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10 minutes of prep time in the morning and you can have this southwest slow cooker chicken chili on the dinner table by the time 5 o'clock rolls around! Or leave it on the warm setting in the slow cooker and your family can help themselves throughout the night in between soccer practice and volleyball games!
Why you're going to love this chicken chili:
- The crock pot does all the work which means just a few minutes of prep work is required! Literally the only active prep required for this meal is dicing an onion and mincing a few cloves of garlic! You just toss everything in the slow cooker and dinner is done! *You WILL need to shred the chicken breast after it's cooked through, but it will be so juicy and tender that will only take a couple minutes!*
- It's healthy and loaded with protein and fiber BUT it's also delicious! This soup is filled with REAL ingredients so you can feel good about feeding it to your family. Veggies, beans and chicken breast are cooked up in a delicious, slightly spicy enchilada sauce base and finished with just a splash of heavy cream. It's healthy comfort food at it's finest!
- The flavors just gets better with time! As with most chili recipes, the longer the flavors marinate together, the better the chili tastes. I like to store the covered crock pot INSERT (not the entire crock pot) right in my fridge and then whenever someone needs a quick lunch or dinner they can grab a bowlful and heat it up on the stove in a saucepan!
How to make southwest chicken chili:
Add my secret blend of spices along with diced chiles in adobo.
Give it all a good stir.
Nestle the chicken breast into the chili. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours (or on low for 8 hours).
Remove chicken breast and gently shred with two forks. Add shredded chicken breast back in to the crock pot.
Add heavy cream.
Stir to combine.
Tips for making the best crock pot chicken chili:
- Customize it to suit your family's tastes! If your fam isn't a fan of diced tomatoes, add some extra beans or corn instead. If they prefer pinto beans over black beans, swap those out too. Use this recipe as a blueprint but make it your own! As long as you keep the ratios generally the same, the flavor will still be on point!
- Don't forget the toppings! I take toppings very, very seriously. And while the flavors of this chicken chili are amazing all on their own, they only get better with the addition of a few simple toppings! My must-haves are:
- sour cream
- cheddar cheese
- sliced green onion
- sliced jalapeno
If you're using leftover grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken:
- You can cut the cook time down considerably if you'll be adding leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken to this soup (in place of raw chicken breast)!
- The majority of the cook time here is so that the raw chicken breast gets cooked through and is juicy and tender.
- If you'll be adding rotisserie/leftover chicken you can cook the soup for about an hour on high and then add in the cooked chicken. Then cook for another 10 minutes or so on high or until the chicken is heated through. Stir in heavy cream and serve!
Frequently asked questions:
- Can I use an instant pot?
- For sure! If you're running short on time you could certainly use an instant pot instead! I'd use the Bean/Chili or the Soup/Broth setting.
- Since there's so much liquid in the soup, your chicken won't be in danger of drying out and should cook rather quickly under pressure.
- Can I make this southwest chicken chili ahead of time?
- You sure can! This chicken chili just gets better with time. The more time the flavors have to marry, the more harmonious they become!
- This soup reheats beautifully; I just like to add a little pinch of salt just before serving to bump up the flavor.
- Can I make this chicken enchilada chili without chicken?
- Yes! I make a vegan version of this soup quite often actually. Substitute ¾ cup dried lentils for the chicken breast and instead of heavy cream, use coconut milk. Otherwise follow the recipe as it's written. The coconut flavor will be masked by all the spices and it will be creamy and dreamy, even without the cream!
- Every time I make the vegan version my husband comments, You know what would be really good in this soup? Chicken! So, this version was for him. And I have to say, I love it!
- The chicken gives it a great texture and makes it a very hearty and healthy soup. This is probably one of my favorite healthy foods that feels indulgent. I mean, maybe when you top it with cheese, sour cream and Fritos it becomes indulgent...but it's seriously loaded with beans and veggies too!
If you like this chicken chili, you definitely want to try these:
- Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
- Slow Cooker Beer Braised Pork Carnitas
- Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs
- Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef
- Slow Cooker Bourbon Whiskey Meatballs
- Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Tacos
This post was originally published in November of 2018. It was updated in September of 2019 to include process shots, step-by-step instructions and tips for making the best slow cooker chicken chili every single time!