gotta have cornbread on the side

  3. #
    Laura Dembowski — October 7, 2012 @ 7:40 am

    I love that this chili can just stay warm in the slow cooker for the whole game and party. Such a host friendly dish so you’re not stuck the kitchen all day.

  4. #
    Jed Gray (sportsglutton) — October 7, 2012 @ 8:36 am

    If desired??? Heck ya a little more tequila is desired!

  5. #
    ChgoJohn — October 7, 2012 @ 9:22 am

    Midway through the college schedule?!?! That sure went fast! Being able to set this up the night before sure would make the morning of game day easier — and halftime a whole lot tastier.

  6. #
    baker street — October 8, 2012 @ 6:47 am

    a little more tequila is very welcome. 😉 this looks insanely delicious, C and I’d love a bowl for dinner.

  7. #
    Your Cookery Book — October 8, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

    Looks so delicious….

  8. #
    Kristi@My San Francisco Kitchen — October 8, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

    Wow, this looks so comforting and flavorful! What a fun recipe :)

  9. #
    Kim - Liv Life — October 8, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

    I love this!! The title alone is so tempting, but reading the recipe I’m certain that this would be a family pleaser. Awesome!!

  10. #
    lindsay — December 13, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

    Hi! This looks amazing! I am including it in a slow cooker recipe collection here

  11. #
    Liz — February 19, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

    This looks delicious, how spicy is it? I’ve never used chipotle chile in adobo. Thanks!

    • Christina replied: — February 19th, 2013 @ 8:30 pm

      I don’t think that the chili is too spicy, however, if you are not a fan of spice I would use half of the chipotle chilies. You can always add more later if you want it spicier! If you give it a try I would love to hear how it turns out for you! :)

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