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Pantry Simple Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

This “pantry simple” slow cooker chicken chili recipe can be prepared ahead of time and modified to use the ingredients you have on hand!

Pantry Simple Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

So what does “pantry simple” even mean? Well, in this case it basically means (almost) anything goes as far as the ingredients are concerned, so use what’s in your pantry! You have a lot of liberty with this chili recipe and I’m here for it. But let me back up and just talk chili for a minute. I love chili, especially one that I can just dump in the slow cooker in the morning and then be on my merry way. I usually share a few chili recipes in the fall months, focusing on bringing one or two new chili recipes to you before Halloween. It’s our tradition that every year on Halloween, I make a big batch of chili and cornbread and we all slurp it down before the kids hit the streets…er, neighborhood sidewalks!

You might remember that I mentioned that this recipe was coming in the cast iron cornbread recipe post, and, well, this is the one I was referring to. I’ve actually made this a handful of times, each time tweaking it just a little bit to see if it was really as flexible as I hoped it would be.

It is!

Pantry Simple Slow Cooker Chicken Chili recipe

Pantry simple – let’s talk about it. This recipe calls for navy beans, green salsa, and diced tomatoes with green chilies. I’ve used different beans – I actually used kidney and great northern beans once and loved it. I’ve used salsa verde and regular “red” salsa, and I’ve used rotel, diced tomatoes, and fire roasted tomatoes before. They all work! I would add a bit of extra seasoning, like some chili powder and cayenne, though, if you don’t have diced tomatoes with any of the extras goodies in the can on hand.

I want to even point out that if you don’t have any chicken breast or tenders, or even thighs, you could use rotisserie chicken that’s been shredded. And, to make this meal even simpler – a true dump and go, chop your onion earlier in the week and just store it in a ziplock bag! Then you could just put all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and not have to do anything else except set the cook timer.

Pantry Simple Slow Cooker Chicken Chili with cornbread

We like to serve our chili with chips. Sometimes we put chips in the bottom of the bowl and sometimes we just slop the chili into the bowl and use chips as spoons. For that method we really prefer the Trader Joe’s Organic Corn Chip Dippers, otherwise, it’s Juanitas all the way! (Editor’s note: Nothing sponsored here – just our family favorite recommendations!)

From there, it’s just like any other chili recipe. Add your favorite chili toppings: sour cream, sliced avocado, shredded cheese, sliced green onions, and whatever sauce you like. Josh is a big fan of the chipotle Tabasco sauce. (Editor’s note: YESSSSS)

I truly love how easy this is. As a busy mom to lots of kids, this is one of those meals that still has good ingredients but will fill up the family. Oh, and leftovers are truly satisfying! You can’t miss with this classic, flexible slow cooker chicken chili.

"Pantry Simple" Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes

This "pantry simple" slow cooker chicken chili recipe can be prepared ahead of time and modified to use the ingredients you have on hand!


  • 2 (15 oz.) cans navy, great northern, or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (16 oz) jar salsa - red or green works
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of chicken broth
  • 1 (10 oz) can of corn, drained (or you could use 1 1/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast


  1. Stir together beans, salsa, broth, corn, tomatoes, onion, oregano, pepper, and cumin in a 5-6qt slow cooker. Nestle chicken breasts over the mixture. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.
  2. Transfer chicken to cutting board and shred using two forks. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir. Serve with desired chili toppings.


Recipe adapted from

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 409mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 26g

Nutrition information isn't always accurate.

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