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)
341 Calories
13g Fat
20g Carbs
38g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 341
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 106mg 35%
Sodium 349mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 38g
Vitamin C 88mg 439%
Calcium 84mg 6%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 957mg 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 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 chopped onion

  • 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 diced tomatoes

  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

  • 1 (4-ounce) can mild green chili peppers, chopped

  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock

  • 1 teaspoon sugar, optional

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

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

  4. Add 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 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.

    A pot of chicken chili.
    Diana Rattray
  5. Add chicken back to pot and continue cooking for 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and add kosher salt and ground black pepper, as desired.

  6. Ladle chili into bowls and garnish as desired. You can top chili with sour cream, chopped green onions, cilantro, or shredded cheese. It also goes well with cornbread or crackers on the side.

    Chicken chili with red beans.
    Diana Rattray


  • 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.