Chicken Chili Recipe

As it gets colder, there’s never been a better time for a great big pot of chicken chili, and this recipe from Smitten Kitchen hits just the spot.

Ingredients for Chicken Chili:

  • 2 pounds of boneless and skinless chicken thighs/breasts, cut into 3-4 large chunks
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped small
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of fine sea salt
  • A bit of heat, via 1-2 jalapeños or other fresh hot pepper, minced (alternatively, ground chili powder)
  • 1 29-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted
  • 2 ⅔ cups of small dried beans
  • 5 ⅓ cups of water (replace all or in part with chicken or vegetable broth)
  • To serve: lime wedges, sour cream or Mexican crema, finely chopped white onion or thinly sliced scallion, chopped cilantro, corn or flour tortilla chips, and hot sauce

Directions for Chicken Chili:

  1. You’ll want to start by seasoning your boneless and skinless 50/50 mix of chicken thighs and breasts with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Press the seasoning into the meat, cover, and set it aside.
  2. It’s suggested that you use dried beans over canned beans for chili recipes, as they’re more economical, flavorful, and they’ll plump up without presoaking if used right.
  3. After prepping and dividing up all of your ingredients, you can honestly throw it all into a pot with the following cooking instructions:
  • If you’re cooking this chili on the stove, you’ll simmer the ingredients on low until the beans are tender. This will typically take about 2 ½ to 3 hours with you stirring occasionally to ensure that the beans do not break down.
  • If cooking this chili in a slow cooker, you’ll want to set the CrockPot or similar cooking instrument on HIGH for 4 ½ – 5 hours or on LOW for 8-10 hours.
  • If cooking this chili in an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker, you’ll want to set it at high pressure for 30 minutes, noting that manual release will work fine. This cooking time is designed for small beans like red or black beans, though if you’re using larger beans you’ll probably need to set the cooker to 35 minutes.
  1. To finish this recipe, you’ll first notice that your chicken has most likely fallen apart in the pot, but if not you’ll need to shred the chicken to your desired texture with two forks. If you’re using a pressure cooker, you’ll simply be able to do this with the back of a spoon.
  2. At this point, taste the chili and adjust the flavor with seasonings according to your taste and serve with fixings of your choice.

A suggestion for the best side dish and topping: Try your hand at making your own fresh tortilla chips. Estimate approximately two small corn tortillas per person and cut them each into 8 wedges. Take a large baking sheet, brush it lightly with olive oil, and then arrange the tortilla wedges in one layer. Afterward, lightly dip the tops of the wedges with more olive oil, and top it all off with a sprinkle of fine salt. Bake them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350°F, check for color, and add more baking time as needed. You’ll know the chips are done when they’re golden and crisp.

A note on kidney beans: this recipe doesn’t use red kidney beans, but small red beans instead, and they’re not soaked overnight. However, it should be noted that if you are using red kidney beans, that due to a protein called phytohemagglutinin, the FDA advises people who plan to use kidney beans in slow cookers to soak the beans for at least 5 hours first, drain the water. and boil them in freshwater for 10 minutes before continuing with the recipe.

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Sunday Chili Recipe

This perfect “Sunday Chili” recipe from Pinch of Yum that’s designed to be quickly prepped, set on the stove on low, and essentially forgotten about until it’s time to serve is the perfect addition to any Sunday menu.

Chili is such a versatile dish that is guaranteed to satisfy the hungriest of appetites. While it’s a great dish served fresh, a proper pot of chili almost lives a longer second life as a week of leftovers due to the flavors becoming stronger and more distinct in a tight container in your fridge. Similarly, if you have a Sunday afternoon free, be sure to set up this recipe around lunchtime and expect to have that pot simmering all afternoon long for a truly impressive dinner.

Sunday Chili Ingredients: 

2 teaspoons of salt

1 ½ pound of ground beef

6 slices of bacon, (cut into small pieces)

Half of an onion (diced)

4 cloves garlic (minced)

1 jalapeno (minced)

4 carrots (minced), optional

2 ½ tablespoons of chili powder

2 tablespoons of cumin

1 tablespoon of oregano

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

3-4 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 28-ounce can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes

2 14-ounce cans of black, red, or pinto beans (rinsed and drained)

2 ¼ cups of beef or chicken broth

Suggested Toppings for Sunday Chili:

Avocado (carved)

Cheddar cheese (shredded)

Sour Cream

Tortilla Chips

Red Onion (sliced)

Fresh cilantro

Sunday Chili Recipe:

  1. Begin your chili as you always should, by seasoning your ground beef with salt. If you like spice, sprinkle some black and cayenne pepper into the seasoning mix as well. Using a wooden spoon or gloved hands, mix the seasoning into the beef and set it aside while you prep the other ingredients. Slice your uncooked bacon strips into quarter to half-inch pieces, and place them in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crispy. Take out the pieces with your spoon, and drain the excess oil on a folded paper towel, leaving 1-2 tablespoons in the oven for sautéing.
  2. Add your diced onion, minced garlic, and minced carrots into the oil, and brown them in the bacon oil, sautéing them until they are soft and fragrant. After they’re properly browned, add your ground beef and measured spices, mixing it all together. Continue to stir it all together until the beef is fully cooked, and add your tablespoons of tomato paste. Sauté the chili for two to three minutes.
  3. Next, add your fire-roasted tomatoes, preferred beans, and bacon pieces to the pot, mixing it all together. Bring the heat on your dutch oven down to a low simmer, and cover it. Keep it cooking on low heat for at least 30-45 minutes, though it’s always preferred to cook it for two hours or more. After all, this is called a “Sunday Chili” for a reason, and that reason is to have the pot simmering on low all afternoon to develop a fine-tuned flavor. When the chili begins to thicken, you can thin it out with water or any additional broth until the consistency is to your liking. Additionally, you can alternate between the pot resting over low heat or merely resting in the hot dutch oven.
  4. Once it’s done or it’s dinner time after the chili has been cooking in the background all day, it’s time to serve the chili into bowls and top it with you and your guest’s preferred toppings.


  • You can certainly substitute canned diced tomatoes for the crushed-tomatoes, if you prefer the thicker consistency.
  • While it’s delicious, the bacon is (of course) optional, as you can also sauté your vegetables in reserved bacon fat.
  • If you need to save time, chop your vegetables in a food processor or add your ingredients into a pressure cooker after it’s all sufficiently browned and the meat is cooked.

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