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.

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My Favorite Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Recipe

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 8 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 hours
  • Yield: serves 8
  • Category: Chili
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Here is my favorite slow cooker chicken chili recipe, a complete “set it and forget it” crockpot dinner!


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)

Instructions

  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.


Notes

  1. Substitutions: 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…
    1. You can use homemade tomato sauce instead of canned.
    2. You can use ground turkey or ground beef instead of chicken. Brown on the stove first (medium-high heat, 8 minutes).
    3. You can use vegetable or beef broth instead of chicken broth.
    4. You can add more peppers if you want (sometimes I do!).
    5. You can use kidney beans or white beans instead of black beans.
  2. Slow Cooker: You’ll need a 4 quart or larger slow cooker. Here is the one I own.
  3. 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.

Keywords: slow cooker chicken chili, chicken chili

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

232 Comments

  1. I made this today. yum! My family gobbled it up. (I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but my older daughter, in particular, is not generally amenable to my making new recipes even though I make new things alllllll the time because I get bored eating the same stuff all the time, plus there’s so many recipes out there to try. Her first question is always, “Have you made this before?” And when I answer her, she immediately declares that she’s going to hate it. Well, I love when I try any of your recipes because I get to say, “It’s a Sally recipe!” and it’s insta-cred with both my kids. Like, “oh? A Sally recipe? Then it’s sure to be good!” Ah. I love it! hahaha.) This chili recipe reminds me of a very tasty chicken tortilla soup–so much so that I topped mine with tortilla chips. I’ll definitely make it again. It was such a breeze to make and I’m excited to be able to eat some for lunch tomorrow, too.

  2. Cream cheese? Well played, Sally. Well played. This was delicious. I made your cornbread to go with it. It’s crazy delicious!! Happy holidays!

  3. This is amazing Sally!!! I make so many of your recipes anymore it’s not even funny!!! We had a Sally Thanksgiving, we are going to have a Sally Christmas. Heck I think anymore we have Sally months at our house!!! There aren’t too many recipes that don’t come from your website, your delish.com recipes, your people.com page or one of you two cookbooks. You are truly AMAZING!!! Thank you so much for sharing this my, family and I loved it!!!

  4. Just made this for dinner tonight and it was wonderful!! My mom even said she thought it was better than her “famous chili”. New dinner staple in our house for sure!!

  5. Just made this tonight – it was so easy and delicious, and I love the texture that the cream cheese adds at the end.  The heat is fairly mild and cut down further by the dairy, but it would be easy to add some cayenne and black pepper give a little more kick.  Love it!

  6. I was looking for some comfort food to make one day.  My husband had a cold, which I fortunately had not caught, and saw this and tried it the same day.  It was SO good.  it really hit the spot.  and you are right:  it’s even better the next day!  I also made the slow cooker cinnamon rolls which were fabulous, and I’m going to try your new slow cooker meatball recipe tonight!  

  7. Can’t wait to try this!  I was also thinking I would try putting everything except the cream cheese into a ziploc bag to put in the freezer and then just take out,  thaw and throw in the slow cooker. 

    1. Just halve all of the ingredients– I’ve done it before easily. But it might just be easier to make the whole batch and freeze extras.

  8. I received a crock pot for Christmas and this was my first recipe with it, and was AMAZING!! Everyone LOVED it!! Thank you Sally!

  9. Thanks Sally, I made the chili chicken and the cornbread and both were very delicious! I’ve just discovered your website and am glad I did, you have some great recipes on here I can’t wait to try, even dog treats for my pups!

  10. Ok so made this tonight and it was a win!!!! My love can be picky and so when he saw cream cheese and chilli he was super skeptical!!!! But he ate 3 bowls!!!!! Love it! I did only have chilli style beans so that was the only change I made! Its a must make!!! Such fabulous recipes!

  11. Absolutely fantastic!  I would have never dreamed to add cream cheese, but, WOW!  Delicious.  From cooking it in the slow cooker make all of the favors blend together beautifully.  Thanks so much for sharing.

  12. Just saw this recipe, so I know what I am making as soon as I finish this comment! It looks amazing! I will substitute the diced tomatoes for Rotel tomatoes because that is what I have in the cabinet. What a great thing to smell cooking on such a cold winter day! Thanks

  13. Just made this and tasted it prior to putting in the cream cheese.   Can I just say yesssssssss!!!!!!   Can’t wait to try it with the cream cheese in another 10 minutes.    Love chili this time of year.    Love the bowls also btw.   

      1. Should I be ashamed that I ate 3 bowls in one sitting?   It’s outstanding.   Will definitely be making over and over.   And I’m not typically into cooking.  More into baking personally but this looked so good and I had to have it.  Your recipes are always my go to.  Thank you.   Keep ’em coming.   I also love your pizza crust recipes.  

  14. Made the slow cooker chicken chili this weekend and it is WONDERFUL and so easy.  I’m going to try the slow cooker turkey meatballs next!  If you have more slow cooker receives, I’d love to try them!  

    Thanks for sharing!  Sheryl

  15. Hi, Iwas wondering if you can suggest any substitute for the cream cheese since it’s not available here (:

    1. Full fat (plain) greek yogurt would be good. Just temper it first. (Add a little of the hot chili to the yogurt to warm it slowly before adding it to the chili.)

  16. Sally, I tried the recipe out yesterday & omg it was fab!
    And twist with cream cheese was really yummy! Loved it!
    Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe!

  17. Sally,
    This recipe is awesome!  I have made it several times a month since a found it!   My picky seven year old that has lived on Mac and Cheese and peanut butter loves it!  I was so surprised he even tried it.  He has neVer tried anything like this, let alone eaten it!
    I love the fact it is so healthy!!

    Everyone that tries it raves about it!!
    Thanks for sharing it!!

    Happy cooking!
    Ricky

  18. My house smells delicious right now, still two more hours in the slow cooker. I used tomato purée instead of sauce and diced tomatoes instead of petite diced.  Didn’t have jalapeño so I used a chile in adobo sauce. I don’t buy cream cheese so I’ve decided to use shredded cheddar cheese. I know it will still be delicious because it smells so good in here!! Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

  19. Delish! Made just as recipe is written – 3 hours on high – it was perfect. One of my canned tomatoes was fire roasted as that’s what I had, which certainly didn’t hurt this soup at all.

    From a vegetarian who sometimes struggles with coming up with meat-based creations for all the carnivores in my life, THANK YOU for the great recipe!

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