Chicken Chili

chicken chili

The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 1 pot
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
735 Calories
38g Fat
48g Carbs
56g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 735
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 38g 48%
Saturated Fat 19g 94%
Cholesterol 183mg 61%
Sodium 2069mg 90%
Total Carbohydrate 48g 17%
Dietary Fiber 13g 47%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 56g
Vitamin C 45mg 224%
Calcium 424mg 33%
Iron 6mg 33%
Potassium 1048mg 22%
*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.)

Chicken chili is a comforting and filling dish, the perfect dinner for cozy winter nights. Creamy, cheesy, and full of chicken, beans, and corn, this is a hearty chili that will keep bellies filled and warm. The fragrant spices will fill your kitchen, and the flavors of fresh cilantro and lime will make this humble chili an unforgettable dish. A simple salad is a great accompaniment, but if you want a hefty meal, serve it with plenty of cornbread slices, tortilla chips, or steamed rice. Slices of avocado and a dollop of sour cream are also decadent and creamy alternatives to add to your bowl.

Because there are no tomatoes involved in the dish, this is a great option for people who can't eat nightshades. Our recipe is easy to make and will put a bowl of chili on your table in just 40 minutes. It is also a great recipe for making good use of leftover rotisserie chicken or poached chicken breasts. Furthermore, the chile freezes beautifully and can be kept in the fridge for up to three days after making.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 2 teaspoons cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 (7-ounce) can chopped chiles

  • 1 tablespoon flour

  • 1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, cubed

  • 3 cups chicken broth

  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  • 1 (15-ounce) can navy beans

  • 1 cup frozen corn

  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

  • Lime wedges, for garnish

  • Jalapeños, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    chicken chili ingredients
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add the chicken, salt, black pepper, paprika, cumin, and oregano. Cook on medium-high heat until the chicken is browned and cooked to at least 165 F. If you don't have a food thermometer, simply cut a cube of chicken, check that the pink is all gone, and press it down—the juices should be clear. If there's any pink left, cook for 3 to 5 minutes longer.

    chicken cooked in a pot
  3. With the help of a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the pot. Add the onion, garlic, chiles, and flour. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onions have slightly softened.

    onions garlic and chiles in a pot
  4. Add the cubed cream cheese and chicken broth. Whisk to combine. Once the cream cheese has melted and the soup is hot, whisk the shredded cheese in slowly until it is incorporated. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat to develop the flavors.

    chicken chili in a pot
  5. Add the navy beans and corn and cook until they are heated through.

    chicken chili in a pot
  6. Serve in individual bowls with chopped cilantro, lime wedges, and sliced jalapeños. Enjoy!

    chicken chili bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

Recipe Variations

There is no wrong way of making this beautiful chili, so use our recipe as a starting point and adjust it to your liking. Experiment with different types of cheese or additional vegetables, and change it up to suit your taste. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make a spicier chili by adding diced hot green chiles, cayenne pepper, or chili flakes along with the other spices. Start with little amounts of spice, taste, and adjust. If it's too spicy, add a few tablespoons of heavy cream to the mix.
  • Make a dairy-free option by omitting the cream cheese and the Monterey jack cheese. Instead, puree an additional can of beans and add it to the broth to thicken it. Alternatively, you can add vegan cream cheese and shredded cheese.
  • Use your leftover chicken. Simply add the spices with the olive oil and onions instead of the chicken, and add the leftover chicken to the hot soup before the corn and navy beans. 
  • Make the dish gluten-free by using rice flour instead of flour to thicken the chili. Also, read the label of the chicken stock, as many store-bought broths use wheat ingredients as thickeners.