This slow cooker quinoa chili is loaded with beans, corn, and spices for an easy one-pot meal that only takes a few minutes to prepare! Simply add everything to your slow cooker and press start!

slow cooker quinoa chili in a bowl
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I have to admit, it took me a long time to really start using my slow cooker. It can be hard to find vegetarian slow cooker recipes, and I found so many recipes that required cooking things on the stove first. But this deliciously simple slow cooker quinoa chili couldn’t be easier. Add everything to the slow cooker, hit start, and walk away!

The other thing I love about this recipe is that it uses mostly pantry staples. Canned beans, canned tomatoes, canned corn, and quinoa come together to create a hearty meal without the need for a lot of fresh produce. This is a great budget-friendly recipe, and I can usually keep these ingredients on hand.

slow cooker chili

What is quinoa?

Although it’s often used as a grain, quinoa is technically a seed. It comes in different varieties, although they generally taste the same. You’ll see them come in a beige color, red quinoa, and tri-color quinoa which is really just a blend of different varieties. Quinoa is a good source of protein and fiber, so it’s a good ingredient to add to a plant-based diet. Most quinoa needs to be rinsed before using. If your quinoa doesn’t say that it’s pre-rinsed, you’ll need to run it under cold water in a mesh strainer to remove the bitter coating. If you’re looking for more ways to use quinoa, try my Quinoa Vegetable Soup!

What to Serve with Quinoa Chili

I love serving this dish with tortilla chips and my Mexican Street Corn Salad. It’s a great dip for chips and it’s a tasty side dish to serve with this chili! The creamy corn dip is the perfect balance for a spicy bowl of chili! If you’re looking for a plant-based option, try my 5 minute corn salsa. And if you’re looking for another way to use your slow cooker, try my slow cooker black beans!

street corn salad in a cup

Slow Cooker Quinoa Chili Tips

  • Be sure to rinse the quinoa before adding it to the slow cooker. Quinoa has an outer coating called saponin which can give off a bitter flavor. Rinsing helps remove that bitterness.
  • I like using fire-roasted tomatoes and diced tomatoes with green chili for extra flavor, but you can use any diced tomatoes you have.
  • If you like things spicy, feel free to add hot sauce right in the slow cooker! I usually save it as a topping for this recipe so it’s kid-friendly, but my husband and I love adding extra hot sauce!

chili toppings

The Best Quinoa Chili Toppings

Here are a few of my favorite toppings to add to your bowl of chili:

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • Diced avocado
  • Diced red onion
  • Hot sauce
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh or pickled jalapenos
  • Cream cheese
  • Crushed corn chips or tortilla chips
slow cooker quinoa chili
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A bowl of Quinoa chili

Slow Cooker Quinoa Chili

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 10 cups 1x
  • Category: Slow Cooker
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Chili
  • Diet: Vegan


This slow cooker quinoa chili is loaded with beans, corn, and spicy tomatoes for an easy one-pot meal that only takes a few minutes to prepare! Simply add everything to your slow cooker and press start!


Units Scale
  • 3 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (add up to 1 cup uncooked quinoa for a thicker chili)
  • 1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 10oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 1/2 cups corn (frozen or canned is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt to taste


  1. Add everything into a large slow cooker and stir.
  2. Cook on high for 3 hours.
  3. Turn off the slow cooker and divide into bowls. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Looking for more hearty chili recipes? Try one of these!

What’s your favorite chili topping?

This post was originally published in April 2015. Updated November 2022.