Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

VideoFavorite FallSlow CookerGluten-FreeChicken Thigh

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili is perfect for busy weeks! Make it with chicken thighs or breasts, onions, celery, black beans, frozen corn, chicken broth, tomato puree, and spices. Combine everything in a crockpot or slow cooker, and let it simmer all day while you're away.

Photography Credit: Emma Christensen

Featured in 11 Recipes to Make with Freezer Ingredients

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.

Video! How to Make Chicken Chili in the Slow Cooker

Set It And Forget It Slow Cooker Recipe

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 it all 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.

Crockpot Chili Chicken in a bowl for serving

A Recipe to Fit Your Schedule

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.

Suggestions and Substitutions

  • Don’t love a tomato-y chili? Reduce the amount of tomatoes to one can and add extra broth to compensate.
  • Add a 4-ounce can of roasted green chilis at the beginning of cooking.
  • If you’d prefer a spicier chili, add 1 or 2 chopped jalapeños.
  • Swap the black beans for pinto beans.
  • Top your bowls with cilantro, green onions, avocado, crushed tortilla chips, a dollop of sour cream, or extra cheese.

Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Chili Chicken Chili in the crockpot

Storing and Freezing Chicken Chili

Leftover chicken chili will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Freeze chicken chili in airtight containers for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating, or warm frozen chili right in a covered saucepan over low heat.

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Updated February 19, 2020 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Slow cook time: 6 to 8 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.

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 or stock
  • 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 vegetables and chicken in the slow cooker: If you're using chicken breasts, cut them into 2 or 3 large pieces.

Nestle the chicken into the vegetables inside the slow cooker liner

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.)

Stir together all the ingredients for crockpot chicken chili

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.

Cover the slow cooker chicken chili with a lid for cooking

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.

Shredding the chicken for easy crockpot chicken chili

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.

Adding the beans and corn to the slow cooker chicken chili

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 Editor-in-Chief of Simply Recipes, and has over 10 years of experience creating food and content for web and print. 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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37 Comments / Reviews

No ImageEasy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. PK

    Hmm, it seems like a few people here thought the 3 cups of puree was a lot. I agree. It turned into a hearty soup (I had to add cornflour to thicken it up). Alright dish but I was looking forward to chili.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Pepper

    The only thing bad about this is that it is so good that I make it too much! I love it and add a little extra spice to heat up the flavor, but it isn’t needed. I do omit the celery, as I am not a fan of celery.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Tara

    I have made this about 10 times now, except I don’t like onions at all, so I omit those and add some onion powder. This is always a house favorite and I just wanted to say thanks!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Al

    I have a very similar cheat version of this that replaces the onion, celery, tomato and spices with two jars of good salsa — and you can mix and match the salsas to affect overall flavor. I usually use one jar of fire roasted chipotle and one guajillo. I use one can of Whole Foods spicy black beans and one of their pintos. I also add a fresh chorizo that I form into small balls. This gets rid of all the veggie prep but keeps complex flavor!

  5. Andrew

    I like this recipe, would you allow me to feature it on my blog?

    Show Replies (1)
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