Slow Cooker Whole30 Chili

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This Slow Cooker Whole30 Chili is the perfect easy recipe when you want comfort food with no fuss & minimal cleanup! It simmers away in the slow cooker all day filling the house with mouth-watering smells that will make you hungry when you walk through the door. The spices in this chili combine wonderfully with the sweetness of the sweet potato. Add all the toppings you can think of for fresh flavor with this savory slow-cooked chili. It’s bean-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo.

Straight down view of two bowls Whole30 sweet potato chili topped with avocado slices, cilantro, and jalapeno slice.

I really hated chili growing up. I mean we’re talking so much dislike that I would gladly go without dinner if I could have. Whenever chili was on the menu, I would eat about 1/4 cup of chili with a big bowlful of toppings, (yay for toppings)!

It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that it wasn’t the chili so much as the kidney beans that I hated. And I’ll admit I still don’t like them despite my best efforts. Lately though, one of my friends has been making chili with sweet potatoes, and that got me thinking I should give chili another chance. This time around without any beans whatsoever.

So… that brings us up to the present, I’ve just had this chili 4 DAYS IN A ROW and I’m loving it. This is a definite success on the chili front! I’m head over heels for how the spicy meat pairs with the sweet potato. And we’re also fans of how easy it is to make this slow cooker Whole30 chili as well.

Side view of two bowls of Whole30 sweet potato turkey chili with all the toppings and avocado on the side.

And of course… there’s nary a mealy/chalky kidney bean in sight. I’ve also added a few new toppings as an adult. And I must say that avocado, lime wedges, and cilantro are just the thing to take chili to the next level!

So that’s the story of how I ended up loving chili. And maybe if you’re not the hugest fan of chili, this might be the recipe that changes your mind. I even fed this to a family member who hates sweet potato and he ate several bowls!

Ingredients & Substitutions

Ingredients for Whole30 chili: ground turkey, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, garlic, sweet potatoes, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste in small bowls on a wood cutting board.
  • Ground turkey – other types of ground meat also work like lean ground beef and ground pork.
  • Onions & garlic – white onions and yellow onions both work in this recipe. And for the garlic, use a garlic press to speed up the prep time. I don’t recommend jarred garlic.
  • Spices – I use a mix of ancho chili powder and chili powder for greater depth of flavor, but just chili powder is also listed in the recipe as an option. From there a bit of cumin and oregano rounds out the chili flavor we all know and love.
  • Sweet potatoes – are what I use in place of beans for this chili and their sweet flavor is great with chili spices. There is also an option below to add black beans as well if desired.
  • Tomatoes – I use a mix of canned tomatoes and tomato paste for the best tomato flavor. I have tried tomato sauce and it’s just not as good so I don’t recommend it.

How to make this recipe step by step

Diced up white onion on a black cutting board.

Step 1: Start by dicing up the onion.

One key to this recipe is to cut the onions into a small dice, otherwise they’ll be a tad crunchy.

Diced up sweet potato chunks on a black cutting board.

Step 2: Trim the sweet potatoes and peel them if desired.

Then cut them into large (but still bite-sized) chunks.

Mixing together the ground beef with the onions and chili spices in a slow cooker bowl.

Step 3: Next, we’ll mix together the ground turkey with the spices and diced onions.

Make sure to break up the ground turkey well as you mix.

Adding the diced sweet potatoes to the slow cooker bowl.

Step 4: Place the sweet potatoes over the top of the turkey mixture

Pouring the tomato sauce over the top of the sweet potatoes in the slow cooker bowl.

Step 5:Place the whole tomatoes and tomato paste in a blender and blend until combined but still chunky.

Pour the tomato mixture over the top of the sweet potatoes.

Mixing together the chili ingredients in the slow cooker bowl with a wood spoon.

Step 6: Mix to combine and turn the crockpot to low. Cook for 8-10 hours, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Taste the chili and add salt to your taste

Side view of the finished Whole30 chili in two bowls with all the toppings and a halved avocado on the side.

Ways to serve this Slow Cooker Whole30 Chili

  • Enjoy this chili with Whole30 toppings: avocado, red onion, green onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing, or make your own Whole30 sour cream.
  • If you’re not doing a Whole30, try this chili with sour cream and grated cheddar cheese or pepperjack cheese.

FAQ’s

What is the secret to making good chili?

My secret for the best-tasting chili is to use a good amount of spices for full flavor but still balanced and not overwhelming with chili powder.

Can I use beans in this chili?

Yes, you can add beans to this chili, it isn’t Whole30 but I hope you customize this to your taste. Beans are a budget-friendly option, and my favorite is to add a can of drained and rinsed black beans to the slow cooker. The black beans are perfect with the sweet potato.

Storing leftovers

  • To store – store any leftover chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Make ahead – this chili gets better as it sits, so feel free to make it ahead and reheat as desired.
  • Reheating – add leftovers to a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat stirring often until heated.
  • To freeze – this chili freezes fairly well in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating. The sweet potatoes will become much softer after freezing.
Close up straight down view of Whole30 turkey sweet potato chili in a bowl topped with avocado slices, cilantro, and red onion.

Tips & Tricks

  • Everyone’s slow cooker seems to work at different speeds. Mine took 10 hours to cook my sweet potatoes all the way through. I would recommend trying this or any slow cooker recipe the first time on a day when you’re home. That way, you’ll be around when it’s ready and you can add your own notes about cooking time to the recipe.
  • The whole tomatoes, combined with the tomato paste really adds to the chili experience. I added the tomato paste in an effort to make a fuller sauce, not quite so watery. It worked wonders for the texture, adds a natural sweetness that cuts the acidity, and adds depth to the sauce. This also makes for a super thick chili. If it’s too thick for your taste, feel free to add some broth at the end of the cooking time.
  • The recipe calls for ancho chili powder which is really tasty, (try it as a rub on grilled chicken or fish). If you can’t find it, don’t worry, you can use regular chili powder with great results!

Dietary Options & Substitutions

  • Dairy-free – this recipe is dairy-free, but you can add dairy-free sour cream and cheese if desired.
  • Paleo – choose from the Whole30 topping options in the recipe. Make your own paleo sour cream, or drizzle this chili with my creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing (it’s also Whole30).
Two bowls of Whole30 chili with sliced avocado, jalapeno, red onion, and cilantro on top.

Best Toppings for this Slow Cooker Chili

  • Diced red onion or sliced green onion.
  • Avocado which is probably my favorite!
  • Chopped fresh cilantro.
  • Sour cream/dairy-free/Whole30 alternative.
  • My creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing is my favorite dairy-free & Whole30 topping.
  • Sliced jalapenos for a touch of spice.
  • Grated cheddar cheese if you can have dairy.
Straight down view of Whole30 Chili with all the toppings in a bowl with a havled avocado and cilantro on the side.

I really hope you enjoy this easy slow cooker Whole30 Chili! If you do get a chance to make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Side view of the finished Whole30 chili in two bowls with all the toppings and a halved avocado on the side.

Slow Cooker Whole30 Chili


4.84 from 6 votes
Author: Kari Peters
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 6
Course: Dinner

INGREDIENTS  

  • 1 pound ground turkey - ground beef, chicken, or pork
  • 1 medium onion - about 12 ounces, diced very small
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ancho chili powder - (or 1 additional Tablespoon chili powder)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • 2 tsp sea salt - or to your taste see notes
  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 28 ounces canned whole tomatoes - or diced tomatoes, try fire roasted tomatoes for a variation
  • 6 ounces canned tomato paste

Toppings:

  • lime wedges, cilantro, sliced green onion, avocado - optional: Whole30 sour cream/sour cream, grated cheddar cheese.

INSTRUCTIONS 

  • Place the ground turkey, onions, garlic, spices, and sea salt in a 4-quart crockpot. Use a wooden spoon to break up the turkey and mix everything together.
  • Cut the ends off the sweet potatoes and trim off any unsightly bits, (peel if desired). Then, cut them into quarters lengthwise. Cut the quarters crosswise into chunks about 1 1/2 inches in size.
  • Place the sweet potatoes over the top of the turkey mixture.
  • Place the whole tomatoes and tomato paste in a blender and blend until combined but still chunky. Pour the tomato mixture over the top of the sweet potatoes and turn the crockpot to low.
  • Cook for 8-10 hours, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Taste the chili and add salt to your taste.
  • Serve with any and all toppings you desire.
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NOTES

Start with less salt during the cooking time, then test and season to your taste when the chili is done.
The nutrition facts are calculated without the toppings.
Category: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keywords: Paleo Slow Cooker Chili, Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili Recipe, Slow Cooker Turkey Chili, Slow Cooker Turkey Chili Recipe

nutrition facts

Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 1376mg | Potassium: 1489mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 28217IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 5mg
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This recipe was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2020 & 2023 with new photos and more tips and information.

54 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Whole30 Chili”

  1. 5 stars
    This was really good. I put it in the slow cooker on low at around 8:30pm and took it off the heat at 7:30 the next morning to put, covered, in the fridge by 8am. When I got home from work I put it back in the cooker to start warming as I made a side of cornbread (my favorite chili addition) and puttered around after work. Everything was great. It was so easy to do this way and took up almost no time from my day! I admit I used a 28oz can of diced tomatoes because I was a little worried about huge pieces of tomato. However, the texture was great, not runny at all. The only other change was that trader joe’s was out of onions so I put in some frozen cubes of caramelized onions. Some of the potato pieces turned into nothing and others held up – definitely need to leave the skin on, which I love cause it’s so much less work!! Will definitely add to my cold-weather rotation, and suggest for those friends who just don’t like chili with beans.

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I love the idea of caramelized onions in this! I have yet to make this with a side of cornbread, but that sounds so delicious and comforting on a cold rainy day!

      Reply
  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is super easy and tastes fantastic. I didn’t have as many sweet potatoes on hand but it was still delicious. I actually cooked it for 10 hours overnight and refrigerated it until dinner, then heated in the microwave. I’ve made turkey chili for many years but really like the addition of the sweet potatoes.

    Reply
    • I haven’t tried a bigger batch, but don’t see any problem with doubling the recipe, it should turn out the same. Let me know how it goes, and if you have anymore questions! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
    • Yes, I left the skin on the sweet potatoes. I think you could peel them if you wanted to, they might break down a bit more though! Hope you enjoy the recipe! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  3. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner last night (second crock pot recipe I’ve ever done since I’m new to the amazing crock pot world) and it was amazing! Tho, for me it cooked in 5 hours (so I had to keep it on warm for a couple hours while the spouse was at work). Definitely will be making this again… and again…. and again haha ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • I using the warming button whenever things cook faster than I was expecting! Both my husband and I love this recipe for how simple and comforting it is – so glad you enjoyed it too! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  4. A co-worker used this recipe for luncheon celebration at work .Everybody loved it ,
    she said this is her first time cooking in crockpot . I asked for the recipe because my family loves sweet potatoes however, I am vegetarian so I won’t be using any meat do you have any suggestion as which veggie would a work best for this . BTW : I will be adding different types of beans as I do with veggie chili
    Cant wait to try it out over Thanksgiving weekend . We stay away from malls and crowd ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • I think you could just substitute cooked beans for the ground turkey, and you shouldn’t need to add any other vegetables. If you wanted to add extra vegetables, root vegetables would be a nice pairing with the sweet potatoes. I hope a vegetarian version works out for you, and be sure to let me know how it goes! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  5. So glad I found this! Looks so yummy! How do you think leftovers would do being heated up in the microwave? My hubby doesn’t eat sweet potatoes but I LOVE them! I would make this to use for lunches at work for a few days…

    Reply
    • I’ve never reheated it in the microwave, but it does reheat well on the stovetop! I hope you enjoy it, it’s one of my favorite easy meals! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  6. This is in the crockpot right now! Very excited. I have just under 2 lbs of sweet potato and wonder if I should run out to get another.

    I’m also wonder if I should add a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • I wouldn’t bother running to the store, I don’t think the 1/2 pound will matter too much, you’ll just have a bit less chili! I think the cocoa would be a matter of taste, I personally don’t care for it in chili but I like the flavor in mole so who knows? If you like a bit of cocoa in your chili, I would take out about a 1/4 cup of finished chili and try a pinch of cocoa mixed in to see how it tastes, then you’ll know for the next batch! Let me know how it goes! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  7. I’m going to try this today, but am using what we call sweet potatoes, they’re white. I’m from Canada. The sweet potatoes you show in your recipe are what we call yams. Hopefully, the flavour will be OK. Have you tried with other potatoes?

    Reply
    • Some places call the orange ones yams here but others call them sweet potatoes – very confusing at times! I’ve found the white sweet potatoes to be drier in texture at times, but that shouldn’t matter in this chili. I haven’t tried this recipe yet with any other potato yet, so let me know how it goes! Hope you have a great Thanksgiving this weekend, my husband’s from Canada and I’m from the States, so we get to celebrate twice! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
      • It turned out well, not quite hot enough, but just added a little hot sauce to taste. I will try yams next time to see if there is any difference. Happy Thanksgiving ๐Ÿ™‚

        Reply
        • So glad it the white sweet potatoes worked, and you’re right it’s not really hot at all so I’m glad you were able to spice it up a bit! ๐Ÿ™‚

          Reply
  8. Loved the recipe! I substituted one can of tomatoes with fresh roma tomatoes out of my garden that I have been wanting to put to use, and also added a can of kidney beans! Fantastic flavor with those spices, and hearty, too. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • I would start by sautรฉing the onions until tender, then add the turkey (you can brown it if you’re comfortable working with high heat). Once the turkey’s in, you can add the spices, stir, and then add everything else and simmer with a lid on (or slightly cracked) until the sweet potatoes are tender (probably about 1 hour). Be sure to watch it the first time because it’s hard to know if it would stick or not, (if the heat’s low you shouldn’t have a problem). Let me know how it goes, hope you enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  9. 5 stars
    I just wanna say, at first I thought, this is too easy. Too simple to really be good. I knew by the middle of this morning there was no way I was going to be in the mood to cook dinner, so I threw together this recipe in about 20 minutes. Let me tell you how happy I am that I decided to try it, simple and all. It is wonderful and the only topping we put on it was cheese! Thank you for an super easy, simple recipe that made plenty and everyone loved! It is wonderful and definitely will be made many times in my house!

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you liked it! I’ve been working on super simple crockpot recipes for just those kind of days when you really don’t want to cook – so, I’m happy that the recipe delivered!

      Reply
    • In the interest of keeping things simple, I didn’t brown the meat – just threw everything in and turned it to low! I’ve tried browning vs. not browning and I’m not sure it makes a significant difference in flavor, (especially considering it makes more dishes).

      Reply
  10. Fantastic recipe Kari, the sweet potato + chili combo is one of my fave, and besides I dig anything made in a Crock-Pot – throw everything in and fugget about it, my kind of style! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply

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