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Freezer-to-Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

I’m so excited to share one of the recipes from my freezer cookbook eBooks with you!

Every recipe in the cookbook can be prepped in 15 minutes or less.  Simply combine ingredients, freeze, and cook in your slow cooker or oven when you’re hungry.

Since there’s no cooking done ahead of time, the recipes cook for the very first time out of your freezer.  Finally, freezer meals that don’t taste like leftovers!

Freezer-to-Slow Cooker Chicken Chili


Freezer-to-Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

  • Author: Kelly McNelis
  • Yield: 6 servings


Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and tortilla chips.


  • 1 medium yellow onion (one cup), chopped
  • 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15oz can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
  • 14.5oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained (my family likes medium-heat)
  • 14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup frozen medley of green and red peppers and onion strips
  • 1 2/3 cup frozen corn
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

To Freeze and Cook Later

  1. Label a gallon-sized freezer bag with the name of the recipe, cooking instructions, and use by date.
  2. Add all ingredients to your freezer bag. (Add the chicken last so it’s the first ingredient dumped in to the slow cooker.)
  3. Remove as much air as possible from the bag, seal it, and freeze it for up to three months.
  4. When ready to eat, thaw enough to break apart the ingredients and add them to the slow cooker.
  5. Cook on low setting for 6-8 hours.


  • Serving Size: 1 2/3 cup
  • Calories: 330
  • Sugar: 8 g
  • Sodium: 954 mg
  • Fat: 3.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 41 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Protein: 35 g
  • Cholesterol: 64 mg

Freezer-to-slow cooker chicken chili from @kellymcnelis (3)
Freezer-to-slow cooker chicken chili from @kellymcnelis (2)
Freezer-to-slow cooker chicken chili from @kellymcnelis

A very special thanks to Jacquie from The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood for her amazing photos of my chili.  Be sure to check out her blog for chronicles of her life as a baker, book-lover, and art teacher.  You know how they say, “It takes a village to raise a child”?  Well, it takes a village to run a business too, and Jacquie is certainly part of my village.  


  • Mary Anne says:

    Pittsburgh Live Today got the recipe wrong on http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2012/12/10/chicken-chili-recipe-featured-on-ptl/#respond

    Note:They added 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar-free French vanilla powdered creamer! Yuck!

  • Kelly says:

    Yes, I noticed that! Hopefully viewers realize vanilla creamer is NOT in chicken chili!!

  • […] adapted from NewLeaf Wellness’s freezer recipe […]

    • Tanvi says:

      We just tried the chicken chilli recipe in our new slow cooker. My husband and I have never used a crockpot before but have always wanted to try it. The recipe looked so simple , perfect for a first timer. It came out awesome!! Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes. Thank you!

  • Angela says:

    Will fresh veggies work? I don’t usually buy canned or frozen.

  • Amy says:

    What great recipes and ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  • Tess says:

    Interesting, but I’m not sure about this method. Why not just put the cans together in a bag that go into the meal and label it in the pantry and then combine everything else and label the freezer bag. Opening 4 cans of food and putting it in the freezer doesn’t seem like a workable idea to me?

    • Kelly says:

      You can do that too. Although I think some sauce in the freezer bag helps make sure your seasonings don’t get stuck to the bag and left in there. Plus it’s nice to just have to dump the completed meal in your slow cooker in the morning – no can opener, no mess, no rinsing beans. There’s simply nothing faster!

    • Kathleen says:

      I like your idea of putting cans together in a labeled bag in the pantry and even adding a small container with the spices. I like to have all the ingredients on hand for easy and healthy crockpot meals and have time to prepare fresh ingredients also.

  • Kris says:

    This may be a silly question….do you cook the chicken before you freeze it? Or put it in the bag raw? I am always paranoid over raw meat, even though I know it will be placed in the slow cooker all day.

  • Marcy says:

    Can you use ground chicken or chicken thighs?

    • Kelly says:

      I think ground chicken will work, for sure. Just cook it before adding it to the freezer bags. I’m not sure about chicken thighs. It would work if they were boneless and chopped (and frozen raw), but it would be very difficult to remove the bones after cooking if you used bone-in meat.

  • Sue Miller says:

    I’m not sure if you realize this, but this isn’t a “chili” meal. I guess you could call it chicken bean soup. Chili is a stew, not a soup. I’ve made it twice and both times it was too watery to be chili. I suspect it’s using packaged frozen vegetables (they have more water than fresh veggies you freeze on your own).

    As far as using whole chicken thighs, I use them when I make chicken and dumplings. They hold their shape very well when cooking all day in the crock pot. In my family we eat those with a fork and spoon (using the fork to pick the meat off the bone, and the spoon for the broth). If you don’t mind extra utensils it could work.

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks for weighing in on the chicken thighs!

      I am happy to agree to disagree on the chili vs soup title. I don’t think consistency is the only difference between the two because many soups are quite thick (like pea soup and broccoli cheese). I consider this to be a chili because of the use of beans and chili powder. Also, the sauce is thin, but there isn’t a large sauce to filling ratio.

  • Danielle says:

    I love your posts and tips…just curious how many servings your recipes are for ?!

    • Kelly says:

      I would say an average of six servings. I cook for my husband, me, and two of our young daughters (who don’t eat a lot). My husband and I always eat leftovers for lunch the next day. Let me know if you’re having people over and want an estimate for a specific recipe on my blog! Thanks for trying my recipes! 🙂

      • Dana says:

        This looks sooo good I must try it, but my kids can be picky eaters. I plan to have this when we have some family visiting because I know they will eat it even if the kids don’t! What would you estimate for 7 adults (with a little extra for 3 kid size servings)?

  • […] Chicken Chili https://newleafwellness.biz/2012/12/06/freezer-to-slow-cooker-chicken-chili/ […]

  • […] Chicken Chili from New Leaf Wellness […]

  • Jeff says:

    Do you have to freeze this recipe before cooking it? Can you just put everything fresh into the crock-pot? Or is there some reason that it must be frozen and thawed first?
    My biggest issue with cooking in the crock-pot has always been fear of using raw meat. So once I take the time to brown/prepare the meat, I might as well just go ahead and cook the rest of the recipe on the stove as well. I am thrilled to discover that I can use raw meat! Thank you!!!
    This sounds so delicious! I can’t wait to try it… while watching a Steelers game, of course!

    • Kelly says:

      Everything I’ve read says that ground beef needs to be cooked above 160 degrees F to be safe, and crockpot settings are 200 degrees+. So, I think you can combine everything raw in the crockpot, regardless of whether it’s frozen or not. Go Steelers!! 🙂

  • Charles Kaiser says:

    What is with all of these canned ingredients? What about using fresh veg?

  • Irina says:

    Have you ever tried to cook with regular dry beans, soaked overnight? I am trying to stay away from canned products as much as possible. Thank you for the recipes!

    • Kelly says:

      Yes. I am brand-new to using dry beans, but I’m excited to start cooking with them more often. You can definitely substitute dry, soaked beans for the canned ones in my recipes.

      • Sarah says:

        Just a heads-up about cooking with dry beans: acid will make them tougher (think vinegar and lemon juice). The acid binds to the seed coat and makes it more impervious to water. This happens to a lesser extent with tomatoes depending on the tomato-to-bean ratio. A smidge of baking soda will prevent this.

        As an aside, I just found your website and am absolutely fascinated!

  • Narelle says:

    From past experience, my slow cooker meals taste bland if I just dump all the ingredients in and turn it on without taking the time to first brown the meat, and the aromatics, deglaze the pan ect. Can these steps really be skipped without having bland food where all the ingredients taste the same?

  • Diane says:

    This is one of the best chili’s I have ever made. Thank you! How long would I have to cook it if I substituted the chicken for turkey chop meat?

  • Wendy Williams says:

    These are just what I need. Wish I had found them before I got so ill with bronchitis as then I would have something quick and easy to throw into my slow cooker and have a tasty meal ready for tonight.

  • […] 15.  Broccoli Cheese Soup 16.  Gumbo 17. Lentil Veggie Soup 18.  Chicken Chili (Crockpot)  […]

  • kayla says:

    I have pre-cooked chicken that I am looking to use in freezer meals. Will pre-cooked chicken work for these recipes and do I shorten the cook time? Thank you!!

  • Jule says:

    I just made this and I loooove it, but I don’t think I’m going to make it again. I’ve literally never had gas like this from any meal I’ve ever eaten before ? But, I love a bunch of your other recipes. That so far have not given me aggressive digestion issues lol

  • […] Slow Cooker Chicken Chili (with shredded cheese and sour cream), elbow macaroni, pumpkin muffins, black cherries (frozen in season) […]

  • bcr8tive says:

    Hmm. I think you might want to look into this http://oureverydaylife.com/can-put-raw-chicken-rice-stew-41995.html regarding adding raw chicken to already cooked vegetables and then cooking it in a crockpot.

    First there’s the cross contamination issue, which could be a non-issue if you were cooking it on the stove – but you’re not. In my opinion, you could easily just precook your chicken with a bit of tomatoes or something if you like and freeze that – especially since most everything else is in a can.

    Chili is super easy and really doesn’t require any pre-cooking and it’s still a quick meal. (shrugs)

  • […] Freezer-to-slow Cooker Chicken Chili from newleafwellness.biz […]

  • Meg says:

    I find it surprising that there is no additional liquid added in. It seems as though its pretty much all solids aside from the small amount of juice from canned tomatoes. Am I missing something?

  • Dennis says:

    Hey Kelly, this dish looks perfect. As someone who know a thing or two about what is a millennial, I love quick meals that I can warm up from the freezer. However, this is way better quality than what I’m used to eating. Can’t wait to give this a try!

  • […] Freezer-to-Slow Cooker Chicken Chili @ New Leaf Wellness […]

  • Barbara Karr says:

    This chili looks wonderful! I have a small small challenge. I have MS and live alone. I am looking at freezer recipes so I don’t have to cook for hours and I also have something to fall back on when I am having a rough day. I just don’t want to eat the same left-overs again and again. My question is can I prepare this in two bags? I am guessing cooking time would be about the same. And the crock pot is smaller. Will this work for me do you think?

    • Kelly McNelis says:

      Yes, that will work perfectly. That’s what I do when preparing meals for households with less people, like my grandparents.

  • […] Freezer-to-Slow Cooker Chicken Chili @ New Leaf Wellness […]

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