Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Or Make It on the Stovetop

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Recipe
The Spruce
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
370 Calories
6g Fat
36g Carbs
45g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 370
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 96mg 32%
Sodium 812mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 10g 35%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 45g
Vitamin C 23mg 116%
Calcium 135mg 10%
Iron 5mg 28%
Potassium 1093mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This slow cooker chicken chili is relatively light compared to the classic beef or pork chili. Boneless chicken breasts and canned beans make the dish super easy and convenient. After prepping the ingredients, simply add them to the crockpot and let it cook. Your home will be filled with wonderful smells as the chili cooks, totally hands-off.

Feel free to use boneless chicken thighs in the recipe and use the canned beans you have on hand. We used pinto beans and great northern beans, but kidney beans, navy beans, black beans, and cannellini beans are all excellent alternatives. You can also make this chicken chili on the stovetop—we've included instructions below.

Chicken chili will serve a small crowd but it also keeps well. It tastes even better the next day, and you can freeze any excess for a quick meal another day. Serve with your favorite toppings like cheese and sour cream along with corn chips or cornbread and you have a complete meal.

1:33

Click Play to See This Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 large chicken breast halves)

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder

  • 1 (15-ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed

  • 1 heaping tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Sour cream, or cheese, for garnish, optional

  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for slow cooker chicken chili recipe
    The Spruce
  2. Dice chicken or cut it into strips. Put chicken pieces in slow cooker along with onion, bell pepper, garlic, drained and rinsed beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce, corn, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir to blend ingredients.

    Ingredients for chicken chili in slow cooker
    The Spruce
  3. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour, then cook on low for 3 to 4 hours longer, or until chicken is cooked and tender. Optionally, you can simply cook on high for 3 to 4 hours.

    Cooking chicken chili in slow cooker
    The Spruce 
  4. Remove bay leaf.

    Bay leaf on plate next to chicken chili in slow cooker
    The Spruce
  5. Spoon chili into bowls and garnish with sour cream or shredded cheese and chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.

    Slow cooker chicken chili
    The Spruce

Tips

  • To make this chicken chili on the stovetop: Add the ingredients to a large Dutch oven instead of a slow cooker. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 to 2 hours.
  • For thicker chili, add a few tablespoons of cornmeal about 30 minutes before it's done.

Recipe Variations

  • Other vegetables that may be added include sliced summer squash or zucchini, shredded or julienne-cut carrots, and sliced celery.
  • For a little heat, add a few tablespoons of minced jalapeño or serrano pepper.
  • Use different varieties of canned beans or use cooked dried beans instead. 
  • Use part or all boneless chicken thighs in the recipe. Chicken thighs stay tender and juicy in the slow cooker, so they're especially good in this recipe if you will be cooking it longer than the recommended time.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Store leftover chili in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
  • Leftover chicken chili can also be frozen. Add to containers or zip-top freezer bags and freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge before reheating and serving.

Can You Put Raw Meat in a Crock Pot for Chili?

As long as your dish cooks long enough, it is safe to put raw meat in the crock pot. Most slow cooker recipes that call for raw meat start on high heat to get the chicken, beef, or pork cooking right away.

Can You Slow Cook Chili Too Long?

While most chili recipes will be alright bubbling away in the slow cooker for hours, at some point enough liquid will evaporate to make the chili dry and can even cause it to scorch on the bottom. It's best not to leave it cooking for too long.