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Slow Cooker Bison Chili

White bean bison chili is a healthier slow cooker chili recipe, loaded with excellent protein, fiber, lycopene, and good quality carbohydrates. Not to mention, it’s super easy to make and incredibly delicious!!

bowl of bison chili with shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream and rice in background

Chili is a favorite meal at our house, especially during football season. This crockpot white bean bison chili is a winner in our family for a couple of reasons. First,  because it’s heavy on the meat and lighter on the beans, and second because it has a light tomato base instead of a dense chili texture. The sauce is flavored just right without being too thick. I also love the slightly sweet rich flavor and protein boost that bison adds to this dish. Not to mention, it’s full of great nutrients. You can easily swap the bison out for lean ground beef in this recipe. The macros on this recipe are great, you get 34 grams of protein per serving, making it the perfect healthier chili recipe to make for a game-day meal!

How To Make White Bean Bison Chili

  • 1 lb ground bison (I’ve also made this with lean ground beef)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 30 oz diced tomatoes with juice (I use the Pomi tomatoes in the carton)
  • 16 oz white kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup salsa (Mateo’s Salsa is one of my favorites! Use a thicker salsa so it doesn’t add too much liquid)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps For Making Slowcooker Bison Chili

First, cook the bison and chopped onion in a large skillet over medium heat until bison is no longer pink and onion is soft.

ground bison and onion cooking in a skillet

Add the meat mixture to the slow cooker/Crockpot.

ground bison and onion in a slow cooker

Next, add all remaining ingredients to the slow cooker.

bison chili ingredients in a slow cooker

Give it a good stir and cook for 3 hours on high or 5 hours on low.

Bison chili ingredients stirred and ready to cook

I love having a slow cooker that switches to a warm setting to keep the food warm until it’s ready to serve. If you don’t have one with that feature, I would definitely recommend adding it to your kitchen wish list! It maintains the perfect temperature without overcooking the food.

bowl of bison chili with spoon with cheese, rice and hot sauce in the background for serving

Favorite Toppings For Chili

There are a lot of different ways that you can garnish chili, but here are some great topping ideas to spice it up!

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Crumbled queso fresco
  • Sliced black olives
  • Fresh sliced jalapeños or pickled jalapeños
  • Sour cream or full-fat plain Greek yogurt for a healthier option
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes
  • Salsa
  • Sliced avocado
  • Guacamole
  • Tortilla chips (crushed or whole)
  • Oyster crackers
  • Crumbled homemade cornbread
  • Tabasco sauce or other hot sauces
  • Ketchup (yep. I said it. This might really offend some chili purists, but on meaty chili recipes I love ketchup and hot sauce!!)
  • Chopped fresh herbs (cilantro, chives, and parsley)
  • Chopped green, red, or Vidalia onions

overhead shot of bowl of chili with topping ingredients in background

More Delicious Chili Recipes

Butternut Squash Chili 

Pork Tenderloin Chili 

Slow Cooker Beef Chili

Black Bean Beef Chili

Vegetarian Chili

*Update: This post was originally published in January 2012, and has been updated to improve the reader experience. This delicious recipe remains the same. 🙂

close up photo of bowl of bison chili with cheese in background

Slow Cooker White Bean Bison Chili

White bean bison chili is an easy and healthier slow cooker chili recipe, loaded with excellent protein, fiber, lycopene, and good quality carbohydrates.
4.86 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 458kcal
Author: Amee


  • 1 lb ground bison or lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 30 oz diced tomatoes with juice
  • 16 oz white kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • tsp ground cumin
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

For garnish

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sliced black olives
  • jalapeños
  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt


  • In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bison and onion until meat is no longer pink and onion is soft.  Drain off any excess fat (there won't be much because it's lean).
  • Transfer meat mixture to the crockpot.
  • Then and add all other ingredients. 
  • Cover and cook on low for 3 hours on High or 5 hours on Low. Serve with optional garnishes. 


Calories: 458kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 634mg | Potassium: 1373mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 818IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 146mg | Iron: 9mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @ameecooks or tag #ameecooks!
Amee Livingston
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  1. This sounds delicious, but I am curious where you find ground bison… I am sure it must be really good! Thanks for linking up this week to Things That Make You Say Mmmmm!

  2. Hi Karyn! I get bison at Publix or Whole Foods. If your grocery store doesn’t carry it, ask the manager and they will most likely get it in stock for you. 🙂

4.86 from 7 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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