This slow cooker vegan chili is packed with black beans and vegetables for a hearty chili that is easy to make! Just dump everything in your Crockpot and hit start!

vegan slow cooker chili
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I love “dump and go” recipes because sometimes it just feels like there isn’t a lot of time to cook. This vegan chili recipe is great because you just add everything to the slow cooker and turn it on. It does require a little bit of chopping of the vegetables, but it’s worth it. This recipe uses dried black beans instead of canned beans, but they cook easily in the slow cooker. While I’m normally all about quick meals, this one works great because it’s hands- off.

This is the best vegetarian chili recipe and it’s a great one for meal prep. Sometimes it can be hard to find a hearty slow cooker meal that doesn’t involve meat, so this is great for plant-based folks! If you’re looking for an Instant Pot bean chili recipe, I’d recommend my black bean soup, which also uses dried beans and similar ingredients, but it cooks quickly in the pressure cooker.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Chili  ingredients

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Onion- Finely chopped onion adds a savory base to the chili. You can substitute with any kind of onion, even red onions or shallots.
  • Red Bell Pepper- You can use any kind of bell pepper, but I like the flavor of red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, which are the sweetest.
  • Jalapeños- Fresh jalapeño brings heat and a mild spiciness to the chili. The level of heat can depend on the pepper so if you don’t like thing spicy, you may want to remove the seeds. Serrano peppers can be used as a substitute or you can leave the jalapeño out entirely for a mild flavor.
  • Seasonings- Chili powder is the essential spice that provides warmth and depth of flavor to the chili. Garlic powder adds garlic flavor to the vegan chili without the sharpness of fresh garlic cloves. Cumin and oregano add an earthy, savory flavor. Be sure your spices are fresh and fragrant for the best flavor.
  • Chipotle chilies in adobo sauce- Chipotle chiles add a smoky and slightly sweet flavor to the vegan chili. These peppers and the adobo sauce they’re packed in contribute complexity and depth. If unavailable, you can substitute with smoked paprika and cayenne pepper for a hint of smokiness and heat. 
  • Vegetable Broth- Adding broth helps add flavor to the chili and allows the beans to absorb the seasonings. I like to use a veggie broth with a bold flavor like the Better than Boullion vegetable stock.
  • Black Beans- Dried black beans are protein-rich and they’re the base of this vegan chili. You can’t swap canned beans for dried in this recipe. If you want to make a version with canned black beans, try this black bean soup recipe instead.
  • Tomatoes- Diced tomatoes add acidity and a juicy texture to the chili. Canned tomatoes are a convenient option, but you can also use fresh tomatoes when in season.
  • Baking Soda- Baking soda is used to soften the black beans during cooking. It helps reduce the cooking time and ensures the beans are tender. Use it sparingly to avoid over-softening.
  • Sugar– You may want to add a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. (This may depend on the brand of diced tomatoes.)
  • Lime juice– I like to add a squeeze of fresh lime juice to brighten the flavors.

How to Make Black Bean Chili in a Slow Cooker