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30 Best True Crime Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

Murder, mystery and the macabre—these true crime podcasts have it all

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True crime podcasts you’ll get hooked on immediately

Podcasts have really taken off within the last decade. People love listening to different stories wherever they are (as long as they know how to listen to podcasts), and one of the best things about podcasts is there’s no shortage of content. There’s a podcast for pretty much everything now, and you may already have a growing list of the best podcasts to listen to, including the best history podcasts, best scary podcasts, the smartest podcasts and the best podcasts for road trips. Well, add a new category to that list: the best true crime podcasts.

The true crime genre has grown tremendously within podcasting, and it continues to grow. If you’re just getting into the genre, it’s a bit overwhelming to sort through—how do you pick which podcasts to listen to? Well, you can start by listening to these best true crime podcasts—and if you’ve been into the true crime genre for a while, see if your favorite podcast made the cut!

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Serial

We can’t talk about the best true crime podcasts without mentioning Serial. Its first season launched in October 2014, and many consider it the first true crime podcast that brought the genre to the mainstream. The first season of Serial explored the 1999 murder of Baltimore high school student Hae Min Lee, including the questionable life-in-prison conviction of Lee’s ex-boyfriend and classmate, Adnan Syed. That conviction was overturned on Sept. 19, 2022, after new evidence was brought to light—including information on two other suspects in the case. After spending 23 years in prison, Syed, who maintained his innocence while behind bars, walks free. Prosecutors now have to decide if they will pursue a new trial or dismiss the case.

The second season of Serial upped the international scale, focusing on Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, an American Army soldier held captive by the Taliban for five years before the United States charged him with desertion. Its third season abandoned its namesake format to explore the American justice system through a weekly cross section of cases that pass through Cleveland’s criminal courts.

Sarah Koenig hosts Serial, and you’ll join her as she tries to piece together what happens in each season. Just when you think you know what’s going on, you quickly learn that not everything is as it seems. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. Don’t forget to check out these baffling forensics cases that stumped everyone.

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Crime Junkie

If you want a true crime podcast that leaves you on the edge of your seat but still feels like you’re chatting with your friends, then Crime Junkie is the podcast for you. This popular true crime podcast is hosted by childhood friends Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat, who dive into a variety of true crime cases—from the well known, like that of serial killer Ed Kemper, to lesser-known but equally important cases you may have only heard about through local news.

Flowers has a knack for telling these stories in a way that will give you full-body chills (as Flowers and Prawat like to say). There’s a reason this podcast is considered one of the best true crime podcasts among fans—check it out for yourself. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher. If make believe is more your thing, try these fiction podcasts that will keep you entertained for hours.

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Morbid: A True Crime Podcast

If you like your true crime with a dash of sidebar humor, add Morbid: A True Crime Podcast to your podcast list. Morbid is hosted by Boston-based aunt-and-niece duo Alaina and Ash (who actually consider themselves sisters). They cover a number of true crime cases, from big cases like Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer to older true crime—like the murder of Julia Wallace back in the early 1930s.

Don’t be surprised if you chuckle (or simply laugh out loud) while listening to Morbid—Alaina and Ash’s banter will make you feel like you’re talking about true crime with two of your best pals. Plus, Morbid‘s listener tales episodes are must-listens—the tales of crime, paranormal activity and straight-up weirdness will make your jaw drop. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. While these podcasts are definitely too scary for children, try out one of these podcasts for kids that even adults will love.

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My Favorite Murder

My Favorite Murder is another true crime podcast that incorporates humor into its storytelling. It’s hosted by comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, who keep it respectful while simultaneously making you laugh. The podcast quickly became a hit after launching in early 2016, and it’s regularly a contender on the top true crime and comedy podcast lists.

Evidently weaned on Sex and the City, the hosts remind us in every episode that it’s better to be sexy than to be murdered. Listen for yourself and see how they cover your favorite true crime case. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

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Dateline NBC

Dateline has captivated television audiences since 1992, but its podcast (which we consider one of the best true crime podcasts to stream) is helping the brand reach podcast lovers. Dateline NBC features new and classic episodes that detail compelling true crime cases you have to hear to believe. It’s produced in a way only Dateline can do—crisp, easy to follow and detailed. You’ll be bingeing it in no time. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher. If you’re looking for something a little more inspiring, try one of these motivational podcasts.

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Casefile 

If you want a podcast that hooks you from the beginning, add Casefile to your must-listen list. Casefile is an award-winning podcast that covers a variety of solved and unsolved cases, from those involving the dark web to missing persons. The Australian host’s identity remains a mystery, as he remains anonymous, but it’s not in a sinister way—in fact, it only adds to the lure of Casefile. Once you start listening, you’ll easily get hooked! Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. If you’re only limited to one streaming platform, check out the best podcasts on Spotify that you can listen to right now.

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And That’s Why We Drink 

This is a two-for-one podcast—it discusses true crime and the paranormal, making it one of the best true crime podcasts to stream. Hosts Christine Schiefer and Em Schulz talk all things spooky and sinister in this comedy true crime podcast. Their banter makes you feel as though you’ve known them forever, and they’ll teach you a thing or two about ghosts and crime along the way. Sit back, grab your favorite beverage and begin bingeing! Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

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Southern Fried True Crime

If you’re curious about true crime cases in the South, Southern Fried True Crime has you covered. This podcast, hosted by Tennessee native Erica Kelley, tackles true crime stories based in the Southern U.S. The South is known for things like southern hospitality and sweet tea, but there’s also plenty of southern true crime to dive into. Southern Fried True Crime‘s popularity speaks for itself—it has nearly 9,000 reviews on Apple Podcasts and an overall rating of 4.6/5 stars. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher. After you’re done listening, watch these true crime documentaries that will make your jaw drop.

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Root of Evil

This podcast covers the murder of Elizabeth Short, infamously known as the Black Dahlia. Short’s murder (which many believe will never be solved) rocked Los Angeles to its core in 1947, and although the case is still cold, one suspect is frequently discussed: Dr. George Hodel. Some people believe Hodel killed Short, and his own son even did an investigation into his father’s potential involvement in her murder. The podcast discusses the Hodel family’s shocking history and dives into the question many have had for decades: Did George Hodel kill Elizabeth Short? Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

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Criminal

Criminal, a bi-monthly exploration into the psychology and sociology behind criminal behavior, is a great choice for fans of TV’s Criminal Minds and Law and Order: Criminal Intent in that it mines the psychology of the criminal mind. However, it doesn’t stop there.

Criminal explores not only the minds of criminals but also the minds of victims. For example, one episode detailing a 1973 bank robbery turns out to be an insightful exploration of the very first documented case of Stockholm Syndrome (in which hostages end up identifying with their captors). It has more than 32,000 ratings on Apple Podcasts and a rating of 4.7/5 stars—start listening now to get a glimpse inside a criminal’s mind. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher. Looking to add to your bookshelf? Check out these true crime books you won’t be able to put down.

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CounterClock

CounterClock is a true crime podcast that’ll have you hooked from episode one. It’s hosted by investigative journalist Delia D’Ambra, who deep dives into a case each season. The first season discusses the murder of Denise Johnson, the second season looks into Stacey Stanton’s murder and the third season covers the murder of the Pelley family. D’Ambra brings these decades-old cases back into the spotlight as she re-examines the facts and does in-depth research in an attempt to get the answers so many people want. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. P.S. Do you know about the strangest unsolved mysteries from each state?

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Loose Units

Vast, mysterious and, at one time, a prison colony for Great Britain, Australia is another geographical hotbed of true crime. The father-son duo behind the Loose Units podcast mines that mystique each week, telling a different story from the father’s tenure on the Sydney police force in the 1980s, focusing on those that were “too surreal, brief or contentious” to fit into the book by the same name. Don’t miss your chance to start this podcast from the beginning and get caught up. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. After listening, binge these true crime documentaries on Netflix.

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Crimetown

The first season of Crimetown focused on organized crime in Providence, Rhode Island, which seems an unexpected choice—that is, until you have a listen, at which point it might seem odd that Providence hasn’t been the setting of more mafia movies. Season two focuses on Detroit and delves insightfully into factors that made the Motor City an ideal backdrop for the drug trade, political scandal and racial unrest while bringing us close to the people who make the stories all the more vivid.

The nearly 14,000 reviews on Apple Podcasts and a 4.7/5 star rating speak for themselves—this is a podcast you shouldn’t miss. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher. If you’re more interested in today’s politics, check out these political podcasts that will keep you informed.

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Dr. Death

This podcast is riveting because it sheds light on doctors who performed horrible medical malpractice. The first season of Dr. Death covers the story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch, and the second season recounts the case of Dr. Farid Fata. It’s jarring because we’re taught to trust medical professionals with our health, even our lives, and hearing these stories of doctors who can’t be trusted sends chills down your spine. You’ll feel a number of emotions while listening to this podcast—anger, disbelief and bewilderment, to name a few. Don’t be shocked if you binge both seasons within days. Available on Apple PodcastsSpotify and Stitcher.

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Anatomy of Murder

You know Anatomy of Murder is going to suck you in just by looking at the two hosts’ credentials. Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi is a former New York City homicide prosecutor, and Scott Weinberger is an Emmy award–winning investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Needless to say, they know a thing or two about true crime.

Together, they give you insider perspectives on true crime cases and try to figure out exactly what happened. Their expertise is admirable, and their ability to stick to the facts and do their research makes this a standout true crime podcast. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

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Up and Vanished

If you like diving into the mysteries behind missing person cases, add Up and Vanished to your queue right away. This investigative podcast, one of the best true crime podcasts to stream, is hosted by Payne Lindsay. During its first season, Lindsay covered the disappearance of Tara Grinstead, a young teacher who went missing in Ocilla, Georgia, in 2005. The podcast helped shed light on Grinstead’s case more than a decade after she disappeared.

The second season covers the disappearance of Kristal Reisinger, who went missing in Colorado in July 2016, and season three covers the 2017 disappearance of Ashley Loring HeavyRunner in Montana. Lindsay interviews key players in each case as he tries to find answers to these disappearances. You’ll feel as though you’re right beside him the entire time as he gathers more facts and tries to put the pieces together. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

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The Apology Line

There’s one word to describe one of the best true crime podcasts in recent years: WOW. The Apology Line details the story of the actual apology line—a phone number in Manhattan people could call anonymously to say they’re sorry for their actions. The man on the other end, known as Mr. Apology, listened as thousands of callers apologized for their actions—including murder. Soon, Mr. Apology realizes he can’t sit back and simply listen anymore.

The Apology Line is hosted by a woman close to the real Mr. Apology, as she recalls the days of the apology line and the impact it had on its creator. This is a must-listen—your jaw will drop by minute five of the first episode. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

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Swindled

Swindled is a podcast that dives into some of the most notorious white collar crimes. The anonymous host covers cases involving con artists, Ponzi schemes, corruption and everything in between. The show is well researched, and the host has a way of keeping you engaged with these unbelievable stories. It has nearly 8,000 reviews on Apple Podcasts and a 4.6/5 star rating. Listen for yourself and get sucked into the shocking world of white collar crime. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

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The Trail Went Cold

If you’re a fan of Unsolved Mysteries, you’ll love this podcast. The Trail Went Cold covers unsolved mysteries and cold cases each week. The host, Robin Warder, has a unique way of telling his well-researched stories that entices you to keep listening. These cases will wrack your brain—and may send you down a rabbit hole late at night. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

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The Vanished

The Vanished is another true crime podcast that tells the stories of missing people. Host Marissa Jones discusses the facts and circumstances surrounding each case with key players, including loved ones and law enforcement. Jones combines thorough research with compelling storytelling to shed light on these cases. The podcast has nearly 13,000 reviews on Apple Podcasts and a 4.5/5 star rating. More than 340 episodes in its collection means you’ll have plenty to binge. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

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Wrongful Conviction

Sometimes, people go to jail for crimes they didn’t commit—and their stories deserve to be told. Wrongful Conviction combines first-hand interviews with those wrongfully convicted and case files from the lawyers who freed them to discuss what happened—from how they were arrested to how they were freed. Be prepared to yell “Are you serious?!” at least once per episode. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

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Mafia

There are plenty of true crime tales in the underworld of organized crime. Mafia is a riveting podcast that deep-dives into the stories of mobsters, gangsters and the people who helped put them behind bars. It’s an entertaining and well-researched podcast that’ll teach you a thing or two about those entrenched in the shocking world of organized crime. Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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Women & Crime

Women & Crime, hosted by two associate professors of criminology at Fairleigh Dickinson University, is one of the best true crime podcasts because it combines expertise, thorough research and excellent discussion. They have years of experience in the criminal justice system and bring their expertise to the table as they discuss female-focused true crime stories. You’ll definitely learn a thing or two while listening to this one! Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

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Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories

This podcast has a bit of a twist on your typical true crime podcast. It’s reminiscent of those old-time radio dramas people loved, with an ensemble cast that helps paint vivid pictures of crime scenes, investigations and plot twists that completely change the course of true cold cases. Add it to your list to listen to right away. Available on Spotify.

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Undisclosed

Undisclosed is another podcast focusing on the exoneration of the wrongly accused and convicted. It helps shed light on the criminal justice system and how it can end up sending innocent people to prison. Don’t miss the sequence of episodes about Adnan Syed. Available on Apple PodcastsSpotify and Google Podcasts.

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Crime Countdown

If you’re a fan of Morbid, there’s a chance you already know about Crime Countdown, one of the best true crime podcasts out there. And if you don’t, add it to your growing list of podcasts to binge. Crime Countdown features Morbid co-hosts Alaina and Ash discussing true crime stories surrounding a specific theme. They’ve done episodes on the greatest art heists, royal killers, deadly cults and even Zodiac Killer theories. You’ll be hooked after episode one! Available on Spotify.

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The Dating Game Killer

The Dating Game Killer is one of the most chilling true crime cases, so naturally, there had to be a podcast about it. It covers the twisted life of Rodney Alcala, a serial killer who, while in the middle of a killing spree in 1978, won a date on The Dating Game. This podcast details how Alcala was able to lead a seemingly normal life while simultaneously committing heinous crimes. He may just be one of the most baffling serial killers you’ve never heard of. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

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88 Days: The Jayme Closs Story

More often than not, there’s no happy ending to a true crime case. But this true crime podcast, 88 Days: The Jayme Closs Story, is different. It tells the story of 13-year-old Jayme Closs, who was abducted from her home on Oct. 15, 2018. She turned up alive, having escaped her captor, nearly three months later. Without discounting the tragic aspects of the case, it’s told with care by a reporter who covered the case from the very beginning. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

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Paper Ghosts

Paper Ghosts has two seasons that discuss two different cases. The first season covers the disappearances of four young girls in neighboring New England towns in the 1970s. No arrests have been made. The second recounts the details of an Ohio house fire that killed four people in 1981 … but was it really the fire that led to their demise? Investigative journalist and true crime author M. William Phelps digs for the truth. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

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Real Crime Profile

Some true crime podcast junkies are interested primarily in the minds of criminals. For them, there’s Real Crime Profile. Hosted by a former FBI criminal profiler and a former Scotland Yard investigator, Real Crime Profile (one of the best true crime podcasts to binge) takes a deep dive each episode into the tantalizingly damaged emotional lives of real-life criminals, many of whom you’re already familiar with, such as Steven Avery (whose story inspired the breakout documentary Making a Murderer) and OJ Simpson. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

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Additional reporting by Lauren Cahn. 

Sources:

  • CBS News: “Adnan Syed’s lawyer on his release, what’s next and why he rejected a past plea deal”
  • The Associated Press: “‘Serial’ case: Adnan Syed released, conviction tossed”

Kelly Kuehn
Kelly Kuehn is an associate editor for Reader’s Digest covering entertainment, trivia and history. When she’s not writing you can find her watching the latest and greatest movies, listening to a true crime podcast (or two), blasting ‘90s music and hiking with her dog, Ryker, throughout the Finger Lakes.