Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Chili

Photography Credit: Emma Christensen

This recipe is brought to you in partnership with Stubb’s Cookin’ Sauces.

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 ChickenI use 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. If you’re not a fan of thigh meat, it’s fine to use chicken breasts instead, but the texture will be slightly chewier.

There’s another trick to this easy slow cooker meal: chili cooking sauce. This is a new-to-me supermarket shortcut and one that I think it’s worth checking out. It’s basically a pre-made blend of tomatoes, garlic, chili peppers, and other spices, and it’s handy for times when you don’t feel like doing a lot of sautéing or simmering on the stovetop. Think of chili sauce like an instant flavor boost for your chili.

Shredded Chili ChickenAs with any pre-made sauce like this, some are made with more attention to quality than others, and you might prefer the taste of one over another.

I recently had the chance to try Stubb’s version of this chili sauce, their “Chili Fixins Cookin’ Sauce,” and I was really impressed! Their sauce is made with just a handful of ingredients – all of which are legitimate chili ingredients – and it comes with a separate spice packet so you can choose the level of heat. The Stubb’s Chili Fixins sauce is also gluten-free, which is a bonus for me since I cook for several gluten-free friends and sauces like this often contain gluten.

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

  • 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.


  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 package Stubb's Chili Fixins Cookin' Sauce (sauce package and spice pack)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 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:


1 Combine the chicken, diced onions, and diced celery in the bowl of a slow cooker: Cut chicken breasts into 2 or 3 large pieces, if using.

Shredded Chili Chicken

2 Add the Stubb's Chili Fixins Cookin' Sauce: Pour the entire contents of the sauce packet over the chicken. Sprinkle 1/4 of the spice packet over top for mildly spicy chili, or use more if you like spicy foods. (You can also taste the chili toward the end of cooking and add more spices.)

Shredded Chili Chicken Shredded Chili Chicken

3 Add the broth and stir to combine.

Shredded Chili Chicken Shredded Chili Chicken

4 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

5 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 spice mix, if desired.

Shredded Chili Chicken

6 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

7 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 a food writer, editor, and homebrewing expert. She was formerly the recipe editor for The Kitchn and is the author of two cookbooks, True Brews and Brew Better Beer. 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 19 Comments

  • Jackson

    perfect time of year to break out my slow cooker. i’m not sure i can find this product at my local grocery store but stubbs bbq sauce is a staple in my house so i know i have 3 bottles of the original sauce in my pantry right now . can i use one of those instead?

  • Terry Ann

    Thanks Emma! I am a big fan of anything slow cooker and I love Stubbs BBQ sauce. I noticed these packets in my local grocery store about a year ago but had no idea what they were. I will definitely try this recipe…..can other folks buy the packet online if they can’t find them locally?

  • Janet Campbell

    so good recipe….thanks

  • Kim

    This looks delicious but I agree….would rather use my own spices as opposed to the prepackaged mix. What would you recommend to take it’s place?

  • Ashley

    This looks so delicious, but I’m on board with Mark and Michael!
    Also- do you use chicken thighs with the bone in and then shred the meat off after it’s cooked? I think I actually just answered my own question….

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