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This vegan crockpot chili recipe is a delicious, hands-off way to get dinner on the table that’s also vegetarian and gluten-free.

Vegan Crockpot Chili Recipe

When I first got into food, I started reading food blogs incessantly. And by reading, I mean looking at the gorgeous photographs and wondering how real life people had the time to make so many different recipes and take professional-looking photos of them. Years later, Alex and I decided to start our own food blog ourselves. But I still didn’t really “read” anything on written on other food blogs – I just gawked at the photographs and referenced the ideas for inspiration. What I wrote in the early days was a short, enthusiastic quick blurb about my discovery of a new food. Keep reading for this vegan crockpot chili recipe and more on food blogs.

Related: Did you know you can use an Instant Pot as a crockpot?

On food blogs

After a few years of maintaining a blog, I finally started reading the words on other blogs – and found a great insight into the lives, philosophies, and dreams of beautiful people around the globe. I realized these food bloggers wrote not just about the food, but life. Some of our favorite food blogs to read? Sprouted Kitchen, Eat this Poem, The Vanilla Bean, The Faux Martha, Not Without Salt, and The First Mess.

In the beginning, we disliked writing much about our lives because we wanted it to be all about the food. And that’s partially true – the reason we love to write this food blog is because we love to share recipes with you! But we’ve realized that food and life are so intricately intertwined that it’s hard to see one without the other. Food is about people – the people who make it, and those who enjoy it. That said, we’re looking forward this year to sharing more about life, food, and everything in between.

Vegan crockpot chili ingredients

This easy vegan chili uses a handful of ingredients, plus lots of spices to add flavor. This vegan crockpot chili uses dried black beans, something we always want to use more of. The mushrooms add a nice savory note (though you could leave them out if you are not a mushroom fan). The rest of the chili is made of diced onions and garlic, plus canned tomatoes.

For the spices, we went the traditional chili route and used chili powder and chipotle powder. If you wanted a smokier chili, you could add in a little smoked paprika.

 slow cooker chili

How to make vegan crockpot chili

Now, none of this was related to vegan crockpot chili. In my old days of blog writing, I would have skipped to the good part: the part where the author talked about whether the chili was good. And yes, this vegan crockpot chili recipe is darn good!  It was “commissioned” by a good friend of ours who wondered whether we had any good vegan crcokpot / slow cooker recipes. Turns out we didn’t.

The basic idea for how to make this crockpot chili is very simple: slice up the onions and mushrooms and mince the garlic, and saute all of it for 5 minutes until the onions are tender. Then throw it all in a crockpot and cook for about 10 to 12 hours until the black beans are tender.

Making this crockpot chili vegan

If you’re an astute observer, you’ll notice the toppings pictured on this vegan crockpot chili are vegetarian: yes, that’s cheese! But the base recipe of this chili is vegan. Since Alex and I eat both vegetarian and vegan recipes, we added cheese to this one. To make this chili into a vegan chili, simply use vegan toppings! Here are a few of our favorite vegan chili toppings:

Does anyone have any great other vegetarian or vegan crockpot ideas? We’d love to hear them. And thanks to all of you who read the words written here. We love hearing from you and knowing you are reading!

Related: Try using our Homemade Vegetable Broth for this recipe!

What to serve with this chili

Now if you make this vegan crockpot chili, what to serve with it? Our top idea is our Easy Vegan Cornbread or Best Homemade Cornbread. It’s so tender and moist, and so easy to make! Or if you prefer, serve with a green salad to balance the heartiness of the chili. Here we’d recommend our Best Tossed Salad Recipe with Avocado Dressing. Or, we have lots more ideas: check out our best sides to go with chili!

Vegan crockpot chili recipe
Our most popular chili recipe: Classic Vegetarian Chili

Looking for soup recipes?

Outside of this vegan crockpot chili recipe, here are a few of our favorite soup and stew recipes:

This recipe is…

This vegan crockpot chili recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based and dairy-free.

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Vegan Crockpot Chili Recipe

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 hours
  • Total Time: 10 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: About 8


This vegan crockpot chili recipe is a delicious, hands-off way to get dinner on the table that’s also vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.


  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 medium yellow onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound baby portabella mushrooms
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • Sliced green onions, for the garnish
  • Sour cream or cashew cream, for the garnish


  1. The night before making the chili: Rinse and cover the black beans with water in a bowl. Soak overnight at room temperature.
  2. Prepare the fresh ingredients (this can be done in advance and kept in the refrigerator): Dice the medium onions, mince the garlic, and slice the mushrooms.
  3. Saute the vegetables (can be done in advance, or directly before on the day of making): On the stove, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Stir in the chili powder, chipotle powder, and kosher salt. Saute until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. About 10 hours before serving, discard the liquid on the beans and place the beans in a large slow cooker. Transfer the onion and mushroom mixture to the slow cooker with the beans and add the vegetable broth and crushed tomatoes. Cook on low for 10 to 12 hours until the beans are tender.
  5. When ready to serve, garnish with sliced green onions and sour cream or cashew cream.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Crockpot
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegan Crockpot Chili, Crockpot Chili Recipe, Slow Cooker Recipes, Crockpot Recipes, Vegan Chili, Chili Recipes

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. It’s so true Sonja, the food is the “hook”, but it’s everything else that I think makes food blogs so compelling for me. I first found you guys after reading about your cookbook. Your trip to Cambodia and the stories you told about it revealed so much about what amazing people you both are, and I now come back for both your beautiful food AND to hear about you!

    1. What a nice thing to say, Jess – thank you so much! That means a lot. Writing about Cambodia is one of the first more personal things we wrote about in this space. It was hard both because of its personal nature and the difficulty of some of the issues there. It was wonderful to feel supported by a community during that time — thank you for reading along and for all your support!

  2. Thanks so much, Sonja and Alex. I am so flattered to be on your list! And, your chili looks lovely. I love black beans, Mmm.

  3. Hooray for foodblogs! I had a hard time starting to really get involved, but now? It’s like all those cliches about being part of a community, sharing your interests, and getting inspiration actually mean something! Strange but true. And, of course, that chili looks perfect for the chill. And now that looks like I was trying to make a pun but failed miserably. Oh well. :)

    1. Agreed! I love what you said about cliches becoming true. This experience blogging has been full of that — forming real relationships and finding some of the most generous and inspiring people I’ve ever met. It’s a 100% true statement, no matter how cliched it sounds :)

  4. wow, thanks for including us! I’m flattered. I always return to the blogs that give a bit more of themselves in the writing. I don’t really need to hear about the recipe too much – I see it and I want your two cents, but I like to see a PERSON behind the food! That’s what is so neat about this big community we have, there are so many great people. Love visiting your site. The chili looks great!

    1. Thank you so much, Sara! You (and Hugh!) are a huge source of inspiration for us, not only in your words but beautiful recipes, photographs, and truly generous spirit. Thank you for your support!

  5. I love making black bean chili in the winter. Never added mushrooms though — will have to try that! Thanks for mentioning Eat This Poem — I’m in wonderful company!

    1. You are welcome, Nicole! We love what you’ve been doing in that space and how you’ve been able to combine your passions in a beautiful way.

  6. Oh I so agree with you. The blogs I return to time and time again are the ones which teach me something. They bring the food alive by giving it context and allow me a peek into their lives and I always feel enriched after a visit. Just like I do here. Thank you, both of you, for this space that you have created.

  7. This post is so insightful. As a beginner blogger, I’m all about the food. The most important part for me is taking a good picture and what I say with the post is always an afterthought. There is so much truth behind your words, food is universal, it’s the one thing that brings people together on a daily basis and that is something worth talking/reading about! Thank you.

    1. Yes! We used to feel the same way about words being an afterthought. I actually didn’t think anyone read them (since I didn’t, haha!). Thanks for reading, and best of luck on continuing to hone your blogging style!

  8. This looks fabulous! My slow cooker hasn’t been on in a while and needs something comforting. Great recipe!

  9. My foray into blogging parallels your course. Life is completely intertwined within my food and recipes and now I could not imagine blogging without sharing my personal life. I also don’t always have the time for perfect photos, so I hope the stories and description of the delicious food compensates. I don’t have a slow-cooker but I imagine most one-pot soups and stews could be easily converted into such a recipe.

    1. I love what you said about life being completely intertwined with food – it’s hard to know where one stops and the other begins! Yes, I believe this recipe could easily be converted to a stove-top recipe. I would cook the black beans separately (or use canned), and then follow the remainder of the recipe, but once everything is added, simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes until everything is cooked through and the flavors have melded well.

  10. Yes! I couldn’t agree more. I find so much pleasure in good food—but I find inspiration and challenge and likemindedness from the talented, fascinating bloggers who write about it, including you guys! Glad this blog world brought you into our lives and glad we get to peek into your story over here, at your table and in your paragraphs. It’s such a pleasure.

    And love all the blogs you mentioned, too! Honored to be listed next to them.

    1. Thanks, Shanna! You’re one of those who has helped us see that writing about food can be more than just about whether it tastes good! While we write mainly to highlight the recipes, we love the way you bring themes into your food writing about more than just the food. Thanks for being an inspiration! And such a pleasure to meet you in real life as well :)

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