I’ve tried many, many variations of vegetarian chili over the years, but this Slow Cooker 3-Bean Chili is really the very best. I tried super simple chili, chili with a gazillion ingredients, chili with “secret ingredients” like unsweetened cocoa or brewed coffee (both very good, actually) … but this vegetarian Crock Pot chili rules them all.

A bowl of 3-bean chili in a white bowl on a red plate with avocados, red onion, and cilantro on top and a Crock Pot in the background.

This slow cooker 3-bean chili recipe is the one that’s been floating around on a piece of paper with the title of “THE Chili.” My guy took a bite of his version (with meat) and said, “This is it. You can stop at this one. It’s perfect.” I feel the same way about the vegetarian/vegan version.

A bowl of 3-bean chili in a white bowl on a lime green plate with avocados, red onion, and cilantro on top.

The bonus is that this Slow-Cooker 3-Bean Chili is super simple to throw together, and takes next to no work to cook.

It bubbles in the Crock Pot all day, simmering to dinnertime perfection. If you’re okay with the vegan version, it’s done when you get home. If you want it one-dish-two-ways style, just brown the ground beef, simmer some of the chili together with the meat for a bit, and dinner’s ready.

A bowl of 3-bean chili in a white bowl on a lime green plate with avocados, red onion, and cilantro on top along with another version with meat added in a white bowl on a red plate.

As-is without the Tabasco, this is a nice, mild, family-friendly chili – not much heat at all. Add the Tabasco at the end, offer it up as a topping, or omit it altogether, depending on your preferences.

A bowl of 3-bean chili in a white bowl on a lime green plate with avocados, red onion, and cilantro on top.

More Crock Pot chili recipes

4.58 from 7 votes

Slow-Cooker 3-Bean Chili

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 8 hours
Total: 8 hours 20 minutes
Author: Kare
Yield: 6
THE Chili recipe around here. Three kinds of beans + onions, green peppers, fire-roasted tomatoes, and spices bubble in the Crock Pot while you go about your day. Ground beef can go in the carnivores' portions if you like. Chili two ways=a happy home!


  • 30 ounces chili beans in sauce (2 [15-ounce] cans)
  • 15 ounces kidney beans, drained (1 [15-ounce] can)
  • 15 ounces black beans, drained (1 [15-ounce] can)
  • 30 ounces fire-roasted diced tomatoes (2 [15-ounce] cans; crushed tomatoes are also good)
  • 2 medium green peppers (diced [about 3 cups])
  • 2 medium yellow onions (diced [about 3 cups])
  • 2 medium cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder*
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 20 dashes Tabasco sauce (optional)


  • Add all ingredients except the Tabasco (if using) and the ground beef to the slow-cooker/Crock Pot. Stir. Cook on low for 8 – 10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours. Taste and add Tabasco if desired. If serving an all-vegan chili, skip to “Serve with toppings.”
  • Serve with assorted toppings such as diced avocado, fresh cilantro, chopped onions, sour cream (or vegan sour cream), grated cheddar or jack cheese (or vegan cheese), and some Tabasco or Tapatio sauce.


Meat options

Add meat to half the chili: In a medium or large saucepan, brown 1 pound ground beef over medium heat with a little salt and pepper for flavor, if you wish. Drain off any fat. Add five cups of the chili to the browned ground beef. Stir, continuing the medium heat, and heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes.
Add meat to all the chili: Follow directions above but with 1 pound ground beef. Add to Crock Pot at beginning of cooking time. 
Nutrition info does not include ground beef. 

* Chili powder note

Chili powders can really vary in heat. If you have a milder chili powder, use the full two tablespoons – if you have a more extreme chili powder, you may want to start with less then add more to taste. 

Freezer notes

This chili freezes really well. I scoop leftovers into freezer bags, label, and stick in the freezer for super-easy future meals or even to top nachos. Double the recipe to ensure lots of extra – just make sure you’re using a big Crock Pot!

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 463kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 57g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 141mg, Sodium: 406mg, Potassium: 1493mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1116IU, Vitamin C: 48mg, Calcium: 115mg, Iron: 10mg
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