Slow Cooker Smoky Chicken with Pinto Beans

This hearty chicken and bean stew simmers all day in the slow cooker and gets a ton of flavor from jarred salsa. The recipe for this stew originally appeared on Taste As You Go in 2008. It appears here with slight modifications and updated photos.

Slow Cooker Smoky Chicken with Pinto Beans | Taste As You Go

Believe it or not, this recipe was one of the very first recipes I ever shared on Taste As You Go. In my first few months of blogging, I relied quite a bit on stock photos. I knew my posts needed photos to break up the text and add interest, but I had no way of creating photos for myself. I didn't yet own a digital camera.

So, already, this updated version is ten times better than the original.

The more I made this dish, the more comfortable I got with it. Over time, I started tweaking ingredients to better suit my personal tastes... and this version here represents my favorite iteration of the recipe.

Slow Cooker Smoky Chicken with Pinto Beans | Taste As You Go

I upped the amount of chicken to even out the ratio between chicken and pinto beans. I also used a larger jar of salsa to add a bit more liquid to the dish. And, because I loved what it did to the overall flavor of the dish, I continued to use ground coffee. For me, the addition of the coffee helped tamp down the smokiness of the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

Slow Cooker Smoky Chicken with Pinto Beans | Taste As You Go

This Slow Cooker Chicken and Pinto Beans is great served all by itself as a hearty stew. But it's also delicious served over rice and/or with tortillas on the side.

Slow Cooker Smoky Chicken with Pinto Beans | Taste As You Go

I hope you give it a try! And since this blog is all about encouraging you to "taste as you go", go ahead an experiment. Make adjustments to suit your tastes. If you do, let me know how you changed things up in the comments... I might just want to try making it your way someday!

Slow Cooker Smoky Chicken with Pinto Beans
Recipe by Taste As You Go, adapted | Printable Recipe

This hearty chicken and bean stew simmers all day in the slow cooker and gets a ton of flavor from... jarred salsa.

Prep time: 15 minutes (not including overnight time to soak beans)
Cook time: 8 hours
Total time: 8 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 1 cup dried pinto beans, rinsed
  • 16-ounce jar medium salsa
  • 2 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup instant coffee
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (ribs and seeds removed)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

  1. Place beans in a large bowl; cover with water by several inches. Refrigerate, covered, overnight; drain.
  2. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, stir together beans, salsa, peppers, adobo sauce, flour, and water.
  3. Season chicken on both sides with salt, pepper, and coffee. Place chicken in the slow cooker, making sure to cover it as much as possible with the salsa and bean mixture.
  4. Scatter the onion and bell pepper on top of the chicken.
  5. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours.
  6. Remove chicken from the slow cooker. Shred into large pieces and return to the slow cooker. Stir in chopped cilantro and serve!

Food Tip: When cooking with a slow cooker, it is best not to open the lid if the recipe doesn't call for it, no matter how tempted you are to stir the ingredients (or how tempted you are to get a better whiff of the food while it's cooking). For every time you open the lid, you add an extra 30 minutes to your cooking time!


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