If you’ve ever wondered why there is a genre for the best true crime podcasts, then perhaps this answer might help: true crime draws on the most powerful emotion that humans have – fear.
That’s not to say people who like true crime stories are fearful, more so they enjoy the feeling of being scared and frightened by the capabilities of humans. Similar to watching a horror movie, listening to a true crime podcast can be a scary yet exhilarating experience.
People’s fascination with the true crime podcast genre has only intensified over the past decade. Some center on famous crimes or serial killers, while others dive deep into unsolved murders and recent stories that have been in the news.
As there are so many different true crime podcasts out there, we thought we’d compile a list of our favorites. If you are a true crime junkie, you will find something here to entertain. Most of these are available on your favorite podcast network, including Apple podcast, Spotify, Wonderly, and more.
True Crime Podcasts
We have prepared 17 of the best true crime podcasts for you to listen to involving murders, kidnappings, and strange criminal activity. Find the one that interests you the most, click on the links provided, and start binging!
1. My Favorite Murder
We’re starting strong with My Favorite Murder. This podcast is the perfect combination of true crime and comedy. You can tell its listeners are hooked on this podcast, as exemplified by the enthusiastic community of fans called “Murderinos.”
Hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, this podcast successfully broke download records and sold-out worldwide live tours. Both hosts are devoted fanatics of real-life crime and love nothing more than chatting about a famous serial killer’s small town crime spree. This characteristic is why this podcast is so loved. The genuine interest, outstanding scriptwriting, and humor will make you look forward to each episode. And with over 300 available, you will always be able to find something that strikes a chord.
Try this episode: #324 Hit the Mute Button
2. Dirty John
One of the most popular true crime podcasts of the past five years is Dirty John. It focuses on John Michael Meehan and his relationship with businesswoman Debra Newel. The two met on a dating site and married after a few months of being together. While he appeared a nice guy, it turns out Dirty John had a few secrets of his own.
Hosted by Christopher Goffard, this podcast was downloaded an incredible 10 million times within the first six weeks of being uploaded. If proved so popular a TV series starring Eric Bana as Meehan and Connie Britton as Newel was released.
Try this episode: The Real Thing
3. 90s Crime Time
The 90s Crime Time podcast zeroes in on events that take place from 1990 to 1999. If you were born during this period and are interested in the true crimes that unfolded in this great decade, then you have to put your earphones in and turn your volume up.
Simone Taylor hosts the 90s Crime Time podcast with an exquisite blend of soothing yet authoritative tones. She lays down the facts objectively during the first half of the podcast and shares her analysis of the incident in the second half.
This podcast covers true crimes in the 90s that never made it to the news for reasons unclear. Whether it was because these stories were too gruesome for TV or because they were kept under wraps, you’ll find all the details when listening to the 90s Crime Time podcast.
Try this episode: The Favor
4. The Last Podcast on the Left
This podcast has a wide expanse of topics – from demons and slashers to cults and serial killers. According to its website, The Last Podcast on the Left is for all individuals who lust for blood.
Get spooked by these grisly tales as told by Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks, and Henry Zebrowski. Some episodes are as short as 30 minutes, while others take more than two hours to finish. Most of the episodes are roughly one hour long, with the duration largely depending on the topic at hand.
The hosts are assigned specific tasks to keep the podcast’s authenticity. Marcus reads through the topic cases with much enthusiasm and attention to detail. After laying the facts out, Henry takes over and tries to get himself into the scenario at hand.
These two men occasionally go overboard, so Ben’s job is to keep them grounded in reality and give the listener an entertaining and objective analysis of all the information gathered. With over 500 episodes, you’ll have to put aside plenty of time to get through them all.
Try this episode: Chinese Zodiac Killer
5. Dr Death
The best true crime podcasts combine engaging characters, unbelievable stories, and plenty of blood and guts. Dr Death fits this to a tee. Hosted by Laura Beil, each season of Dr Death deals with a case of medical malpractice.
The first season delves into Christopher Duntsch, a Texas surgeon found guilty of injuring 31 patients and killing two during surgery. The second season is about Farid Fata, an oncologist who treated people with chemotherapy even though they didn’t have cancer. The third and most recent season explores the despicable action of thoracic surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, who performed unethical experiments on patients that lead to several deaths.
Each season will have you hooked from the get-go, partly due to the subject matter and partly due to Beil’s alluring voice and incredible research. Dr Death is extremely popular with true crim enthusiasts and was awarded the 2021 Ambies award for “Best True Crime Podcast.”
Try this episode: Three Days in Dallas
6. Hollywood Crime Scene
What the Hollywood Crime Scene is about is a no-brainer. You get to listen to true crimes and scandals about celebrities in the entertainment industry for 30 minutes to one hour in this fun podcast.
Rachel Fisher and Desi Jedeikin have been hosting this true crime and comedy podcast since 2017. Rachel Fisher is an actress, while Desi Jedeikin is a writer. Together, they put their noses into the showbiz files and talk about them in this podcast.
This pod is a fantastic listen for those who love the entertainment world, with the series looking at the scandals of Hollywood greats such as Dean Martin and Judy Garland, while also exploring crimes and unsolved cases in La La Land.
Try this episode: #225 Bugsy Siegel Part 1
7. Southern Fried True Crime
Putting a spin on the true crime genre, Erica Kelly delves into crimes that have taken place in the deep south on Southern Fried True Crime. Unlike many podcast hosts, Kelly isn’t a professional, she’s a fan.
Wanting to share her love of true crime with others, she started the podcast as a way to shine the light on crimes that have occurred in the southern states of the United States. This helps the pod be a little more relatable than others, and it’s hard not to get caught up in Kelly’s enthusiasm.
This true crime podcast has been going for years and is a big success and will satisfy anyone who is a fan of true crime podcasts.
Try this episode: #67 The Killing of FBI Informant Susan Daniels Smith
8. Tenfold More Wicked
Have you heard about American Sherlock? It’s a book written by Kate Winkler Dawson detailing murder, forensics, and the birth of the American CSI. If you haven’t and are interested but not a fan of reading, then the Tenfold More Wicked podcast is for you.
This podcast effectively combines compelling narration and meticulous journalism to dissect non-fictional true crimes. Like any episode in Sherlock Holmes, you’ll follow the train of thought of both victims and killers to better understand what took place in each particular incident. There have been four seasons so far, with each focusing on a different crime and breaking down all the facts about what happened.
Try this episode: All That’s Wicked: The Schutts
9. Death of A Starlet
Death of a Starlet is a six-part audio series about the Playboy playmate Dorothy Stratten. This true crime pod narrates the sequence of events leading to the death of the starlet.
Dorothy was just 20 years old when she died. She had so much potential and was expecting 1980 to be her best year yet. For an in-depth analysis of her case, Tracy Pattin and Josh Lucas, the co-hosts of this podcast, go deep into Stratten’s history and discuss how this beautiful and talented woman came to her demise at such a young age.
Who were Hugh Hefner, Peter Bogdonovich, and Paul Snider? What roles did they play in the life of this young starlet? Who killed her? Find out what truly happened to Dorothy in this podcast about love, sex, and murder.
Try this episode: Strawberry Sundae Supreme
Do you believe that everyone convicted is a criminal? Or do you belong to the small percentage of the population who are skeptical about the final verdicts in publicized crimes? There’s always more to the story than what is laid out in court.
Listen to Phoebe Judge in the Criminal podcast as she considers the sentiments of the defense, the prosecutors, the jury, and everyone in between on this informative pod. Recognized by the TIME magazine, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan, USA Today, and Wired, Criminal is a highly respected true crime podcast.
Since January 2014, new episodes have been released two Fridays a month. Some episodes of this award-winning podcast only take 15 minutes to listen to, but an average episode takes 35 minutes, making it great for your commute to work.
Try this episode: Only in Hollywood
11. True Crime Garage
If you like your true crime podcasts with a little more flair, give True Crime Garage a crack. Hosted by true crime lovers Nic and the Captain, the dup invites you to grab a beer and join them as they discuss a wide range of true crimes. While the lads provide plenty of detail about the crimes they discuss, there is also a lot of banter and even a few laughs, because let’s be honest, sometimes you need a chuckle when dealing with death and murder all the time.
Each week they tackle a different crime that occurred in the states. From well-known murders to lesser-known cases, True Crime Garage has something for everyone.
Try this episode: When a Killer Calls
12. Who The Hell Is Hamish?
We also have an Australian podcast recommendation on this list. Who The Hell is Hamish? is a podcast about a Sydney surfer who was able to deceive victims from the US, Canada, Britain, Hong Kong, and Australia. Quite impressive but also very fitting for a serial con artist.
The crimes of Hamish Watson are too many to mention. It’s probably the reason why this podcast is worth binge-listening. Imagine a CV full of decades-worth of work experience. Now, change work with duping and you have a detailed history of Watson’s crimes.
Listen to Greg Bearup as he tries to pore over the laundry list of crimes Hamish committed and how he got away with it all in this fascinating podcast.
Try this episode: The Day Max Died
13. Should Be Alive
This podcast investigates the 2019 murder of transgender teenage girl Nikki Kuhnhausen. It was a shocking crime that had the community of Vancouver, Washington up in arms.
Host Ashley Korslien not only delves into the mystery of the murder and what occurred but also highlights how violence against the transgender community is on the rise. There is a lot to take in with this one and it’s sure to provide you with a lot of information about transgender crimes.
At just six episodes in length, Should Be Alive is an engaging podcast you will be able to knock off in no time.
Try this episode: Thing Air
The definition of the word casefile is “a collection of pertinent evidence or documents,” which is a fitting name for this podcast that examines both solved and unsolved cases in a professionally-produced format. The creators of Casefile work hard to stick to their schedule of releasing episodes on Sundays Eastern Standard Time.
The duration of a case file episode is usually one hour and 30 minutes. Creators take a one-week break from releasing full-length episodes, but you can listen to bonus episodes during the break if you subscribe to their page. They call these minisodes.
Up to this point, we have introduced the hosts of each podcast. However, the host of Casefile wants to protect his privacy from the general public and remain anonymous. Let’s just call him Casey, like his fans.
In 2016, Casey started this podcast when he analyzed the Wanda Beach Murders. Since then the podcast has grown with 14 episode categories. He also established the umbrella network called Casefile Presents where you can find five other podcasts of the same genre.
Try this episode: The Zodiac
15. Up and Vanished
This investigative podcast was created and hosted by Payne Lindsey. It ran for three seasons and looked at old missing person cases. The first season focused on former beauty queen and teacher Tara Grinstead and helped lead to the arrest of two men involved in her murder. Lindsey is very thorough with her research and gives a great account of all the facts from various different viewpoints.
The success of Up and Vanished resulted in Lindsey creating several other podcasts, including Atlanta Monster and Radio Rental.
Try this episode: Cold as Alaska
If you have lots of free time on Thursdays, then you might prefer to spend a couple of hours waiting for new episodes on the Serial podcast. Hosted by Sarah Koenig, this podcast is also from the makers of This American Life.
Currently on its third season, Serial narrates a single true crime story per season. This facilitates focused attention and engages its listeners to anticipate the next episode. The strategy was proven effective considering the multiple awards that it’s received.
The first season tells the story of the murder of Hae Min Lee, which happened in Baltimore in 1999. It took 12 episodes to wrap up the season. The episode length ranges from 27 to 54 minutes.
Sarah follows Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl in season two. This season is composed of 11 episodes that you need to listen to in the proper sequence to keep the intended grip of the plot design. Even the titles of the episodes are quite intriguing.
Serial invites listeners to pitch ideas for its future seasons. If you have a juicy and interesting case you want to share, go ahead and try your luck pitching to the Serial podcast.
Try this episode: The Alibi
17. Australian True Crime
It’s not just America where bad things happen. Although it might only be a couple of hundred years old, Australia has a very dark history when it comes to crime. Australian True Crime explores many of these events that have happened since the country was colonized, exposing the murky underbelly of inner-city Australia.
True crime lover Meshel Laurie and true crime author Emily Webb join forces to bring you compelling tales of the dark and sinister deeds committed by Aussie crims. The duo also interviews police detectives, authors, lawyers, and other people who spend their days solving crimes. A must-listen for any true crime obsessive.
Try this episode: Legendary Homicide Detective Rowland Legg
- 1 True Crime Podcasts
- 2 1. My Favorite Murder
- 3 2. Dirty John
- 4 3. 90s Crime Time
- 5 4. The Last Podcast on the Left
- 6 5. Dr Death
- 7 6. Hollywood Crime Scene
- 8 7. Southern Fried True Crime
- 9 8. Tenfold More Wicked
- 10 9. Death of A Starlet
- 11 10. Criminal
- 12 11. True Crime Garage
- 13 12. Who The Hell Is Hamish?
- 14 13. Should Be Alive
- 15 14. Casefile
- 16 15. Up and Vanished
- 17 16. Serial
- 18 17. Australian True Crime