Slow Cooker Lentil Chili

 Slow Cooker Lentil Chili-this healthy chili will warm you up and fill you up! 

Slow Cooker Lentil Chili Recipe on Love this healthy chili!

We had a lazy weekend. I’ve been sick and Josh is still hobbling around on crutches. He tore his MCL skiing a few weeks ago and is still recovering. Neither of us wanted to cook, but we both knew we needed to eat. We asked Caleb to make dinner and he actually offered to make us quesadillas. We were tempted to let him go for it, but a 2 year old and a gas stove is probably not a good idea.

Josh has been on a slow cooker kick lately and suggested we make Slow Cooker Lentil Chili. It sounded good to me and I was happy to let our crockpot do the work.

Crockpot Lentil Chili Recipe on

Josh and I worked together to create our Slow Cooker Lentil Chili Recipe. It only took us about 10 minutes to get everything ready for our slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Lentil Chili Recipe on Love this easy chili recipe!

We added the ingredients to the slow cooker, gave it a good stir, and walked away. We let our slow cooker cook us dinner while we laid on the couch. Not a bad deal!

When our chili was ready, we filled our bowls and ate dinner while we watched football. The chili hit the spot! The lentils were a nice change from our standard chili recipes. This chili is vegan and gluten-free, but even meat lovers will go back for a second bowl. Josh did:)

You can top your lentil chili with your favorite chili toppings. I highly recommend avocado slices. They made my bowl of chili extra tasty!

The next time you are feeling lazy, but still want a hearty and healthy meal, make our Slow Cooker Lentil Chili. This recipe serves a crowd, but if you don’t have a crowd to feed you can freeze the leftovers. I put our leftovers in the freezer for the next time we are feeling lazy. I am sure we will reheating lentil chili soon. Lazy or not, I am already craving another bowl of lentil chili!

Looking for more Slow Cooker Recipes? Here are a few of our favorites:

Slow Cooker Lentil Chili Recipe on Warm up with a bowl of healthy chili!

Slow Cooker Lentil Chili

This Slow Cooker Lentil Chili is vegan and gluten-free, but meat lovers will enjoy it too! Top with your favorite chili toppings!
4.2 from 5 votes


  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeño diced, seeds removed
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper chopped
  • 1 large carrot peeled and diced
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 16 oz bag brown lentils, rinsed
  • 2 15 oz cans small red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2-3 tablespoons chili powder we used 3 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  • 1. Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. Stir well to combine.
  • 2. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. Serve warm.
  • Note-we use a 6 quart slow cooker. This chili freezes well. Top with your favorite chili toppings, if desired. Some people have commented that their lentils didn't cook in the slow cooker, we haven't had this problem, but you might want to cook them before adding them into the slow cooker to be safe.

Have you tried this recipe?

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. I randomly just had a desire to buy lentils the other day and now they are sitting on my counter wondering what their fate is. I had no idea how to answer that question.
    Until now.
    This looks so good! Thanks for the recipe! I would have never have thought of making lentil chili!

  2. What a beautiful recipe! I can only imagine how delicious your chili must be! Perfect for a cold winters night!

  3. I have a chili cook-off I’m attending this Thursday for my cooking club group. I’m rounding up a few different chili recipes to help me decide which one to make. I’ll put this in the running! I like the addition of the lentils. Sounds healthy and delicious.

  4. Great recipe, I am drooling looking at the pictures. Would you also share the cornbread recipe as well, that looks awesome too. I will try both..

  5. Slow cooker meals are my FAVORITE!! And that Caleb is a cutie. He can cook me a sandwich any day 🙂 Get better, Josh!!

  6. I often wish Kaylin could make dinner too ;). Hope you both are feeling better today! This looks totally delicious though. Something about bean/lentil dishes that are just so amazing. I might make Josh’s turkey chili this weekend!!

  7. This would be fantastic for game day! I want to make several kinds of chili next time we host a party. Wish you could come!

  8. I really need to let my slow cooker do the work for me more often. This chili looks amazingly hearty. Feel better soon!

  9. Hope you and Josh get healed up and recover soon. I’ve never had lentils, but this recipe makes me want to go out and get some!

  10. This sounds like a wonderful combination. I love using lentils in different ways so I’ll have to try this. 🙂

  11. This recipe looks like an amazing healthy, hearty chili! I love lentils! Plus it is a slow-cooker recipe!

  12. I’m loving everything about the slow cooker lately! Fo’ sure adding this to the recipe rotation!

  13. I’ve never tried lentils before, but it’s one of those things I want to try in the new year. This looks like a good recipe to give lentils a try.

  14. I haven’t used my slow cooker nearly enough this winter–I definitely need to make this soon!

  15. I love the lentil idea! My mom came home with two bags of lentils from the store so I am so excited to try this and my other lentil recipes! YUM!

  16. This looks delicious!! I live alone so is there a way to cut it down to 4 servings? I can’t wait to make this 🙂

  17. I was just commenting to my husband tonight how much I love lentils. This might be a must make for the super bowl. Thanks!

  18. I LOVE lentil soups. they are the very best, and I adore that this one is made in a slow cooker! great recipe!

  19. I made this and for some reason, the lentils didn’t get soft enough even though I cooked it longer than stated. Any suggestions?

  20. My lentils didn’t get soft enough either after 6 hours of cooking. I’ve turned my slow cooker back on & hope they get done before my guys get home for dinner!
    Otherwise, the taste is great! Spicy!

  21. I mixed this up in my crockpot at 7 a.m. and when I got home at 6 p.m. the lentils still hadn’t cooked completely. That was 8 hours on low and then 3 more hours on the warm setting so I’m not sure why they didn’t get cooked through. I was a bit bummed by that, but the wonderful flavor totally made up for it. I think when I make it again maybe I will just cook the lentils on the stovetop and add them toward the end? I don’t know…? But I definitely will try it again. Even my husband loved it and he usually shuns meatless recipes.

    1. It was probably the tomatoes (and maybe the jalapeno).  Beans and acidic ingredients do not play well together…… least before the beans get soft.  The trick is to make sure the lentils (and other beans if you’re cooking them from scratch) are completely soft before you add any tomato product or other acidic ingredient.

  22. We made this earlier in the week when it was snowing and it was a hit! Made a few minor tweaks based on what we had on hand – chicken broth in lieu of vegetable broth, habanero hot sauce in lieu of jalapenos, and red lentils in lieu of brown. Delicious! It filled our slow cooker to the rim and made plenty for us to eat throughout the week. Plus, the beans and lentils really fill you up. Even our 21-month-old couldn’t get enough of it. Thanks for sharing! A great healthy, comfort food recipe.

  23. I love reading your families recipes and I try many of them out at our home. BUT, with our two young boys and living in Thailand, it’s difficult to accomplish many of the recipes. We have adopted the blood type diet a few years ago, it’s great, but both young boy are meat eaters and my husband and I are vegitarians. First off, any tips and what can we substitute for tomatoes, as our adult diet does allow these our caspicum(very unfortunate!). We also can not have red brand though the boys can. What to do? Any help?!?!

  24. Hi there. This looks delicious and I’d love to make! But we’re in NZ and I think some of your ingredients may be named differently over there. Can you please tell me what red beans are and also cans of tomato sauce? Tomato sauce to us is what you call ‘ketchup’. Would tomato puree or paste be the same thing? Thanks!!! 🙂

  25. Wow, what an amazing recipe! It’s rare to find a slow cooker recipe that doesn’t turn out watery but this one was absolutely perfect. Can’t wait to eat the leftovers (which I’ve got enough to last me months)! By far the best thing I’ve made in my slow cooker so far.

  26. I’ve been looking for a chili that mimics the taste of Hale and hearty’s 3 lentil chili because I love it so much but HATE the sodium intake. I’m gonna try this out on Friday. But question for you…did you soak the lentils first? Or do they soften in the crockpot?

  27. Like the others who made this, my lentils never softened. After 6 hours I transferred it to a big pot on the stove. Still too hard for my liking. The only saving grace was serving it over rice so my husband didn’t notice, but I did, and I have so much left over. I believe the salt in the sauce, tomatoes and seasonings prevents softening when cooking dried beans. Next time I’d cook the lentils separately and add in when they’re done.

  28. Delicious. I cooked it on low for 10 hours (not on purpose…it just worked out that way). I couldn’t find “small” red beans, but regular red beans seemed to work. Came out absolutely perfect. Made about 2 quarts.

  29. Hiya. Looks yummy. Can I use red lentils instead? Can’t find brown ones anywhere at the moment! Thanks, Victoria.

  30. Sigh. I wish I had read the comments before preparing this. It has been hours, and I have huge pot of crunchy lentils and nothing to eat for dinner. It’s still cooking on the stovetop now. In my search for solutions online, I read that acids like tomatoes and tomato sauce can keep lentils from softening. I was excited about this chili, and now I’m so disappointed! (Did anyone end up having success with it after having the softening problem with the lentils?)

  31. I made this chili today with a few substitutions (what I had on hand) and it is so good! I used Muir Glen diced tomatoes with chipotle which gave it a great kick, chicken broth, and black beans instead of red. Such a healthy meal! This recipe is a keeper.

  32. Sharlene, I had the same problem at first. I worked out the best way was to cook it was on low for 4 hours and high for 2 hours, or high for 5 hours, low for 1 hour! Amazing end result though – the whole family (including serious carnivores) all love it. 🙂

  33. Whoops, that second bit, I meant high for 4 hours, low for 2! Both versions of timing worked! (But I guess it depends on your slow-cooker.)

  34. Loved this recipe! I added extra carrot to increase the veggie factor for my kids. Mine also did not cook in 6 hrs on low (needed 2 or 3 more hours). I’m giving it another go today for 6 hours on high, so we’ll see how the cooking time is. Thanks for the great recipe!

  35. Thanks from England. Great recipe though it’s currently blowing my bollocks off, I may have got quantities a bit wrong. This will no be a staple in my diet.

  36. I made this and my family really liked it. I cooked it on high for 6 hours and the lentils were cooked. It was thick so I added extras vegetable broth after the 6 hours . I also used pink kidney beans. This is a keeper!

  37. I am wondering – I just got a new 2 Qt Slow cooker and I’m trying to figure out if I should exchange it (I’m single and rarely need to cook much but like freezing portion sized casseroles, etc) or try to modify recipes (so I end up making two batches in a row, etc.)

    If I split this recipe in two would it fit in a 2 qt so I could make two batches? – it looks delicious!


    1. If you want to freeze leftovers it might be helpful to have a larger slow cooker, then you wouldn’t have to make two batches, you can just make it all in one pot? If you want to keep yours, you can half the recipe.

  38. I tried this tonight and it’s a winner! I used serrano chile instead of jalapeño because it’s what I had on hand. And I used green le puy lentils, which did stay firm. I cooked an extra couple of hours, but green lentils are known to keep their shape.

  39. I had the same problem with the lentils never softening despite many extra hours of cooking. It tasted delicious but I was afraid to serve it because I gave my hubby food poisoning from undercooked beans in chili before and I still haven’t lived that down. I agree with the other commenter who said cooking the lentils beforehand would probably solve the problem with only a little added work. I hope you’ll consider at least making a note in the recipe if you are going to keep promoting it in the weekly menu plans.

    1. The lentils have always cooked for us. I wonder if our slow cooker is more powerful? I have no idea, but you can cook them before if you wish!

  40. Hi, can you please update the main post with a note that some folks are having trouble with lentils staying firm? I find it so difficult to trust blog recipes for this sort of thing. The recipe descriptions are so glowing, and then you have to scrutinize all of the comments to find out what the real deal is. Just a note would be enough, nobody’s asking you to rewrite the recipe. But come on, think of the poor people who make this without reading literally every single review and come home to an inedible crockpot full of food disaster.

    A couple of ideas: acids can definitely keep lentils from softening, this recipe has a ton of tomato products, which are very acidic. It could also be that sometimes if you have really old lentils, they take a long time to soften. But I think the tomatoes are more likely.

    1. Hi Cara-thanks for your feedback! We’ve never had a problem, but I will make a note in the recipe!

  41. THIS. was soooooo goooooood! If you want it even hotter, don’t remove the seeds from the jalape~no!

  42. I made this last night and it was so good! I’m trying to eat a plant based diet. My 18 year old daughter got me started! My Lentils came out fine. I did cook on high fourban hours then I cooked it low for maybe 2 hours and it was perfect! Thank you for sharing you recipe!

  43. My lentils never cooked either. 15 hours and hard as rocks and $15 worth of ingredients in the trash. It smelled good but was awful.

  44. thank you for the recipe. i omitted a few and added some other ingredients but so far it has worked out. it smells heavenly.

  45. Delicious–an exact copy of the lentil chili from Hale & Hearty in NYC!  But the lentils did not cook through after 8 hours on low–I’m currently having to simmer it more vigorously at 300 degrees.  I think 8 hours on high would do it.

  46. I reckon the chilli needs rolling back with this – Ill try 2 Tblspns next time, and had same issue with lentils not cooking – even after 8 hrs. I used the dried ones….which might have been the problem. Other than that its very hearty. Not disappointed – but Ill be tweaking for personal preference next time – thanks heaps for this. 🙂

  47. 3 stars
    Hi… I’m making this right now, in the slow cooker, it’s almost done…. I’m curious, was it meant to be 2-3 TABLESPOONS of chilli powder,  or teaspoons? You mentioned you used 3.. I used a bit less than 1 1/2, as I cook with chilli a fair bit, and I got a little scared about the amount.. I absolutely adore spicy food, but on tasting the chilli, I’ve decided I’m going to add some lime juice.. We had a competition between myself and 4 Indians at work.. I was the only one who could finish our spicy chicken wrap without sweating, eyes watering, coughing or just giving up!! Lol.. 

    But this recipe has me stumped..

    A little less of the overpowering chilli (using lime)and a little more vegetable broth, and I think it will be truly amazing!!!

    I used canned lentils, just an idea for those who had issues with them not cooking… 

    1. I ended up adding a fair bit of mash potato, first, and when that didn’t lighten it up enough, I did add some lime and lemon..  post potato, was ok, post citrus, better again.. still hot though, more than I’d like…

  48. 5 stars
    wow so amazing i like the chili stuff a lot and everyone also in my house. I’ll definitely try tonight. Just make it good as like you, please God give this power that i can make it good. And everyone will like it.
    Thank you

  49. 3 stars
    I cooked this on slow for approx 8 hrs and cooked my green lentils beforehand. I was surprised at the amount of broth needed, and it’s turned out VERY liquidy. I wonder if I did something wrong? Also used white haricot beans as well as red kidney beans.

  50. 5 stars
    I make this for my family all the time! My hubs & I usually do this recipe together, which makes it that much more fun! Our 3 kids gobble it up! They also love to scoop it into tortilla chips, some of us love avocado chunks in it, most of us add Cholula or some type of hot sauce as we eat it (I go light on chili powder for the more spice sensitive kiddo). My kids are 3, 6, & 8. We are not vegetarians but we love this recipe! I also use the instant pot to cook this when I’m making it late in the day. I prefer how it turns out in the slow cooker though. I’ve never had an issue with lentils not cooking, but I do think it takes my crock pot a little longer- like 5-6 hrs- when I use it on high (however it is 15 years old now). I use bagged brown lentils by La Preferida brand. I’ve sent this one to many friends!