Chicken and Red Bean Chili

Chicken and red bean chili in a bowl.
Diana Rattray
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1046 Calories
40g Fat
80g Carbs
91g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 1046
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 40g 51%
Saturated Fat 11g 57%
Cholesterol 213mg 71%
Sodium 282mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 80g 29%
Dietary Fiber 23g 81%
Protein 91g
Calcium 264mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This tasty, well-seasoned chili recipe is made with chicken breast, vegetables, and canned red beans. It shows that you don't need to use red meat to make a hearty chili bursting with veggies such as bell peppers and onions. You can serve this chili for lunch, dinner, or as part of a game day spread.

This recipe keeps it simple by using canned kidney beans or canned small red beans. If you have dried beans, cook them following the package directions—they might need a lengthy soak, so plan accordingly.

Feel free to scale the recipe down by half, or scale it up for a crowd.


  • 2 pounds chicken (boneless chicken breasts or thighs, diced)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium green bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans red beans (small red beans or kidney beans)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (4-ounce) can green chili peppers (chopped, mild)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (preferably unsalted)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Optional: 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for chicken chili.
    Diana Rattray
  2. Heat the olive oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven or kettle over high heat. Add the chicken to the hot oil and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked and tender. With a slotted spoon, remove chicken to bowl; refrigerate it until you are ready to add it back to the chili.

    Browned chicken in a Dutch oven.
    Diana Rattray
  3. Add butter to the same pan over medium heat; cook the green and red peppers, onion, and garlic until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

  4. Add the chili powder and cumin; stir to blend and cook for 1 minute. Stir in kidney beans with their liquid, tomatoes with their liquid, tomato paste, green chili peppers, and chicken stock. Add the sugar and cayenne pepper, if using. Bring the chili to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken back to the pot and continue cooking for 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and add kosher salt and ground black pepper, as desired.

    A pot of chicken chili.
    Diana Rattray
  5. Ladle the chili into bowls and garnish as desired. You can top the chili with sour cream, chopped green onions, cilantro, or shredded cheese if you like. It goes great with cornbread or crackers on the side.

    Chicken chili with red beans.
    Diana Rattray
  6. Enjoy your meal!


  • If you want to pump up the flavor, buy whole cumin seeds. Roast them in a small nonstick skillet until they are lightly browned. Then grind in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. The flavor of freshly ground roasted cumin is many times more complex than that found in the spice rack.
  • Refrigerate the leftovers. The chili will last for up to three to four days in the refrigerator. If you won't finish it in that time, freeze individual servings in airtight containers. It will keep in the freezer for four to six months. To serve, you can simply pop it into the microwave and cook it until it is hot throughout.

Recipe Variation

  • You could use canned white meat chicken for this chili rather than cooking the diced chicken breasts. The difference will be that the canned chicken doesn't hold together in chunks, so you will have bits of chicken throughout the chili. Some people prefer it that way while others don't. Substitute three 5-ounce cans of canned chicken for the chicken breasts and eliminate the step where you cook the chicken in oil. Simply add it at the last step and continue to cook until the chili is hot.