Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Chili

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Chili is perfect for busy weeks! Made with chicken thighs or breasts, onions, celery, black beans, frozen corn, chicken broth, tomato puree, and spices. So easy!

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Photography Credit: Emma Christensen

This slow cooker chicken chili recipe is for those days when you would really like to just throw a bunch of ingredients in a pot, wave a magic wand, and have dinner ready exactly on time. That would be nice, right?!

There’s no magic wand (unfortunately), but thanks to the slow cooker, the rest of this recipe comes pretty darn close to granting that wish.

Shredded Chili Chicken

The only prep work needed for this recipe is dicing the onion and the celery. Everything else is a matter of opening a few cans, measuring some spices, and stirring everything together.

I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe. I’ve found they hold up better than chicken breasts over the long cooking, and shred easily into silky and tender strands by the time the chili is ready. It’s fine to use chicken breasts if you’re not a fan of chicken thighs, but the texture will be slightly chewier.

Shredded Chili Chicken

The slow cooker time for this chili is really flexible, so you can adapt it to suit your schedule. The chicken just gets more tender the longer you let it cook. If you’re running late, it’s fine if the chili continues to cook on the “low” setting or “warm” setting for a little longer past the 8-hour mark. Try not to push it too much longer, though, or else the chicken starts to become mushy.

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Chili Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 6 hours
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings (Makes about 10 cups)

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or a mix of breasts and thighs, can be substituted for the chicken thighs, if you prefer.

As is, this makes a fairly mild chili. If you'd prefer a spicier chili, add 1 or 2 chopped jalapenos or a 4-ounce can of green chilis.

Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months.

This recipe has been revised since first published in 2016.

Ingredients

  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 15-ounce cans tomato puree (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed with a garlic press
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Optional chili toppings:

  • Diced green onions
  • Shredded cheese
  • Diced avocado
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream

Special equipment:

Method

1 Combine the chicken, diced onions, and diced celery in the bowl of a slow cooker: If you're using chicken breasts, cut them into 2 or 3 large pieces.

Shredded Chili Chicken

2 Add the liquids and spices: Add the tomato puree, broth, garlic, and spices to the slow cooker. Stir to mix and coat the chicken and vegetables. (Note: Wait to add the beans, corn, and vinegar until the end of cooking.)

Shredded Chili Chicken

3 Cover and cook on high for 2 to 4 hours, or low for 6 to 8 hours. It's fine if the chili ends up cooking a little longer on the "low" or "warm," too.

Shredded Chili Chicken

4 Shred the chicken using two forks. Shred the chicken right in the slow cooker; or if it feels easier, transfer the large pieces to a bowl, shred, and then return the chicken to the slow cooker. Taste the chili and add salt, pepper, or additional spices, if desired.

Shredded Chili Chicken

5 Stir in the beans, corn, and vinegar, then cover and continue cooking until warmed through. This should take about 15 to 30 minutes. Watch for the chili to start bubbling again.

Shredded Chili Chicken

6 Serve with toppings. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for up to a week or up to 3 months frozen.

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Emma Christensen

Emma Christensen is the managing editor for Simply Recipes, as well as a food writer and homebrewing expert. She was formerly the recipe editor for The Kitchn and is the author of three books on home-brewing, True Brews, Brew Better Beer, and Modern Cider. Emma is a graduate of The Cambridge School for Culinary Arts and Bryn Mawr College. She lives in San Jose, California.

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Shredded Chili Chicken

Showing 4 of 18 Comments

  • Bharat Verma

    Hi Laura,
    You can use vinegar to clean your chicken thighs and then rinse them with water before you put them in the slow cooker. This will help you to get rid of the blood and any chicken smell.
    I hope this helps.

  • Laura Courson

    I’m just curious to know . . . when you are using chicken thighs, do you wash out and clip out all of the fat you can and also the blood and veins you see in the thighs. I try to and it takes me forever to get all that gunk out of the thighs.

  • Gerry Ann

    Do I add the 4 oz can of green chillies at the beginning of the slow cooking time or with the corn and beans at the end of the cooking time?

  • Spencer

    I’im in the process of making this recipe and I’m a lb short of chicken thighs. Looks like 2 lbs of chicken thighs is about 8 chicken thighs. I only had 5 to begin with. Just a fyi.

  • Phil

    Sorry, the comment on the passata/puree was for Corrine, not Judi. There are minor differences in the measurements – US cups and measuring spoons to metric ones, but if you use one set of measuring cups & spoons throughout, either US or metric, it doesn’t make a difference (with my recipes anyway).

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