Prep Time  60minutes
Cook Time  300minutes
Total Time  360minutes

Chicken Chili

Seem like everywhere I dip a spoon these days, I’m scooping up turkey chili. It’s everywhere. And I’m not complaining about that. It’s also tasty.  BUT…the other day I wondered “Why not chicken chili?” The noble chicken deservers it’s spot on the chili mantle. And Chicken Chili has such wonder alliteration. As soon as I said it to my kids, they went running around the house screaming “chicken chili”. So, I made some. It was very yummy. And so I share with you.

Obviously, I feel good about using lean and healthy ground chicken. I also tend to throw a ton of chopped vegetables into my chili, so it’s a sneaky way to get everyone eating and loving vegetables. And I also use a good amount of beans – again, another pretty healthy food. My back of the envelop calculations on a cup of chili like this puts it at about 250 calories…so it’s a super tasty diet food for me.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Recipe Overview and Keys to Success

To make the best chicken chili, just make sure to do the following

  1. You’ve got to get a rich layering of flavors to make a good chili. That doesn’t take too much work, but it does take a fair number of ingredients and a lot of time. I like to set aside 6 – 8 hours to allow it to simmer.
  2. With all the ingredients, don’t forget the humble salt and pepper. Both are needed to make everything else shine.
  3. Toast the spices and the tomato paste a bit before adding the tomato sauce
  4. Be creative.  It’s hard to go wrong with chili.  If you have an idea…go for it! I’ll often add things like maple syrup, coffee, beer…to change up the flavors a bit. Below is a “base” recipe.

Ingredients for Chicken Chili


  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 16 ounce cans of crushed tomato
  • 1 16 ounce cans white beans
  • 1 16 ounce can black beans
  • 1 16 ounce can of pinto beans
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 12 ounce beer
  • 2 large diced onion
  • 2 diced red bell pepper
  • 2 cups-ish diced celery
  • 3 – 5 grated carrots
  • 1 – 2 green chili peppers like poblano 
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 8 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Chicken Chili


  • Heat a large pot over med-high heat and coat the bottom in olive oil
  • Add the ground chicken, and season with salt and pepper
  • Toss the chicken, stirring until fully cooked through
  • Chicken will tend to clump up into large pieces. Really try to break up the meat using a wooden spoon.
  • Remove the cooked chicken from the pot, and hold in a bowl
  • There is probably not a lot of fat in the pot, if there is, drain all but a few tablespoons that you’ll need for cooking the vegetables.  If needed, add oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the onion, peppers, celery, carrot, and garlic, and season with salt and pepper
  • Cook over medium heat for about 15 – 20 minutes, string occasionally, until the onion is translucent
  • Add the spices, and toast for about 1 minute; stirring to ensure they don’t burn
  • Add the tomato paste, and cook for 3 - 4 minutes, until the tomato paste turns a rusty color
  • Add the chicken meat back to the pot, along with the crushed tomatoes
  • Add enough chicken stock & beer to make the chili fairly loose, and stir-able, like a thin stew
  • Bring the chili to a simmer, cover and cook for 3 - 4 hours (at least).
  • Open the cans of beans and rinse off the packing liquid, leaving the cleaned beans
  • Add the beans to the chili, and continue to cook for at least another hour – 2 is better
  • Taste the chili, and adjust the salt and pepper as needed
  • If the chili is too thick, add some additional chicken stock to thin it; or alternatively, if too thin, continue to simmer until the chili reaches the desired thickness.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Chicken Chili

Comments (26 )

January 8th, 2019 - 10:20pm
Oh wow that looks really delicious!!
December 19th, 2019 - 2:45pm
Recently I found out that my husband is having bouts of gout so I am trying to avoid red meat like beef and use more chicken. Thanks for this recipe because it is so full of flavor the substitution on won't bother him much!
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