This vegan slow cooker red lentil chili is as easy as throwing everything in the slow cooker and turning it on.

Bowl of lentil chili with sour cream and jalapeños on top.

About the Recipe

This tasty lentil chili makes a flavorful, nourishing meal that’s great for meal prep or feeding a crowd.

It’s easy to make in one pot, easy to customize with different veggies or extras like black beans and tastes even better the next day.

You’ll love it for busy or slow days at home, just pop everything in the slow cooker and come back later to a hearty meal perfect for warming up on a cold day.

Enjoy your bowl of chili with all the best toppings like avocado, sour cream and tortilla chips.

For more easy meatless meals the whole family will enjoy, how about trying this One-Pot Vegan Curried Sweet Potato Lentil Stew, Curried Chickpea Stew, Easy One Pot Vegan Lasagna Soup or Vegan One Pot Pasta with Kale and Mushroom?

Ingredient Notes

  • Diced Tomatoes: Any brand of diced tomatoes. I like fire-roasted diced tomatoes.
  • Onion: I usually use white or yellow onion but red onion is also fine.
  • Spices: The blend of spices includes chili powder, cumin, paprika and oregano. I like to use smoked paprika for a smoky flavor. For spicy chili, you can add up to 1 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Note the recipe does already contain jalapeno but it’s not overly spicy as long as you remove the seeds.
  • Bell Peppers: You can use green bell pepper, red bell pepper or any other colour. I like to mix and match different colors for variety.
  • Red Lentils: This recipe is for red lentils though you can substitute brown or green lentils, just note it will have a different texture as red lentils are soft when cooked and green/brown stay firm and retain their shape .
  • Vegetable Broth: Any store-bought or homemade broth, bouillon base or vegetable stock works.
  • Tomato Paste: Tomato paste helps deepen the tomato flavor but if you’re in a pinch, you can substitute any tomato sauce.

The complete list of ingredients with measurements is located in the recipe card below.

Additions & Variations

  • Toppings: Avocado, tortilla chips, chilantro, sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions, lime juice, salsa.
  • Beans: Mix in 1 or 2 cans of beans such as chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans or pinto beans for additional texture.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potato works well in this recipe. Add up to 2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potato.
  • Serving: Serve with a toasted and butter bun or any bread for dipping.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1. Chop up the bell peppers, carrot, garlic, jalapeno and onion into small pieces and them to the crock pot.

Chopped onion, bell peppers, carrot, jalapeno and garlic in a crockpot.

Step 2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.

Diced tomatoes, lentils and vegetables in a slow cooker.

Step 3. Cook for 3 hours on high for 5-6 hours on low.

Red lentil chili in a slow cooker.

Enjoy hot with your favorite toppings like jalapeno, hot sauce, sour cream, salsa, tortilla chips or anything else you enjoy with chili.

Two bowls of red lentil chili topped with sour cream and sliced jalapeños.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this on the stovetop?

Yes. Follow these instructions to make this recipe stovetop:

1. Saute the onions and garlic in a splash of broth for 5 minutes.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a light simmer.
3. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the lentils are tender and the chili is nice and thick.

Can I make Instant Pot red lentil chili?

Yes. Follow these instructions to make this recipe in an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker:

1. Use the saute function to cook the onion, garlic and vegetables for 5-6 minutes.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir and seal the lid with the pressure valve turned to Sealing.
3. Use the High Pressure setting to cook for 7 minutes.
4. Let the pressure release naturally for about 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure, carefully open lid and enjoy.

How do you store leftover red lentil chili?

Let cool then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat as needed in the microwave or stovetop until heated through.

Can you use brown or green lentils?

Yes. You can substitute green or brown lentils in this recipe. It will have a different texture (green/brown lentils are firmer) and may require slightly longer cooking time.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.

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Overhead view of a a bowl of lentil chili with sour cream and jalapeños on top.

Vegan Slow Cooker Red Lentil Chili

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 16 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
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A flavorful vegan lentil chili recipe made in the slow cooker for an easy meal that’s perfect for chili season.


  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced (approx. 2 cups or 300 g)
  • 2 bell peppers, any colour, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced (about 1 cup chopped, 150 g)
  • 1 jalapeño, de-seeded and minced 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tsp regular or smoked paprika
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with the juices 
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (30 g)
  • 34 cups vegetable broth (750 mL)
  • 2 cups dry red lentils (370 g)
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker and mix well.
  2. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5-6 hours. Cooking time does not need to be exact and may vary depending on your slow cooker.
  3. Serve right away with your favorite chili toppings such as avocado, vegan sour cream, dairy-free cheddar cheese, sliced green onion, salsa or a squeeze of lime juice.


Start with 3 cups of broth. Check after 2 hours and see if you may need to add a little more. I’ve made it with as little as 2.5 cups and as much as 4. It just depends how thick you like it!

Customize: Mix in 1 or 2 cans of beans such as chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans or pinto beans for additional texture.

Let cool then store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge. Reheat as needed in the microwave or stovetop until heated to your preference.


  • Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 295
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 54 g
  • Fiber: 10 g
  • Protein: 18 g

Originally published on November 27, 2018.