This Chicken Chili recipe is a lighter version of the classic comfort food - Chili con Carne.
Enjoy each mouthful of flavorful chicken chunks and tender white beans in a rich and zesty broth. It is a quick and easy one-pot meal full of warm and comforting flavors.
Homemade Chili Made With Chicken
Cold weather means it's finally Chili season! We all love a steaming bowl of traditional beef Chili made of chunky meat and red kidney beans. They are especially good to have on a cold frosty night with their soul-warming flavors and aroma.
This recipe is a quick weeknight version made of chicken and white chili beans and is made in a jiffy! Using tomato paste and reserve bean liquid makes the broth so rich and thick, you'd think it has been simmering for hours!
It is perfect when you need a quick Chili fix any day of the week without spending too much time in the kitchen. You still get all the rich and cozy Chili taste that we all love, but with lighter proteins used.
Why We Love This Recipe
EASE. You can have this on your dinner table in just under an hour! And you'll only need one pot for this quick dinner recipe, which makes cleaning up a cinch!
MEAL PREP. This is one of those dishes that freeze well and gets even better a few days later! Make a big batch in one cooking to enjoy up until winter.
HEALTHY. It is gluten-free and packed with 2 types of protein sources that make it hearty and satisfying. It is also rich in fiber and antioxidants, making it a nutritious dish the whole family can enjoy.
SIMPLE. Made using simple ingredients that you can easily find in your local grocery store. This dish is also an excellent recipe to use up leftover chicken and vegetables.
Olive oil – use good quality olive oil for best results. It really makes a difference.
Garlic and Onion- any good Chili recipe starts with a base of sautéed garlic and onions. They are cooked until softened and becomes sweet and aromatic.
Bell Pepper – gives the dish a satisfying crunch. I used green bell peppers in the recipe but feel free to also use red bell peppers for a sweeter taste.
Chicken – tender and juicy thighs are perfect for this dish! However, feel free to use chicken breasts as a low-fat option. I sliced them into bite-size pieces, but shredded chicken also works.
Spices- Chili powder, cumin, and oregano are my go-to spices to make rich and warmly flavored Chili!
Tomatoes- I used both diced tomatoes and tomato paste in the recipe. They add a burst of zesty and umami flavor to the dish. It will also give the dish an appealing deep red color.
White chili beans – Cannellini beans are suitable for this recipe as they are bigger than other white beans like Great Northern beans or Navy beans. They also hold their shape and texture well after cooking. Make sure to keep the liquid to be used later! It will make the broth thicker and more flavorful.
Variations and Additions
Beans - You can also use red kidney, pinto, or black beans if that is what you have or prefer.
Chicken - You can also use any leftover turkey meat from your Thanksgiving feast to make this delicious dish. Or, you can save time and buy rotisserie chicken instead.
Add more heat - This dish has the perfect blend of spices to give it a mild kick. Add some chopped cayenne pepper, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, or green chilies if you want to bring the spiciness up a notch.
Veggies - If you want to bulk it up with more vegetables, feel free to do so. Add some fresh corn, sweet potato, chickpea, zucchini, or carrots.
How To Make This Recipe
- Using a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Sauté chicken for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add and sauté onions, bell pepper, and garlic.
- Stir in spices and sauté for another minute. Return chicken.
- Add tomatoes and beans (including bean liquid) and bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Dos and Don't
- DO make sure that your spices are still fresh and have not oxidized for best results.
- DON'T use small-sized beans when making Chili, as they will break down and turn mushy.
- DO brown the chicken properly before adding the rest of the ingredients. This will give the Chili a richer taste.
- DO stir the chili mixture gently a few times as it simmers using a wooden spoon. Make sure to scrape the bottom, so the chicken and beans do not burn.
How To Store and Keep This Recipe
Of course, Chili is never complete without a generous helping of your favorite toppings!
Add a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and fresh cilantro right before serving.
Pair it with crunchy tortilla chips or a simple salad like a chopped Tomato Salad.
I recommend doubling this recipe! This is not only helpful when feeding a large crowd, but leftover Chicken Chili is something else!
You can easily store leftovers by placing them on an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
I swear they taste even better every time I reheat them.
Place it in a freezer-safe ziplock bag and write down the storage date if you plan on freezing. You can keep it frozen for up to 3 months.
More Chili, Stews, and Soup Recipes
- Chicken and Potato Soup - quick and creamy soup
- Creamy Shrimp Chowder - made with tiny shrimp
- Ground Beef Chili - classic beef chili recipe
- Beef and Vegetable Stew - earthy, hearty soup
- Old-Fashioned Potato Soup - the ulimate comfort food
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add seasoned chicken and sauté for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes. Stir in spices and sauté for one minute.
- Add chicken back to the pot and mix in beans, 2 cups of reserved bean liquid, and canned diced tomatoes. Bring everything to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.