My Favorite Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Recipe

Absolutely my favorite chili! Let the slow cooker do all the work.

Can I be honest here? Ok, I’m sorta kinda tired of Christmas cookies.

GASP!

Just as you’re starting to get into the swing of prime holiday baking season, I tell you I’m tired of pulling cookies out of the oven. But I’ve been baking Christmas cookies nonstop for an entire month! We’re talking dozens and dozens and dozens. Oodles of butter, sugar, flour, eggs, and chocolate. Even my neighbors are tired of Christmas cookies. Bahahaha no they’re not.

I may have an addiction, but I need a cookie break. And I’m sure this will all change tomorrow morning and I’ll be decorating gingerbread men and baking biscotti and dancing to Christmas music alone (what?) like nobody’s business. But for today, Thursday, let me take a cookie break and share an easy dinner recipe with you. Something I’ve made a handful of times lately.

Set it and forget it Slow Cooker Chicken Chili! This is my favorite easy weeknight dinner recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

 

Set it and forget it Slow Cooker Chicken Chili! This is my favorite easy weeknight dinner recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I made this hearty chili a few weeks ago in between book tour travel. It was a completely random mishmash of food I had in the pantry and sitting in the fridge. Leftover green pepper, some chicken, cans of beans, corn, tomatoes, etc. I threw in some spices and 8 hours of slow cookin’ later, we feasted on an explosion of flavors. Maximum flavor, I’m not even exaggerating. Warm and juicy pulled chicken in each bite, savory chunks of tomatoes, and wildly creamy and spiced saucy goodness. Every spoonful was completely devoured and we had leftovers (which are even tastier because the flavors intensify over time!) for days. This past week, I finally got around to making the chicken chili again. And again. I had to share it.

This is a set and forget it slow cooker dinner recipe. There aren’t any extra steps in the beginning, just a quick step towards the end when you break apart the chicken. You literally throw all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on low.

As you can tell, I’m not very brand loyal in the canned food scene.

How to make slow cooker chicken chili recipe

Along with these simple canned ingredients, you’ll need a green bell pepper, onion, 2 large chicken breasts, spices and… wait for it…

Set it and forget it Slow Cooker Chicken Chili! This is my favorite easy weeknight dinner recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

CREAM CHEESE. I know that sounds incredibly weird in a chili recipe but I wanted a super creamy texture to offset the spice and really compliment the chili’s flavors. I used light cream cheese because I wanted to keep this chili on the lighter side, but you can use full fat. You’ll only need 4 ounces (so, half of an 8 ounce block).

You’ll add the cream cheese right at the end of cook time. After the chili has cooked on low for several hours and after the chicken was been broken up, stir in the cream cheese. Here’s the chili before adding the cream cheese.

Set it and forget it Slow Cooker Chicken Chili! This is my favorite easy weeknight dinner recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

After you mix in the cream cheese, the chili will be creamy and lighter in color. Taste it. You’re going to flip out. It’s SO RIDICULOUSLY GOOD. You will not regret adding the cream cheese! It truly takes your slow cooker chili up a notch. Kevin doesn’t even like cream cheese and he loves this chili more than I do.

If that’s even possible.

Set it and forget it Slow Cooker Chicken Chili! This is my favorite easy weeknight dinner recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

In between all the holiday baking and indulgent food– I’ve been gravitating towards this super simple and relatively healthy dinner. The recipe makes quite a lot for our little family of 2, so we’ve been enjoying the leftovers during the week. I even made my favorite cornbread to have with it this past Sunday night. What a meal! All the cornbread dunking! Most of the work in the entire meal was making the cornbread and, if you’ve ever made the cornbread before, you know it takes like 30 seconds to get in the oven. (Seriously, try that cornbread.)

If you have the whole fam over during the holidays, this substantial and completely crowd-pleasing slow cooker chicken chili is a lifesaver. It’s a fabulous option for dinner because it won’t take you away from the fun! Put everything into the slow cooker, savor the unbelievable smell of chili slow cooking, and serve. That’s it. Less time in the kitchen, more time having a life.

Set it and forget it Slow Cooker Chicken Chili! This is my favorite easy weeknight dinner recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Get out your slow cooker NOW.

Make sure you read the notes below the recipe if you have questions. I include substitution suggestions. This chili is a little spicy, but the cream cheese cuts the spice down. I don’t like super spicy foods and I love this chili. If you’d like more heat, you can leave the seeds in the jalapeños or add more chili powder.

My Favorite Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Recipe

The easiest, more flavorful chicken chili recipe. Let the slow cooker do all the work!

Ingredients:

  • 2 (14 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 (7 or 8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 1 and 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup (240ml) chicken broth (I use reduced sodium)
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (14 ounce) can corn (rinsed and drained) or 1 package of frozen corn
  • 1 (14 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small jalapeño, minced (remove seeds and ribs)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder (reduce to 1 teaspoon for less spicy chili)
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin (for that key chili taste!)
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 ounces brick-style light cream cheese (or full fat)
Special Equipment

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients except the cream cheese to a slow cooker. Give everything a stir as best you can to mix. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken and chop into pieces or shred into pieces, then return chicken to the slow cooker and give everything a few stirs. Stir in the cream cheese until fully melted and combined. Taste and add more salt or add ground black pepper to taste. Cover the slow cooker and cook for about 10-15 more minutes.
  3. Serve warm topped with fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, or crackers. And serve alongside my favorite cornbread! Keep leftovers in a large tupperware in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat in the microwave.

Recipe Notes:

If you leave out any of the ingredients or substitute, I cannot guarantee the same results. The spices like cumin, chili powder, and oregano are crucial to the taste! That being said, I do have a few suggestions for substitutions that would be just as tasty...

You can use homemade tomato sauce instead of canned.

You can use ground turkey or ground beef instead of chicken. Brown on the stove first (medium-high heat, 8 minutes).

You can use vegetable or beef broth instead of chicken broth.

You can add more peppers if you want (sometimes I do!).

You can use kidney beans or white beans instead of black beans.

No slow cooker? No problem! Heat 1 Tablespoon oil on medium-high heat in a large pot on the stove. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Remove chicken, chop it up, then add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, and top with chicken. Stir everything around. Cook for about 30 minutes on medium heat.

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My homemade cornbread is a must.

My Favorite Cornbread Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com-6

And try my slow cooker turkey meatballs next!

Lean Turkey Meatballs that are packed with flavor and so easy to make in the slow cooker!-2

More dinner ideas for you!

Set it and forget it Slow Cooker Chicken Chili! This is my favorite easy weeknight dinner recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

177 comments

  1. Just made this and it is DELICIOUS!!! I substituted the cream cheese for a half cup of plain fat free greek yogurt 🙂

  2. I’m going to make this, do you add any water to it? 

  3. Sally,

    I LOVE this recipe! There’s always a crock of chili cooking in the fall at my house and my parents’ house, but until now I’ve yet to find a good shredded chicken chili recipe. This is the one! The cream cheese was a fantastic addition that I never would have even thought of. I’ve passed the recipe along to my parents, as well, so there are two new households making this chili.

    P.S. I’m a huge fan of your soft pretzels recipe, which is how I came originally came across your blog. When hosting parties or bringing a dish to potluck parties, I’m always required to make those pretzels 😉

    • Thanks so much Susan Elizabeth– I LOVE this chili. I just made it the other week actually. The best soul-warming recipe for this time of year. 🙂

  4. Would adding an extra can of kidney beans throw off the flavors? I love a lot of beans in my chili. Making this recipe for friends, can’t wait to have a bowl!

  5. Can you use dry beans in this? How much of a bag? Will any kind of beans work? I prefer dry beans.

    • I’m sure any will work. I’d add 2-3 cups of dried beans.

      • I cook a bag (1 pound) of dry beans (black beans one day, pinto another day, red kidney beans, etc) at a time in the slow cooker and freeze them in pints to use instead of canned beans (I rinse and drain the black beans prior to freezing and they’re fine).  Started doing this when I as a broke single mom because it was so much cheaper, now I can’t stand the taste of canned beans.  I’m about to toss the (mostly all frozen) ingredients for this chicken chili in the crockpot.  I’m thinking 8 to 10 hours on low will cover the fact that the chicken, corn and beans are all frozen.  Can’t wait to taste it this evening! It sounds soooo good!

  6. I made this chili this past weekend, absolutely delicious! I did it with the pulled chicken… I am getting married on Friday and my fiancé’s sisters flew in and had to make them something and I was nervous to impress. Well this stuff kicked butt!

  7. If I used boneless skinless chicken thighs, would that affect the cooking time?

  8. I made this for dinner last night. It was incredibly easy and VERY good. I felt it needed a little more heat and flavor. Tonight before I reheated it, I added a small can of chopped mild green chiles and about a teaspoon and a half of red pepper flakes and it went from VERY good to AWESOME! Loved it and I will definitely make again.

  9. I made this for my husband and this has got to be the best recipe I’ve ever tried! I have shared it with so many people since!!

  10. I made a double batch of this, half for me and half for a friend who just had twins, it was delicious! I used fire roasted diced tomatoes and 1 tsp chili powder plus 1 tsp ancho chili powder which gave it a smoky taste! My husband raved for days and even used the leftover chili to make nachos for gameday!

  11. I tried this tonight for the first time – the whole family, including my 3 & 5 year olds, gobbled it up! I did 2 tablespoons of chili powder, rather than 2 teaspoons, and used fire-roasted diced tomatoes rather than plain. Also, a bit more chicken broth and we heaped it on top of sour cream rather than putting in cream cheese. All that to say, this recipe seems easily adaptable and delicious no matter what! 

  12. This chili was amazing!!! I loved the creaminess from adding cream cheese and next time I think I will add a little more jalapeno for a tad more kick. 🙂

  13. I’m excited to try this for a chili cook-off at work! Looks amazing!
    Quick question- if I let it sit in slow cooker overnight so it’s ready in am and it is on warm – when should I add the cream cheese? Should I wait until I get to work and turn it on Low Heat to heat it up to add it then? I just didn’t want to ruin the consistency if the cream cheese sits in the crock pot for too long. Thanks!

  14. This sounds amazing, I plan to make it for a chili cook off at my husband’s work. One question though, I need to make 5-6 quarts, will this recipe make enough or should I double it?

  15. Can this be frozen successfully?

  16. I made it yesterday for my family. I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned and didn’t have jalapeño or chilli podwer, so I substituted with taco seasoning. I used a can of pink beans and a can of red kidney beans and 2 cans of corn. Basically, I used what I already had on hand. Eveyone LOVED it. Thank you so much, this recipe is a keeper!

  17. Just made this for dinner tonight and it was awesome! I live in the UK so just used 2 tins of chopped tomatoes (not drained) and it was definitely saucy enough. We had it with rice and tortilla chips but would definitely try the cornbread next time!

  18. Tupperware is a brand, not a description of a thing. They sell many things including knives. I assume you don’t mean to store leftovers in a knife?

  19. Sally,
    Have you ever tried adding a can of pumpkin to the chili? Curious how that might change the taste.
    Thanks!

    Katie

    • I haven’t but now I’m SUPER curious as well! I think it would compliment the flavors wonderfully; I love savory pumpkin dishes. Let me know if you try it!

      • While I cannot say how much (if at all) the 1 can of pumpkin altered the overall taste as I have never tried it the other way, the chili turned out delicious and received many compliments. I would highly recommend making this addition to the recipe! Thanks!

        – Katie

  20. I made this for a Saturday dinner since we were out and about all day. I knew it was going to be good when I got a text from my brother-in-law asking what the incredible smell coming from the crock pot was 🙂 This was my first recipe from your blog and I can’t wait to make more yummy dishes.

  21. Can I used store cooked rotisserie chicken??? When should I add it?
    Does it alter cooking time
    I’m using slow cooker?
    Please answer ASAP I’m ready to make my first of o’chili
    Thanku

    • You can use store-bought rotisserie chicken and add it in the beginning when you’d add the raw chicken. Cook time can be a couple hours less.

  22. Thanx for ur speedy reply ur awsome

  23. How can I get the taste right if I don’t use the jalapeno.

  24. Can I cook this overnight in the slow cooker? Can it go longer than 6 or 7 hours on low without turning to mush?

  25. Hi
    Okay so overall the chilli was amazing!
    I had a few hiccups I bought tomatopaste instead of
    Sauce not sure how I missed that,
    just wanted to share my experience to help 
    Someone!
    I used store rotisserie chicken In slow cooker on
    High (I don’t have med) for 5 hours,  it took that long for
    The flavors to blend and the chicken to tenderize 
    My chili  tasted bland 
    So
    I added teaspoon of tumeric and more
    Cumin
    Tsp of salt
    1/3 cup of red wine
    2 Table spoons of worstershire sauce
    I used 2 Salerno peppers
    Add half just before the cream cheese 
    For that extra kick
    Maybe I needed more spices
    because I had  a 14oz can of tomato paste
    Instead of  tomato sauce as the recipe instructed 
    You will need to use the entire container of chicken broth if u make this mistake   
    We all make mistakes 
    I served mine with the cream cheese in each bowl some people like watching the transformation 
    It makes two dishes
    Add pepper jack cheese and tortilla chips
    To the chilli it taste chicken tortilla soup(without cream cheese)

  26. This recipe is so amazing! I made this for the green room at our church this past weekend! It was gone in no time! Didn’t change a thing, it was perfect! Thank You!

  27. can I double this for a large crowed.

  28. I recently won an office-wide chili cook off with this recipe! Huge hit! 🙂

  29. Bland, bland, bland. I had to add hot sauce and more seasoning to give this flavor.  Cream cheese was a nice touch though. 

  30. If I added 3 chicken breasts instead of 2, would that effect the cooking time?

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