This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
BBQ Chicken Chili is a recipe our family loves. It is flavored with bourbon (beer or chicken stock work, too!) and BBQ sauce and slow-cooked until the chicken breasts are fall-apart tender. This easy recipe requires no pre-cooking. Just put everything into your slow cooker and come home later to a chili that is smoky, a touch sweet, and totally delicious. You will LOVE it!
Slow Cooker BBQ chicken chili for the win!
Yes, I'm looking at you, set it and forget it best kitchen friend of mine ever. You win. Again.
- A steaming tomato bean situation that's smoky, slightly sweet, and has a hint of bourbon.
- Every bit as delicious as that sounds x 100
- Zero cooking necessary. Put everything into your crockpot and turn it on. Super easy!
- A guaranteed family loved dinner. Our daughter loves this recipe.
- Magic happens when you cook chicken chili in your crockpot. The chicken breasts become super tender so you can pull them apart into small(ish) pieces that wind their way around the beans and corn and mix into everything rather than stand out all on their own. There's no being forced to pick around weird square chunks of dry chicken here.
- It's all melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.
And if you want even more deliciousness (can you even handle it all?) whip up a batch of Cheesy Chili Zucchini Cornbread Muffins. You can thank me later.
READ MORE: Best BBQ Sauce for Chicken
Remember back when I had a thing against crockpots? What was up with that? And talk about flipping around a full 180 in opinion. I've seen the light, my friends. My mind has been opened.
There's also been a beam of light shone on chicken chili. I used to think that was weird, too. Seriously, what kind of food blogger am I anyway?
How to make BBQ chicken chili in a crockpot
Using your crockpot is the best way to make chicken chili. It's a great recipe because it's not only delicious, it's super easy to make, too.
- Put nearly all the ingredients into your crockpot. Give it a taste and add a little honey if your tastebuds tell you that you'd like it sweeter.
- Now put in 3 chicken breasts (or 6 chicken thighs, if you prefer), cover the pot, and set it for 6 hours on high or 10 hours on low. Easy.
- When you're ready to eat, shred the chicken using 2 forks and stir the beans and corn into the chili.
This slow cooker recipe is so easy to make!
Ingredients in BBQ chicken chili
- Meat: We like chicken breasts, but chicken thighs work great, too. You could use ground chicken but it will change the texture completely so I don't recommend it.
- Veggies: onion, carrot, and peppers are our favorite. You can add some diced celery if you have some on hand.
- Tomatoes: Canned crushed tomatoes give the chili the best consistency. Diced tomatoes will work but they'll make the chili a little watery.
- Flavors: BBQ sauce and bourbon; We love that combination. Instead of bourbon, you can use beer (nothing hoppy!) or chicken stock. Both options work great.
- Spices: We like mild chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika.
- Beans: Red kidney beans are classic. Black beans are tasty, too.
- Corn: Those sweet little nuggets shouldn't be missed!
How to use leftover chicken chili
Or make a version of these Taco Salad Fries, using the chili in place of the taco meat. ← this is so good!
Can you freeze BBQ chicken chili
Yes! This chili recipe freezes very well. Make sure that the chili has cooled to room temperature then package it and put it into your freezer. These large Stasher Bags are my favorite freezer bags!
What to serve with slow cooker BBQ chicken chili for dinner
While chili is easily a one-pot kind of dinner that doesn't require anything other than a bowl and a spoon, sometimes it's nice to add a side dish. Our favorites are Cheesy Zucchini Cornbread Muffins and Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread. Both are easy recipes and go great with chicken chili.
Other favorite chili side dishes are:
- Classic Broccoli Coleslaw with Lemon Buttermilk Dressing
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Cauliflower Salad with Avocado Pesto
- Bacon Kale Caesar Salad
- Garlic Herb Carrot Fries
- Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
Easy Chili Recipes:
- Best Steak Chili
- Meaty Mushroom Sausage Chili
- Guinness Spiked Irish Chili
- Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili Recipe
- Chipotle Bourbon Pumpkin Chili
- Easy Turkey Chili
- Pulled Pork Chili
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 2 carrots (diced)
- 2 red bell peppers (diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- ½ cup BBQ sauce (homemade for refined sugar-free)
- ½ cup bourbon (can sub light beer or chicken stock)
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Each: cumin, smoked paprika, and sea salt
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- Optional: 1-2 tablespoons honey (see notes)
- 3 chicken breasts (can sub 6 chicken thighs)
- 19 ounce can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- Optional toppings: grated cheese, sour cream, and cilantro
- Add all the ingredients EXCEPT the chicken breasts, kidney beans, corn and honey to your crockpot and stir to mix well. Taste the chili and add the honey if you would like it to be sweeter.1 medium onion, 2 carrots, 2 red bell peppers, 3 cloves garlic, ½ cup BBQ sauce, ½ cup bourbon, 3 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon Each: cumin, smoked paprika, and sea salt, 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, Optional: 1-2 tablespoons honey
- Nestle the chicken breasts on the top and set your crockpot to high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.3 chicken breasts
- Remove the chicken from the crockpot. Add the corn and beans to the pot and stir. Shred the chicken using 2 forks then stir it back into the chili. Taste and season with sea salt then let the chili reheat for a few minutes before serving it. Serve topped with any or all of the toppings.19 ounce can kidney beans, 1 cup frozen corn, Optional toppings: grated cheese, sour cream, and cilantro
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.