Go Back
Vegetarian Chili in a bowl garnished with avocado and peppers.

Hearty Crock Pot Vegetarian Chili

Set it and forget it, easy and hearty crock pot vegetarian chili recipe is nourishing and flavor packed! This vegan and vegetarian chili recipe is make ahead ready and freezer friendly. This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and easily gluten free.
Use soaked or unsoaked beans in this recipe - if using soaked, reduce the water by about 1/2 a cup. Be sure to check your crock pot manufactures owners manual regarding cook time for beans. **See FDA's Advisory Warning about cooking raw kidney beans in the slow cooker.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Southwest
Keyword Vegan Chili Slow Cooker, Vegetairan Chili Crock Pot, Vegetarian Chili Recipe Crock Pot
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 254kcal
Author Traci York


  • 1 1/2 C (320g) Dry Beans use your favorites: I use 1/2 C each: pinto, black and kidney beans** (see notes on soaking and FDA's cooking advisory on cooking dry kidney beans in the slow cooker).
  • 2 C (230g) Red or Yellow Onion about one large onion
  • 1 C (140g) Green Bell Pepper about one medium pepper
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 2 Tbs Dried Oregano
  • 4 Tbs Chili Powder ***see note
  • 1 Tbs Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbs Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 3 Plump Cloves of Garlic smashed and minced
  • 2 Tbs Jalapeno Pepper fresh or pickled, chopped fine. Remove seeds and ribs for less heat
  • 1 Chipotle Chili Pepper (optional) from a can of chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce
  • 14 1/2 oz (411g) Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes from one small can, undrained
  • 4 Tbs Tomato Paste
  • 4 C (980g) Water see note if using soaked beans
  • 3 Tbs Masa Harina mixed with + 1/4 C (56g) hot water or use finely crushed corn tortilla chips as a sub.
  • Lime


  • Pick through the beans picking out any shriveled beans or small stones. Rinse the dry beans and place them in the cook-pot of a slow cooker. If using dry kidney beans, soak/boil them according to FDA's guidelines below in the notes (and make sure they're fully cooked) before adding them to the soup or use one can (drained) of already cooked kidney beans. Add them to the crock during the last hour of cooking.
    To the beans add the onion, bell pepper, cumin, oregano, chili powder, black pepper, salt, bayleaf, garlic, jalapeno, chipotle pepper (if using), tomatoes, tomato paste and water. Stir thoroughly and lid.
  • Cook Beans on High (soaked or unsoaked) for 6-8 hours.
    Be sure to check your crock pot manufactures owners manual regarding cook time for beans. Use this time as a guide.
  • The chili is done when the beans are tender and creamy inside, flavors are concentrated and the chili has thickened. About 15 minutes before serving, mix the masa harina with hot water until smooth and pour it into the chili. Stir. The chili will begin to thicken during the last minutes of cooking.
    Time to cook this crock pot vegetarian chili varies depending on bean age, the older the bean the longer the cook. It’s possible that a bean can be so old and dry it won’t cook through. I do not recommend eating under-cooked beans. Temperature variations range among slow cookers - check your manufactures owners manual. Use the cook times as a guide.
    To the chili, add a good squeeze of lime juice, about 1/2 a lime, and taste for salt adjustment. If a thinner chili is desired, simply thin with water.
  • Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with any toppings you like: avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, sour cream, scallions, diced onions, lime wedges, sour cream or shredded cheddar.
  • Store in the refrigerator in a lidded container for up to three days or freeze for up to two weeks. Thaw overnight in the fridge and gently rewarm on low heat on the stovetop.


*If using beans soaked overnight, reduce the water by 1/2 C then add more later if desired. According to FDA, kidney beans must be soaked for five hours. See **note below. 
**RAW KIDNEY BEANS: I’ve been cooking raw kidney beans for as long as I can remember in the slow cooker without any issues. But a reader recently alerted me to a raw kidney bean toxin that I felt it important to share here.  This from FDA:  Phytohaemagglutinin is a toxin found in raw and undercooked kidney beans. FDA advises kidney beans not be cooked in slow cookers and be soaked for five hours, strained then boiled for 30 minutes to destroy the toxin.  If you eat them raw or under‐cooked, they can cause you to have extreme nausea, severe vomiting, and diarrhea. Cooking the beans properly destroys the toxin. FDA Indicates not to cook kidney beans in a slow cooker. Slow cookers don’t get hot enough to destroy the toxin in kidney beans. For more info please see pg 254 of FDAs Bad Bug Book. 
***Different brands of chili powder spice can vary in its heat since chili powder is a blend of spices. I use Frontier Co-Op's chili powder in this recipe (and all my recipes) and find it to be a perfect balance of spice. If you're unsure about how much spice the brand of chili powder you use will add to the outcome of this recipe, feel free to reduce the amount to 2 tablespoons and adjust to taste as the chili nears its end of cooking time. 
More Recipes Featuring Masa Harina:


Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1491mg | Potassium: 1036mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2336IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 147mg | Iron: 6mg