Slow Cooker Bean Quinoa Chili

GFGluten FreeNFNut FreeOFOil FreeVVegan
4.97 from 32 votes
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Slow Cooker Bean Quinoa Chili is the perfect protein-packed chili to whip up for a quick dinner or easy meal prep. All you need is 10 ingredients. Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar Free, Oil-Free.

This Bean Quinoa Chili has tons of rave reviews for a reason! It’s hearty, cozy, and satisfying, yet won’t break the bank with expensive, unnecessary ingredients. Simmer on low in your favorite slow cooker until thick and delicious, then dish this crowd pleaser up with your favorite toppings. Vegetarians and meat eaters alike will be going back for seconds!

Table of Contents
  1. The Ultimate Set it and Forget it Recipe
  2. What You Need for Bean Quinoa Chili
  3. How to Make Slow Cooker Bean Quinoa Chili
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. How to Store Bean Quinoa Chili
  6. Substitutions and Variations
  7. Recipe FAQs
  8. Slow Cooker Vegan Bean & Quinoa Chili Recipe
bean quinoa chili served in a bowl and topped with avocado, cilantro and sour cream

The Ultimate Set it and Forget it Recipe

If you love recipes where you can quite literally throw a bunch of things together in a pot, set a timer, and then forget about it until dinner, you’re going to LOVE this bean and quinoa chili.

It takes close to no effort (just 5 minutes of prep!) and is packed with delicious plant-based protein, keeping you full and satisfied for hours. Bookmark this easy recipe for busy weeknights, lazy weekends, or when you need the perfect big batch recipe for pleasing a crowd. You can also stash a few servings away in the freezer to reheat during the cold winter months.

What You Need for Bean Quinoa Chili

Just like most of the recipes on From My Bowl, this fuss-free chili recipe is made with simple ingredients, most of which are affordable pantry staples. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Protein: This vegan quinoa chili is loaded with plant-based protein and health benefits thanks to quinoa, red kidney beans, and black beans.
  • Tomato broth base: A combination of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and low-sodium vegetable broth make the flavorful broth here. If you only have full-sodium veggie broth in your pantry, I’d recommend substituting at least 1 cup with water to prevent your chili from being too salty.
  • Aromatics: Red onion, garlic, and fresh cilantro. Simple, yet oh so flavorful.
  • Spices: I’ve made my own chili seasoning with a blend of ancho chili powder, ground cumin, cayenne, and salt. If you’re sensitive to spice or feeding small kids, feel free to omit or reduce the cayenne!

How to Make Slow Cooker Bean Quinoa Chili

side-by-side images of the cooking process of the chili, with the image on the left showing the ingredients in a pan and the image of the right showing the cooking process
  1. Mix all ingredients together in the slow cooker bowl.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, or on high for 3 hours.
  3. Season with additional salt to taste.
  4. Serve warm with cilantro leaves and additional toppings, as desired.
a zoomed in image of slow cooker quinoa chili topped with cilantro

Caitlin’s Cooking Tips

  • Utilize your cilantro stems! Cilantro stems pack just as much flavor as cilantro leaves. Save money and reduce kitchen waste and use those stems to flavor your chili and similar Tex-Mex recipes such as Easy Tex-Mex Black Bean Salad or Instant Pot Black Bean Soup.
  • Add additional liquid if cooking for over 5 hours. After 5 hours, this chili will begin to dry out as the moisture continues to cook off. If you plan on making this chili in the morning before work and won’t be back for 8 hours, add additional water or vegetable broth to the pot of chili to keep it hydrated.

Serving Suggestions

This slow cooker quinoa chili is the perfect dinner main to serve during the cooler seasons. Enjoy on its own garnished with toppings such as vegan sour cream, cheese shreds, cubed avocado, green onions, quick pickled Jalapeños or hot sauce, and fresh cilantro.

This plant-based chili also pairs well with side dishes such as Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins, Classic Vegan Cornbread, or Easy Avocado Salsa. Or keep it even simpler and serve with a side of crunchy tortilla chips for scooping!If you’re looking for more hearty vegan chili recipes, you’ll also love this Butternut Squash & White Bean Chili (Vegan), Vegan Chipotle Black Bean Chili, Vegan Pumpkin Chili and this Hearty Vegan Chorizo Chili!

How to Store Bean Quinoa Chili

This quinoa chili recipe will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer for 2 months. Allow the chili to cool completely to room temperature before storing.

Defrost leftovers in the refrigerator for 1-2 days, or until thawed completely. Reheat in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop until warmed through.

bean quinoa chili served in a bowl and topped with avocado, cilantro and sour cream

Substitutions and Variations

  • Black bean substitutes: Any of your favorite canned beans will work here. Try pinto beans, red beans, white beans, or even chickpeas for different variations.
  • Red onion substitutes: For a milder onion flavor, use yellow onion or sweet onion.
  • Broth substitutes: I used low-sodium vegetable broth, but feel free to use vegan chicken broth or even vegan beef broth for an even saltier, more flavorful chili.
  • Frozen corn substitutes: Replace the frozen corn with 2 cups of drained and rinsed canned corn.
  • Instant Pot variation: Follow the same instructions as written and utilize the slow cook function on the pressure cooker. A reader has also shared good results cooking this quinoa chili on manual high pressure for 18 minutes, but I have not personally tested this.
  • Make a smaller batch: I made this chili using a 6 qt slow cooker. If you are using a 3.5 qt sized crockpot, I’d recommend halving this entire recipe to make a smaller portion.
a zoomed in image of slow cooker quinoa chili topped with cilantro

Recipe FAQs

Can I use dried beans?

You can use dried beans in this chili recipe, but they must be cooked before adding them to the slow cooker. My favorite way to cook dried beans is in the Instant Pot. If cooking from dried, you’ll need about 1 cup of dried red kidney beans and 1 cup of dried black beans.

What can I use in chili instead of meat?

This vegetarian chili gets its protein from both beans and quinoa. Quinoa alone is a complete protein and contains all of the essential amino acids. If you’re looking for something even “meatier,” try my Vegan Chorizo Chili.

Is chili better in a slow cooker?

Chili on the stovetop is delicious, but cooking it in the slow cooker does have one great advantage – the longer simmer time develops deeper, more developed flavor.

Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊

Slow Cooker Vegan Bean & Quinoa Chili

4.97 from 32 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8 people
Slow Cooker Bean Quinoa Chili is the perfect protein-packed chili to whip up for a quick dinner or easy meal prep. All you need is 10 ingredients. Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar Free, Oil-Free.



  • Prep: Add the onion, corn, beans, quinoa, garlic, cilantro stems, spices, salt, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and vegetable broth to a slow cooker. Mix well, until everything is evenly distributed.
  • Cook: Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, or on high for 3 hours.
  • Season & Serve: Stir well and add additional salt to taste, if necessary. Serve warm; top with the remaining cilantro leaves and any additional toppings, as desired. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Recipe Notes

  • Instant Pot: Follow the instructions as written, using the Slow Cook function.


Calories: 336kcalCarbohydrates: 64gProtein: 18gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 640mgPotassium: 1197mgFiber: 16gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1186IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 102mgIron: 7mg
Keyword: bean quinoa chili, vegan bean recipe, vegan chili recipe, vegan dinner ideas, vegan mexican recipes, vegan slow cooker recipes
Course: Main, Main Course
Method: Stovetop
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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  1. Can I swap the quinoa with barley since I need more carbs than protein? Do they have very different cool times and water absorption?

  2. 5 stars
    Turned out well but I cant seem to cook dried beans properly outside of a pressure cooker.
    I soaked my beans for over a day, boiled them for 10 minutes, and cooked in the slow cooker on high for 3 hours yet the beans are still kind of crunchy.

    I’ll have to cook the beans in my instapot next time and add them in separately.

  3. I’m planning to make this for a big group of people—could I double it for a 6qt crockpot or would that make it too full?

    1. That would appearto be the case! You can always add in extra water or Vegetable Broth, and in the future I would cook it for less time

  4. Hi, hoping to make this tomorrow – I’m in England. Can you recommend a grams replacement for ‘cup’? I don’t want to estimate and get the measurements wrong!
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Josie! Unfortunately I do not, but the recipe itself is pretty forgiving – it’s about 2 standard cans of each tinned bean 🙂

    1. You should be able to make it overnight, though as this would increase the cooking time I would add extra liquid 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    I’m obsessed with this chili! I went all out and added some canned pumpkin because it’s fall and i’m kind of #basic lol as well as a little bit of maple syrup, cinnamon, liquid smoke and jalapeño (instead of cayenne). I know that sounds like a lot but it tasted SO yummy and warm. Had to force myself to stop eating it after I took the lid off my slow cooker 🙂

  6. Made this on the weekend, tonight poured it over top a baked purple sweet potato, with avocado and a little hot sauce …delicious and easy to prepare, definately will make again, thanks for the great recipe????

  7. 5 stars
    Delicious! What an easy meal to make ahead for the week. I added some hot sauce and ate it with a tortilla on the side. I think it makes more than five portions though… I might be freezing some for later!

  8. 5 stars
    I can’t wait to remake this. The first time I made it WAY too spicy and added about 3-4x the amount of chili powder (I must have done some conversions from tbsp to ml wrong). I remember thinking that was a lot of chili powder when I added it. It was SO good even so spicy but next time will be even better 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe! I cooked this for my parents and my brother today and even though they weren’t happy that they didn’t get meat that day, they really enjoyed the meal. Personally, I was absolutely obsessed with it and I’m definitely going to make it again soon!

  10. Made this today and its the nicest thing I’ve made in my slow cooker. Really delicious! Have loads and can freeze some too. Thanks !

  11. I have made vegan chilli in the slow cooker before and wasn’t too impressed. This one though was just perfect in flavour and texture and I like the ease of not having to make rice. Even my committed meat eater husband went back for seconds and is planning on making it in the camp oven next camp trip.

  12. This looks so good! If I’m using dry beans, do I need to cook them before adding to the slow cooker?