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