Tender white-meat chicken, savory cannellini beans, flavorful green chilies and rich sour cream combine in this quick recipe for Chicken Chili. It’s an easy, cozy dinner that will make your tummy happy!
Cozy Homemade Chicken Chili
Chili is the perfect comfort food, don’t you think? It’s got all the warmth and tenderness of a nice bowl of soup, but with the sizzle and spice of a taco! Plus, there’s the fun of toppings! From avocados to jalapenos and cheese, to crunchy bits of your favorite cracker, chili just begs to be customized.
When someone in my family is feeling frazzled (including me), this is a nice dinner to make. It sets the stage for both fun and calm. The warm, tender chicken pieces and hearty beans are nice and filling, while the simple combination of chili powder, cumin, paprika and oregano that bring plenty of flavor.
Next time you need a last-minute dinner that’s festive and interesting, try this quick and easy chicken chili recipe! You’ll love the result, and so will everyone else.
You may find that you keep most of these ingredients on hand, which is just one more reason to add this quick chili recipe to your weekly rotation. In fact, chicken chili is so good, maybe you’ll want to start stocking the ingredients if you don’t already!
- Oil: For sautéing. I like to use avocado oil or even coconut oil! Keep in mind that unrefined coconut oils can have a fresh coconut flavor that you may not want in your chili.
- Chicken: Here, I’m using boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You’ll need about one pound, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces.
- Salt & Pepper
- Onion: Finely dice one small yellow onion. You can substitute white, sweet or red onion if needed.
- Garlic: Mince or press three cloves of fresh garlic.
- Cumin, Chili Powder, Paprika & Oregano: This group of spices brings a fantastic Southwest flavor to the chili! If you want your chili spicier, feel free to reduce the paprika and add cayenne pepper.
- Cannellini Beans: Rinse and drain two 15-ounce cans. This is also a great way to use leftover beans, if you happen to have some on hand; pinto beans, navy beans and red beans are all good choices.
- Canned Chilies: Chopped green chilies usually come in small, 4-ounce cans. I use two cans, undrained. They add so much flavor!
- Chicken Broth: You’ll need about 5 cups of broth; I usually go for low-sodium chicken broth, but you can use any kind you like. Vegetable broth also works!
- Fresh Cilantro: This recipe is delicious with some chopped cilantro as a garnish.
- Lime Wedges: For serving.
How to Make Chicken Chili
You might typically think of chili as a dish that takes all day to prepare, but that’s really not the case—especially with this easy recipe! It all comes together super easily. Comfort food on the table, fast! What could be better than that?
- Cook Chicken Pieces: First, heat your oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot set over medium-high heat. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, a stockpot or large saucepan with a lid will work just fine. Season the chicken with half a teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. Add the chicken pieces to the hot oil and cook for 4 minutes.
- Add Onions & Spices: Add the onions to the pot and cook for 1 minute. Then, stir in your garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika and oregano; saute for 3 more minutes.
- Add Beans, Chilies & Broth: Add the beans to the Dutch oven, followed by the green chilies. Finally, pour in all of the chicken broth and use a wooden spoon or other utensil to scrape up all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring the chili to a steady simmer, and allow it to cook for ten minutes.
- Mash Some of the Beans: To thicken the chili, transfer about ¼ cup of the beans to a plate, mash the beans with the back of a fork and return them to the pot, stirring well to combine.
- Finish the Dish: Remove the pot from the heat, add in a little bit of lime juice, if you like, and allow the chili to cool slightly. Ladle chili into bowls and serve.
Tips for the Best Chicken Chili
Like most chili recipes, this one is super flexible, and there are a lot of great ways to put a spin on it. Here are my favorite tips and tricks to help make this flavorful recipe work for you.
- Thicken It Up: The recipe calls for mashing up some of the beans in order to give the chili a thicker texture, but you could also make a slurry to thicken it up: mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with one tablespoon of cold milk, and then whisk that mixture into your simmering chili. Want it even thicker? Make another little batch of slurry and repeat!
- Add Bacon: Seriously, what better time to crisp up some bacon bits? They go amazingly with all things chicken, especially chicken chili.
- Use Leftover Turkey: This recipe is also a great way to use up that leftover turkey hanging out in your freezer! Just follow the recipe as written, except there’s no need to saute the chicken pieces. Instead, just add your leftover turkey (thawed overnight in the fridge) to the chili along with the beans. Yum!
What goes well with a hot bowl of chili? Any of the following sides!
- Cornbread: Who doesn’t love chili and cornbread, right? I like to make this Light Skillet Cornbread as a comfy-cozy side with a delicious texture and traditional taste. Mmmm.
- Potato Wedges: These Crispy Garlic Parmesan Baked Potato Wedges are super quick and simple, and they go great with this savory chili recipe!
- Jalapeno Poppers: Cheesy, spicy, and wrapped in bacon, these little lovelies are welcome on any menu! I love to make Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers for special occasions, or just to bring a smile to my family’s faces.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Refrigerate your leftovers for up to 4 days.
- I like to place mine in one large airtight container and reheat the whole thing for a second dinner, or as part of a leftover night.
- To reheat the chili, just place it in a covered saucepan and heat it on low until piping hot. Make sure to stir it occasionally while heating. If the chili seems too thick, you can add a splash or two of water.
Can I Freeze Extras?
- Yes, chicken chili is a dish that freezes very well! You can freeze all of it at once, but I prefer to portion mine out into small freezer bags or airtight containers. That way, I can heat up just the amount that I need!
- Chicken chili will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, you can also use ground cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and well drained
- 2 4-ounces cans chopped green chiles, undrained
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
- tortilla chips, for serving
- Cilantro, chopped, for garnish
- Lime wedges and lime juice, for serving
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat.
- Season chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
- Add chicken pieces to the hot oil and cook for 4 minutes.
- Add onions and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and oregano; sautee for 3 more minutes.
- Add the beans to the Dutch oven; stir in green chiles.
- Pour in the chicken broth, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
- Bring to a steady simmer; continue to cook for 10 more minutes.
- Remove ¼ cup of the beans and transfer to a plate; mash the beans with the back of a fork and then return to the pot. Stir well and cook for 1 more minute.
- Stir in a squeeze of lime juice. Remove pot from heat.
- Taste chili for salt and pepper; adjust accordingly.
- Ladle chili into bowls and top with few tortilla chips.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.
More Comfort Food Recipes
Want more cozy meals to make for your family? These recipes are sure to be a hit!