Although I am firmly of the belief that the internet needs another recipe for chicken crockpot chili like your groggy narrator needs another morning of her mini-humans rousing her before 6 a.m., when I went to make my own one night, I was dissatisfied with what I found. It wasn’t because recipes out there weren’t good, or well-reviewed and certainly not because they hadn’t made countless other people out there content at mealtimes, but because they weren’t what I was looking for. And, well, as that’s how we got here in the first place, it seems appropriate enough to step into the year 2016, the year this website turns ten, not fighting this at all.
While I’m hardly aspiring towards the Texas Gold Standard of chile con carne — chunks of beef, lots of chiles, and ftlog, no beans — I think there’s something to a fairly straightforward, excellently-seasoned chili. I could overlook the instant tapioca, jars of salsa, cinnamon, chocolate, onion powder, garlic powder, taco seasoning mix and celery on the front page of Google’s results that might be someone’s thing, just not mine, but I kept getting stuck on one point: if we’re going to run the slow-cooker for 5 or 10 hours, or simmer a chili on the stove for 3, why start with canned beans? Dried beans are more economical, more flavorful and will plump up splendidly in either of those cooking times without any presoaking nonsense.
And so I had to fiddle up my own recipe. I made a hasty pot of chicken chili in the hazy newborn days this summer because I hadn’t then or now shaken this obsessive need to only consume meals that can be eating on or with tortillas, and everyone declared it the best dinner in a long time. I hadn’t expect this; it was food for convenience, for ease — mustn’t it then taste like compromise?
The leftovers were grand, too, and from there, I couldn’t stop. When my husband had to go to Germany for work in November and I was quietly fur-reaking out over how I was going to single parent when I am barely cut out for coparenting most days, I set up another pot and boom, two nights of wholesome dinner were set. I made it a few weeks ago when Thanksgiving pies were weighing heavily on our midsections, and I made it again yesterday when we’d finished off the weekend’s potato kugel and baked Lorraine-ish omelet and oh-god-don’t-even-find-out-how-good-these-are-they’re-just-going-to-ruin-everything sticky bun brunch and were, at last, all set on butter and cream for a while. Did you hear that? Eight times we’ve had this in two months, and we’re not even tired of it yet. I hope you find this equally worthy of repetition.
One year ago: Popcorn Party Mix and My Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup
Two years ago: Parmesan Broth with Kale and White Beans
Three years ago: Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas
Four years ago: Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze and Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame
Five years ago: Chard and White Bean Stew
Six years ago: Parmesan Cream Crackers and Walnut Pesto
Seven years ago: Gramercy Tavern’s Gingerbread and Pizza with Broccoli Rabe and Roasted Onions
Eight years ago: Caramel Cake and 2008’s 96 Favorites
Nine years ago: Hazelnut Truffles, Gougeres and Russian Tea Cakes
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Green Beans with Almond Pesto
1.5 Years Ago: Blue and Red Berry Ricotta Galette
2.5 Years Ago: Slow and Low Dry-Rub Oven Chicken
3.5 Years Ago: Flag Cake
4.5 Years Ago: Skirt Steak with Bloody Mary Tomato Sauce
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken parts, cut into 3 to 4 large chunks (I use a 50/50 mix of breasts and thighs)
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped small
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- Heat via 1 to 2 jalapenos or other fresh hot pepper, minced, or a ground chili powder of your choice, to taste
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted if you can find them or 2 10-ounce cans Ro-Tel (yield is a little less but not noticeable in final chili)
- 2 2/3 cups small dried beans (I use half black beans, half small red beans; I do not presoak but do read the updated note up top; read the note at the bottom if you’re using kidney beans)
- 5 1/3 cups water (can replace all or part with broth)
- To serve: Lime wedges, sour cream or Mexican crema, finely chopped white onion or thinly sliced scallion, chopped cilantro, corn or flour tortilla chips, and hot sauce
- On the stove: Simmer the ingredients on low until the beans are tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir occasionally.
- In a slow-cooker: On HIGH for 4 1/2 to 5 hours or on LOW for 8 to 10.
- In an InstantPot or electric pressure-cooker: At high pressure for 30 minutes; manual release works fine. This is the cooking time for small beans (small red and regular black beans, which are small). If you’re using beans that are larger, you might need 35 minutes.
To finish: The chicken will likely have fallen apart, but you can help it along by reaching into the pot with two forks and shredding it to your desired texture. (For a pressure cooker, this is barely necessary; you can break up the chicken with the back of a spoon.) Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with fixings of your choice.
P.S. We like this with baked tortilla chips. I estimate two small corn tortillas per person and cut them into 8 wedges. Brush a large baking sheet lightly with olive oil, arrange tortilla wedges in one layer, lightly dab the tops with more olive oil and sprinkle with fine salt. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, check for color, and add more baking time as needed until they’re golden and crisp.
Troubleshooting: It sounds like a some people are having trouble getting their dried beans to cook in the suggested times. I’m so sorry for the trouble. I tested this with different beans (Rancho Gordo and also Goya brand) and in different slow-cookers (an ancient one from Farberware and another from Proctor-Silex) and never had trouble; I’m beginning to suspect my slow-cooker is more robust than others in heat. This is little consolation to those of you with crunchy beans.
So, to troubleshoot: If you’re worried or have had trouble in the past getting dried beans to cook in a reasonable amount of time in your slow-cooker, go ahead and soak them overnight first. But, I want you to soak them in the 5 1/3 cups of water and then use that water — which is now full of flavor — in the slow-cooker. This will also allow you to have the right liquid level at the end, since it will be impossible otherwise to know how much water your beans absorbed and adjust the recipe accordingly.
A note about kidney beans: I do not use kidney beans here, but small red ones, and I do not presoak my beans however if you are using red kidney beans, do keep in mind that due to a protein known as phytohaemagglutinin the FDA advises people who wish to use kidney beans in slow-cookers to first soak the beans for at least 5 hours, dump the water, boil them in fresh water for 10 minutes and then continue with the recipe. As your beans will have soaked up more liquid before they go in, you will find you need less to cook them in for the final chili. In terms of how freaked out you should be over kidney beans, from the FDA website: “Reports of this syndrome in the United States are anecdotal and have not been formally published.” And that this was mostly a concern reported in the last 70s in the UK.
483 comments on chicken chili
Sounds great! But I think maybe this instruction is reversed?: On LOW for 4 1/2 to 5 hours or on HIGH for 8 to 10. (i.e. should it be LOW for 8-10 or HIGH for 4 1/2 to 5?)
Hi Deb! Three weeks until baby number three here so I am always up for a crock pot recipe.
Quick question: are the low and high times perhaps reversed?
Did you mean HIGH for 4 1/2 to 5 hours or on LOW for 8 to 10? (Rather than the other way around?)
Why longer on high than low? Is that an error? Can’t wait to try this!
Love Rancho Gordo! Are the cooking times reversed?
Eek! We must have all commented at roughly the same time. Didn’t mean to pile it on, but don’t know how to delete comment from my phone ;)
Yes–a slow cooker recipe that ACTUALLY cooks for 10 hours! For those of us who are out all day and want to come home to dinner. A question, though: is it supposed to say “on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 4-5”? Also, is it really ok not to pre-soak or pre-cook the beans?
This looks fantastic! I can’t wait to try it . . . but I’m thinking your times for the slow cooker are reversed–shouldn’t it be 8-10 hours on LOW or 4 1/2-5 hours on HIGH?
HIGH/LOW — Reversed! Thanks for heads up, now fixed.
do you need to soak the beans or will they cook straight from the bag?
Pre-soaking — Is not needed. All it does (although someone out there will argue) is reduce cooking time. I almost never bother. Are your beans decidedly ancient, from way back in the cabinet, date unknown? Here, I might presoak or they might never be done. But never otherwise.
My kind of recipe!! It’s perfect now that the weather has finally caught up with the season. :(
Looks fantastic – always pleased to see slow cooker recipes on here! Just one thing though, which is that I understand it’s dangerous to cook kidney beans from dried in the slow cooker without boiling them for 10 minutes first, as otherwise the toxins aren’t destroyed. This only applies to kidney beans and you don’t specify those, but I didn’t want someone to substitute and risk poisoning themselves!
I don’t think I’ll make this chili but thank you for teaching me how to make baked tortilla chips! I usually fry mine and this seems easier and healthier.
Any recommendations for the amount if using chili powder?
Karen — It’s so tricky because some are seasoning blends with a little heat (I’d then use 1 tablespoon) and others are of course straight ground chilis (I’d probably not start over 1 teaspoon for moderate heat). The nice thing is that you can always adjust it at the end. For us, either way, I keep the heat mild because my kid wouldn’t eat it otherwise. But my husband always piles on the pickled jalapenos and hot sauce. :)
Any recommendations for an amount if using chili powder?
The perfect antidote for the back to school blues!
This looks amazing! Going to make it this weekend. And thanks for including the stove top instructions as well as slow cooker. I’m a hold-out on the slow cooker so I appreciate the stove-top instructions!
“I hadn’t expect this; it was food for convince, for ease — mustn’t it then taste like comprise?”
I almost don’t want you to correct this- it’s poetry now.
Judi — Ack! See above: those 5 a.m. wakeups. Now fixed and it’s much more boring. :)
love it! Perfect for the first frigid day of the year.. Brrr… And both of those tiny humans are delicious!
Will be making this for sure. I’ve only made Ina Garten’s Chicken Chili (I omit the basil and increase the chili powder to 1/4 cup). It’s very good, but more time consuming than your recipe.
This post reminds me that it is YOU to whom I owe thanks for introducing me to Rancho Gordo beans, of which I am now a devoted fan!
This sounds so delicious -does this freeze well (new year’s resolution – to make more use of freezer)?
Trying it this week! Just got a crock pot for the first time – since having baby #2 (in August – I also have a 2.5 year old, so obviously I am not sleeping anymore) the idea of throwing everything in a crock pot and coming home to dinner already cooked sounds almost too good to be true. More crock pot recipes, please!
“Dried beans are more economical, more flavorful and will plump up splendidly in either of those cooking times without any presoaking nonsense.”
Yes!! Thanks Deb, I look forward to trying this in 2016.
Thank you thank you thank you! I was wondering what I was going to do with chicken on Shabbat this week, and here’s the answer! I bet this will be great with challah. Happy New Year!
More poetry :-)
“5 1/3 cups water (can all or part with broth”
Jean — Sheesh, I’m on a roll today. Thanks, now fixed.
Deb! Serious question: are you inside my brain?! i literally just got back from the grocery store with a pound of ground chicken and a plan to make chicken chili! I’m not a slow cooker fan, but I will be stealing your ingredients list for tonight! thanks!
Perfect for the January blues! I definitely should be eating more of this and less of the pastries I’ve been consuming for the holidays.
Can’t wait to try. Just to chime in on the no-soak vs. soak, I had saved this link from LA times and Deb is right on cue : )
Hi Deb! My husband and I have a friend coming in from out of town this weekend and this looks like the perfect everyone-is-arriving-late-friday-evening-and-no-one-wants-to-go-out-or-be-bothered-to-cook type dinner. I plan on using the crockpot and, as such, am facing my ever present to temptation to add beer to anything made in that thing. You say that broth can be substituted for the water, do you think it could be worthwhile to sub some beer as well? If so, do you have any suggestions of what type might work best? Thanks so much! Can’t wait to make this!
Can I safely substitute dried pinto beans for all or part of the dried beans in the recipe? I found articles about the dangers of using dried kidney beans in a slow cooker, but nothing about pinto beans.
Looks delish – do you think a canned chipotle pepper would work, or would the smokiness overpower the other flavors?
Love that I had everything in my pantry to make this! In the pot simmering now and the smell alone is making me feel warmer. Thanks Deb! :)
I want the recipe for that baked lorraine-ish omelet. Looks awesome! I tried searching on the website but didn’t find it?
So much love that this isn’t the beige-y chicken chili that I see so often (also, tapioca?! I can’t even figure out what purpose that would serve.)
I was going to ask if you’ve used a pressure cooker, then saw your note. I got one in November and am *obsessed.* I use it so much more than my slow cooker, especially since I will never get myself organized (or awake) enough to assemble recipes before leaving for work and the timing on most slow-cooker recipes do not jibe with being away from home for 10 hours. I find the texture using the pressure cooker is richer too, which is a nice bonus on top of having dinner done in 30 minutes.
Sounds easy and delicious.
Yum! My recent chili discovery starts with onion and ground turkey, and includes a whole bunch of food processed zucchini (4 large or 6 small) and a food processed green bell pepper that cook down into a delicious (and healthy!) sludge and bulks the turkey out nicely. The secret ingredient, along with cumin and chili pepper, is turmeric, which gives it a beautiful yellow hue. But I’ve made it too many times in the past few months and I need to try something new. Thanks Deb!
Ooh, that sounds good. For those of us at high altitude, pre-soaking is a requirement not nonsense. If you’re double-cursed and also have hard water (common in the mountains) then you need to monkey with the pH level of your pot (by adding a bit of baking soda or salt-soaking). It would be sad for a novice cook who lives at 4,000 feet or above to think he/she had somehow failed if the beans did not soften up.
Perfect timing as my husband just said to me that he wants to make a chicken chili and was looking for recipes. Quick question as I think he was looking to use ground turkey instead of chicken pieces. Does that alter the cooking time/recipe at all? How much ground turkey would you use? THANKS!!!
You made me very curious about this recipe now.
Well that’s funny! Chili was already on the menu for dinner tonight :)
And I might add: tonight is a perfect night to netflix and chili.
How has it never occurred to me to question using canned beans in the slow cooker? It seems very obvious now…
Yum! This will definitely be on the menu. Can this be doubled in the slow cooker? With a teenager in the house, I’m all about quantity. Great looking kids!!
More crockpot/slow cooker recipes please!
Can I make this in using my 4 quart slow cooker?
wow, your receipes are well done and the pics look so good!
I’ve had a problem with beans never getting past “al dente” ….researching it found repeatedly that the acidity of the tomatoes was to blame…and that the tomatoes shouldn’t be added until the beans are cooked. Every thing is put in at once here..whats the scoop?
I could really use some chili right now!
“chopped flour cilantro, corn or flour tortilla chips and hot sauce”
I think you’re missing something here?
Just wanted to thank you for this recipe today! I’m about 5 hrs north of you and woke up to -20 with the windchill. So, chili, of course! It’s almost done, my beans being the “been in the pantry 3 years” variety.
If anyone can convince me to try the slow cooker again, it’s you. You’ve never led me astray. This looks tasty!
Yum! I make a vegetarian chili that is similar to this, but I bet it’s GREAT with chicken! And I never thought to use dry beans — I always use canned. I’ve been afraid they won’t soften enough, but now I think I’ll have to try it this way.
If cooking on the stovetop, simmer covered or uncovered?
Jacy — Nope, just another typo. Should say, and now does: chopped cilantro, corn or flour tortilla chips and hot sauce.
KC — I’ve read repeatedly that acidic ingredients affect bean softening times and have never experienced it, or at least not with this recipe, where the tomatoes are a very small part of it. I’ve made this many, many times exactly as written above and the beans (small red and black, as mentioned; Rancho Gordo are shown but as I’m out of them now, I’ve been using Goya and they work just as well) always soften.
4-quart slow-cooker — I believe so. It was too much for my 3-quart however, much to my disappointment as I’d bought it JUST for weeknight recipes like this!
Anna — Probably in a 6-quart or bigger. What you see here is a 3/4-batch and it’s a little under half-filling my 6-quart.
Gabby — Heh. Now that it’s 32 degrees out, I’d say “every night.”
Michelle/ground turkey — Not sure. You miiight need less liquid; I’d use the same weight of meat instead.
Mel — I hadn’t realized, then again, I guess I always figure it’s assumed that I’m not writing recipes that work in high altitudes because I’d have no way of testing them. Will add a note, however.
Mom24 — I don’t have it on the site, I was just fiddling, but it WAS delicious and great for those off bread. Here’s what I did, roughly: 12 eggs + 4 cups milk + 1.5 teaspoons fine salt (although it was a tad oversalted) + pepper + about 3/4 pound cooked ham, diced very small + about 1 pound gruyere/comte (some of each), grated + sauteed 3 leeks with an onion until very soft and sweet. Giant greased baking dish, 375, and it took forever to bake, I actually lost track. Possibly an hour or a little more.
Kerry — No, chipotle would be wonderful. Use as much as you can handle.
Jane — I’ve never read anything about pinto beans. (I also have used kidney beans for years in the slow-cooker and lived, I think. But that doesn’t mean that others should heed warnings.)
Claire — Absolutely, I love a little beer in chili. Just use it to replace an equal amount of water. So, 1 bottle = 1.5 cups less water.
On the stove — I’d say covered. Will note.
Thanks for the note, Deb! I think folks who live at high altitude sometimes don’t think they do and then wonder why recipes don’t work out the way they are expecting. For example, I live in Salt Lake City which is at about 4,500 feet and I think many of my neighbors wouldn’t think that’s necessarily high altitude because they’ve been to Park City which is at 7,000 feet. Consequently, they would not think that they would need to make adjustments and then would be disappointed.
Congatulations for the tenth year of this blog! Omg, I am old :)
I always soak my beans because my booklet (the one that came with my pressure cooker) gives instructions for pre-soaked beans. No offense! Haha.
This recipe is great in so many ways, the first one being that I cannot find the proper name for “brisket” in my country. Now I don’t have to!
And I’m with you on the tortilla-Mexican food wagon. There’s something about the ingredients; they are such staples and easy to find where I live. I love to get my washoku on but sometimes all I want is good old convenience.
I will probably make flour tortillas and then fashion them into wedges before frying them in a little olive oil. Thanks for anther great recipe Deb!
Future You says thanks for baking a batch of Deb’s Perfect Corn Muffins while this chili simmered. We both know it might not be perfectly authentic Southern or Texan or whatever to do so, but it is perfectly delicious.
Present You Eating A Corn Muffin And A Bowl of Leftover Chili (not this recipe, because it was just published and I’m only a time traveler in the comments section, not a real-life time traveler)
I’ve been working my way through the contents of the freezer, and just realized that we had no chili at all any more.
I’ve been making chicken chili a lot like this (but not this simple) for a while now. So much easier than beef.
I was just looking for something that I could make to accompany the leftover toasted cumin crema (besides the raw carrots I’ve been dipping into it!) I have from the black bean soup I made a few days ago. This is perfect! I’ve never posted here, but I found your website a couple years ago when I was in a cooking slump and completely bored by everything I’d been making. It rejuvenated and re-inspired my deep appreciation for home-cooked creative and delicious food! Thank you!
I feel dumb for asking, but do you toss the 3-4 pieces of chicken in the pot raw or precooked?
Hi Erin, Don’t worry about asking “dumb” questions :) Cooking and reading recipes gets easier with practice. For this recipe you would add the chicken raw. If you used cooked chicken and then simmered it for an additional 3-4 hours you would end up with way over cooked chicken.
If using canned beans how much do I reduce the water?
I made this tonight in my new pressure cooker so I am also a newbie to using it. I put it on high for 25 minutes and I would probably add a minute or two. Some of the small red chili beans were a tad undercooked, but still good, they were just about there. I wish I had the fire roasted tomatoes on hand, but only had 14 oz so I opted for plain crushed tomatoes. If I were to do it again I’d be sure to use fire roasted and use 2 jalepenos instead of 1 since it needed the heat. The baked tortillas were a great addition!
I just threw this in the crockpot for tomorrow (because my family insists chili is better the next day). I used skinned bone in chicken thighs (because 68 cents a pound!), an extra 15oz can of fire roasted tomatoes, extra 1c beans, 4c chicken stock, 2c water. Using a 6qt pot and its pretty dang full.
I made this tonight and it’s definitely going in the regular rotation – YUM. Tried it in the electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot) with frozen chicken thighs, a mix of black and canellini beans, and a 26oz can of diced tomatoes. After 30 minutes of pressure cooking the beans were done but the chicken was still a little tough and there was too much liquid for my taste, so I switched it to slow cook until it looked and tasted right, which was another two hours. Next time I’d pressure cook for 45 minutes or an hour and use only 3.5-4C water/stock (starting with frozen chicken).
Once again, thanks for reading my mind, Deb!
Any ideas for what I could substitute for the 28oz can of tomatoes? Sadly I have a tomato allergy. I have a 6 month old baby too, and I need this magic in my life!
I made this today on the stovetop. Cooked it for two hours with the lid on, at which time it was clear that there would be too much liquid if I didn’t uncover the pot. I cooked another two hours uncovered and it turned out great. I found the beans still a bit tough after 3 hours so overall would recommend planning on approx 4 hours if doing on the stove.
That looks utterly delicious, and it’s just the perfect dish for cold days! I normally make chili with ground meat, so one with chicken would be a nice experiment for me!
Yes, I Did hear that! 8 times! I mean For Real! And I love the real not canned beans usage. Else why the heck are we buying those bags of pretty beans we see, for?
Mel, I live in the Jerusalem mountains and always wondered why my beans never cooperated unless I soaked them! We have hard water, too, which I assumed was part of the issue. Thanks for clearing that up :)
I just wanted to know something . I have a bag of frozen brown beans. Are they usable?
This recipe just made my morning! It’s freezing outside and this is the perfect remedy!
Super yummness. Love the fact that you used dried beans, most people tend to think those are for bean pillows and survivalists rather than actually using.
Thank you for the recipe. Tried it in pressure cooker. I always pre soak the beans though. Everything goes inside. Pressure cook it for 1-2 whistles ( if that’s the right word). Can be eaten with rice or gorilla as curry too ;).
Thanks Deb! This looks like a winner. I’ve enjoyed your blog for a number of years and tried many of the recipes. Reading your blog definitely brightens my mornin! I love your commentary (great sense of humor) and great pictures (always make me want to try it immediately). I’ve given out a number of your cookbooks for gifts to close friends and family. You have definitely found your calling. Keep up the good work!
Saw in a recent comment you said you go easy on the seasoning because of your son. So do you use chili powder of some sort, or are you of the single jalapeno variety? Wouldn’t omitting chili powder significantly alter the flavor? I would love to get my kids to eat this, just not sure what to do seasoning-wise.
I was about to make my Martha Stewart Chicken Chili with Beans and saw this! Just enough difference to be an exciting change of pace. How much does 2 2/3 cups of small dried beans weigh? I’m new to buying bulk dried goods and hope to measure correctly the first time ;) Thank you!
This may have already been covered, but to answer your question in the article, this is why crockpot recipes use canned beans. http://missvickie.com/howto/beans/howtosoak.html
Love your site.
What I like best about this recipe is it’s the classic chili with tomatoes! It’s classic because I grew up eating it – but my mom always made it with beef and that’s how I made it until white came into style. Don’t get me wrong – I love white chicken chili, it’s fast, made with those rotissarie chickens and canned cannanellis and lots of cumin and cilantro but truthfully red is the way it should be because that’s the way it should be! What goes around comes around. :)
Weight of dried beans — Kicking myself for not being able to find my usual measurement, but nearly positive that 2 cups = 1 pound, so this would be 1 1/3 pounds. If you use less beans, just reduce the water in an equivalent measure, or you might need to drain some off at the end, not a huge deal.
To replace with canned beans — This is the approximate equivalent of 3 15-ounce cans of beans. You’ll need much much much less liquid, however, as most of it is there to cook the dried beans. I cannot say how much but basically enough to keep the chicken moist as it cooks and keep the chili loose.
Renee — My current chili powder is very hot; I put maybe 1/2 teaspoon in. I either put in 1 jalalpeno (though they range wildly in heat, it worth it to taste before throwing in more than once) or I’ll use a couple cans of Ro-Tel, which have chiles in them. You can skip the chili powder if you think yours is too hot for the kids to enjoy.
Gerri — Thank you!
Judy — I don’t know anything about brown beans or frozen beans. Are they cooked?
Deanna — What kind of beans did you use?
Ashely — You could skip it, or if you might fiddle around with sweet red peppers instead; either fresh or roasted/skinned.
Julie — It’s still my favorite knife. I am convinced the Japanese knives get sharper because they’re thinner. I am sure there’s someone out there who will argue with me over this, though.
Tortilla! not gorilla…..grrrrr auto correct on smart phones!
This looks so so good. I usually just lurk, but I wanted to say thank you for your wonderful recipes! I have been enjoying them for years now. And thank you for making it so your recipes print on one page! Seems like not a big deal, but so awesome when most sites wrap to a second page with one or two lines :(
Manisha, #86, so thankful for that correction! ;->
Regarding the poison in kidney beans, from research I’ve done, it only applies to raw and under-cooked kidney beans–neither of which would be very tasty. I hope this isn’t a repeat comment, I had skimmed through most of the posts. I always was thought beans shouldn’t be cooked with salt/acids etc. until soft. Found it not to be true. It’s funny how we “learn” things and think the world will fall apart if we don’t keep doing it that way!
I long to do this with bean-based slow cooker recipes, – throw it all in the pot and go to work… but every time I add salt or tomatoes to the pot before the beans are thoroughly cooked, I find I have beans that just will not soften. Do you have this problem with this recipe – or do you ever have this problem – or do you have any idea why?
What a receipt! Chili is my favorite meal and I can smell the spices from here! :D I usually eat beef chili but this chicken version seems great! (Y)
11 hours later on low with extra water and I still have “al dente” beans. I know they were a bit older but hoped it would still work. Any suggestions to soften them?
This looks so good! I may have to make it this weekend!
One more question before I try this. Do you think I could use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, and then debone and shred before serving? Would it add too much grease from the skin?
When your cookbook came out, I prepared the black beans featured in it and they were so very delicious that I now regularly prepare them, divide them into 3 or 4 containers, freeze them and then add them to my regular chili in place of canned beans. Those black beans of yours add a wonderful depth of flavor and make my chili outstanding. At least, that is what my husband says!
I admit this recipe would be easier-less steps- so I will give it a try.
Many thanks for all your recipes but mostly for keeping your web site ad-free. Just for ducks I subscribed to a couple of other foodie sites over the holidays and realized how annoying it is to deal with the pop-ups and moving and flashing ads AND the senseless chatter. Your site is so perfect, we need no other. Just the perfect amount of everything, with the bonus of photos of two adorable tiny humans. Bless you, Dear One, for sticking with this for ten years and making me look like a good cook.
I always use fresh or dried beans. I freeze fresh borlotti in the summer to enjoy at winter time and then I use dry ones when I run out. Both are excellent.
Very nice your chicken chilly, perfect for cold January days.
Wow I can’t believe your blog is 10! That is crazy. May you enjoy continued success! This chili recipe looks delicious.
#71 Ashley H – I also have a tomato allergy and in a different chili recipe, I’ve used a combination of red bell pepper and carrot as a substitute. I also use beer for part of the liquid as well as a small amount of coffee to add some depth.
Hi Deb, I found a very good recipe recently from Thomasina Miers (who is the founder of the Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca here in the UK). Her recipe includes interesting spices like allspice and cloves. And also chorizo. It is made with stewing steak and I made it like you in the slow cooker with dried beans. It’s delicious! I added chipotle in adobo right at the end and now get almost angry if someone tries to feed me chilli made with canned beans and minced beef.
Here’s the link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/recipes/chilli-con-carne/
I’m making it now! Because El Nino has brought the immortal CHILI-EATING WEATHER TO LOS ANGELES! My kids are grown so I went crazy with some chipotle chili powder in addition to the cumin and jalapeños. Rooted through the pantry and found a bag of small white and also part of a bag of red beans so in they went. Added a bottle of Corona beer for “body” -comme il faut, or as we say around our house, as one do- along with the chicken broth. I’ll let you know how it all turns out!
I wanted to congratulate you on TEN WHOLE YEARS with this site, it is my go-to, you are indeed a goddess, and you just write so damn well. My hat is off to you!
The second I saw this recipe, I ran out for the ingredients and threw them in the crockpot. I even had some leftover handmade tortillas to make the chips. Had it for dinner, had it for lunch, having it for lunch tomorrow, and probably making more when it runs out. YAAAAS. PS- think I’ll add a little chipotle in adobo next time.
Hey Deb! I’m from Germany and a great fan of your recipes! I love this one! Made it at the weekend and it was so delicious – even my wife was very pleased!
I cooked this for 11 hours on low overnight, then unplugged my slow cooker this morning without testing the beans. Uh oh! Now, at first taste at 4:00 p.m., my black beans are still pretty crunchy. I’m plugging the cooker back in on high and am going to cook for a few more hours in hopes that they will soften up. Moral to the story: test your beans before walking away for the day!
Not to nit-pick more copy-editing. Just FYI:
“if were going to run the slow-cooker for 5 or 10 hours,” were/we’re
“when Thanksgiving pies were weighing heavily on or midsections,” or/our
(looks like an awesome recipe, looking forward to trying it since the most use my slow cooker gets is in making beans; the only ones I had heard about issues with putting straight in a slow cooker were kidney beans– something about a chemical that causes upset stomach when not neutralized by high temps)
Ok you have me convinced, I am going to put this on the menu for this friday! thanks for the recipe.
Yay! I’m so glad you finally posted a white chicken chili recipe!!! I love this in winter and I remember asking about it on a Facebook Q&A a few years back and was sad that you didn’t have one back then. Can’t wait to try this out!
Last week one of the Cooks Illustrated TV shows (either America’s Test Kitchen or Cooks Country) did a blind taste test of canned beans (cannellini). Test included dried beans cooked by Cooks Illustrated. One of the canned beans beat the dried beans in this instance (Goya). Creamier. Surprising but good to know.
Hooray for a recipe without chili powder! We don’t have that in Australia and while I can make an approximate I’m never certain I’ve hit the mark. Breaking slice blends into components is always much appreciated.
Congratulations on 10 years!! I had a moment of panic when I worried that you’d one day stop writing! Then I reassured myself that at least I’d have your cookbooks and all the archives of this blog. But still – please never stop writing :-D You are amazing, this website is perfect, and I sing your praises to everyone! You are my cooking guide, my go-to for recipes, my organizing and grounding source for all things kitchen related.
I tried this with my instantpot pressure cooker. The beans took a full 40 minutes to soften up. The favors were great and preparation took about 10 mins max.
Marisa — Yikes, I’m sorry you had trouble. Any chance the beans were older?
I should add that, for me, this is one of the exasperating things about slow-cooker recipes, which is that low and high aren’t consistent temperatures across brands. But I have never needed more than 8 hours for black beans on low, hope others don’t have issue with the same.
Nicole — Thanks, fixed.
Deb, that is a mystery. I got them from Whole Foods yesterday, but who knows when they were packaged. In any event, I dumped the chili into a stock pot, simmered for FOUR more hours, and the beans STILL have a “bite” to them. Eeeek! My guess is ancient beans. Other than the beans being a bit firmer than I’d like, the chili is good. I’m not giving up on it!
Also, another note: my slow cookers (yes, I have two) and I are old friends. Their cooking times usually match cooking times in recipe instructions. For example, your Sweet and Tangy Brisket made two days ago was spot on. And yes, I unashamedly use my cookers multiple times per week. :D Just another indication the beans were old.
OMG this is the first thing I’ve made in months that both my hubby and my toddler son LOVED. Thank you Deb!
Tried for 9 hours on low in the crock pot with dry pinto beans and the beans were still too firm; transferred to stove top to finish it off and it took over an hour for them to soften up. I had just bought the beans from store, too, so they hadn’t been sitting in my cupboard for ages.
I love using my slow cooker! It is put away as it is summer here in Oz but today is so cold that I could def drag it out again!
I think this will be good (I made it last night for tonight’s dinner, but I am wondering if I handled the chicken correctly. Does each hunk from the store get cut into 3-4 pieces? Two pounds was more than 3-4 pieces in the package. Clearly I am new to meat cooking!
Made this last night, 2 1/2 hours on the stove and OMG – perfectly delicious! Very thick however so I might add more water – I did a combo of beer/water/broth and one jalapeno.
This was AMAZING! My family loved it! I used one chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and one heaping teaspoon of regular old chili powder and chicken thighs. This was a great way to use up a lot of the dried beans I apparently have been hoarding in my pantry. I think the leftovers will make a great filling for tacos or taco/ quinoa bowls tonight. Thank you for posting this!
darn! not sure what may have happened. followed directions to a T. 10 hours on low and my beans are still hard.
Beans not cooking in 10 hours — Yikes, sounds like two people now. I’m beginning to suspect my slow-cooker has a more robust “low” than others. I’m keeping an eye on responses and will retest soon, if this becomes a pattern.
Trisha — You can also absolutely not cut it up at all. I do cut each piece into about 3 segments (I’d do 4 with a larger breast but tend to find small ones) but it’s much more about encouraging the meat to basically fall apart on its own in the pot, and having less shredding to later, than about it being necessary for them to be in smaller parts to cook in the time frame. Hope that helps.
Made it a day early as written and served last night; loved it, as did my book group.
Nervous about the beans cooking, I did two hours on high (since I was around), and then four on low – beans were perfect . Perhaps that dose of high might help others who have trouble with beans in a slow cooker?
I thought you couldn’t add salt to beans until they were cooked or they would never fully cook. Could that be the bean problem?
I made this for us yesterday at an altitude of 2400 ft. After 6+ hours on high the black beans were still “al dente” but the Anasazi beans were fine – neither of the beans were old. I have heard all my considerable life that you should not add tomatoes to beans until the beans are cooked to your desired level of donenes. If I make this recipe in the future, I will let the beans cook until done and then add the tomatoes and finish cooking for a while. I must admit my initial reaction to a chili recipe from New York City was the same as the old commercial for Pace Picante sauce when they ask where the competitor’s picante sauce is made and the answer is “New York City” and the response is “NEW YORK CITY?!!!” Had I made this as written it would have been very bland. I added 2 large,whole, fresh jalapenos, chili powder, chipotle chili powder and one can each of original and hot Rotel tomatoes to get to our desired spice level. Something was still missing and we couldn’t decide what was missing. Maybe this will be better today after flavors have melded overnight. Not an out and out failure but still needs tweaking for our tastes. That being said, I enjoy your blog and have been a faithful visitor for many years. I, too, love the way you write and enjoy your sense of humor. Even the typos can be funny. Congratulations on 10 years.
Hi Deb, I think you like if we report bad ads- there’s a gross one about eye bags showing up on this post when I view it. “Say ‘Goodbye’ to Eye Bags. Destroy a bit of your wrinkles every day with this one weird old tip…” with a pretty nasty close up picture of an eye with something very wrong going on.
This looks delicious! I had a recent bad experience cooking beans (your black bean soup actually- totally delicious once it was done!) in my new slow cooker. A total of about 10 hours on High finally got them soft. I think they were probably ancient. I’d just bought them, but from a pretty questionable store. I guess I’ll have to try again with this!
Hi Deb – I love your recipes and your book. Probably a really stupid question – but how do I print your recipes from your web-site without printing all the commentary? Am I missing something. Thanks so much.
Diane — There’s a “Print” link at the bottom of each recipe that will take you to a clean template for just the recipe.
Emily — Thanks; I’ll see about getting it removed. (It’s, sadly, getting harder and harder to never have bad ads, but I still want to hear about them.)
About beans not getting soft – Perhaps it’s because we have such hard water in our area, but I’ve learned I have to soak beans and split peas overnight, and even lentils for a few hours, or they won’t completely soften in my slow cooker. I learned my lesson from attempts at split pea (10 hours on Low) and lentil (4 hours on High) soups that were still unpleasantly crunchy after the suggested cooking times. Soaking ahead does the trick.
This looks juuuuuuust right. I was feeling the same way this weekend regarding spicy Mexican chicken tortilla soup! I made it just the way I like it and tried to keep things light and healthy for the New Year.
I have a question–I have am super excited to make this for me, but my husband is actually allergic to tomatoes. I know he would love this–do you have any ideas on substitutes for the tomatoes? Just leaving it out? (Oh my lordy tomato allergies are hard to deal with)
I made your chicken tacos + salsa fresca recipe from 8/6/06 and read in the comments someone thought the liquid from cooking the chicken would make a good stock. Do you think it could work for this recipe?
This was delicious! It was a little wetter than I would have liked but incredibly tasty and it made a ton. My beans softened in 5 hours on high in the slow cooker but they were very fresh dried beans.
Similar issue on the cooking time– it took closer to 7 hours on high. I used newly purchased Rancho Gordo black beans, so I feel fairly sure it wasn’t their age/quality. Still pretty tasty though!
Sorry to say, but must chime in also re: the beans! Cooked on high for 5 hours and the beans were still very hard. I fished out the chicken and threw the rest in the trusty pressure cooker and it still took about another 15 minutes in the pressure cooker to cook the beans completely. I will say my beans were on the elderly side, having been in the pantry for quite some time. I have no idea whether that’s a factor but I would venture to say that pre-soaking the beans might be a good idea. Will be fascinated to see what your testing will tell us! Meantime, all’s well that ends well: the finished product disappeared pronto with kudos from all!
Adding this to my list of must-try slow cooker recipes. I just moved & now have an hour+ on the bus each direction so it’s either leftovers or slow cooker meals for the foreseeable future.
I too bought dried black beans from Whole Foods and after 5 1/2 hours on high they were crunchy. I ended up dumping doing the same and dumping it into a pot on the stove – hoping it takes less than 4 hours for mine! Other than that it is smelling and tasting great.
My beans are taking much longer as well. I set it on the second to lowest (8hr) setting but at hour 6 they were still hard so I cranked it to high another 3 hours. They softened enough to serve to my hungry kids but I still have the crockpot going to finish it off. The flavor is great! Hopefully the chicken won’t be too tough. I checked expiration for the dried black and red beans i just bought – they are fine.
Where oh where did I go wrong? (ok, so I didn’t add ANY beans…) this is more like soup. I did the slow cooker version on high for 5 hours. I used 2 c stock and 3 1/3 c water since that’s all I had for the stock. It smells amazing, so that’s good. I didn’t have any dried beans so thought I’d throw in (don’t be frustrated with me) a can of black and kidney beans at the end. Will that thicken it up? Help! How do I correct this? Is all lost?
This is SO delicious! I used cranberry beans and northerns (what I had in the cupboard) and got a thick, delicious chili/stew. I did add 2 Tbsp tomato paste since my “broth” was getting to be more like a gravy. Next time, I’ll make sure I have black beans, but this was very good anyway. The sauce was rich and so full of flavor!
This is exactly what I need. I’m so anti-cooking at the moment that a chuck-it-all-in is the only thing that’s going to stop me from getting something delivered.
I did soak my beans overnight. Force of habit.
I get the appeal of the uber-simple instructions, but won’t this be a whole lot more flavorful if you (have an extra eight minutes and) do things like saute the onions and bloom the spices first?
I made this yesterday and it was a huge hit with the whole family, kids included. I will definitely make it again (and again). Thanks!
Thanks so much for including pressure cooker instructions! I hope that you write (or adapt) more recipes for the pressure cooker, since that cooking method is once again in style. :)
I made this yesterday with black beans only in the crock pot on low for 10-12 hours (due to meal timing, not because of the beans). At 10 hours the beans were perfect! At 12 hours they were still good!
Maybe our crock pots are similarly robust.
We added avocado on top along with sour cream, cilantro and lime. I quote, “This is the best chili you’ve made so far!”
Re: cooking beans above 4000 feet… I live in Boulder Colorado (5600) and never saok my beans and they always cook. The key is to use beans that haven’t been in your pantry for years. I haven’t tried this recipe but my friend did (lives a bit higher up than me) and followed the recipe exactly and the beans cooked fine.
I made this last night on the stove top (wanted to use the new Le Creuset I got for Christmas). My black beans were still hard after almost 3 1/2 hours. The chili was delicious, but maybe I’d soak them next time.
Hello! This was a huge hit with our family, after 9 hours SOME of the beans were still crunchy so we put it on high while setting the table/etc. turned out great. We used about 2 tsp of McCormick chili powder (so, very basic) since if its too spicy our 3 and 6 year old won’t eat it. Thank you!
Deb, you are a lifesaver!! This is exactly what we needed in our house, and I threw it in my crockpot for 10 hours and woke up to a yummy smelling house this morning!! I upped the amount of chicken (4lbs) tomatoes (44 oz) and beans (about 4c) and added 4c chicken stock and a beer. . . turned out just the way I like my chili, nice and thick. Took my 5q crockpot all the way to the edge of the insert, too! I’m going to have half to freeze for a crazy week and you have officially made my life easier. Blessings to you and thanks a TON.
I love chili! I usually make a pot on Sunday and snack on it during the week. I have to be careful with the chips though. Sometimes I’ll use them instead of a spoon and next thing you know I ate half a bag by myself.
I’m getting tired of this “scoured every cookbook/the internet and couldn’t find what I was looking for” or “nothing is quite good enough for my tastes” drivel. So far, 90% of your posts start with an over-arching statement about how what the rest of us eat is sub par or some self-deprecating tangent. (Especially frustrating when the recipes that follow aren’t revolutionary.) I used to really like new posts around here but it’s getting pretty monotonous.
This recipe is amazing. I was skeptical at first due to the simplicity of the ingredients. My husband isn’t big on beans, so I only added about 1 cup of dried beans. The consistency ended up more soupy than like chili (I guess because I skimped on the beans), but I didn’t mind at all and in fact I might prefer it this way, I served it on top of tortilla chips and it tasted like a wonderful chicken tortilla soup. Beans came out great. Will make this again and again. Perfect for this chilly rainy California weather.
I’m not sure if this is due to the dried beans available in the UK or not, but I’ve had a major problem with this recipe in the slow cooker. I followed the instructions, but the chilli has turned out very grainy. It tastes and smells excellent but the mouth-feel is very unpleasant.
For reference it was black beans and canniili beans I used, new bags from the supermarket so not very old (hopefully).
Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
Sarah — I did it both ways and didn’t find the flavor to be remarkably improved by pre-sauteing. These are going to slow-steep in the chili for hours; you’ll get all the flavor out of them in that time.
Beans not cooking in very many hours — I was so stressed about this that I was thisclose to buying a new crockpot that might have less robust heat. And then I remembered that I have also done beans in these times in a smaller Proctor-Silex one I have. And then I worried it was my fancy fresher beans from Rancho Gordo, but remembered that I used Goya dried beans the last time I made this.
Regardless, I feel terrible that this recipe isn’t working for everyone and of course it has everything to do with the beans. I should add that there’s no harm in presoaking, especially if you’ve had trouble getting beans to cook through in the slow-cooker in the past. It’s little consolation, but will add that note.
Jill — It seems like soup because most of the liquid in the recipe is intended to cook dried beans. To make it without beans, you probably won’t need more than 1 to 2 cups liquid.
Sarah — So, my recipes either come from a place of curiosity (I wondered how this dish would taste, had never heard of it), obsession (I had this somewhere and wanted to recreate it at home) or pickiness (I’m never happy with this dish and wanted to fix it). Sometimes there are others (cravings, maybe, or things that family members have requested, or perhaps I had an abundance of something in season and wanted to use it up) but those are the big three. Some recipes are basic (in which case, I usually go to lengths to explain what my version has to add to a well-exhausted category, i.e. what I wasn’t finding elsewhere), some are more original (and then I’ll tell you why I think it’s great). If I’m reading your comment correctly you’re saying you don’t like this (redundant themes) with an edge of contempt (these recipes aren’t revolutionary enough). I mean, okay? It’s okay to not be into the site. I’m not sure that means I’m doing something wrong here or something needs to change.
Deb!!! Your recipes are awesome. Not sure why people have to be so negative. Keep up the inspiring work. I look forward to each and every post!
Deb, you are doing nothing wrong. I love your recipes and your writing. People who aren’t interested shouldn’t come. Why is that hard to figure out?
I made this yesterday, came home to a heavenly smelling house. It was delicious. Thank you!!
Hi Deb, Thanks for all your great recipes. This one is simmering away as I write. I am a new mom and was so happy to find a super easy, healthy crock pot recipe I could throw together while my infant naps. My mom has a 4 quart crock pot and I wanted to share this recipe with her, but am never sure how to alter recipes designed for large crock pots for smaller ones. Would you halve it and keep the cooking time the same? Thanks!
This recipe was so easy and great! Threw it together in 5 minutes last night and scooped some chili out of the crock pot this morning and and am eating now at work:) Was looking for protein heavy recipes with lots of flavor and this one totally delivers, and wasn’t grainy or mushy. Thank you!
Hi, Deb! I started this about 20 minutes ago (rather than the 3 hours ago I was hoping for), and can see from the responses that it might take longer to cook the beans, but maybe not since I’m doing this on the stove top. What I was wondering was how you get boneless thighs? After a few minutes of trying to cut the meat from the bone, I gave up and tossed the last thigh in as it was. I’ll have to fish it out when it’s done. Sorry if this is a weird question; I have a cold. But I wanted this chili instead of chicken soup! Love your site, too, thanks for all your hard work!!!
Hi Deb – our host for home group made this for our dinner last night and it was delicious! I love the thought of being able to put it all in a pot together and not have to remember to pre-soak the beans. I have a couple of packages of Rancho Gordo beans that will be used shortly! Love your site – I think I use one of your recipes at least once a week. Happy New Year!
Hi Barb – Costco has boneless/skinless thighs. But I only had bone in thighs on hand so just tossed them in with the bone. I figured I’d shred them after they were cooked and remove the bone. Mine is cooking right now too – so good luck to both of us!
Oh your chicken chili look delicious. Great work!
Finally, a crock pot recipe that doesn’t require you to “sear meat in cast iron skillet until brown on all sides, place in crock pot, etc.” which leaves you with a stove and skillet to clean before you are barely started! I made this chili tonight and it is really delicious, so thanks so much! I put it all together the night before and stuck it in the fridge overnight because I can’t handle even this little cook prep at 6:00 a.m. before heading to work. The beans (Goya) were perfectly cooked and creamy. I used about a tablespoon of Penzey’s medium chili powder and didn’t need to adjust the seasonings at all. Husband LOVED it. Again, thanks Deb, and don’t hesitate to post more “everything in the pool” crock pot recipes!
FYI – in my All Clad slow cooker, the beans were cooked perfectly — chili cooked on low for 9.5 hours. Very good recipe which will become part of a regular rotation. For me I think it needs more heat and more salt — I will adjust accordingly.
Just finished cooking – on high for 6 hours in my CrockPot. Beans are perfect (I used Goya Navy and Pinto because that’s what I had on hand), and as I mentioned to Barb above, I left the chicken on the bone and it was fine – I just fished the bones out. I freestyled the spices a bit with smoked paprika and chipotle, added a little more salt at the end, tastes great!
I love the site Deb – I talk about you to my friends and family as if we’re personal pals ‘Deb said this, Deb said to do it that way, Deb has this great…’ LOL. And I love the smittenkitchen community – people are nice and helpful, comments are always informative and interesting. Keep up the great work, I love the site and your book!
This was absolutely the easiest thing and the most yummy school night dinner ever – threw it all in the slow cooker at 12 and it was ready when I got home with the kids at 4.30. So good and easy – I love that you don’t have to precook anything. The chicken is falling to pieces. I also made the oven-baked tortilla chips (so yummy) and a bowl of guac for the top, so good! Thank yoU!
Marie, thanks so much for the tip! I’m not a Costco member, but I’ll keep an eye out, although it was easy enough to pull out the bone. I was worried this would be too soupy, but after shredding the meat and letting it simmer uncovered another half hour (the beans weren’t soft enough), it was great. Terrific with tortilla chips, too! Thanks!!
Can you recommend anything to use as a substitute for the beans in this dish as my kids have an allergy to legumes?
Skip them, but also most of the water because it’s just there to cook the beans. I used to make a bean-less version for my dad, who was forever low-carb. I’d use more onion and sometimes a bell pepper in addition to the hot pepper(s). Should I write up this recipe one day?
FYI, even though I had trouble with my beans, you are by far my most favorite chef EVER! I tell ALL of my friends about you. Your cream cheese pound cake (your baked ziti, your salted brown butter krispie treats, etc.) is legendary from sharing in my neighborhood. Your writing is so inviting. It’s like sitting around talking to a good friend who also likes to cook.
I made this last night for my family, and it was absolutely lovely! I modified it slightly to include fewer beans (one person in my family is not the biggest fan of beans), so I upped the chicken a bit. Ultimately, I used 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, one scant cup of dried black beans (the Fred Meyer store brand…nothing terribly fancy), reduced the chicken stock to 2 cups to account for the smaller amount of beans, and added a teaspoon of McCormick’s chili powder. Everything else I kept the same (including the jalapeño), and the beans were perfectly cooked by hour 8 on low in my slow cooker (brand: CrockPot). Thanks for such a great recipe – can’t wait to make it again!
I made this recipe 2 days ago and it was tasty! I also had issues with my organic, dry black beans. However, I learned that one size crockpot does not fit all… I started adding all of the ingredients to my crockpot and when I got to the last ingredient, water/stock, I had no idea how it was going to fit without pouring out! Oops! I dumped everything into my large dutch oven and simmered it all day (10:45AM until 8PM). When I realized my mistake, I quickly ordered a new, larger crockpot/pressure cooker/yogurt maker (limited space=need for appliances to have multiple functions). I can’t wait to make it again! Keep up the great work Deb! Looking forward to another book!
I made this yesterday, and followed the recipe exactly and cooked it on the stove (I don’t have a slow cooker). I had the same problem with the beans being too firm to eat after 2.5/3 hours. So I added 1.5 cups of water and cooked it for an hour longer. At that point the beans were still a tad firm, but the good news is that after sitting in the fridge overnight, the chili tastes great today, and the beans are now tender! Thus, I would recommend to people cooking this (on the stove at least), add slightly more water and cook for about 3.5 to 4 hours. The chili may need to sit overnight in the fridge. But after making those adjustments, it’s a great recipe, and the beans really do taste better than canned and have a better texture.
Dont worry too much about the comments saying it’s more of the same. Yes chicken chili has been done – but isn’t it like that with every food? As a reader you’ve built a trust with us where I see your recipe and think hey – I’ll try that tonight! I’m not coming here for new amazing insights never seen before, but recipes for great food and you have delivered that consistently. I suspect others will agree with me. Thanks Deb!
Allison — I actually thought this might fit in a 4-quart, but only have a 3-quart (didn’t fit) and a 6-quart (what you see, fits easily).
Glad to hear that the cooking times worked for many of you. Seriously, I feel TERRIBLE when recipes don’t work for everyone, and this one — something I’ve made so many times, with different brands of beans and slow-cookers, from this exact recipe — was the last one I’d expected anyone to have trouble with. Again, little consolation to people chewing on hard beans, but I do hope you know how seriously I take not publishing anything I don’t know in my gut will work for everyone.
My pot of black bean hominy pork chili (left-from-summer-barbeque bone-in chops from the freezer; thawed overnight, and pulled the bones out once cooked) is just about done. Looks terrible unless you’re as big a black bean fan as I am, but samples taste pretty good. It seriously filled my biggest (6 qt – I have 3, starting at 2 qt) slow cooker and will feed me for at least a week. I will probably stir in a handful of masa harina at the very end, since I like my chili thick.
As far as how long it takes to cook beans, there are just _so_ many variables, so don’t feel bad, Deb. You can’t be expected to test for absolutely _everything_.
Something as simple as opening the cooker and stirring can make slow-cooked dishes of any kind take an extra half hour or more. And beans that are older – there’s no way to tell, even with a good supplier like Rancho Gordo – do simply take longer. FWIW, I eat a lot of beans and other pulses always cooked in one of my slow cookers, I never soak them, and the best I can say is “pull some out and check”. Sometimes they just take longer. Incidentally, it’s not salt, either; I always salt and season my beans at the start, and it makes no difference in the texture or cooking time that I can tell.
Deb, a very timely NY Times piece on cooking dry beans: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/13/dining/how-to-cook-beans-recipes-tips.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0.
Very good, but I missed the little bit of residual sweetness in chili. Any tips on what I could add to remedy this. I used a mix of black and pinquito beans, Ro-Tel tomatoes, plus chicken broth and beer, one large jalapeño and 1 tbsp of chipotle en adobo sauce. Even after an overnight it seemed a bit harsh.
I bookmarked this recipe a few days ago and made it today. I had everything in the pot before I noticed the updated headnote about the beans. It worked! Tender beans in the stated cooking time. There are so many variables with dried beans, as serenpoly says, but I’m very pleased to say the recipe worked perfectly for me.
Hi Deb! Love your recipes! I make at least 3 of your dishes a month. I too made this yesterday. The beans, which I purchased for this recipe, were soft after 9 hours. The only change I made is that I only cooked the chicken on low for 5 hours. Our slow cooker quickly turns chicken to sawdust after about 6 hours. My husband and I are spice fans so I added some chili powder, chipotle powder and ancho powder. Very good chili!
Made this on this on the stove top yesterday because I started to late to get in the crock pot. It makes quite a bit so I’ll freeze some for later. I served it with cornbread. I used 1 T of chili powder plus 1 chopped jalapeno (de-seeded). Being from the south I don’t think I can make chili w/o adding chili powder :)
We enjoyed the recipe, thanks.
I scanned through the comments and didn’t see anyone ask, but seeing as I have a pantry chock full of canned beans…can I use them instead of dried? I have used them in other slow cooker chili recipes and they’ve been fine, but maybe the cooking time has been less. Do you think they would end up too mushy? Look forward to trying this out. Thanks!
Great recipe. I had way too much liquid, but that may have been my fault, might have screwed up the ml conversion. Anyway, it tastes great! I was suspicious about the beans getting soft with the tomatoes but it went reasonably well. This one will become a regular here, and I will also try the vegetarian one you suggested. Love your blog by the way!
I made this in the Instant Pot, and it took about 35 minutes for my beans to get soft (combo of rancho gordo red nightfall and store brand black beans, unsoaked). Amazing flavor! We did beer for 1 cup of the liquid and it tasted amazing. I did about a 3/4 recipe because it seemed like that was a good volume for the pot. Thanks for a fantastic recipe–we will definitely make this one again!!
I love your recipes and make them from the blog and your cookbook often but sadly this was a miss for me also. I read earlier comments soaked my beans overnight. I used a mix of white beans (older from my pantry) along with black and small red that I purchased from the bulk bin at my grocer this week. 4.5 hours on high and I had crunchy beans. Had to go to work so I put everything in the fridge. Put it on low when I got home and slept while it cooked for 8 hours. Still have crunchy beans… I used white meat chicken so that’s pretty tough and stringy at this point but I pulled out the breasts and moved my crockpot temp to high to see if I can salvage anything. There must be quite a variety of crockpots and beans out there. I know I have a high heat crockpot but apparently it doesn’t’ love beans. Was so excited for a “set it and forget it” recipe. Thanks for trying!
I made this last night, on the stove, with generic dried beans from the supermarket, and it turned out great! I didn’t pre-soak the beans, cooked it all in a heavy Dutch oven at a medium-low heat after bringing it up to a brisk boil and the beans were cooked through in under 3 hours. Hubby and I are still enjoying the leftovers and it’s great to add such a delicious meal requiring limited prep to my repertoire. Thanks for another great recipe Deb!
Made this tonight and was so thankful I did. I’ve made all the SK chili recipes and I really loved this one for several different reasons. First, it was a dump all the ingredients in and walk away. Second, the beans were plump and did not resemble baby food at all, bonus! And lastly, it was a hearty dish on a cold PNW night. You did it again Deb!!!
Yeah, the beans needed longer for me too, but we got there in the end and the recipe is great. After making this my husband informed me that he doesn’t like chicken chili. So I’m thinking 2 pounds of stew beef will go excellently in the next round. Thanks so much for trolling the internet for recipes and tinkering them until they are just what you want, and then sharing them with us. Happy Tenth!
Hi Deb! I made this today and, after reading all the comments about crunchy beans, decided I would just try cooking it exactly according to your directions.
TL;DR: The beans cooked perfectly, the liquid ratio was perfect, and the chicken was tender, but I needed to adjust/increase the seasonings after it cooked. Below are the details of my approach to the recipe.
I bought black and small red beans this week from the bulk section at Whole Foods, used fire roasted diced tomatoes, and included half a serrano pepper, chopped with seeds, and a generous sprinkling of both chipotle and ancho chili powders, in asedition to cumin and salt. In the crock pot, I put the onions, pepper, and garlic on the bottom, then added the beans, then the chicken (which completely covered the beans), then the spices, then poured the tomatoes and water over everything. The idea was to keep the beans closer to the heat source, rather than letting them float to the top. Over the course of the 10.5-ish hours on low, beans eventually did start to float, but I think weighing them down for the most part might have really helped. Also i absolutely did not lift the lid on the crock pot the whole time. Seasoning-wise, at the end I added a teaspoon or so of balsamic (this was I think inspired by my regular stovetop chili recipe, which also is from SK, maybe the quick one with canned red beans and ground beef?), maybe a half teaspoon more salt, and a few more shakes of chipotle, ancho, and cumin, as well as some cayenne. To be fair, I didn’t measure the chili powder at the outset, so maybe I under seasoned? But anyway the flavor really needed more complexity and zing at the end of cook time. It cooked all day today til late tonight, and I am putting it fridge til dinner tomorrow, so all the spices and meats will have even longer to incorporate and get delicious. Planning to serve it with optional lime wedges, Greek yogurt, additional chopped serrano, and crusty multigrain bread. I’m pretty excited about it!
So thanks for another one for the books. And yeah, those who haven’t started this recipe yet, definitely try putting beans down on the bottom and covering with chicken, pouring liquid on top last. And no peeking during cook time! Keep the heat in! Cheers.
I’m pretty sure I must have messed up my conversion from lb -> kg because I ended up with like 12 servings! It took 5 hrs on high + 7 on low til my beans were cooked, but it’s yum.
I swapped many ingredients in this recipe to make this a white chicken chili, and it turned out great. I feel a bit bad posting comments since what I made veered so far from this posted recipe. I did use the basic formula and thought I would chime in. I swapped the liquid found in the tomatoes with a beer and more chicken stock. I also added two roasted and peeled poblano peppers. I used dried white beans instead of the mixture of black and red. Other then that, I used the basic ratios, and my beans cooked perfectly on the low setting all day. I know this isn’t the recipe posted, but when I saw the comments on bean cookery I thought I would throw my 2 cents in.
Also: I’ve been reading this website for almost all 10 years and use it frequently. Thanks for all you do!
This looks great, but I would like to share a concern about cooking some types of beans in a crockpot because of a potential toxin called Phytohaemagglutinin. I am including a link. Easy to avoid by boiling the beans first!
References: Phytohaemagglutinin (Kidney Bean Lectin) [fda.gov]
Hi Deb – do you happen to know if this will work with frozen chicken or do I need to thaw it first?
Hi Deb- I was looking forward to making this recipe and just put all of the ingredients on high in my crock pot. I then read the comments about the kidney beans and toxins. I used Goya small red beans. Now I’m not sure what to do. It would be such a shame to dump the whole meal out. My slow cooker does seem to run on the hot side, but I wonder if it would also work to bring everything to a boil on the stove top before we eat it to kill the toxin? I have 2 little ones and am pregnant so anything to do with food poisoning really scares me!!
Ok, avoiding the math and speaking only from my experience, when I doubled the ingredients there was no way the double-batch could fit in my 6-quart slow cooker. It was full to the brim before I had added the beans – with only 6 cups total of water (plus the two cans of crushed tomatoes, chicken, onions etc). I re-read to make sure I didn’t do something wrong. Meanwhile I did the one-hour boil and soak method with beans on the stovetop – I recommend this for speed as it gets the beans close to done quick – drained the beans and then transferred the chicken/liquid stuff from the slow cooker into two 8-quart dutch ovens on the stovetop. It’s all cooking now and my 7-year old walked in and said, “Oh, that’s why the kitchen smells so yummy.”
Deb,I just made this recipe with Kidney beans. I just read someone’s post about cooking kidney beans in a slow cooker can be toxic?!! I have never heard such a thing! Should I not eat this?! Please advise!
Oh Deb, I love you so, but this was a big ole disaster for me. I must admit that I didn’t read the note about pre-soaking, so I just followed the recipe as posted (with brand new beans I might add). So far, my beans have been in the crock pot for 24 hours and they are still not cooked. I pulled out the chicken about 12 hours ago, but still hopeful for those beans! We’re gonna eat egg sandwiches for dinner tonight and hope for the chilli tomorrow!
Absolutely delicious. Thank you for yet another hit Deb!
I love Smitten Kitchen and try out recipes regularly from this site. I was so excited to try this chili recipe out, and being told there was no need to presoak the beans made me so happy! Alas…my chili has been cooking for the last nine hours, and while the beans did soften, I feel that most people (myself included) would find them far too al dente. I think the flavor of the chili is good, but I knew there had to be a reason why most people always recommend to presoak dried beans. I used newly purchased black beans and small red beans. I believe the added salt and the acidity from the canned tomatoes don’t allow the unsoaked beans to cook properly.
I loved the idea of this recipe. I pre soaked my beans and did everything according to the recipe. After cooking for 5 hours on high, my beans aren’t cooked and the chili looks very watery. Side note, I only did 4 1/3 cups of water as 5 didn’t fit in my cooker. Help!
I could only put in about 4 cups of water as well after I added the canned tomatoes. Otherwise it would have spilled out….obviously depends on the size of your slow cooker I guess.
Sadly, I have to chime in about crunchy beans, too. I used black beans and kidney beans and pre-soaked them overnight, then left the chili cooking on low for 10 hours today. I’ve removed the chicken and am going to see if I can blast the beans into submission by cooking them again on high.
Recipe didn’t fit in standard crock pot. Switched to pot, pre-soaked beans toof forever to cook. Recipe bland. Sorry, this one was a waste and a big flop :(
It pains me to leave a single negative comment about my beloved Smitten Kitchen, but this was not my favorite. After 3 hours on the stove, I didn’t have any issues with al dente beans – they came out nicely. This chili just seemed more like stewed chicken with beans to me, and although the flavors were well balanced, I didn’t find it very interesting. I’ll probably use the leftovers for burrito bowls or taco filling.
I just wanted to thank you for updating the recipe with the headnote about the beans. I usually read the comments before making one of your recipes, but not always. I did a quick soak of the beans (supermarket small red beans and pinto beans) and then cooked everything in a pot for 2-2 1/2 hours and it came out great. It wouldn’t fit in my crock pot. Seasonings definitely needed adjusting at the end, but once that was done, it was delicious. Thanks for the recipe.
I think we’ve all learned a lesson about the wild and apparently unpredictable variations in bean-cooking, especially in a crockpot.
Me, I used a regular old pot on the stovetop and also had the time to pre-soak the beans (brought to a boil, then let sit for a couple of hours — Great Northern and pinto beans from Sahadi’s, where I think they have pretty quick turnover). Once assembled, the chili took only about an hour for everything to be cooked through. I knew I’d be keeping it in the fridge for a day and then re-heating, so there’d be more melding time. I wish I’d added a little more spice and salt, but other than that, I enjoyed this and so did my dinner guest, and I call it a success, particularly as my first-ever chili.
I made this as suggested, and yes… crunchy beans. However, what I’m actually most upset about was that yes indeed, making this recipe with kidney beans makes it toxic. I threw out the entire batch!!! Maybe it wouldn’t have been a problem, but I was NOT risking food poisoning with my family. What a absolute waste of food. Perhaps you should update the article once again, advising people to avoid kidney beans and the like.
I tried this recipe last night and wanted to weigh in on the Great Bean Debate –
I have a standard chili recipe that I really like (the “how to make very good chili” template on the kitchn) and I usually use canned beans with that recipe. But, it being a new year and all that, I decided to try your dump-in-a-pot method, and to give dried beans a shot.
I don’t have a slow cooker, so I made my chili in my Le Creuset pot on the stove. I followed your original instructions and didn’t pre-soak the beans. I had to cook the chili for 3 hours rather than 2, but soften they did. Then I cooked the chili for another 20-30 mins with the lid off to get it to thicken up a bit more. (I also added some frozen corn about 10 mins before serving.) The beans had a nice texture – definitely better than canned – the chicken was easy to pull apart at the end, and the consistency and flavour was spot-on. I will still use the kitchn chili template when I want to make chili with ground beef, but this was a nice change of pace.
I also tried your oven-chip method and my boyfriend and I were fighting over the last chips. He asked if I can make them every day. (tempting, but…)
Heat via 1 to 2 jalapenos
What does that mean?
I, too, cooked the chili in my crock pot with dried unsoaked beans, and when I sat down to lunch today, discovered that the beans were pretty crunchy. The chicken and tomatoes and spices are so nice, though — is there a way to save it? Should I put it all on the stovetop and let it simmer tonight? Will that help the beans?
Kidney bean concerns — My apologies. I hadn’t considered them a concern here because I call for small red beans, i.e. not kidney beans, which are on the large side. The FDA advises people who wish to use kidney beans in slow-cookers to first soak the beans for at least 5 hours, dump the water, boil them in fresh water for 10 minutes and then continue with the recipe. As your beans will have soaked up more liquid before they go in, you will find you need less to cook them in for the final chili. I will add this information in the headnotes.
In terms of how freaked out you should be over the kidney beans, well, of course, you should be but just to keep in mind that the scare over red kidney beans happened for the largest part in the UK in the 70s. There were a couple more incidents in the 80s. From the FDA website: “Reports of this syndrome in the United States are anecdotal and have not been formally published.” What I found interesting is that I don’t even think there’s a labeling requirement on kidney beans over this; I have never seen a package with this kind of warning. Has anyone else? Is there something I’m missing?
Re, for those who said that theirs didn’t fit in a standard crock-pot — Do you mean 6 quarts? Because that’s what I have above and it was 1/2 to 2/3 full and I’m concerned.
If your beans are underdone — Give it more time, either in the slow-cooker or simmered on the stove. They will cook. Just, frustratingly, not as fast.
Susan — It means you’ll want to pick the way you add heat to your chili. You could use 1 jalapeno, 2, some or a mix of the others suggested. It’s to taste.
Leah — Try to heat it up. It sounds like you want more spice, and that can definitely be added after you’re done.
Frozen chicken — I would add it to the crockpot still frozen; I wouldn’t expect it to take a lot more time to cook through, if any, but just check at the end to make sure.
Didn’t realize this morning until after assembling it all and attempting to add the liquid at the end that I have a smaller crock-pot (I’m guessing it’s 3 Qt) and only 3 cups would fit. Hoping that when I get home (10 hours later on low) it will all work out! I’ll update tomorrow, fingers crossed.
*And Deb, I second (or third) other champions of you that I reference your recipes, and you, like an old friend. Your continued concern over this single recipe is just an easy example of how much you care.
Turned out great!! I made this over the weekend because I was charmed by the “put everything in a pot and turn the heat on” easiness of it. And it was the perfect excuse to buy Rancho Gordo beans, which I love for their packaging and have never used. I thought I had a crockpot, but apparently it broke, so I made this on the stove. It came together beautifully in 3 hours! I used 1 quart of chicken stock for part of the liquid and added more spice: 1 jalapeno, 1 cherry bomb, and some chili powder as well. Everyone loved it, and I’ll definitely be making it again. I’m also wondering what cut of beef I could use that would shred as nicely as the chicken did?
Can understand why you have made it eight times. So yummy and my beans were perfect.
I guess I should have read through the comments first. I soaked small black beans and small red beans (bought yesterday) overnight, then got up early to assemble and throw in the slow cooker prior to leaving for work. Just got home 12 hours later to crunchy beans :( Transferred the whole thing to a big stockpot and cooking at medium high in the hopes it will be ready for my family in 45 minutes.
Yum! I presoaked the beans, halved the recipe, cooked on high for 5/5.5 hours, and it came out great! Our goya black and small red beans came out perfectly plump and soft. We doctored ours up with lots of lime and shredded cheese, but I think I’ll top it with avocado and cilantro next time, too. It did need more salt – maybe because I halved it.
I cooked this over the weekend, did not pre-soak the beans and it took about 5.5 hours but the beans were perfect! My boyfriend and I loved this chili, and it was so easy to make. Thank you!
Long-time reader, first time to commenter: made this exactly as written, cooked on the stove in my Dutch oven, didn’t pre-soak my Rancho Gordo pinquitos and domingo rojo beans, but did add a small amount of cocoa powder and chipotle chile powder. My beans were probably done in 3 hours, but I got distracted and didn’t check them until 4 hours. They are perfectly done, very creamy, and the flavor is outstanding. Thank you Deb, for this, and all of your recipes. Love your website and your writing.
Checking back in to say the chili was very good. The hearty bean soup liquid makes a huge difference from canned in my opinion. It tasted very creamy. I uses rancho gordo and whole foods bulk beans and they cooked in 9 hours. Thanks Deb!
I made this in a slow cooker with skinless chicken thighs, 3 cans of rinsed beans and 1 bottle of beer (no other liquid). Added 2 tablespoons chili powder and some Adobo seasoning. Cooked on high for 5 hours. It was delicious and the perfect consistency. Thank you Deb for being a reliable, real world, and inspiring cooking resource!
I made a batch this weekend with pre-soaked beans and it came out great, although i had to boil away extra liquid at the end (we like thick chili). The only change I made was to substitute epazote for the oregano because I was out of oregano. It worked very well, IMO. This recipe is a keeper, thank you!
Next time, when I can get to the fancy store for Rancho Gordo beans, I am going to try this with dry beans. Safeway only carries generic beans, and after reading half of these comments, I was afraid to use them. Today, I used three cans of beans (rinsed), half-and-half breasts and thighs, and about 14 oz of vegetable broth (I basically rinsed out the tomato can with broth). Followed the rest of the recipe…. Delicious topped with avocado, sour cream, cheese, and pickled jalapeños. My two 7 year olds loved it, and my hubby ate it happily as well. My favorite thing? Adding hunks of raw meat in the morning and having the easiest time shredding them 8 hours later! Thanks, Deb, for an easy recipe and an inspiring blog. Don’t change a thing about your style :)
in my crock pot as we speak! fingers crossed…it’s a bitterly cold day, so some hot chili at the end will be marvelous!!
Could you use pre-cooked chicken and add it to the pot later? Would that impact the flavor of the chicken or the overall recipe? Just trying to think of a good use for leftovers!
I’ve done this recipe three times this week. I make it in my pressure cooker, it takes about 30 min.
So I made this last night (subbed green onions for the onion, skipped the oregano, used Bob’s Red Mill Orca Heritage Beans), cooked on the stove for 2 hours. I stirred it a few times to make sure all the beans got some soaking time and had no problems with hard beans; however, the chicken, while it fell apart when I shredded it, was chewy rather than tender! Any secrets to tender shredded chicken? I suspect I simmered it at too high a temp, but I was concerned about the beans not cooking per previous comments. Other than that, it’s delicious and SO easy!
Soaked my beans overnight then cooked on the stovetop as my crockpot was too small. Cooked in 2 hours and beans are perfect but it is more like soup than chili. I have taken off the lid and am trying to reduce the liquid. I think that if you soak the beans, then you should cut back on the liquids.
Greetings from Downunder Deb!
Big fan of your blog and book – always look forward to the latest batch of inspiration! Congrats on ten years too – it’s quite an achievement!
Re: this chicken chilli recipe – looking at the comments above – I guess I don’t have much more to contribute. I wish I’d read further down the list before making it yesterday tho – another crunchy-bean-syndrome reader here :(
I used some red small/medium kidney beans and smallish pinto beans. Both had been sitting in the pantry for several months. Because of this, I soaked them for several hours the night before. Added everything else as instructed. After ten hours – still crunchy. Gave them another hour or so – no real difference that I could see. There was a lot of liquid in the slow cooker too – so I reduced most of it in a saucepan before pouring it back in. The result tasted quite good – and the chicken was beautifully cooked and tender – so we just picked out the beans and left them to the side of our dinner plates.
I live at sea level – so it isn’t an altitude problem. I’m inclined to think that all slow cookers/crock pots just aren’t created equal and that the size and subtle temperature differences actually can make a lot of difference…?
But it was great to have a recipe that relies on actual food and spices and not bottles of factory manufactured sauces and so forth. Last chicken dish I made in the slow cooker had raves on the net – but tasted so artificial and sweet – this is definitely a step in the right direction! – just think I’ll need to precook the beans next time… (and add more chilli! The two smallish jalapeños from my garden could easily have been doubled too!)
Anyway – again – thank you for so much kitchen-delight over the years – long may smitten kitchen continue!!
Frankly, my pot of chili was delicious and a great success. I didn’t soak my beans and cooked them for 2 hours in a dutch oven at 300 degrees (after bringing everything to a simmer on the range). I used a combination of chili powder, fresh jalapeno and a little guajillo powder I have stashed away. I also used about 1 cup less water than called for and the consistency was perfect. I think it definitely has a good chili flavor and my 5 year old loved it as well. I did wait to add salt until the beans were cooked, since I thought that salting too soon can toughen beans. I love the one-pot aspect and leftovers will be enjoyed.
This was delicious! I soaked the beans overnight, and it still took a solid 10 hours for them to completely soften (8 hours on low + 2 hours on high at the end because I was worried that they were still a bit crunchy). But the end result is super tasty and pleased everyone from my toddler on up to my husband. Thanks!
I made this recipe as-is in the crockpot and it turned out perfectly. No presoaking and the beans were great. And I used dried kidney beans and am still alive.
My results were similar to Katherine, above-8 hours on low and two more on high after soaking the beans overnight yielded good results. The chicken did shred so beautifully–I’m not very familiar with crockpot recipes so this was super exciting!
My beans also did not cook in time (I think I may be the ONLY person at my grocery store that buys dried beans, so they may have been on the shelf for awhile). However, we loved the chili once we were able to eat it and I’d love to make it again. Would you recommend using the same amount of liquid as per the original recipe if you are using pre-soaked beans?
I did 25 minutes in the Instant Pot, which wasn’t quite enough to get my beans cooked through – but with an extra 5 minutes, it was all good. So delicious! I subbed in a cup of beer for part of the liquid and it was fantastic.
sarah — No, I’d use less but I can’t estimate how much without retesting (and of course, some will absorb more). I’d start with 1 cup less liquid, though.
Sarah, re pre-cooked chicken — I suppose, but it could get very overcooked.
Tangentially related — I had been gunning to do a really cool chickpea stew for the slow-cooker this winter but I’ve been rather traumatized (okay, I mean lightly but I’m not joking that it distresses me when things don’t work out as I so confidently believed they would) by the uneven results from dried beans here and no longer trust my recipe development skills in the slowcooker. Have I lost my mind or perhaps I should just add several caveats (i.e. presoak for more reliable results, be warned that some slow cookers are slower than others, etc.)? Talk to me, friends. :)
Love the website and have made many of your dishes over the years. This recipe was a big success for us: I loved having a recipe that I could throw together in 5 minutes in the morning and have ready after work — plus it got the 6 year old nod of approval! I used newly purchased 2/3 Western Family black beans and 1/3 cranberry beans from the bulk aisle, and they cooked perfectly on low in the suggested time. Keep up the great work — and I would love to see more slow cooker recipes (especially those that really can be left for a full work day). I’m looking forward to the chickpea stew!
Tag-team made this with my husband last weekend (I prepped and he threw things in the pot and turned it on…except he forgot to add the chicken), and it is still going strong. I presoaked the beans the night before because even though my black beans were fresh, I wasn’t sure about my small red beans. (Honestly, I did not really realize those are not a kind of kidney bean.) We cooked it on high and substitute a bottle of beer for some of the water. We like spicy food, so we used a tablespoon of chili powder (half regular, half chipotle), and four diced jalepenos. The peppers must have been mild because we could have used it even spicier!
When we were about an hour from eating, the liquid in the pot was really dancing, so I decided to give it a stir. That’s when I discovered the chicken had not been added! I added it then, and it was thoroughly cooked in that hour. And our beans were not at all crunchy!
I wonder if cooking on high vs on low is contributing to anyone’s bean problems. If your pot doesn’t reach a simmer, it would make sense to me that the beans wouldn’t cook all the way. With that in mind, I personally would LOVE a chickpea stew. I sometimes make one with Moroccan-inspired spices and would love to see your version!
Hi Deb, I was just skimming the comments before I started to make this (looking for tips on pre-soaking the beans) but I just have to say – LOVE your response to mean Sarah!!! Seriously, what is her problem!! Everyone else loves you :)
Deb! I love all your recipes including this one! I would add caveats or have some reliable testers with different slow cookers make the recipes before you post. I’ve used my slow cooker enough to make my own adjustments based on experience, but some folks haven’t.
I’m one of those who found the doubled recipe didn’t fit in my 6 quart slow cooker. Just confirming that yes it was the 6 quart. I LOVE Beth’s idea that you have slow cooker recipe testers! If you do it, I hereby volunteer :-)
Btw, layered the leftovers of this chili with corn tortillas, salsa and cheese for a super-yummy casserole tonight.
Thanks as always for all your hard work and great recipes!
I approached this recipe with some trepidation as it is so contrary to the received wisdom on bean cookery; but, I decided to give it a try as written, unsoaked beans and all.
And… it worked perfectly. I did it stove top, for about 3 hours, using chicken broth in place of water, 1Tbsp chile powder and 1 tsp ground chipotle. The texture was great and it had a wonderful depth of flavour. The only change I’d make is to be more persistent in my hunt for chicken thighs. For some reason they were not to be found that day and I think their texture would be a great addition.
The recipe made a nice big batch so I have several meals worth in the freezer. It’s a definite make again.
My husband wears a big smile of anticipation whenever I cook a ‘Deb recipe’. Thank you, from both of us, for making our our lives more delicious.
More bean thoughts: I soaked the beans overnight and gave them a 3-hour head start on low in my crockpot with about 4 cups of water and some salt. Added the other ingredients, went to work and came home to perfectly-cooked beans and chicken that was falling apart. I’ve had unsuccessful attempts at cooking beans in a slow cooker before while making stew with a tomato-y broth and my theory is that the acid in the canned tomatoes might be at fault, per the recent NY Times article on cooking dried beans. Only thing I’d change if I made this again would be to maybe up the ratio of tomato to beans (& therefore omit some water). Otherwise, this is the most successful slow-cooker recipe I’ve made. It’s very beany, but I happen to love black bean soup.
Oh, and I would love to see the chickpea stew! There’s an Indian slow cooker cookbook that has some great-looking chickpea recipes that I’ve been too wussy to try!
Have only cooked beans from dry a few times, so forgive me if this is a silly question: if I pre-soak my beans, is there any reason to use the soaking liquid (strained of course) as part of the liquid required for the chili? Does soaking liquid capture any flavour that I might want to hold on to?
(Rest assured that we all know how careful you are with the recipes you share here, and that none of us blame you for the crunchy beans! I’d love to see the chickpea recipe. Dried bean recipes are too hard to come by, which is a shame as they’re so much more economical and eco-friendly than their canned counterparts.)
would love more slow cooker recipes! Mark Bittman did some wonderful ones with beans a few years back- I make the chickpea version every once in a while (using dried chickpeas) and change up what I include. Can’t wait to to see yours :)
YES to the chickpea stew. Please! I routinely cook dried beans in my slow cooker without presoaking, and they always turn out great. I cooked the chili 5 1/2 hours on high and everything was plenty done at that point. I was concerned that the tomatoes were causing problems with the beans cooking, so I added the tomatoes at the end and cooked it another 30 minutes. I really like using dried beans instead of canned, so this recipe is a keeper.
Give us the chickpea stew, please!
Please don’t hold back on the chickpea stew recipe! I love chickpeas and might even add some to this chili when I make it tomorrow. Don’t let the differences in dried beans and slow cookers scare you off from sharing with us!
Deb, one more suggestion for those who pre-soak their beans: they’re going to absorb a lot of liquid while soaking, so I realized (too late, of course!) that I should have reduced the amount of water. I think just 2-3 cups would have been about right. I’m cooking it down now (uncovered) to reduce the soupy effect.
ALSO I think people who are finding it fills the croc pot are likely using soaked beans. My 6 qt was nearly brimming over this morning due to the plump beans.
Smells delicious, and I’m sure it will be so. Thank you from Asheville NC for years of deliciousness!
Just got home to this is the crockpot. When I assembled it in the morning I realized I couldn’t fit all of the liquid inside. Added just about 3 3/4 cups so I was afraid I’d come home to dry beans or some other kind of disaster. Pleased to say that neither happened. Beans cooked through, chicken is tender and flavor is good. Just have to adjust seasonings a bit. Next time i’d use less beans. It just seems overwhelmed with black beans. I like them but could use less.
I’d like to see this chickpea recipe You’re holding out on. The crockpot is my friend!
For anyone wanting to feed a crowd, I found that 1.5x of this recipe (minus around 1/2-1 cup of water) filled up to the max of my 6x crockpot but did not run over. Everyone loved it and I will definitely be making it again! I used Aldi brand black and pinto dried beans, and they cooked nicely on high for 5 hours. My crockpot is the programmable 6 quart by Crock-Pot which seems to cook at a higher temperature than others I’ve tried. Thank you Deb for this recipe!
I want to get away from using canned tomato products. What may I substitute with to avoid canned?
Amazing how a few simple ingredients thrown into a crock pot can taste so complex and delicious. My beans came out great (I even used store brand dried black beans)–I did the quick soak method before throwing in the crock pot with everything on high for five hours.
Used all chicken thighs, RoTel, two large jalapenos and a half tablespoon Penzeys medium chili powder to season. As the chili was a little soupier than I prefer, I mashed some of the beans, added masa harina, removed the lid and turned to low for an extra hour. Fantastic. Thanks for such a great recipe. This will be in my regular rotation.
Deb – long-time lover of your site here, and thrilled that you’ve hit 10 years! That’s so, so crazy. I recommend your recipes & cookbook in every conversation I have about cooking. I cannot wait to try this chili! I just got a slow-cooker last month and had a less-than-successful lentil experience (al dente lentils – fun to say, not to eat!) and am hoping I’ll have better luck with these beans! I saw your note about a chickpea stew and I think, go for it! Whenever someone is making a recipe, they know that there is a chance that an external factor will throw it off. I’ve made the same vegetable soup recipe probably 30 times and still, every once in a while, something throws it off – so many factors! I’d love to see a chickpea stew for the slow cooker, though, and am sure with a disclaimer people would be more than willing to soak their chickpeas to be certain they turn out right!
Made this last week and am already craving it again. I was nervous about the beans getting done after reading some of the comments, so I brought mine to a boil separately, turned off, covered and soaked for 1 hour before assembling. At the same time, I put my frozen chicken pieces in the crock pot on low to defrost. Then once beans had soaked an hour added all the ingredients together as per the recipe. Of course, I neglected to realize that crock pots can be different sizes (duh!) so the ingredients did not fit in my (3qt? 4qt?) crock pot. I just moved part of it in a small dutch oven on the stove and cooked that at the same time on low as the crock pot contents. In the end, I mixed the two together. It came out wonderfully. I’d probably do the bean soak again (after all, it took only 1 hr) and do 1/2 the recipe next time so I don’t have volume issues. But then there would be so much less chili to enjoy! We had this for three nights in a row, which is likely a record in our “not so fond of leftovers” house.
Thanks for the recipes, Deb. I’m so happy you’re out there!
If you have an Instant pot, using the default bean button sets it to 30 minutes high pressure, which after testing it with age-unknown black beans and a 3:1 ratio of water to beans, turned out great. I recommend a natural pressure release of about 10 mins at least, then quick release the rest of the pressure and enjoy.
We made this last week. We used only chicken breast and it dried out a little bit but it was still delicious. We did it on the LOW setting for 9-10 hours and the beans were cooked perfectly. We did use black beans only and actually reduced the amount of beans to 1.5 cups.
this was awesome on this very very cold day! I made it with a mix of Goya black, small red, and pinto beans, a broth/water mix, half thighs/half breasts, 1.5 teaspoons of McCormick’s chili powder (that’s what I had) and cooked it for 8.5 hours. My husband told me it tasted like Ben’s Chili Bowl, which to him is a huge compliment but for those of you who’ve had Ben’s- it really doesn’t. The beans came out great. It also, as you say, makes 6 generous portions so the two if us have dinner for two more nights. Husband made corn bread, which is his favorite chili accompaniment, and we added sour cream because that’s what we had in the fridge. will definitely make this again!
I bought a 6qt Crock Pot yesterday at Goodwill for $9.99 and this was the inaugural recipe! The pot is basic but has a timer, so it’s not ancient. 4.5 hours on high later and the chili is perfectly cooked. The crunchy bean comments and an unknown machine scared me into preparing for the worst; I used 1/3 quantity lentils (anticipating something salvageable?) and 2/3 365 brand dried black beans. Will make again with endless variations.
I would love to hear more about this chickpea stew. It’s impossible to test for everyone, and caveats/troubleshooting in the headnotes actually make me trust the recipe (and my own instincts) more. Keep on keeping on!
Made this today and had no problems! Also, I didn’t know about red kidney beans in slowcookers and possible toxins until I helped myself to two servings and decided to surf the comments. I’ll update if I end up with an extended stay in my bathroom.
Also, Deb, you are GREAT!
This was a total success – I will make it again! I live in the mountains in Colorado (with hard water), so was aware that beans take me 3x longer than most recipes call for. Mine took about 16 hours on low and we enjoyed the wonderful aroma all that time. Those of us who live at high altitude have to work with most recipes, but we are accustomed to doing so. Thanks for your wonderful blog.
Made this yesterday and didn’t soak my beans…. ended up with overcooked chicken and not-yet-cooked beans after 8 hours (started on high for a few hours and then switched to low). So strange because I often cook black beans (unsoaked, for 4-5 hours) in my slow cooker and they turn out great! I used pinto and black beans, both new and what I always use (organic from local natural foods bulk section). I ended up taking the chicken out as best I could and cooking the beans and everything else for a few more hours, finally calling it quits when I needed to go to bed…. beans soft enough but not perfect. Strange!
I made this, but it was a little adventure. I soaked my beans the night before to be safe, since I made some chili previously on the stove with some black beans that never really got tender. I doubled it and turned it on low, my crock pot tends to be hot so I didn’t want to try high. Well, after 12 hours they still weren’t done. I had to scrap dinner and go to bed with it on warm (my warm is almost like a bare simmer!). Woke up to some mostly overdone beans, but added a little extra water and the end result was good, albeit very thick (I took out the chicken at 10 hours and added it back in when all was done). I think I would start the beans on their own like the previous commenter said and look into this acid thing…
I made this Monday night- I used dried butter beans from my garden (not the most chili-ish bean, but I had it in the house!), one fresh jalapeño, two dried ancho chilies, prob 3-4 tablespoons of chili powder, and a dab of five spice in addition to the other spices already in the recipe. Also adds a tablespoon or two of chicken flavored Better than Bouillon.
I boiled the beans for 10-15 minutes before putting in the crockpot. After the chili cooked on high for 3 hours, the beans were still nowhere near done-so I just transferred it into a stock pot and cooked for another hour….perfection! My husband loved it, and I’m still eating the leftovers for lunch!! Great recipe for this cold weather!! Will certainly make again. Thanks!
Hi – I’m very new to your blog, but love it and have been madly pinning recipes. Can I check something – is it 2 and 2/3 cups of beans or 2 x 2/3 cups of beans?! I’m in the UK and we go by weight, rather than volume so wanted to double check before I start cooking! Thank you!!
We ate this chili on Sunday and it was delicious! You CAN literally put everything in the slow cooker at once and come back hours later to a hearty meal. Thanks for posting such an excellent recipe.
Made this in my pressure cooker & it turned out fantastic! Quick soaked the beans first, then cooked on high pressure for 23 minutes. Topped with lime, chopped green onions, radish, shredded jack cheese & sour cream. Both my kids loved it too!!
I want to comment as I tried this recipe with dry pinto beans. I used less water and less chicken (as my slow cooker is a little smaller and it would not have fit) and added additional spices. I started it around 9 pm (no presoak) and the next morning at 7 am everything was cooked and the beans were perfectly tender. It was super easy and I love this recipe for that! I served it with cheese, sour cream, green onions, lime, tortilla chips and…Margaritas! Having leftovers for lunch… Its curious the variability of whether the beans actually cook or not….
It seems like this message is coming from several other folks, but I too had the crunchy beans issue! Soaked Goya black beans (a brand new bag) overnight, then cooked on low in my crockpot for 10 hours. Ended up with overcooked chicken, crunchy beans and watery sauce (presumably because the beans didn’t absorb the liquid) :( I don’t live anywhere high altitude and I was using a slow cooker purchased new less than 2 years ago. A rare miss for me from SK recipes! I’ve been cooking from the blog and cookbook for years and I’m a happy reader – but I wanted to mention my experience as it seems there is wide variation in how this recipe turns out. The only other time I’ve tried to cook dried beans in the slow cooker with tomatoes, I’ve had this same experience – so I’m now a believer in the “acid in tomatoes prevents beans cooking” theory!
Farts. I soaked my beans overnight, and had it on low for 8 hrs and the beans r still hard.
Flavor of the chicken is great!
Ack! I have halved the recipe (I have a smaller slow cooker, there’s just two of us) and I just accidentally dumped the whole can of crushed tomatoes into the pot and stirred. Any suggestions on what I can do to keep the tomatoes from overtaking the rest of the flavour? There’s not enough room in my slow cooker to double the whole recipe…
I went into this with some very old beans. I mean, they’ve been sitting sadly in our cupboard for at least a couple of years, but I felt bad throwing them away. I knew the crunchy bean risk factor was high, but I’m really happy I gave it a try. With a little extra cooking time in the crockpot, everything turned out fabulously.
Pinto + giant whites + black-eyed peas
Let everything cook on high a few hours before adding the chicken and turning to low (after which I cooked as per your instructions)
Extra garlic and onion
Threw in some kale at the end to get rid of it
Yum! I loved the resulting chili. We ate ours with cornmuffins and a leafy green salad on the side. Thank you for helping us use up some of our poor old dried beans!
This is so late in the message queue that you probably won’t even see it…but, regarding the bean crunchy/cooking issue: I, too, have had to cook your bean dishes FAR longer than you indicate in your cooking instructions. We LOVE your baked chick peas – but I bake them for nearly three times as long as you do – and have to add liquid several times during the process; they’re still toothsome – we’re not going for mush, but we need that long to get them cooked. I order beans from Rancho Gordo several times a year, so they are as fresh as I can get them, and from your own source. So, that’s not a factor. I am left to wonder if it is something about New York water? We live in Southern Indiana, quite close to the Ohio river, an area high in limestone and with really hard water, though we also have a reverse osmosis filter for water that I use (unless I forget) for all of our cooking. So, I’m not sure how to consider the water a factor….but it is the only thing I can differentiate from your experience and that of other readers…….If others are following your recipe and directions and getting such different results from yours, I can’t think it has as much to do with the equipment (after all, the chick peas are baked in the oven, not in a crock pot, and our results are still very different from yours – oh, and no acid goes into that dish at all) as it does with the nature of the ingredients themselves…….As for me, I think I will go ahead and presoak overnight, not only to alleviate my fear about the beans not cooking through tomorrow, but also to give the Weston Price folks their due in making my beans as healthy and digestible as possible ;) But I am still baffled and intensely curious about the science behind all of this – maybe Alton Brown can sleuth it out.
Well, it was a snowy day and I figured what could be better. But I didn’t read carefully enough and I pre-soaked the beans and then ADDED the 5 cups of water the next day when I threw everything together. So waaaaay too much liquid. I just picked out all the chicken and I turned the crock pot to HIGH to get that liquid down…NOTE TO SELF: Next time, read twice, cook once.
Yes please on chickpea stew! I love great slow cooker recipes that don’t call for cans of stuff or lipton seasoning packets.
Until today, I had no use for my crockpot. Now I shall have to buy a bigger one so I can throw in the ingredients, leave for work, and come home to delicious chili.
Another home run recipe. Thanks so much, Deb. We loved it.
Just made this, and it’s a winner as always! I’ve been reading your blog since iVillage but hardly post – but I thought I would today because the beans came out perfectly. After reading the recipe notes, I purposely put the beans on the bottom of the slow cooker where it should be the hottest. So, maybe placement helps?
Great work, Deb, as always. Have an awesome day!
At 6,500 feet above sea level, in Colorado Springs, experience tells me the beans will never get done; I’m going to try pre-cooking them on the stove or in the microwave a bit. Will try to get back and make a note about it because this chili sounds awesome! (I’m wondering if perhaps any of the other folks who had trouble with the beans live anywhere above sea level. Even 3,000 feet would make a difference.) Thanks for a new chili to try!
Ok, dudes. Don’t panic. The beans need more time, but they will cook. The base will thicken and all will be delicious.
I too was worried after cooking for 4.5 hours on high in my slow cooker because, as many others mentioned, them beans, they were a crunchy! The liquid was still pretty clear and thin at this point as well.
BUT, persist! I implore you! I gave it another 2.5 hours (a total of 7 hours on high) and the result was perfect. The beans became al dente, the liquid thickened to a rich, dark, stewy sea and the chicken fell apart as I spooned it out onto this amazing cornbread—>
You’ve Smittened yet again, Deb!
Hi Deb – might be strange Australian black beans, but I don’t think so as they’re imported from North America. I cooked mine in my Staub on the stovetop, and it was done in 2-2.5 hours.
My house smells delicious. Can’t wait to try it for dinner tomorrow night!
(I didn’t use jalapeños but used Tajin seasoning with chili pepper, lime and salt, cayenne pepper and lashings of cumin.)
I was a little nervous about the beans, so I did a modified pre-soak. Measure and boil the water for the recipe, and pour over the beans in the crock pot on high. Left them for 40 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. I used 1.5 pounds of frozen chicken breast and a cup of TVP (didn’t have enough chicken).
I added a bunch of extra chili powder, a bit of chipotle salt, a can of tomato paste and a couple table spoons of honey mustard (I like a bit of brightness in my chili and often add ketchup or mustard).
It went over really well! I think if I were to do it again though, I’d soak the beans at least a little and discard the water. There was some minor tummy trouble from phytohaemagglutinin (not a pathogen, just a compound found in beans), and soaking seems to prevent that. Tasty though!
Deb – Just read your most recent comment. Please do not give up on slow cooker recipes. I’m not sure if I’m your blog’s average reader type, but I’m a grad school student who has made sooo many of your recipes and loved each and everyone. This one made me truly giddy because it gave me 6 leftover bowls of chili for long nights at internship and all 6 nights prevented me from waiting until 9 pm to eat. As a mental health professional as well as someone who really loves food, waiting until 9 pm to eat is truly terrible. You saved me time making dinner as WELL as my sanity for 6 other nights just by offering this slow cooker option. I implore you to keep using your slow cooker and sharing your results with us!
I did a vegan version of this last night – no chicken, so it was actually bean soup. This was the recipe that pushed me to finally order beans from Rancho Gordo. :-)
I added a slice of kombu and a glug of olive oil in lieu of chicken, 2 tsp of mild chili powder (because I’m a spice weenie and so is my 6 year-old) and an entire bunch of chopped cilantro at the end (because greens! and nobody would eat it if I didn’t put it directly into the soup.) It was a nice rich thick stew, and I added a spoonful of dark molasses at the end to balance the tomatoes. Nine hrs on high in the slow cooker, if anybody is collecting data on this, and the beans were nice and soft. I think this is a keeper – both hubby and kindergarten kindy-bean ate it. Win!
I went the Rotel route and otherwise followed the directions exactly. I found that it was really, really salty. Almost inedibly salty. I just looked up sodium content of Ro-Tel and saw that it’s 520 mg/half cup. My local store brand’s crushed tomatoes have 180 mg/half cup. I just wanted to point that out.
Pre-soaking isn’t nonsense! It serves to drastically reduce the levels of physic acid and other anti-nutrients in the beans. It also increases digestibility and nutrient availability. Beans are slightly toxic if not soaked.
Made this in the pressure cooker – I can 100% confirm that the acid in the tomatoes will quadruple the cooking time. Likely this is overcome by the very long cook time in the slow cooker, but this is not the case for the pressure cooker. I’d pre-cook the beans next time and add them in at the end during the simmer portion of the show. I also added some extra chili powder and some chipotle. We really enjoyed this (once the beans softened up!). So great on nachos!
I cook dried beans twice a week and I have come around to be a believer in the Kenji Lopez-Alt brining soak for beans. I recommend reading his thoughts on the subject.
Still following along (as always) — I, too, always put my beans in first and hadn’t consider this might have improved my outcome. (Because this is always, always done for me in the time listed above, not that that is any consolation to those of you coming home to hard beans!) Anyone who wants to weigh in on when they put their beans in vs. finish time, I’m all ears.
I was THRILLED to see a 10 hour slow cooker recipe! The morning I went to make it, I noticed all of the added notes but since I had my heart set on the chili for supper that night, I went ahead with the recipe without soaking my black beans, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
The ONLY change I made was that I added the salt at the very end because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that adding salt too early can give you crunchy beans. I also used chicken thighs and did not cut them up, I threw them in bone-in. I got home after 10 hours and this was PERFECT. My house smelled amazing. I was a seriously happy camper.
I will be making this again, for sure! The only change I will make next time is that I will use all dark meat. Seriously grateful for a 10 hour recipe!! Thanks, Deb!
Hi Deb, I’m a 59 year old mom of 3 (big kids ;) ) and since the need for new recipes is a lifelong search for me, was thrilled to have stumbled upon your posts years ago. I knew you were a keeper when my daughter, living in London, was making your challah recipe that I had also coincidently bookmarked in the sea of google searches! And it’s awesome!
I was compelled to comment on Sarah’s (Jan 7) personal attack on you. Go ahead and say you didn’t like the recipe for whatever reason, but to slam someone, in an anonymous way to apparently make one self feel superior while obviously feeling inferior, is non productive and cowardly. Shame on her. I’m a protective mom, wife and friend. Just wanted to tell you that I (and my fellow SK friends and fam) love reading your recipes and the quality and creativity of your written work. Keep it coming! PS enjoy your little ones…..times goes way too fast!
I’ve made this several times, using small red chili beans from Whole Foods bulk. Put the beans in any old way. They’ve cooked just fine.
I made this today (Sunday) starting a lunchtime and did it on the stove. I tested it at about 3 1/2 hours and think it was done, but I kept it on the stove a while longer to reach a more sensible dinner time. We loved it! I used half black and half small red beans (about 8 oz of each) and the equivalent of about 1 jalapeno from a jar; next time I might add a little more jalapeno, but my husband liked it just as it was. This is definitely going into our dinner rotation. Thank you.
This is in my crockpot right now. I started it before I left for work. I went home at lunch to check on it, not that I needed to, I’ve just never let something cook so long when I wasn’t home. And due to the lovely smell and taste from home brief pit stop at 1, I may be running for the door at 5 to get home as quickly as possible.
P.S. I soaked my beans overnight, actually about 16 hours. I checked on them midway through cooking and after 5 hours on low they were almost done. I think my slow cooker low runs hotter than most.
+1 to @Sonyala’s comment on cooking times in a pressure cooker (I also have an instantpot). A few mods I made: used homemade roasted tomatoes and only 4C water (there was still a little liquid in the pot after cooking, but a lot of it was absorbed – overall much less water than in Deb’s recipe); sauté onions and garlic for a couple of minutes, add spices, turn pot off and add all the ingredients. Seal, cook for 40 minutes on high pressure, natural release. It was hard waiting for the cooker to open, but it’s SO TASTY!! Thanks for another winner!
Just made this for dinner tonight in a slow cooker. It was delicious and everything was cooked through perfectly! As a side, I have very picky children who have taken to ranking our meals out of 10 (which pretty much gets reserved for chicken tenders and pasta with parmesan, so you be the judge…). This recipe garnered an 8 from them, which is to say, it was a huge smashing success in mom’s books! For cooking details, I used Goya brand small red and black beans. After putting all the ingredients in, I gave it a stir so everything was distributed evenly. Delicious. Looking forward to the leftovers for lunch!
I commented (somewhere above) about my beans not softening and I just wanted to update that it was definitely an issue with the beans themselves and not the recipe as I tried to use the leftover dried beans in a different recipe (rice bowls with SK’s carnitas recipe and the beans from the red and green rice bowls) and I had to presoak (actually simmer) them more than twice as long as suggested on the package to get them softened.
Oh my! This recipe was so good and so easy! I used unsoaked dried beans and didn’t have an issue with them being crunchy. I served it over rice. I will definitely make this again!!
Made this tonight with canned chipotle chiles and black beans, and threw my chicken in still frozen. Cooked on high for about 5.5 hours and some beans are a bit “al dente” but not inedible. :) It was a little watery so I left the lid off for the last hour or so. Will reduce liquid or cook it longer next time. Rave reviews from everyone in the family! Thanks for a great recipe.
Hmmm, maybe it’s just me, but this came out incredibly watery for me–all the flavors were therefore diluted. The contents were basically swimming in there. I ended up straining out a lot of the liquid, dumping it in another pot, adding some boxed black beans and a lot more salt, and cooking it longer. I wish I knew what I did wrong, as I love the idea of dumping everything in a slow cooker and pressing on…
Hi Jessica — Did you use dried beans?
This recipe was reviewed on Eat Your Books, and I just had to come look at it – boy it sounds delish! Since I just bought a whole chicken I think I’ll have to try it.
Recently, I was watching an episode of a PBS cooking show, and for their slow-cooker minestrone recipe they parboiled the beans for 20 minutes prior to adding to the slow-cooker. Maybe that’s something that will help?
I’m going to try it just as you have it written. You have a great blog, Deb, and I’m looking forward to visiting regularly. :)
I made this yesterday in the crock pot and I’m sad to say that it was disappointing (which never happens with your recipes, so must be user error??) It was watery, grey and bland, haha. What is the thickness when you make it? I’m not going to be dissuaded though.. I want to try it on the stovetop because it looks like it could be a winner! Some user related issues that could have caused the catastrophe: using frozen chicken (maybe increased the watery-ness??), used 3 cans rotel, accidentally used bone-in chicken breasts causing us to find random bones since the pieces completely fell apart *facepalm*. Beans were soft though, hah!
OH and homemade chips???? AMAZING!!!
Deb, two questions. If I am cooking on a stove top in my Dutch oven, is it worth sautéing onions first? Second, will pre soaking the beans (sticking to just black beans) benefit if I am doing stove top vs those using slow cooker? Seems like the perfect recipe for our sub zero temps in NYC this weekend!
Sarah — You could, no harm, thought I’m not sure it will make a huge difference in the final taste with everything else going on. Presoaking really just speeds up the cooking time (and, of course, you’ll need less liquid, which is why I recommend pre-soaking IN the recommended water and using the remaining soaking water in your pot of chili) so that’s the main benefit. It will definitely be done faster, never a bad thing. Good luck!
Great taste and flavor, but the beans still didn’t cook fully after an overnight soak and cooking for 8 hours at low. Why is that?
Deb, thanks so much! One last question- do I simmer on stovetop with lid on or off? It already smells great.
Sarah — Yikes, I can’t even remember what I did so I’m going to say keep the lid ajar. ;)
You have given me fresh ideas and lots of new family favorites,thanks Deb!
As for the bean cooking problems, I think it’s the water, not the beans. After using dried beans for years I moved to a new town, where we get our water from a well. It is very hard and even filtered, my beans stay crunchy. Try spring water or bottled, it works for me!!
Made a “quick” version of this: used canned black beans, and simmered it on the stovetop for about half and hour. SO GOOD. I’ve never hever been successful with dried beans, so I don’t bother anymore.
Should have mentioned, I used WAY less liquid, of course.
I’ve got this in my slow cooker right now and it seems it will be delicious, but I’m also having problems with my beans. I used small red (freshly bought) Goya beans and soaked overnight. I’m now on hour 5 with the slow cooker on high and the beans are still too firm, and the chili a bit too watery.
As a follow up, this is perfection at 6.5 hours on high.
I followed the recipe but I used canned beans, as it’s what I had on hand. I did not realize this change would impact the recipe so drastically (my bad!). After cooking for 10 hours in my slow cooker, it was far too soupy. I added an extra 28oz can of tomatoes and simmered on the stove for an hour and a half and adjusted the spices. It thickened somewhat and I hope it will continue to thicken today as it sits in the fridge.
**For anyone using canned beans and a slow cooker, I recommend cutting the water/stock to one cup or doubling the tomatoes and cutting the liquid in half (and, of course, adjusting the spice level and quantity of beans accordingly).
Thank you for that tip! I just threw this together and was going to add canned beans toward the end…but I’ll just run to store to buy dried beans as I’ve already added the 5 cups of broth. I was thinking it was soupy looking…I guess the beans will soak it up. I should have thought of that! Thanks again.
I’ve made this a couple of times now because I desperately want a slow cooker recipe that I love. The first time I followed the directions as written and had edible but al dente beans, even after 10+ hours in the slow cooker. The next time, using beans from the same bag, I held back on the tomatoes until about 20 minutes before serving (I was guessing that the acid in the tomatoes was keeping the beans crunchy). SUCCESS! And the most recent iteration: I cut back on the added salt (to 1tsp) since we were serving with tortilla chips and grated cheddar, cooked on high for 6+ hours, added tomatoes at the end and…. it was perfect!
Deb – I hope you’ll continue to offer slow cooker recipes, even if it means we have to adjust for the idiosyncrasies of slow cooker temps and timing. And if you have any vegetarian slow cooker recipes that aren’t a variation on chili, well… we’d be BFFs forever. :)
I pre soaked the beans and added a dried medium hot pepper. My beans were still crunchy after 5 hours on high and took another 2 hours. I was careful to measure the water but it turned out too liquid. I wish that I had taken the lid off the last hour. Really tasty though…kind of like chili soup.
This looks yummy! I make vats of black beans with Diana Kennedy’s easy recipe and stick them in the freezer in their saucy goodness, so I am going to try adding those to this recipe when I make it (soon!!!)
Adding to the conversation for future readers: I think the al dente beans may have to do with hard water. I left the tomatoes out, soaked the beans, put them in the crockpot first, used new beans from WF bulk–and after 5 hours on high in my crockpot the beans were al dente. We have hard water, so that’s what I’ll chalk it up to. I took the chicken out, added the tomatoes, did another 4 hours on high–still al dente. It was bedtime at this point so I did 10 hours on low and the beans were perfect, and it smells delicious! Next time I think I’ll just do canned beans with less liquid but it was worth a shot.
RE frozen chicken: I used frozen chicken breasts (somewhat thin breasts) and put it in on low for 10 hours and it turned out great. The chicken was falling apart, but did not taste tough.
So far I have loved everything I’ve tried on your website. I read regularly and love the combination of food and cute kid pics. Unfortunately, this recipe was not a winner for me. I used small red beans – the same kind you used – and did not have any problems cooking them on the crockpot after 8 hours on low. I just thought the recipe was very bland even after increasing the amount of chili powder. To future readers I would take a pass on this one.
For lack of ingredients I did it this way thanks to Lee above:
3.5cups chicken stock
jar of Rao’s basil marinara (didn’t have tomato)
~2lbs chicken frozen thighs
3 garlic cloves minced
1 tbsp cayenne
no onion or jalepeno on hand :(
Threw it all in with just a little stir and 45 minutes in a tayama pressure cooker
what slow cooker do you recommend/use?
I made this last night and it turned out great. I didn’t pre-soak my beans and they were nice and tender. I was surprised how much flavor the dish had considering there weren’t a whole lot of spices that went into it.
Hi Deb!! Baby #1 is due in 2 weeks and looking for a recipe or 2 to throw in the freezer. Think I could just throw all the ingredients in a freezer bag and call it a day? And then put it in the crockpot the day I want to cook it? Or should I cook first then freeze?
Sarah — Just because I’m not terribly into freezing cut chicken (I figure it’s already been out for a few days at least by the time I bring it home) I would probably go ahead and cook it, bag it, and then it will only need to be defrosted when you need it. You’re going to be so happy its there! (Good luck.)
Pressure cooker compatriots: I made this successfully as written on high pressure for 25 minutes, quick release method. I would strongly recommend you pre-soak the beans, which I did, as both the salt and acid will make the skins toughen and may inhibit rehydration of the dried beans (it took closer to an hour last time without pre-soaking, I removed the cooked chicken at 25 min and put the lid back on to finish the beans). I used scarlet runner beans and they were delicious. I would also highly recommend a “fresh” dried bean such as Rancho Gordo rather than a supermarket dried bean.
Tip: I always toss the beans that are still floating in the soaking bowl after an all day or overnight soak. In my experience those suckers will always stay crunchy.
I made this yesterday and it’s awesome! I was concerned that it would be too liquid-y and not have enough flavor, but it’s delicious. I added 1 tbs chili powder and put in a dried ancho chili as well. We make the black beans from the SK cookbook in our slow cooker ~1/month, and those usually take 4.5 h on high to cook. These took 6 h on high, but I pulled out the chicken after 5 h because America’s Test Kitchen recommends not cooking chicken for more than 4 h on high. This is better than the turkey chili we usually make (it uses canned beans) and I will definitely make it again.
This is a great method! I soaked my beans bc I am paranoid. I also threw in chopped zucchini and tomato, and added chipotle powder, chili powder, and dried cilantro. Results are delish and it was so easy.
This is another sublime recipe! The beans cooked perfectly and there was plenty of liquid in the chili to still be soupy. Even the chicken came out perfectly which usually is impossible in a crockpot.
I made this yesterday, and it’s possibly the best slow cooker recipe I’ve ever made. Meaning that it’s ACTUALLY good, not just “good for a slow cooker”.
I used all black beans, which I did soak overnight, in 4 cups of water. Then, when I added those beans and water to the slow cooker, I also added an additional 1 1/3 cups of vegetable broth.
I used 1/2 chicken breasts and 1/2 thighs; next time I might use all thighs.
I used 1 fresh jalapeno and about 4 heaping tablespoons of chili powder (not a particularly spicy blend…just the 365 brand from Whole Foods). Next time I’ll probably add a second jalapeno, or perhaps a chipotle pepper in adobo, just to punch up the spice a bit.
I cooked it for the full 10 hours on low, because that’s how long I’m away from home for work. The chicken is tender, but not dried out, the beans aren’t mushy, the flavor is nice. The recipe yields a HUGE amount of chili.
Hi there! I’m curious about how the chicken cooks all the way through on the stove on low in just 2-3 hours? I feel like the chicken won’t be cooked all the way if it just sits on low. Thoughts?
On my stove, low = it’s gently simmering. If it’s not very slowly simmering at least on low on your stove, you should use a little more heat, just a little. 2 to 3 hours is a looong time over heat.
I’m making and freezing a bunch of soups for a big Halloween party I’m having this weekend, and I made this one last night. It came out perfectly. I used chicken thighs, and a mix of good-quality red beans and old-in-the-pantry black beans. I cooked it on high all day (~7 hours) and then low for another hour before dinner. It makes a TON, fed my family of 4 for dinner and there was plenty put aside for the freezer. Making a second batch tomorrow!
I made this chili today, soaked my beans overnight (about 12 hrs, as I didn’t drain them right when I woke up) in the recommended water, cooked on the stovetop for 3+ hours and some of my black beans are still hard :/ I’m hoping the leftovers soften up for the rest of the week. The flavor though is awesome. I didn’t have sour cream (sad face) but with lime, cheese, the baked tortilla chips and chives, it was delicious. I’all def make this again, but maybe with canned beans!
I wonder if the particular canned tomatoes you’re using are relevant here. Many commercially packed ones have citric acid added as a preservative.
My experience in the past has been that there is no amount of cooking time that will soften up the beans. I once cooked the chili on the stove top for over 24 hours (adding water occasionally) just to see, and the beans were still crunchy! It’s what convinced me to finally buy some canned beans.
You are such a good writer. I aspire to write like you.
I don’t digest beans very well so I added diced carrots, green peppers, and homemade pumpkin purée. This batch should last all week for lunches!
I made this in the instant pot tonight. I just threw it all in the pot! I forget to buy a jalapeno, so I just added some chili powder. Loved it. I cooked it on the bean/chili function for 25 minutes and used natural release. Some of the beans at the top were a little hard but the rest were perfect. Great flavor and so simple.
This worked perfectly! My dried beans cooked in 10 hours on Low in my slow cooker no problem. I did use Chicken Broth instead of water, so not sure if that made any difference in cooking time… but still, worked like a charm and it’s SOOO good! Thank you!!
Could I substitute can beans in place of dried beans? Also, are the red beans simply called “red beans?” As I only recall seeing kidney beans in red.
I usually use small red beans (available dried and fresh from Goya and other brands). Re, swapping canned beans, you can use them but you’ll want to remove almost all of the water, just a few splashes to make sure there’s enough sauce to cook the chicken.
Could you put this comment up in the recipe as a note for the beans? There seemed to be a fair amount of confusion about too much water / using canned beans in these comments. I used canned beans with all the water once and got Mexican-spiced chicken soup :-/
Yes. I didn’t add it because I thought it was understood that uncooked beans need water and cooked beans don’t, but I only care about the recipe working for everyone.
So I had a brain-fart and completely omitted the crushed tomatoes… The resulting chili was significantly bean-y, but not unpleasant. We needed to add some additional seasoning (hot sauce, salt and the like), but had it over a fried up square of cheesy polenta! Delicious. Suffice it to say that I’ll be trying this again and won’t forget the tomato next time, but if you’re like me and forget, it’s still a very palatable dish!
Yum 0- love that cheesy polenta idea!!
This recipe was absolutely amazing! Dead simple, and outstanding flavor. I pre-soaked the beans like you suggested, and used 3 cans of Rotel (because 30 ounces seemed closer to the 28 ounces of crushed tomatoes than the 20 ounces in 2 cans), and 1/2 tsp of ancho chile pepper as my “pepper option”. Ended up just right on the heat – just a bit for us adults, but not so much that my 2 and 4 year old would reject it. They gobbled it up and asked for more! I think in the future, with the 3 cans of Rotel, I might drop the soaking water to 5 cups, since it ended up just a smidge on the watery side.
When you say the chicken is cut into 3-4 pieces is that 3-4 pieces of chicken or each piece (Thigh, breast) is cut into 3-4 pieces?
Each piece. Basically, big chunks. Cooks faster and I find it to make the best size shreds.
I followed the recipe as written the first time (using two cans of Rotel) and it turned out delicious, but VERY watery. This second time I reduced the water to 4 cups, added a third can of Rotel and about 2.5 pounds of chicken, and it’s STILL very watery. Any suggestions?
I also found this to be very watery, basically soup and not chili. I think the first time I made it I must have forgotten the water (or possibly halved it because I own 2 cup liquid measuring cups?) and that was much more “chili-like”. I’ve only made this on a stove top pot and I wonder if the IP needs the liquid, whereas on the stove you don’t want. I’m with you on the liquid – follow your gut and nix it. I’m only adding tomatoes and rotel in the recipe next time.
When I made this I assembled the entire thing in the slow cooker the night before and parked it in the fridge, so all I had to do in the morning was pull it out and plug it in. I could never get all that done in the morning before heading to work. It came out perfectly!! I would never bother to soak the beans separately. No need for that. Very good flavors and will make it again!
To me, this is a brilliant idea and I am going to do this method. Thank you!
Hi, would this be ok in a le creuset Dutch ove what cooking time would it be then? Ta
Yes, just use the stovetop instructions.
I’m making for tomorrow night. I’m curious if I could throw the left over turkey from thanksgiving in for the last hour or so in stead of using chicken?
Yes, but I probably would add it even closer to the end, only really need it to get hot and cook for a few minutes.
I tried this and followed the instructions exactly as written. I soaked the beans overnight just to be on the safe side. Everything went into the crock pot at 9:30AM. When we ate at 7:30PM, the beans were STILL crunchy. I realize this is probably due more to my slow cooker than the recipe…so no blame, but it really made the chili pretty unpleasant overall. I also found that this wasn’t quite as flavorful as chilis I normally make. So unfortunately, this is one of the few Smitten recipes that won’t make it into my normal rotation.
Best meal I’ve ever made in my crockpot! I used a mix of black beans and adzuki, 8 hrs on low w/o a presoak. Used broth instead of water. So good and ridiculously easy! Thanks Deb!
Absurdly easy, beyond delicious! On paper, this recipe looks like it couldn’t possibly succeed; I only made it because I figured you wouldn’t steer your fans wrong, Deb. And you wouldn’t! Cooked it on low for 8-ish hours, and the beans came out perfectly.
I made this recipe for company on the weekend, and we all loved it! I also loved how easy it was to put together! thank you!
I cannot thank you enough for this recipe. My entire family loves it (even my 12-month-old daughter). We had it a few times last winter, and I am so glad that winter finally made it to South Louisiana, so I can throw it in the crockpot again. You’re the real MVP.
I just finished cooking this chili, and it’s Delicious! However, the black beans sorta took over and colored the whole thing a purple hue. In your photo the chicken looks like chicken. My chicken looks like it’s purple. I know it tastes good, but I fear my kids will reject it because they eat with their eyes. Did I do something wrong? Why is it so purple? I used Goya brand black beans and small red beans.
I made this. It was very good and the kids loved it. The dried beans were great! My son asked if I could do it with pork. Do you think I could substitute a pork butt for the chicken and just cook it longer? I made it in the slow cooker.
I would sear the pork first, but otherwise I think it would work well.
i haven’t made this recipe yet but i have done shredded pork butt (shoulder) in the crockpot for tacos in the past, so you could totally do it here. (but for the beans the ingredients are on the same level.) i cut it into big chunks and brown them in a pot on the stove first. :)
Made this for New Year’s Eve dinner tonight and everyone (11mo-70yrs) loved it. I had jalapeños, ground chili, sriracha and tobasco on the table so people could add more heat. I was short on time and worried about bean doneness without soaking so used canned beans (3 cans total). I added one 14 oz can chicken stock and one cup water for liquid, but think I could have done without the cup of water. I am going to try it again with dried beans. I used all thighs and they were surprisingly tender after 7 hours on low. Thanks Deb and happy new year!
Absolutely delicious and a breeze to make. Used a chipotle in adobo plus a few shakes of chili powder instead of jalapeño because I forgot to grab one at the market. Beans were perfectly done after 5 hours in the slow cooker on high. So much flavor for such simple preparation. Love that I didn’t need to brown the onions or anything. Full of protein and flavor, perfect way to start back after the holidays.
I made this last night, and I am so happy that I have a big pot of this ready for these winter days. We had it for dinner last night and lunch today, and we love it. I made mine in a lecreuset on the stove, and I accidentally left it a little long, closer to 3 1/2 hours, but it still turned out. I saw somebody comment that the differences in people’s experiences with bean crunchiness may be related to their water. So, since I used the Goya beans and also live in NYC, I took a chance and cooked my beans like Deb did, and they turned out perfectly. We ate it by scooping it with tortilla chips, but I recommend buying the Tostito’s “Hint of Lime” chips, because that hint of lime for scooping the chili is just perfect.
Those Hint of Lime chips are one of my great junk food loves…. ;)
I made this yesterday and it was fantastic. First I pressure cooked some red kidney beans (22 minutes I think, and I used maybe 2 cups of dried beans and 3 cups of water). I then drained and rinsed the beans just in case. This may be an unnecessary step but our dried beans were very old, and I’ve had trouble with them not cooking through in other recipes.
For the chili I used about 3 pounds of chicken cut into large chunks, a box of chicken broth (no additional water), maybe a tablespoon or two of chili powder, and a diced jalapeño (plus the other ingredients from the recipe). Then I pressure cooked this on Manual – High for 22 minutes and let it natural pressure release for about 10 minutes. The chicken was cooked through and tender, and the flavor was fantastic. I used an InstantPot, in case that helps anyone. Highly recommend this recipe!
I have made this several times now and it is always a hit. The smoked paprika is a must, as is the xxxx hot; granted, we like things spicy around here. I’ve found that sometimes the beans may take 5.5-6 hours on high depending on your slow cooker, so it’s better to start earlier and be prepared for that. I also like to substitute red wine for some of the water — nothing fancy. I think last time I added roughly 1.5 cups (I wasn’t measuring) and also added 4 cloves of garlic instead of 2.
What kind of pressure cooker do you have and do you like it? I’m just starting the research phase of making this purchase and would love to get your opinion.
Wonderful chili dish, especially on a rainy, overcast day. I made this with Rancho Gordo Rebosero Beans, Rancho Gordo Chili Powder (instead of fresh jalapenos) and all-thigh chicken meat and simmered for 2-1/2 hours on the stove. Just to be on the safe side, I soaked the beans overnight and am glad I did because the beans were perfectly firm (and a couple were even very firm) after cooking for several hours. I added 3/4 tsp. of Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming spice blend and an additional tsp. of sea salt. Delicious! Will probably be better tomorrow.
Oh My Goodness, this was seriously good! I used ancho chile powder for a small amount of heat/large amount of taste, half red beans, half white beans. I pre-soaked my beans and they cooked up nice and soft. Crushed up some tortilla chips – dolloped some daisy, and it was amazing!
Pretty sure husband added some Tony C’s when I wasn’t looking but that’s ok.
This recipe looks amazing – I’m planning to try it when the sleet/freezing rain moves into our area over the weekend. Planning to soak the beans overnight just to be sure, but my question is about the jalapenos – do you dice them seeds/membranes and all or remove seed/membrane then dice? We like our chili on the spicy side, but don’t want our hair to catch fire!
Jalapenos vary significantly in heat; I’ve found ones that taste like green bell peppers and others that almost destroyed a dish with their heat. (Most are somewhere in the middle, of course.) So, I would have a taste and then decide how much you’d like to add. In general, I omit the seeds and membranes because I don’t like the texture, but I’d add another pepper if I wanted more heat.
I vote for more slow cooker recipes even though they can be risky in individual application! I am planning on making this next week. I’m a dry bean, slow cooker newbie, so I have a potentially silly question: can I overnight soak the beans in broth? Or is water preferred?
Thanks for keeping it classy, Deb!
Made this last night and would recommend it as an actual flavorful worthwhile use of my crockpot. I cooked mine on low for 8 hours using all black beans without a pre-soak. Also my chicken was frozen when I put it in and it turned out fine. I like my chili thick so after taking the chicken out to shred it, I used the immersion blender to blend up about 1/4 to 1/3 of the beans mixture and then added the chicken back in (my chili was more watery than pictured above). I had de-seeded my jalapenos this time and it was a very mild chili– next time I would keep some of the seeds in to increase the spice.
Also used some of the leftover chili for the base of huevos rancheros the next morning, my favorite breakfast- yum!
In the process of making. didn’t soak bean,because daughter said they were fine for hers without soaking. but after high on 5 hours on high beans are super crunchy and there is soooo much liquid in the pot. This can’t be right. I’m extending the cooking time,but who knows what will happen at this point.
I was spooked by the comments so I soaked my beans overnight and they used up ALL the watet (5 + cups). Should I add more water to the pot during cooking? Will my chili be too dry?
Wow, thirsty beans! Definitely add a couple cups more. They still taste like they need to be cooked, right?
I had this same question – When I soaked my beans overnight, I still had a little liquid in the pot (less than a cup). I decided not to add additional liquid because the canned tomatoes seemed to be enough for the whole pot. I also checked it every hour to see if it got too dry, and it didn’t. It turned out great!
Deb, am I reading the recipe right, that one should use either fresh jalapenos OR chili powder? Did you make this with jalapenos or chili powder? And since you’re talking heat, did you mean a chili powder like cayenne or a typical chili powder mix that other chili recipes call for?
Thanks a million! Hoping to make this for a crowd for Super Bowl.
I made this with chili powder mix (the brand I used was Rancho Gordo, a very high-quality product) and did not add any jalapenos or any other chile. That was the right spiciness for me and it turned out great.
Any of the above, to your taste/preference for flavor and heat.
So, I tried this yesterday with canned beans and corn. My concern was, that if I only cook it an hour on the stove top it would be too much liquid and the chicken could be too dry. After an hour, there was a lot of liquid and the chicken had not fallen apart. So I fished all of it out, tried it and it was just right and juicy. I shredded it while cooking the base on high for 5 minutes. I then added the chicken again and voila, it looked like the chili texture I desired.
And it was delicious! So thank you for the recipe!
I’ve always been afraid to plug in a heating device and then walk out of the house for 8 hours. So thrilled, however, to return to a crazy, amazing pot of this chili!
I followed the recipe to a T (except almost eliminated the oregano – yuck) and made sure my beans were from a high turn-around joint.
Our kids (7 and 9) loved it and asked me to make it at their school for hot-lunch.
Still cannot get over how wonderful the black beans and little red beans were!
What is a good slow cooker to buy? Which do you use?
I generally check Amazon reviews for purchases like this; I have an ancient one that isn’t made anymore, and then a Proctor Silex that had great reviews that’s newer. That said, I feel like everyone I know is buying an InstaPot these days; I believe it can be used for slow-cooking or pressure-cooking or as a rice-cooker. Might be worth looking into.
I fear I’ve made the crunchy bean mistake. I soaked the beans overnight (half black, half red, from the bulk aisle in Whole Foods) in the 5 1/3 c. water (mine was part chicken broth part water). Five hours on high in the slow cooker and the beans were still crunchy, and there was a ton of liquid left. By that time it was 11:30PM at night I was exhausted, so I dumped the chili into tupperwares to stick in the fridge. The chicken is also kind of dry, but I didn’t break the breasts into chunks, so that may be it. Le sigh! Determined to try this again someday and cook for longer.
Made this yesterday and it was delicious! I used canned beans instead of dried because I was too lazy to go to the store, and didn’t put in quite as much liquid for that reason. Even so, I got nervous about halfway through that it was going to be too thin, so I cooked it with the lid off for a while to reduce it down (my new slow-cooker is much more powerful than my old one so it didn’t have a problem with that). I needn’t have worried because by supper time, it was the perfect consistency and oh so yummy. I served it with cornbread muffins and a pine-nut salad.
This is the first main meal I’ve made from your website (my toddler is a huuuuuge fan of your carrot and tahini muffins) and it was great! Perfect timing as it’s starting to get quite cold here in Australia, so a slow cooker recipe was just what I needed. But what I really loved about it was how quick and simple it is! I was apprehensive about using dried beans after reading the comments, but it turned out well after 9 hours on low, although a little runny. Any suggestions to thicken it? That said, it’s my husband’s new favourite dish. Thank you!!!!!!! :-)
This is the most delicious thing I’ve ever made in my slow cooker. The flavors are just incredible and vibrant – miles away from that flat taste that some slow cooker meals have. I did soak the beans for about 5 hours in the same water I used for cooking (just in case, and because I had time), and everything was cooked perfectly. I will definitely be making some tortilla chips to go with the leftovers. Also, it feeds a ton – probably will be 7 very generous portions in our household.
Meant to add – I used chicken thighs, which fell apart beautifully, and topped with cheddar cheese.
This is my go-to chili recipe for a while now, and we love it.
I actually just won the McGregor Bay chili cook off with this recipe and figured I should pass on the accolade.
I do use dried beans (start the soak the night before), I use whole chicken thighs (don’t even cut them up first). The seasonings can vary a little based on what I have on hand, and I always finish it with lime juice at the end.
Thanks so much for a great recipe!
Wow, what awesome news! I like your technique too.
How much chili powder should I use?
I don’t use it here but if you’d like to, just do so to taste! If yours is very hot and you don’t want the chili to be too hot, go easy on it (maybe just 1 teaspoon). If it’s mild, more of a chili seasoning blend, a tablespoon is nice.
My wife made this yesterday. Not good.
1. Very bad idea to cook beans with tomatoes. I learned a long time ago that acid with beans is bad medicine, and they will flatly refuse to get tender. So it was here. A veritable sea of little pebbles.
2. It is chicken bean soup, not chili. Desperately in need of a thickener. I would suggest maybe a quarter cup of masa stirred into the water.
And cook the beans separately or use canned. 10 hours of cooking and they were still rock hard. When I make chili I always cook them separately and mix at the end. That means you either need two crock pots or cans of beans.
I’m sorry it didn’t work out — it’s possible the soupiness and bean issue are related; if the beans had finished cooking, it would have been thicker. I continue to make this all of the time with the tomatoes and cooking time has never been an issue; but it’s not just you either. A fraction of people respond here that their beans never cooked.
This chili recipe is delicious! A really nice change from the traditional beef/kidney bean chili I usually make. Even my kids eat it; after picking out all traces of offensive onions, of course :) Leftovers are even better. My husband and I love the fresh tortilla chips with it, such a great side and so easy. I had never tried to make them at home before and now I am obsessed. This is a regular in my rotation when the weather gets chilly.
Made the chili tonight. I think cooking it on a stove changed the cooking time, plus I halved the recipe since just 2 of us. All the liquid was gone by an hour and a half so i added more water for another half hour. The beans were the right consistency. It tasted really good but was a bit too dry.
I just realized, should I have covered the pot? That would probably have worked better.
The food that I just looked at was looking so good
THIS WAS A FAIL!
I soaked dried beans overnight and they are still crunchy after 8.5 hours on high in the slow cooker (kitchenaid 6 qt).
If this recipe is to be attempted, I would recommend using canned beans only.
I bought new bags of beans (Goya brand, black), soaked them overnight, and added them to crockpot which cooked on Low for 10 hours. YET, beans were still hard and crunchy??!! I was sooo bummed as the rest of the dish was utterly delicious. Any suggestions beyond using canned beans? Thanks.
I’m sorry to hear. I have made this suggestion in the headnote: If you’re worried or have had trouble in the past getting dried beans to cook in a reasonable amount of time in your slow-cooker, go ahead and soak them overnight first. But, I want you to soak them in the 5 1/3 cups of water and then use that water — which is now full of flavor — in the slow-cooker. This will also allow you to have the right liquid level at the end, since it will be impossible otherwise to know how much water your beans absorbed and adjust the recipe accordingly.
I made this in my Instant Pot and it was possibly the easiest recipe I ever made! Delicious, filling and lots of leftovers! I used a combination of black beans and great northern beans, and used 4 cups of chicken stock (instead of the larger amount of water, as the pot was getting quite full). I used the Beans/Chili button which was 30 minutes at high pressure. It took about 25 minutes for the pot to come to pressure given the amount of liquid, 30 minutes to cook, and then 15-20 minutes to come down from pressure, so not quite instant, but very simple and didn’t have to watch it. I used 1 jalepeno and 1 teaspoon of chili powder and it was not spicy at all, so would probably increase both next time (though topped with jalepenos and hot sauce also did the trick). I would also probably double the salt next time.
This was delicious! I used black beans and kidney beans and soaked them for about 6-7 hours. Then I cooked it in the slow cooker on high on two hours but it wasn’t going to be ready for dinner if I kept it in the slow cooker so I moved it to the stovetop for about two hours. Some of the kidney beans were still a little firm but the black beans were fully cooked. Next time I would use small red beans instead of the kidney beans. Because I kee kosher I served it with vegan cheese (and limes). So good! Deb, thank you for another winner!
I found this to be very watery and at the end of the day it could have had more chicken in it. However, my beans were cooked nicely. I rinsed them several times and then did a final rinse with boiling water and let them sit in that for about five minutes.
If I were to make this again, I would decrease the liquid by a lot and add two cans of tomatoes instead of one.
I made this yesterday with chicken breasts and 1/2 Rancho Gordo midnight beans 1/2 Rancho Gordo pink beans. Beans were fresh, newly purchased based on the popularity in this blog and others. I read all the comments before attempting and also checked Rancho Gordo’s bean making instructions out. Beans and chicken soaked for 2.5 hours in total water required in the fridge because I changed my mind about cooking the beans on low in my slow cooker. Added all ingredients except tomatoes and salt. Cooked for 6.5 hours on high, added tomatoes and salt at the end. Beans were perfectly cooked, chicken shredded easily, and the chili was delicious. Thank you!
I have made this three times now – well, the third is currently in the slow cooker. The first I made it with a bag of Goya black beans and cooked it on low. They took 14+ hours to soften. (I removed the chicken much earlier that that.) We ended up letting it cook until bedtime, putting it in the fridge and eating it for dinner the next day.
The second time I used black beans from the bulk section of my local Portland, OR grocery store thinking they might be a little fresher. This time I soaked them overnight and cooked them on low. Even with the soak it took about 11 hours to be ready to eat.
This time around I didn’t soak first, but decided to cook on high heat, thinking perhaps the low setting on my slow cooker (Crock Pot brand, about 4 years old) is too low. It has been cooking on high for 8 1/2 hours and the beans are far from done.
Once this chili is cooked all the way it is delicious. And like a lot of chilis, it improves the next day. I would totally recommend making it, just don’t count on it for dinner that night even if you start it at 7:30 am.
This went in the trash. After 4 hours on high, the beans were not cooked and the chicken had a dark grey tint from the beans. Not an appetizing looking dish.
I extended for another 4 hours, added more liquid and beans were still not cooked.
Hmm. This was underwhelming. I had no problem with crunchy beans – I used Rancho Gordo Moros & Midnight Black Beans that I soaked for about 7 hours (following your directions for using the soaking water for cooking) and then cooked it in my InstantPot for 24 minutes. The beans were perfectly tender and the chicken shredded easily. However, my husband and I both found it to be a bit bland. I used a tablespoon of chili powder since no measurement was specified but I definitely could have at least doubled this amount. We also found it to be soupy, rather than thick like chili usually is. This may be my fault though because I used diced tomatoes instead of crushed. The flavor just wasn’t exciting enough for me to try it again with the crushed tomatoes. I also felt like this could use some veggies – maybe diced carrots and green pepper like the awesome Smitten Kitchen beef chili! We LOVED the beef chili and I think those seasonings were much more impactful than what was in this chili. Anyways, it’s a bummer to write a not-great review on this site because most things I cook from here have been a huge hit and end up in our regular rotation. This wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t super exciting – although I will say it was incredibly easy, which was nice. However, I think next time we want a poultry-based chili, I’ll just sub ground turkey in the beef chili recipe.
I’m so excited to make this for lunch/dinner next week! I love when a recipe only has ingredients I currently have in my fridge/pantry. Just need to get chicken!
Sorry, just to clarify, when you say “5 1/3 cups water” and “2 2/3 cups beans” that means “five and one third cups water (ie 5.33 cups)”?
Yes and yes.
I consider myself a bean pro – or at least pretty skilled and yeah, Rancho Gordo beans are not cooked in the allotted time, and it is super watery. I transferred to a pot on the stove and took the lid off. Hoping to finish in less than 6 hours cooking!
Ten hours in the crock pot, unsoaked beans, came out perfectly. The hit of the Super Bowl party. I used Goya black beans and small red beans. Next time, I might add more chicken not because it needs it but because the chicken is so delicious that I wanted more.
Beans staying crunchy….even after long cooking….can be linked to how old the dried beans are. So, if they’ve been in your pantry forever, you might consider getting “fresh” ones.
I made this in the Instant Pot (pressure cooker), and it worked well – here’s what I did. To keep the volume down, I used only 2 cups of black beans. I did soak them overnight and drained off the soaking water. Otherwise pretty much as written, except I only added enough water to bring the pot to somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 full. I didn’t have a jalapeno, etc., so just threw in some chili powder. For the chicken, I used about 2 lbs of boneless, skinless thighs, but into largish chunks. I selected the bean/chili program and “more” cooking time, which turned out to be 40 minutes. The beans are very soft, and the chicken is at the “just about to fall apart” stage. We haven’t eaten it yet, but it looks and smells great!
This has been our family go-to chili recipe for over 2 years. I sent both of my kids off to college with it and they’ve had success with it in their dorm rooms and apartments.
I have used Goya and Rancho Gordo beans – never soaked, just straight into the pot and they’ve worked fine, tender at about 6 hours on high in a CrockPot. I put in the tomatoes and salt at the beginning as written. I have tweaked it by starting with browned ground beef instead of chicken – turns out great that way too.
For those who ended up with hard beans: The only time this didn’t work was on ski trips – so I assume that altitude is definitely an issue. Also possibly your local water source. Based on the fact that we’ve cooked this successfully so many times and in different places with different beans and different CrockPots: Virginia, Massachusetts, Ontario (Canada), Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, California, Ohio, Georgia (we tend to AirBnB on trips and this is so easy to do we do it everywhere LOL) I honestly don’t think it’s the method that fails.
For those who mentioned the spices – you can definitely always taste it a few hours in and adjust. I use a lot of additional spices but I assume that would depend on your family’s personal taste preferences.
Hope this helps somewhat.
So good as cooler weather descends! Fresh spicy taste esp served with lime wedges, sliced scallions and dollop of low fat sour cream. Fantastic!
If overnight soak is not possible, I suggest simmering dry beans for 1 hr, then let sit for 1/2 hr. Add beans and liquid to other ingred and cook as directed.
I made this last night; used 3 cans beans (drained) as I didn’t have time to soak beans and the comments made me leery of using dry straight into the pot. Cut liquid to just the tomatoes and a bottle of beer; it was a bit too liquidly. I drained the solids out and reduced it a bit. Used mixture of white and dark meat, will only use dark next time as I thought the white meat was a bit too dry (primary reason why I strained the solids as I didn’t want to cook the white meat any more). Used a tablespoon of Morton & Bassett chili powder; will use more next time although we added hot sauce at the table. All in all, easy and very tasty. I cooked on high for 3.5 hours.
I have made this recipe twice, both times on the stove top in a cast iron French Oven. I use the small red and black beans as you recommend. Both times the chili has turned out very well. The beans and chicken are tender and it is a hearty dish! My only issue is maintaining a simmer in the cast iron pot as they hold heat extremely well!
I have made this recipe twice and both times it has turned out really well. I’ve used a cast iron French Oven on the gas cooktop and the small red and black beans as described. Both times the beans and chicken turn out very tender and in the 2.5 – 3 hours as suggested. If anything, I have difficulty keeping the chili at a simmer as the cast iron pot is so good and maintaining heat!
When I had a gas stove and had to maintain a simmer, I made a ring out of scrunched up aluminum foil and placed it between the cooking grate and cast iron or stainless steel pot. This worked wonderfully! Hope this tip helps!
My chili is simmering on the stove as I write. It just occurred to me- should I have waited until the end to add the salt? I always thought salt toughened beans.
No, it’s been disproven many times over! Beans need salt for better flavor.
This is one of my all-time favorite recipes of yours, Deb (and I’ve tried many of your wonderful recipes). It freezes beautifully and is somehow even more delicious and thick once defrosted. Because of that, I triple the batch, put it in a huge pot on my stove and simmer away for a few hours. Stored in our deep freezer, It makes about 6-8 easy weeknight dinners ready to go. Aka sanity for this working mom. I do soak my beans for a few hours before cooking, and use bone-in thighs and breasts for even more flavor. That means a bit more work to shred the chicken at the end, but with a triple batch, it’s worth it! We eat with lime, sour cream, avocado, and tortilla chips to scoop it up. Can’t get enough of this one!
I made this, despite having virtually none of the called for ingredients. Yes, I became one of those people who sees a recipe, decides to make it, changes 3/4 of it. . . . Oh, and it is still good! One thing in particular I will recommend is that I had neither a decent chili powder nor a single jalapeno in the house. So, I subbed a Sriracha chili hot sauce. Quite warming. :) This recipe can also survive the use of chicken breasts freezer burned almost beyond recognition — among other indignities.
I just made this in a 6-Q Instant Pot Ultra, using all measurements as specified (but w/o jalapeño because of a small child). I used the Chili/Bean default setting, which is 30 minutes on high and did a full (roughly 40 min) natural release. Everything cooked well but presented very liquid—note that the chicken will require shredding per the instructions above, and quite a bit of it. Once you shred, the liquid content won’t seem off. We used greek yogurt instead of sour cream without incident. The whole thing was hit, and could probably feed 10 people, or have loads left over for freezing.
Hello! Lovely recipe! I wanted to point out that phytohaemagglutinin is a protein and not a pathogen…. Thank you for your wonderful recipes!
The black beans did not cook after 10 hours in the crockpot on low. I followed the recipe exactly using black beans (expiration date of 2020). Any thoughts on what may have gone wrong? Next time I’ll pre soak the beans overnight.
can canned beans be used in this? if so when should they be added? thanks!
To replace dried beans with canned beans — This is the approximate equivalent of 3 15-ounce cans of beans. You’ll need much much much less liquid, however, as most of it is there to cook the dried beans. I cannot say how much but basically enough to keep the chicken moist as it cooks and keep the chili loose. You can heat them with the chili for 5 minutes at the end.
Wish I’d read this before making! Mine was watery but still delicious.
Have you a good substitute for beans in chili recipe? My kids have an allergy to legumes.
I tried this in my Fagor electric pressure cooker. The beans were not done after 40 minutes. I used broth instead of water. I just put it on for 25 more minutes and it will have to naturalbrelease as we have a party to go to. Any suggestions?
After cooking for a total of 65 minutes and allowing natural realese the chili turned wonderful.
Delicious! I made this tonight and it was SO EASY and yummy. I shared with a few friends. Did quick release and 30 mins with black beans from the bulk bin. Thank you!!!
This is extremely tasty! (especially with all the add-ons like limes, cilantro, and sour cream, which I’ve never tried before) I made this in my Instant Pot and was planning to use dried beans since that’s what Deb recommends and all of the bean issues I read about in the comments seemed to come up using a slow cooker – but in the end I didn’t have time to buy dried beans so I used the canned beans in my pantry. I drained them and cut the water to 4 cups and the chili was very still watery (I served it with a slotted spoon over rice to applause from our dinner guests). I’ll definitely make this again but will play around with using dried beans or less water.
We ate this for days! I think I would add carrots and celery next time. It had great flavor but it wasnt the prettiest chili (does such a thing exist?!). Also, I used the Instapot and I forgot to allow time for it to release the pressure so we were waiting and some of us were hangry at the waiting and the noise of the pressure releasing. So, overall, I would make it again but allow a little extra time.
Deb you are a genius!! I was really skeptical about this dried beans in 30 minutes magic but low and behold it turned out perfect! I did 30 mins high pressure and 15 natural release (because I was still prepping other food). Oh, and the corn tortilla chips were positively addicting! We topped our chili with plain yogurt, fresh lime, cilantro, and cheese. So good, thank-you!!
I made this in the Instant Pot exactly as written, just chicken breasts, no presoaking the beans, for 35 minutes. It is AMAZING. My husband was convinced it was pulled pork, not chicken breasts, because it was so flavorful.
Just got my first box of Rancho Gordo beans and this was the first thing I made with them. Perfection! Thanks for being my go-to when I’m looking for something delicious that my whole family (including my two boys 2 and 4) will devour.
I have now made this 3 times in the Instant Pot and it is so easy and delicious! I made it exactly as described (30 min HP) with dried black beans. The beans still have a bit of bite, which I prefer to mushy, so add 5-10 minutes if you’re concerned. I halved the recipe for my IP mini and it worked perfectly. I used canned ancho peppers because I didn’t have fresh jalapeno on hand. Such a flavorful chili/broth and the chicken shredded at the touch and was full of flavor as well! Thank you as always Deb. You made me brave enough to finally test out my new IP!
This was a perfect addition to our first snow day here in Washington. I cooked it for the max 10 hrs on low and did not have any issues with crunchy beans.
I added the zest of one lime once it was cooked and it gave it the perfect burst of brightness.
Loved this recipe! I made it in the instant pot, as written. I used 1 jalapeño, 4 cups of chicken broth and a cup of water. Served it with chopped cilantro, sour cream, avacado, grated cheddar cheese and corn bread. I cooked it on high pressure for 30 minutes and let it manually vent after leaving it to vent for 5 min.
The next time I make it I will increase the cooking time to 35 minutes and then manually vent. The beans were just slightly undercooked.
Wow! i made this in the crockpot with half rancho gordo indian woman yellow beans and half generic black beans (all i had in my cupboard). I used both chicken thighs and breasts. It was an experiment b/c we were having company i’d only learned about the night before (i like to live dangerously) It was a huge hit!! I cooked for 8 hours–no crunchy beans! Everyone loved it (except for my chili-hating tweener). I can’t wait to eat the leftovers! Thanks for this easy gem!
Legitimately the only chicken chili recipe that is not some kind of taco-flavored soup with chicken instead of beef.
Thoughts on using pork vs. chicken? My husband will eat pork, but not chicken, so looking for delicious chili recipes and of course came here first :)
Could you used canned beans in a pinch?
Yes. To replace with canned beans — This is the approximate equivalent of 3 15-ounce cans of beans. You’ll need much much much less liquid, however, as most of it is there to cook the dried beans. I cannot say how much but basically enough to keep the chicken moist as it cooks and keep the chili loose.
I should have known better. I can not eat beans that have not been rinsed after cooking. I suffered, as did those around me the next day. Plus it was too watery and not thick the way I like chili to be. As convenient as this meal is, I won’t be making it again.
Can the dried beans be replaced for canned? If so what would the simmering time be on the stovetop method?
Can canned beans be substituted. If so what would be the simmering time on the stove?
I always love how helpful the “I Made This” comments are, so here I am. I did not pre-soak my beans and they turned out great. I made it in a dutch oven on the stove for three hours. Around hour two I did start to fear for my beans. But, take heart. My only thoughts would be for sure add two jalapenos and some chili powder. The flavor of mine was a bit lacking. I only added one jalapeno because I was worried about spice with little kids at home but it was inconsequential.
I have made this twice. The first time I made the full batch in my newer larger model slow cooker and the second time I made 3/4 batch in my older smaller model (38years old 😯). The beans have cooked perfectly both times and I cooked the longer amount of time.
Be creative with your seasoning (I like adding adobo Chile and ground coriander) and do as Deb says to use one half chicken thighs and one half breasts.
That is all, we absolutely love it and the beans have come out perfectly with no soaking.
Happy New Year!
This is delicious! Smokey and complex for relatively little effort!
I used a mix of black and pinto beans and made it on the stove. Definitely need to pre-soak the beans. I didn’t, and my cooking time was 1.5x longer to get beans soft, with considerable extra water added along the way
We made this on Sunday night with 2 lbs boneless skinless thighs (left whole) and 2 2/3 cups black beans (soaked overnight in 4 cups chicken broth). Cooked in an Instant Pot at high pressure for 30 minutes and did quick release. Beans could’ve gone for a bit longer but chicken was fall apart tender. There seemed to be too much liquid immediately after cooking but the chili seems to have thickened up after a day or two in the fridge. Easy and tasty; will most likely make again. Thanks for the recipe!
We had this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I did what someone else below said and just chucked everything in the slow cooker the night before and put it on in the morning. I pretty much followed the recipe as written but I didn’t have quite enough black beans so I omitted half the tomatoes to reduce the liquid and used homemade chicken stock instead of water. No crunchy beans here. They were perfectly cooked. The whole family loved it and I can see us eating this on a regular basis. Thanks for another great recipe Deb!
Veteran Instant Potters we, we pressure cooked unsoaked beans on high with 2” of water covering them for 30 minutes, then manually released and added all other ingredients to the pot. We pressure cooked for another 30 minutes, and the results were perfect! We used frozen, boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!
Deb, huge fan of yours and all the recipes we try are delicious. Thank you! Head up that I soaked the beans overnight as you instructed and slow cooked for almost 9 hours on low. Unfortunately the small black beans I used were still crunchy. Bummer! Not sure if it has to do with using an IP on the slow cooker setting.
Wow, I’ve never used my IP on the slow cooker, so I don’t know how it compares. But that’s a very, very long time for them not to soften. Maybe switch to pressure for 15 minutes?
I’m sorry to say but this was the worst meal I’ve ever made from Deb’s blog or cookbook. We had to throw it out and find something else to eat. No flavor and the dried beans weren’t very good.
I added two large chopped poblano peppers, and it’s just cooking now in the crock pot, so we’ll see.
I tried cooking this in a slow cooker. Didn’t soak the dried beans first and cooked in high for 5 hours. The beans were still undercooked and wound up killing the vibe of the recipe for me. I have a pretty reliable slow cooker, so I’d recommend either soaking your dried beans overnight or just use canned go save yourself the worry. I may try this again with canned.
Hi, Deb! How are you? Just found this recipe and I need to tell you that I loved it! But i’m a bit concerned about the instructions to cook the soaked beans in the water you soaked them. I’m Brazillian and we eat beans everyday. You should never consume the water you soaked grains in (any grains, chickpeas also). Because the water is filled with “anti-nutrients” that come out of the beans when you soak them. Those anti-nutrients get in the way of your intestines absrobing nutrients and they cause painfull gases. It’s always better to soak the beans before cooking (to eliminate part of those anti-nutrients) and to never use that water. Sorry for the big comment.
I love your blog!
Hi Deb- was wondering what size slow cooker you have used? I have a 4.5 quart so not sure if I need to scale down. Thank you.
I have a few sizes, shown here is 6 quart. Bigger is fine.
Very nice, cooked in a stovetop pressure cooker. We had pre-cooked chicken that were left over from the night before, so we just added them 10 minutes before taking off the fire. It took around 50 minutes total in the stovetop pressure cooker before most of the beans were no longer crunchy.
Terrible recipe. As others posted, the beans remain too hard when the dish is supposed to be fully cooked. It also comes out like a stew or soup. Not to mention that the chicken was dry. Ugh. If you follow the “troubleshooting” and soak the beans, then use the water from the soaked beans you’ll have a gaseous stomach. I later read in the slow cooker directions that beans will not cook well if used with acidic ingredients. That would be the crushed tomatoes. Why didn’t the author know that?
This is a fantastic, and forgiving recipe! I only had 1.5lbs of chicken, and not enough dried black beans (maybe 1.5 cups), I threw in about a 1/2 cup of red lentils (they are kinda dried bean like!), I was short on cumin so put in a TBS of chili powder. Luckily I had everything else! I used Chechen brith for 4 of the cups of water. I did 30 minutes in the instapot with 5 mins natural release and then released all the steam. Beans were cooked and not at alll crunchy. Garnished with limes and sour cream. Everyone ate it! Served with baked flour tortilla chips and fresh fruit.
Made this for Game 3 of the World Series, go Astro’s. Personal pick on chili’s, no kids in the house. Used Rancho Gordo Midnight Blacks & Hitdasha Reds which made for perfect companions. Chipolte, Hatch and Mexican Chili powder. Cooked chicken separately (oven roasted the beans). This is over the top good.
Made this for Game 3 of the World Series, go Astro’s. Personal pick on chili’s, no kids in the house. Used Rancho Gordo Midnight Blacks & Hitdasha Reds which made for perfect companions. Chipolte, Hatch and Mexican Chili powder. Cooked chicken separately (oven roasted the beans). This is over the top good. No crock pot and never used pressure cooker for beans.
Made this last night and it’s delicious! Added a tbs of chili powder, some carrots, zucchini, and celery, and sautéed the veg first in a couple tbs olive oil, then added the spices and sautéed for a bit more before adding everything else. I also took out the chicken when it was cooked (maybe around 30 min after simmering), shredded it, and added it back in at the end, cause I didn’t want it to dry out. Definitely glad I did this!
HOWEVER I did not soak my beans and it took SOOOO long to cook. I really thought I was in the clear, since I was using Rancho Gordo beans from my latest shipment! I cooked my chili on my stovetop, and usually unsoaked RG beans would only take up to 3 hrs to fully cook (especially such small ones!). I was surprised and wondered if because it was such a thick liquid, that slowed down the process?
I’d make again but would definitely soak my beans first!
Why do you use dried beans? Are they better for you than canned beans? I want to use canned beans but now I’m scared. What’s in canned beans that you’re not using them. :( Afraid to google.
Made this tonight with rancho gordo beans and frozen chicken thighs. Soaked only briefly before cooking on high in slow cooker and took a good 6.5 hrs to get them soft (so took chicken out at maybe hour 4 and shredded) Added 2 dried guajillo peppers since I had them and they added nice warmth with gentle spice (one kid is spice sensitive). I can rotel, 1 diced tomatoes and a handful of leftover fresh. Served with sour cream, lime, pickled onion, cheese. Its a keeper and fairly easy prep if you start early enough. Will make again (and would be pretty fast with canned beans)
I made this in the pressure cooker last night with some Rancho Gordo black beans. The beans needed more than 30 minutes, maybe next time I’ll just start with 35 minutes. The best change I made was using a heaping half tablespoon of Rancho Gordo chili powder plus a heaping half TB of cumin instead of a TB of cumin. It is tasty but a little more soupy than I’d like, I’d love to hear if anyone has successfully cut down the water when making this in an Instant Pot.
I think I already commented on how obsessed I am with this recipe (can’t stop making it still after several years!) but wanted to come back to add a few additional suggestions for toppings. I like to add diced avocado, cilantro and sometimes shredded cheese (pepper Jack works amazing for this) in addition to the toppings Deb mentioned — especially green onion, lime and sour cream (I often use plain unsweetened Greek yogurt). The toppings are what makes this dish come alive. Thank you Deb for this incredible, nourishing staple!