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Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili

Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili

There’s something about those first cool nights of the season, something that makes me want to curl up on the couch with a bowl of soup and watch one of my favorite shows (like Sleepy Hollow, which I’m currently obsessed with). While our nights have been cool and have involved eating dinner in the living room, they’ve been anything but relaxing. It seems like the hustle and bustle of the season starts earlier each year, and I’m already feeling pressure to break out the Christmas decorations (which, by the way, I won’t be doing since I haven’t even gotten our fall/Thanksgiving ones out yet). Between Christmas party invites, trying to figure out if and when we’re traveling for Thanksgiving and, you know, that little renovation we have going on, I want to throw my hands up and yell “enough!” I just need time to slow down. I’m not ready for the holidays, and I’m certainly not ready for 2014. Like it or not, though, those things are coming faster than I want to believe.

Since we have things to get done before the holidays really hit us full force, dinners around here have been quick and easy. I’ve been utilizing my slow cooker more than ever. If you could see the state of our kitchen, you would understand why. There’s very little prep space, and it’s still only partially floored. Even though I have plenty of slow cooker recipes saved, the easy prep is what drew me to this one. There’s chopping, but there’s no cooking on the stovetop before everything is placed in the slow cooker. Another bonus – this recipe made plenty for us to freeze and have later, which is sure to come in handy on those nights we’re chasing daylight to cut more floorboards.

Chili is perfect for this time of year, and this recipe is a great way to change up the usual flavors. I’ve never cooked quinoa in a slow cooker, but I was really happy with how it held up during the long cook time. This chili was hearty and comforting, and we enjoyed it for several lunches during the week.

Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili

Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili

Cook Time: 5 hours

Yield: about 6 servings

Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili


1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (like Rotel)
2 (16 ounce) can black beans
2½ - 3 cups chicken broth
1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped
Small white onion, diced
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, diced
1 tablesppon canola oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1½ teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoons crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large chicken breasts
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Shredded cheese, hot sauce, green onions, etc., for serving


Place the quinoa, tomatoes, black beans and chicken broth in a slow cooker.

Combine the onion, bell pepper, jalapeños, oil, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, chili powder and salt in a medium bowl. Cook in the microwave for 5 minutes, stirring two or three times, until the vegetables have softened. Add to the slow cooker.

Nestle the chicken into the mixture and cook on low for 5-8 hours, until the chicken and quinoa are cooked through. Remove the chicken and shred or chop into bite-size pieces, then return to the slow cooker. Stir the corn and cilantro. Cover and cook for about 10 more minutes.

Ladle into bowls and serve with shredded cheese or other desired chili toppings.


  • Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor

    Courtney, this chili looks like the perfect way to warm up on a chilly day! I love how thick it is. Thanks for sharing!

  • Joanne (eats well with others)

    I often find myself pulling out my hair at night trying to get everything that I need to done before bedtime so I can’t even imagine how hectic it is for you with a CHILD. I love the looks of this chili! It’s so colorful, especially for a slow cooker recipe!!

  • Maria

    Can this be made as a vegetarian version? Omit the chicken but how long would it cook for?

    • Courtney

      I’m not sure how long it would need to cook since I haven’t tried it that way. You may even be able to make it on the stovetop instead of a slow cooker if you’re leaving the chicken out. Please let me know how it works if you try it!