Recipes, Soups, Salads & Sides

Slow Cooker Three-Bean Chili

I love chili. I always have. It’s been a comfort food for me since I can remember, and now as an adult I love how easy it is to make myself. Throw everything together in a crockpot and let it go until you’re ready to eat it. I mean how simple is that? Not to mention chili is so warming and filling. Perfect for the cooler winter days when you don’t have a ton of energy to cook, but are in the mood for a seriously satisfying stew.

Chili 1

This Three-Bean Chili is pretty much a classic, but I do add a secret ingredient that elevates it to a whole new level: Trader Joe’s Corn and Chile Tomato-less Salsa. I was first introduced to this salsa by a friend who makes an awesome layer dip with it. It’s sweet with the perfect zip from the chiles and a great chewy texture. And honestly, it just occurred to me one day that it sounded really good in my Three-Bean Chili. I haven’t looked back since and neither should you.

Chili 2

Recipe Notes

Trader Joe’s Corn and Chile Tomato-less Salsa. Don’t have a TJ’s near you? I believe this product can be ordered on Amazon, but don’t sweat it if you’re having a hard time finding it. Any similar product will do, or you could add half a can of sweet corn with a tablespoon of sugar and a small can of green chiles.

This recipe is designed to be very easy, but I do have a few stove-top steps in there, only to get a little extra flavor on the onions and to bring out the flavors of the ground spices. However, feel free to skip the stove-top and throw everything together in the slow cooker from the get-go. The long cook time will bring out the flavors nicely if you have the full day to let it sit. If you don’t have as much time, start on the stove for sure.

I personally enjoy the texture of Three-Bean Chili over beef or turkey, but you could certainly add ground meat in place of the black beans and cannellini beans (you have to keep the kidney beans!).

Chili 14

Sometimes I add chopped kale, sometimes I add jalapeno, sometimes I add bell pepper, sometimes I add a ton of Cholula hot sauce. I hope you feel empowered to adapt this recipe to whatever you have in your house or need for you that day. As is always my philosophy with food, you do you!

Chili 17

Slow Cooker Three-Bean Chili (GF, V)


6 bowls


10 minutes


2-6 hours


  • 4 tablespoons butter* or oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 14.5 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ jar of Trader Joe’s Corn and Chile Tomato-less Salsa
  • 1 13 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • The juice of 1-2 limes, to taste

Garnish with:

  • Cilantro
  • Shredded cheese*
  • Sour cream*
  • Hot Sauce
  • Tortilla chips*

*If vegan or gluten-free, replace with your favorite substitution or GF/V version.


  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and caramelize onions by constantly mixing until browned and soft, about 6 minutes. Don’t be afraid to get some color on the onions and the bottom of the pan. Turn heat down and add garlic, stirring for 1 minute. Add chili powder and cumin and continue to stir for another minute.
  2. Add diced tomatoes, beans, corn salsa, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and salt. Mix to incorporate, and let cook for another minute before pouring into the crock pot.
  3. Slow cook the chili in a 5 qt. crockpot on high for 2-6 hours. Taste and add lime, starting 1 half at a time until desired taste is reached.
  4. Serve and garnish however you like!

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