Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Updated: Jan 20th, 2023 · By Bethany Kramer
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The whole family will love this slow cooker chicken chili – and you will too because it’s incredibly easy to make! Each bite is full of tender chicken, zesty spices, and hearty beans. It’s simply delicious and so cozy!

A gray bowl with red chicken chili in it. The bowl of chili is sitting on a dark gray background with tortilla chips, green herbs, and a napkin with spoons arranged around it.

Winter soups are my favorite – and so is this slow-cooker chicken chili!

It’s not only easy to make with its “set it and forget it” cooking instructions, but the flavors are delicious – especially when paired with the fresh toppings of avocado, cilantro, and tortilla chips!

We love making this soup for game day chili (not that I watch football haha!) or as a comforting winter meal. It’s a staple in our house, and I hope it becomes a staple in yours too!

What You’ll Need – Ingredients & Substitutes

Before we get cooking let’s first talk about what ingredients we’ll need. This soup contains 7 main ingredients and 3 spices for flavor.

  • Chicken thighs: Use boneless skinless chicken thighs over chicken breasts – they are so tender and will not dry out while cooking.
  • Fire-roasted diced tomatoes: Use regular diced tomatoes or fire-roasted for extra depth of flavor.
  • Chicken broth: Use a high-quality chicken broth or vegetable broth for the liquid in this recipe.
  • Tomato paste: use this to help thicken the consistency of the chili!
  • Garlic: I like to use both fresh garlic and garlic powder to layer the flavors!
  • Onion: I recommend using yellow onion.
  • Beans: I chose cannellini and black beans – see notes for additional beans you can use!
  • Spices: The only three spices for this chili – chili powder, cumin, and dried oregano. Also a pinch of cayenne for a tiny bit of heat!

How to Make Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili

First, add all the ingredients to a slow cooker. Stir and set to LOW for 5-8 hours or HIGH for 3 hours.

When the soup is done, pull apart the chicken and season with salt to taste or additional spices. Serve with toppings and enjoy!

How to Store & Freeze

Storing tips: Let leftovers cool to room temperature, then place in an airtight container and store for up to 3-4 days chilled in a refrigerator.

Freezing tips: Store in an airtight container or freezer bag – freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature for 1-2 hours, then reheat on the stovetop until warm.

Tips for Success

Chicken breasts or thighs work! For this recipe, I like to use boneless/skinless chicken thighs because when cooked low and slow they become very tender and add a little bit more flavor. You can use chicken breasts instead if you prefer!

Adjust heat to your liking – Since I do not like super spicy chili, I only recommend using a small amount of heat for this recipe. You can also adjust that to your liking and add even more spice!

The best beans for chili – Skies the limit for the types of beans you can use in chili. I love to use different ones every time I make it, some of my favorite beans to make chili with are kidney, navy, cannellini, black bean, and garbanzo beans!

Use fire-roasted tomatoes versus regular tomatoes – a small step to add more flavor to your chili is using fire-roasted tomatoes instead of regular. They are not at all spicy, but only add a little smoky flavor that is perfect for chili!

What to serve chicken chili with – alongside the delicious toppings (avocado, tortilla chips, and cilantro) I love to serve this chicken chili with homemade cornbread, our naan pizzas, or this homemade cranberry walnut bread. If you’re wanting a salad to go alongside it, our vegetarian taco salad pairs perfectly with this recipe!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I thicken my chili more? Add more tomato paste! This is the fastest way to get a thicker consistency. You can also cook the soup for longer so the liquid gradually reduces. Chili is meant to be thick and not soupy since it’s a heartier soup. If you don’t have tomato paste, you can also remove about 1 to 2 cups of chili (beans and liquid only) from the soup and blend them separately, then add it back to the chili. This is a simple and natural way to thicken chili!

Do I add sugar to my chili? Only if it needs it! If you feel like you’ve overdone it with a spicy ingredient, you can add a Tablespoon of sugar at a time to settle the heat. You can also add sugar if you feel the tomato is too acidic tasting. Natural sweeteners you can use would be maple sugar or coconut sugar – you can also use white or brown sugar too.

A hand holding a spoon in a gray bowl with red chicken chili in it. The bowl of chili is arranged on a dark gray background with tortilla chips, cilantro herbs, and a napkin with spoons on it.

More Chili Recipes to Try

If you like chili, you may also be a fan of our sweet potato black bean chili or this vegetarian bean chili! And a similar soup that is also equally delicious and chili-like, would be our vegetarian tortilla soup. All three are sure to be cozy and delicious!

Feel-Good Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

This satisfying slow cooker chicken chili will give you all the cozy feels for soup season. It’s filled with zesty flavor, tender shredded chicken, and is a simple & healthy soup recipe the whole family will love! So easy to make and is a delicious freezer-friendly meal.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Serves 6


Chicken Chili


  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 lime
  • cilantro
  • tortila chips


  • Cook: Add all of the chili ingredients into a crock pot/slow cooker and stir. Set to HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 5-8 hours. 
  • Shred chicken: When the chili is finished, use a spoon to stir ingredients and break apart the chicken. I used chicken thighs and they tend to fall apart pretty easily, but if you use chicken breasts you might need to remove them from the soup and use two forks to shred them.
  • Taste and serve: Before serving the chili, taste and adjust the flavor with additional salt or spices if needed. Serve with avocado slices, tortilla chips, cilantro, and lime juice!


What to serve chicken chili with – alongside the delicious toppings (avocado, tortilla chips, and cilantro) I love to serve this chicken chili with homemade cornbread, our naan pizzas, or this homemade cranberry walnut bread. If you’re wanting a salad to go alongside, our vegetarian taco salad pairs perfectly!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword how to make slow cooker chicken chili, red chicken chili recipe, slow cooker chicken chili
Freezer Friendly Yes
Author Bethany Kramer


Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.4g | Protein: 28.4g | Fat: 6.2g | Sodium: 347.7mg | Sugar: 5.2g | Vitamin A: 150IU | Vitamin C: 26.4mg

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