Vegan Crockpot Chili Recipe

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.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Vegan Crockpot Chili Recipe

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 hours
  • Total Time: 10 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: About 8 1x


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

Subscribe for free weekly recipes & more!

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    January 27, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      January 27, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      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 :)

  • Reply
    janet @ the taste space
    January 27, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      January 28, 2013 at 10:50 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    January 27, 2013 at 6:48 pm

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

    • Reply
      January 28, 2013 at 10:47 pm

      Thanks, Katrina! Let us know if you have other ideas for comforting crock pot recipes — we’re in the mood too!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      January 28, 2013 at 10:46 pm

      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!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2013 at 4:38 am

    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.

    • Reply
      January 28, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      Thank you, Kathryn! That is so nice of you to say. Thank you so much for reading and being so supportive!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      January 28, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      January 28, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      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!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    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. :)

    • Reply
      January 28, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      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 :)

  • Reply
    January 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      January 28, 2013 at 10:25 pm

      You are full of inspiration for us, friend! Thank you for doing what you do so beautifully.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      January 28, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      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!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Look so yummy, but I’m just not into mushrooms – got any ideas for a good substitute?

  • Reply
    anna maria
    January 29, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Loved reading this post – I totally agree that a food blog is so much more than just the food and have loved reading yours :) Have you read “An Everlasting Meal” by Tamar Adler? I just finished it and absolutely loved it – so much more than a cookbook, it was like reading a philosophy of food and cooking, and even a way to live – simply and purposefully. I highly recommend it. Will have to try this chili sometime soon :)

    • Reply
      January 30, 2013 at 10:27 am

      An Everlasting Meal is on my nightstand right now… I love how she can devote so much to just the idea of boiling water :)

  • Reply
    January 30, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Stumbled across your blog today and I love it! This black bean chili sounds amazing! I can’t wait to make it. My hubby and I are big fans of black beans.

    • Reply
      January 30, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Thank you, and thanks for stopping by! Glad to meet you and let us know if you try it out!

  • Reply
    February 18, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Hello! I just discovered your blog yesterday. This black bean chili recipe looks fantastic. I do occasionally neglect my slow cooker (it spends most of its days towards the back of my small appliance storage closet) but occasionally I re-discover it’s usefulness. Coming home to the delicious smells of a meal that is waiting for you never gets old! I wanted to share a chili recipe with you that I have been making for years. This Chipotle-Kissed Red Bean and Sweet Potato Chili comes from Robin Robertson’s cookbook entitled, “Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker”.


    1 Tbsp olive oil
    1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    1 large garlic clove, minced
    1 Tbsp (or more!) chili powder
    1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
    one 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
    one 15.5 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    1 1/2 c. water (or veggie broth)
    1 Tbsp minced canned chipolte chiles in adobo sauce, or to taste

    1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add the sweet potatoes and stir to coat with spices.

    2. Transfer the mixture into a 4-6 quart slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, beans, and water (or veggie broth), season with salt, cover, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

    3. When ready to serve, stir the chipotles into the chili. Taste to adjust the seasonings.

    I sometimes substitute a can of chopped green chilis in place of the chipotle chiles in adobo. I serve this with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of chopped green onions. It goes great with corn bread. Enjoy!

    • Reply
      February 20, 2013 at 9:51 pm

      Wow, this sounds amazing! Thanks for the wonderful recipe idea :) And thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    July 18, 2013 at 10:18 am

    I made this yesterday and it was extremely lacking in flavor. That is probably because the mushrooms, onions, and beans really start to take on the flavors of the other food cooking with them and they were just cooking with each other so it tasted bland and sweet. I used fire roasted tomatoes to help add a kick, and then I added in basil, oregano, parsley, and even more chipotle and chili powder. After adding in the extra spices and herbs and a good bit of salt (after the beans had cooked) it tasted great.

    • Reply
      July 18, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      Sorry the flavor was a bit off — glad you were able to amp it up!

  • Reply
    January 25, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Love this recipe! Cant wait to make it . I love it when I can find a healthy inexpensive meal that will stretch. One question, my husband hates mushrooms (weirdo, I know)…can you think of any substitutions for the mushrooms that would go well in the chili? Thanks for the recipe and help!!

  • Reply
    November 1, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Would you recommend freezing half of the recipe? Or would it just be easier to cut the recipe in half? Love this blog by the way. It has made my transition into being a vegetarian so much more enjoyable.

    • Reply
      November 4, 2016 at 11:18 am

      Dalia — yes, this recipe freezes well! Thank you so much for the kind words!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2017 at 12:21 am

    this was amazing. loved it so much. the second time I made it I added shredded kale- made it a little heartier and boosted my greens for the day!

  • Reply
    Summer Squash
    January 15, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    We made this recipe at the weekend, having one meal as is with accompaniments, then today used it to make an oven baked huevos rancheros – absolutely wonderful. There is yet a third meal (and we are a family of four!) in the freezer for another busy workday. Thank you so much for this tasty yet economical slow cooker recipe.

    • Reply
      January 15, 2019 at 9:22 pm

      We’re so glad you enjoyed this recipe! And what a great idea to use for huevos rancheros — yum! Genius.

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.