Homemade Chicken Chili Recipe

Homemade Chicken Chili Recipe: A Keeper for the Winter 

There are few things I love more than chili. It’s a perfect dish for winter, and it’s hearty enough to warm you from the inside out. This is my recipe for chicken chili that I’ve been making since college (and probably before). The best part about this recipe is that it can be adjusted to your tastes; if you like more spice, add some jalapeno or cayenne pepper, but if you prefer less heat then just omit these ingredients. If you enjoy eating meatless dishes then try adding in browned mushrooms instead of ground beef – either way will taste delicious! 

How to make Chicken Chili

Chicken Chili is a warm and hearty soup that will fill you up on the coldest of days. The dish has many variations, but this recipe uses cumin to give it its signature flavor. Chicken chili can be served as an appetizer with tortilla chips or in a burrito bowl. It also makes for great leftovers because it tastes better when made ahead of time and warmed up later! 

How to make Chicken Chili


  • 4–5 strips of bacon 
  • 1–2 jalapeños, ribs and seeds removed 
  • half of a yellow onion 
  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • 2 teaspoons cumin 
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder 
  • 2 cups chicken broth 
  • two 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chiles (with juices!) 
  • 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (you can also use chicken breasts – I like it both ways) 
  • one 14-ounce can pinto beans 
  • one 14-ounce can black beans 
  • 8 ounces cream cheese 

Step-by-step Cooking Instructions 

  1. Preheat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until it is crispy, about five minutes. 
  2. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels and set aside (reserving half of the grease in pot). 
  3. Next, finely chop one jalapeno pepper and add it to the hot oil along with your onions; sautee for two minutes before adding garlic. 
  4. Cook for another minute before stirring in cumin, chili powder, chicken broth, diced tomatoes with juices from cans),and black beans.
  5. Bring mixture to a simmer then turn down to low-medium heat so that it doesn’t boil up too quickly — cover partially if necessary! Let soup simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the beans are tender. 
  6. Once all vegetables are soft, add in diced chicken and shredded cheese; continue cooking for another ten to fifteen minutes on low-medium heat so that those items can cook through and get good and juicy. 
  7. Taste soup before you salt it — if the tomato sauce is already salty then go easy otherwise season with a bit of kosher salt. 
  8. Add cilantro just before serving (if desired). 

A few more helpful hints:

how to make chicken chili

  • If your kitchen has lots of windows be sure to use an exhaust fan as this will prevent any lingering bacon smells! 
  • If jalapeno peppers scare you – don’t worry about them! You’ll still enjoy the dish without them but they really give it some zing and heat. 
  • If you’re unsure of how much chili powder to use, start with three tablespoons and add more as needed just before serving — the spice will intensify when it cooks for a few minutes. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What goes with chicken chili?

Topped with cheese and sour cream, this chili is a meal in itself. It can also be served over tortilla chips for dipping or topped with other Mexican-style dishes like guacamole, cilantro lime rice and black beans. 

It’s delicious as spicy filling inside soft flour tortillas too! Chicken Chili goes well on top of thick cornbread slices or crusty French bread toasted under the broiler until golden brown. A bowlful makes a perfect hearty breakfast when paired with scrambled eggs and crispy bacon.

chicken chili recipe

Cooked up leftovers are great atop pasta noodles, too — try it alfredo style by adding whipping cream instead of milk to your cooked spaghetti squash then pour chicken chili on top before serving steaming hot. 

For a change of pace, try eating your Chicken Chili over rice with chopped green onions and shredded cheese on top or even as an omelette filling. The flavour is robust but not too spicy, so it’s sure to be a hit for the entire family! 

Is Chicken Chili healthy dish?

Yes! Chicken Chili is a smart, healthy dish to eat. It’s full of protein and fiber from the beans and vegetables while being low in fat and calories as well. Plus, there are many ways you can modify it too — such as adding less salt or using different types of meat (such as turkey).  

In Conclusion

The best part of this recipe is that it can be made in under an hour and will keep you full for hours. If you’re looking to spice up your weeknight dinner routine, then look no further than this easy Chicken Chili Recipe! Give the dish a try tonight — or bookmark it for later so you’ll have something healthy on hand when winter sets in. You won’t regret making this one-pot meal and we know you’ll love every bite! 

Related: Chipotle Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Easy Guacamole 

Jennifer Glover