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.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


  • 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)


  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.


  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

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


  1. I’m planning on making this, but I would like to use ground beef instead of the chicken. Any idea on how much beef I would need to use?

  2. Hi Sally-

    I made this on the stovetop, since my slow cooker is WAY too small.

    Might I suggest that you update the directions so that others don’t put the cream cheese in until after the initial cooking? I got a bit of difficulty in incorporating the cheese from just placing all of the ingredients into the pot–the cheese doesn’t melt well after it’s been in there for a while.

    Great recipe, it smells really good! I just have to wait for it to cool. 🙂

  3. I made this chili recently and loved it! I am planning on making it again with ground beef. Sally, would you recommend putting it right in the slow cooker or cooking it partially first? 

    1. Hi Audrey! I would brown the ground beef first. When I make this slow cooker chili with ground turkey, I always brown it first. Almost fully cooking it on medium heat.

      1. Hi there,

        I made the mistake of adding the ground beef in the slow cooker without cooking it first on the stove.

        Could I just leave it longer in the slow cooker?

  4. Made this today!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
    The whole family loved it. Really, restaurant quality for sure! I replaced 1/2 can of the tomatoes with 1/2 a can of beef chili, just to get some kidney beans in there, and I used dark meat chicken instead of white. Will make again for sure! Thx Sally 🙂

  5. Hi Sally! I love this recipe and have made it numerous times! I have quite a bit leftover this time and was wondering if you have ever tried freezing the leftovers? Thx Sally

    1. Hey Rachel! I don’t have that information for ya. Calorie counting calculators online can often be inaccurate (different brands/products/etc) and I would hate to publish wrong information on my website. Feel free to calculate at your own discretion!

  6.  Made this today but accidentally put the whole block of cream cheese in.  Is there any way to save it?  My family is not a fan of cream cheese so I was hesitant to use it. 

  7. I want to try this soon, but is it okay to leave out the jalapeño’s? All other spices I will keep. Will it turn out just as good? I read your note about not leaving out any of the ingredients. If not then I will have to find a different recipe.


    1. Hi Tammy! It’s really just for extra heat so if you don’t like a lot of spice, leave it out. Sometimes I leave it out when I don’t have one. Will still be great!

  8. I’m contemplating getting an instant pot to replace a broken slow cooker. Do you think this recipe would work in an instant pot? This is my favourite recipe and I won’t get an instant pot of it won’t make this chili!! 🙂

    1. Hi Erin, I don’t own an instant pot (I keep saying I need to get one!). From what little I know of them I don’t see why you couldn’t make it one.

  9. Thanks for leaving the no-slow-cooker recipe at the end of your post! Our errands took way longer than we expected, and we weren’t going to be home until after dinner and we’re super disappointed we’d have to miss out on this meal! Now we don’t have to! Super helpful. Thanks again!

  10. Hi Sally,
    How many servings does your recipe make? I’m thinking of making this for a work party where they just do samples. Do you think doubling this recipe would work for that? Thanks!

      1. Hi Sally, Thanks!! Also, this may be a silly question but do you cook the chicken prior to putting it in the crock pot originally? Thanks!

  11. we Have Sunday dinner every week with our adult daughters and their families and since two of my daughters don’t eat beef I always try to make an alternative choice for them. This week my husband decided he wanted to make chili so I googled and found your recipe and now that I’ve tasted it I can honestly say that I will be making this often! And not for just my daughters. It is absolutely delicious!!

  12. I was looking forward to this great and wonderful chicken chili recipe all day long. I decided to taste it before adding the cream cheese and it was absolutely wonderful. However adding the cream cheese basically ruined it and turned the chili into cheese tortilla soup so … not bad, but not at all what I wanted. So if you really want chicken chili leave out the cream cheese!!!

  13. Made this chili yesterday. Didn’t have any garlic and in addition to the black beans I added northern and pinto beans!!!! LOVE IT, THANKS FOR RECIPE

  14. My husband and I are addicted to this chilli, its absolutely delicious. The only (small) modification I’ve made, was to use taco seasoning instead of chilli powder

  15. Made this chili for super bowl Sunday and it was a huge hit! I only added 2 tsp of cumin and it was perfect. Thanks for the recipe Sally!

  16. This chili is very tasty! I served it alongside your honey whole-wheat dinner rolls (also fabulous! Love the flavor of those). The few changes I made were using half the chili powder (and the chili was VERY spicy just with that one teaspoon! Good thing I love my food extra hot and spicy) and excluding the cream cheese, as well as a few other minor adjustments to the ingredients. All in all, this chili is the perfect, warming dish to serve on a cool, rainy evening. I’d love to make it again sometime soon, as I definitely enjoyed it!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally