Nothing is more satisfying than listening to spooky true crime podcasts while cleaning your house with bleach to remove the evidence. I mean to disinfect.
Whether doing household chores, making dinner, or on a long commute, listening to podcasts is a great way to kill time.
There are many true crime podcasts to choose from and many gripping and horrific true crime stories. So how do you know which ones are worth listening to?
Have no fear; I have listened to thousands of hours to ensure we’ve compiled a list of the best podcasts. I promise you will become a podcast addict and even an amateur detective after listening to some murder cases on this playlist.
Before you listen to any of these, I would like to place a content warning on all these podcasts as they get into brutal crimes, abuse, and other extremely sensitive topics. So please remember not to listen when there are young ears around or use headphones.
25 Best True Crime Podcasts That Will Scare Your Socks Off
1. Let’s Not Meet
One of my top favorite podcasts of all time. Nothing is more horrifying than a true horror story. Tune in and listen to storyteller Andrew Tate narrate in first person true horror stories submitted by survivors who made it out alive. After listening to a few crime stories, you’ll learn that all these survivors had one thing in common: they listened to their gut instinct and situational awareness. Ever since I started listening to this podcast, I have heightened my situational awareness and increased my safety.
Let’s Not Meet is a weekly podcast, and each episode has multiple true story accounts. Each episode is approximately 50 minutes long.
Criminal is a unique podcast show “about people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle,” Hosted by Phoebe Judge, whose voice is genuinely mesmerizing (off-topic, but I also love Phoebe on the podcast This is Love). Unlike other shows that unfold slowly, often across multiple episodes and over many hours, Criminal tells rich stories from start to finish in single episodes that often run under 30 minutes. The quality of the reporting is impressive, and Criminal uses trained public radio journalists. Criminal focuses on each case’s emotional, story-driven, intellectual, or philosophical aspects. The episodes are so interesting to listen to, engaging, and really get you thinking.
Serial is one of the most popular podcasts that started the true-crime podcast trend. Serial comes from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one true crime story over the course of a season. This podcast is high quality and professionally done, and it shows since it has won every major award. You’ve probably heard the story about an innocent man convicted of murder named Adnan Syed. His story captured the whole world’s attention when it came out in 2014. Serial is a true crime podcast series with reporter Sarah Koenig. She spent over a year digging into Syed’s case and reporting her findings in real time. Each season focuses on a new crime series and is a binge-worthy podcast.
4. Up and Vanished
Up and Vanished is in its fourth season. The show is hosted by investigative reporter Payne Lindsey who spends anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour on each episode on a missing person’s case. The podcast has been so successful that it has its own TV show on the Oxygen network. Up and vanished is an excellent crime podcast to listen to, as Payne has a deep desire to find justice for victims who were kidnapped and unsolved murder cases.
5. Generation Why
Generation Why is another leader of the true crime genre in the podcasting world. Hosts Aaron and Justin dive deep and break down unsolved murders, controversies, mysteries, and conspiracies. The two are passionate about justice, rights, and due process, knowledgeable, and very easy to listen to. Even though several podcasts can talk about the same crime story, Justin and Aaron bring a different perspective by focusing on the legality of cases. They open your eyes to the issues within a jaded criminal justice system and media-based society. Generation Why is a weekly podcast, and each episode lasts around one hour.
6. The Vanished
The Vanished is a true crime podcast that researches the stories of missing people. This podcast goes above the regular news reports and dives deeper into each case. The Vanished is hosted by Marissa Jones, who does exclusive interviews with family members, friends, law enforcement, and experts to highlight a story about a missing person. These stories must be heard as the media doesn’t give a fair chance to stories of missing people with imperfect lives.
Disappeared is a documentary-style podcast about missing people and the chilling details of their disappearances. This podcast interviews family members and cops connected to the missing person to explore their recent lives and last actions before their disappearance. It’s heartbreaking as some stories remain unsolved; however, the families never give up hope and continue to search. The Disappeared podcast releases a show weekly, and each episode runs about 40 minutes in length.
8. Unsolved Mysteries
From the original creators of the iconic 90s television show hosted by Steve French, unsolved mysteries is now a podcast! Now you can’t go wrong with a classic show like Unsolved Mysteries. The podcast releases weekly episodes that are 30 minutes long. Each week they discuss a new mystery and cold cases ranging from terrifying abductions to bizarre paranormal encounters, heinous murderers, and unexplained deaths. I love my true crime, but sometimes it’s nice to hear a little mystery, whether unexplained deaths or paranormal.
9. True Crime
True Crime with Kendal Ray, a YouTuber, uses her media platforms to spread awareness for victims and their families. Kendal Ray is empathetic in how she delivers her true crime cases. She always approaches every case with compassion for the victims. Kendal Ray’s content is always very informative. The one thing about this podcast I love is that she offers ways to help solve cases. True Crime is a weekly podcast, and each episode lasts under an hour.
10. Crime Junkie
This podcast is for you if you have a borderline obsession with crime stories. These free podcasts are released weekly (every Monday) and are 30 minutes long. The professional-sounding and well-researched crime stories are hosted by Ashley Flowers and her best friend, Brit Prawat. Crime Junkie podcasts are great storytelling and full of suspense.
11. Shattered Souls
Shattered Souls host Karen Smith is a retired major case forensic investigator in Jacksonville, Florida. Karen retells cases that she covered in great depth in her career. It’s fascinating to hear crime details from a forensics perspective, which you don’t get to hear too often, especially in true crime podcasts. Listening to Karen’s personal stories shows how much crime cases and victims can impact a police officer’s life as she relives each tale. You will feel Karen took you on a ride and dragged you into the crime scene with her. It’s truly terrifying. The podcast releases new episodes weekly, each over 30 minutes long.
12. Lights Out
The Lights Out podcast has it all: horror, true crime, and the paranormal that will keep you awake at night. The podcast is hosted by Josh Haberer, who has the perfect voice for this creepy podcast. There is something for everyone in this podcast, so skip to the genre of stories you like the best. New episodes are released every Friday, and each episode runs for over 30 minutes.
13. Reddit Explains Conspiracy, Controversy, and the Unknown
Reddit Explains Conspiracy, Controversy, and the Unknown is a podcast about precisely what it’s called! Hosts Sam Wilder and Addy Love have good chemistry on the show and tell the stories very well. Tune in as they unravel and expose some of the most frightening stories experienced by everyday Redditors. The podcast releases episodes daily and covers topics sure to make you question the reality of the world around you. The podcast episodes are short, ranging from 10 to 15 minutes, so they are easy to binge-listen!
Unexplained is a well-researched podcast about mysterious and often spooky occurrences that happened in real life. Unexplained is a story-based show mixing history with terrifying unexplained accounts of vampires, witches, the devil, and ghosts, to name a few. Unexplained is a unique podcast perfect for anyone looking for something darker and unexplained stories of the world. The podcast releases new episodes bi-weekly, and each episode is 30 minutes or less.
15. Murder Mystery and Makeup
YouTuber Bailey Sarian, a professional makeup artist and true crime lover, married her two passions beautifully into this podcast. The YouTuber tells crime and mystery stories while doing her makeup. However, it’s less about the makeup and more about the crime. She does her makeup but doesn’t walk you through the process like other makeup tutorials. She creates a look, focusing on the true crime story. Watching her YouTube made you feel like you’re at your best friend’s house getting ready to go out, and she has the dirt on a crime she researched thoroughly and needs to dish it out. The episodes are anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour long, and they are released on Mondays but not every Monday, as the lady does need a break.
16. Strange and Unexplained
Have you ever wondered why strange things happen? This podcast is different, but in a good way. Each week the podcast dives into a true and fascinating story that will terrify you. The podcast is hosted by Tony Award-winning actor and writer Daisy Eagan. Strange and Unexplained is a journey into the uncomfortable and the unknowable that will leave you both laughing and sleeping with the lights on. Daisy has a pleasant voice and is a pleasure to listen to, and the podcast is of high quality. Strange and Unexplained has new episodes weekly on Wednesdays; each episode is 30 minutes long.
17. Ghosts in the Burbs
Ghosts in the Burbs is a very entertaining podcast. Liz, the host, is a fantastic storyteller and writer. Ghosts in the Burbs tells a story of a local mother who collects ghost stories for her blog from people in her town of Wellesley, Massachusetts. I love the script of this average mom interviewing people as she often injects little reflections of life in the city. You will feel like you’re hanging out with a friend as she discusses her wardrobe choices, bits about her kids, differences in social classes, etc. This podcast is light yet entertaining if you want a break from grisly true crime stories. So insert your earbuds and enjoy a well-done scary tale.
18. Radio Rental
Hosted by Tenderfoot co-founder Payne Linsey, Radio Rental is a somewhat scripted show that takes place in a fictional 90’s vibe video store that has a secret VHS collection of spooky stories. The only fictional thing is the video store and the clerk who works there, Terry Carnation (played by Rainn Wilson). The stories are all real and narrated by the people who have experienced the events. The sound effects are great and will make the story you are listening to sound all too real. This podcast is truly unique. They have this amazing ability to have these silly moments, yet it is jaw-dropping spooky. As someone who enjoys true crime and horror, this podcast delivers stories in a fun but tasteful way.
19. The No Sleep Podcast
The No Sleep Podcast started out as a subreddit forum on Reddit where people could post and share their creepy stories. The subreddit forum grew successfully large, and one member, Matt Hensen, posted an idea to make it into a podcast. The idea turned into reality, and a podcast was born. David Cummins from the forum assumed the role of host and producer, turning this podcast into a multi-award-winning original horror stories series of frightening fictional tales. The Podcast releases episodes weekly, and each show is 1.5 hours long.
Lore is a well-researched documentary-style podcast that covers legends, folklore, and grim and horrifying historical events. Hosted by Aaron Mahnke, who has that perfect soothing broadcasting voice that tells you haunting, creepy historical events and reveals the dark side of human nature. The podcast has done so well that it inspired a TV show of the same name. Lore podcast releases episodes bi-weekly, and each show runs around 30 minutes in length.
21. Cabinets of Curiosity
Cabinets of Curiosity are brought to you by the creators of the hit podcast Lore. It’s hosted by Aaron Mahnke, who tells 2 bite-sized interesting short historical stories and tales you have probably never heard of. It’s educational, unbelievable, and most unsettling and bizarre. Podcasts are released semi-weekly with 10 to 15 minute long episodes.
Spooked is a podcast hosted by Glynn Washinton, which features true supernatural stories told firsthand by people who can barely believe it happened. If you’re looking for something that is actually spooky with high-quality audio, then this is the podcast you will want to toon into. The podcast releases episodes weekly, which run 30 to 40 minutes long.
Morbid is a well-researched true crime/creepy history podcast. It’s hosted by Alania Urquhart, an autopsy technician and author, and Ash Kelley, a hairdresser. The pair have fantastic chemistry on the show, diving into some creepy history and lightening the mood with a little bit of comedy. Morbid releases episodes semi-weekly, and the shows can run over 1.5 hours long.
24. The Shrink
The Shrink next door is a true story about Issac Herschkoph, a psychiatrist who took advantage of his patients to exploit them for personal gain. The podcast was written and hosted by Joe Nocera. The podcast premiered on May 21, 2019, and consists of 14 episodes that run from 30 to 40 minutes long. The series hasn’t continued since then.
25. And That’s Why We Drink
And That’s Why We Drink is a true crime and paranormal podcast. It’s the best of both worlds when looking for a good scare! It was hosted by Christine Schiefer (Team Wine) and Em Schulz (Team Milkshake), who started this podcast in 2017 because they both had a mutual love for all things scary. Christine and Em are hilarious and will make you laugh out loud. They love to poke fun at each other, which lightens the mood while they scare the pants off of you. This podcast is addictive, especially if you love a good true scary story. If that’s the case, I guarantee you will want to binge-listen to over 5 years of recording time in months. The episodes are released every Sunday, and have a bonus episode on the first of every month.
The Best True Crime Stories
This is the list of the best true crime podcasts out there! Download your free podcasts at the google play store or apple iTunes and give yourself a good scare listening to popular crime and horror stories.