My Best Chicken Chili

Chicken Chili with Red Beans Recipe

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I reserve superlatives in recipe names only for dishes that I consider to truly be the best or my most favorite. In fact, I think I only have three recipe titles that include “favorite” or “best.” These recipes are My Favorite Salad Recipe, My Favorite Pork Tenderloin Recipe, and my Best Turkey Gravy Recipe. My best chicken chili with red beans recipe is earning its spot as number four in superlative-having recipe titles.

Something magical happens in this chicken chili with red beans. It’s well-spiced, loaded with flavor, and tastes even better the next day.

Chicken Chili Recipe

How to make this chicken chili with red beans recipe

I have plenty of chicken chili recipes on the site, but this one just hit differently. There’s something about the spices, the sweet potatoes, the kidney beans. Everything comes together so harmoniously with a bold flavor profile. For me, chili is always a tasty vessel for toppings, and this recipe works perfectly with any of your favorite toppings. I opted for cheese, avocado, radishes, cilantro, and sliced jalapeño. Finishing with lime juice is non-negotiable, in my opinion. The sweet, acidic finish works really nicely with the chili, so don’t skip it!

What you need

  • Chicken: I use diced, boneless, skinless chicken thighs. These hold up well to a longer cooking time and have lots of flavor. If you want a shortcut, use shredded rotisserie chicken.
  • Spices: You need a lot of them! That said, mix and match. In reality, if you use the premade chili powder mix, it will have most of what you need. I just like to amp up a few of the other flavors. In addition to chili powder, I use garlic powder, ground cumin, onion powder, and cayenne powder.
  • Aromatics: I use onion, minced garlic, and jalapeño as the base of the chili.
  • Red beans: I use kidney beans, but small red beans work too. You can also use black beans or white beans like cannellini if you prefer.
  • Other goodies: I add diced sweet potatoes and canned green chilies to this. The sweet potatoes add a welcome, well, sweetness. I’ve used both Korean sweet potatoes and garnet sweet potatoes, but use whatever you like and have available.
  • Diced or crushed tomatoes: I have made this with diced and crushed tomatoes; both work just fine! I love fire-roasted tomatoes in this, but regular tomatoes work, too.
  • Chicken broth: If you don’t have store-bought chicken broth, use water, but you may need to add a little extra salt to the chili.
marinate chicken

How to make it

  • Step 1: Marinate the chicken. Season the chicken with the spices and add a little neutral oil. Marinate it overnight or for just thirty minutes. If you’re marinating it for thirty minutes, use that time to prep all of the ingredients for your chili.
  • Step 2: Brown the chicken. Cook the chicken in two batches. Your chicken is very well-spiced, so you’ll build up a thick layer of spice fond on the bottom of the pot. If ever the pot seems dry, just add a little extra oil. It does NOT need to be cooked through at this stage. You only need to brown the chicken briefly to crisp up the edges.
  • Step 3: Make the chili. Remove all the chicken from the pot and begin layering the chili ingredients. Start with the onion, then add the garlic, jalapeño, and a few extra spices. Add the red beans and diced green chilis. Lastly, finish with the beans, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.
Easy Chicken and Red Bean Chili
  • Step 4: Simmer the chili: Add the chicken broth and the browned chicken to the pot. Bring the chili to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Leave the cover off to allow the liquid to reduce and the chili to thicken. I like to mash a few of the sweet potatoes once they become soft for an even thicker chili.
  • Step 5: Serve it up! The best part is ladling the chili into bowls and garnishing to your heart’s content! Add everything you like, such as avocado, sour cream, radishes, lime wedges, minced scallions, jalapeño, cheese…all the things!
My Best Chicken Chili

I hope you loved this recipe as much as I did! If you make it, be sure to drop a comment below to let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.

My Best Chicken Chili

My Best Chicken Chili

Something magical happens in this chicken chili with red beans. It's well-spiced, loaded with flavor, and tastes even better the next day.
5 from 3 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Inactive time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 300kcal





For serving, optional:

  • Diced avocado, minced scallions, grated cheese, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, minced cilantro, and lime wedges


Marinate the chicken:

  • Combine the cubed chicken, spices, and 2 teaspoons of neutral oil in a bowl. Toss to coat until the chicken is coated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 24 hours.

Brown the chicken:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and arrange it into an even layer. Cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it browns and crisps around the edges. It does not need to be cooked through. Transfer to a bowl. Add the rest of the chicken and cook for 4–5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl.

Make the chili:

  • Add 1 tablespoon of neutral oil to the pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the jalapeño, minced garlic, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne powder. Cook for 1 minute. Season lightly with salt.
  • Add the kidney beans, green chilies, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and chicken broth. Add the chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference. Mash a few of the sweet potatoes as they soften to help thicken the chili. Remove from heat.

Prepare the garnishes:

  • As the chili finishes simmering, prepare whatever garnishes you like and arrange them on a platter.

To serve:

  • Serve the chili at the table alongside the platter of garnishes. Spoon the chili into bowls, allowing guests to garnish as they like. Enjoy!


Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 639mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin C: 34mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @triedandtruerecipes or tag #triedandtruerecipes so I can feature you in my feed!


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