This quick chicken chili is easy and healthy and made with boneless chicken, plenty of spice, cannellini beans, and green chiles. It’s exactly what you want when you crave something that’s satiating as heck but fast as can be.
This quick chicken chili recipe is, true to its title, quick to toss together. It’s on the table in just 35 minutes. It’s also easy and healthy. But that’s not the real reason you and your family will crave it week after week. One taste and you’ll understand. [Editor’s Note: While this has all the heat of a nice chili, it’s actually more like a soup than a stick-to-your-ribs chili. No complaints here.]–Angie Zoobkoff
Quick Chicken Chili
- 1 tablespoon mild olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Generous 1/2 cup thinly sliced or chopped onion
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
- Two (14- or 15-ounce) cans no-salt-added cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- Two (4.5-ounce) cans chopped green chiles undrained
- 2 3/4 cups canned chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves for garnish
- 1 lime cut into 8 wedges, for garnish
- Heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Add the chicken to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 4 minutes.
- Add the onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add 1 can of drained beans, 1 can of chiles along with the liquid, the chicken broth or stock, and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil.
- In a small bowl using a fork or potato masher, mash the remaining can of drained beans with the remaining can of chiles. Stir this mash into the chili and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with the cilantro leaves and lime wedges.
☞TESTER TIP: If you have an immersion or handheld blender, you can use it here by instead simply dumping the entire can of drained beans into the soup and blitzing until the soup is the desired consistency.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I enjoyed this quick chicken chili as a very fast weeknight meal. It took just over 30 minutes from start to finish, which is usually just about the amount of time that I want to cook after work.
The lime was essential to the finished taste of this chili. I tasted it both before adding the lime and after. This wasn’t very spicy to me. I would probably add fresh jalapeños with a few seeds next time to bump up the heat a little. I also think that while it’s delicious as-is, this could be good with a little chopped poblano or green pepper added with the onions to up the vegetable content. I served the chili with sliced Cheddar beer bread. Yum.
This quick chicken chili was good but I would have liked a bit more spice in the soup. Granted, that depends on a person’s preferences.
I also think the chili was a bit soupy. I enjoy my chilis to be very hearty and cohesive rather than broth and chunks of items.
Overall, though, I thought it was a successful and delicious recipe. I used chicken breasts which worked great to get those nice chunks of meat and paired very well with the beans in the recipe. I thought the half cup of onion was a bit low so I served it with more raw onion on the side to add more of that flavor.
Not only was this quick chicken chili super easy to make, this lean soup was much more flavorful than I had imagined! And it was great to have a weeknight dinner on the table in no time at all (“quick” and “weeknight” are the key words here).
While the chicken sautéed, I cut the onion and garlic, and drained the beans; while the onion was cooking, I mashed the beans and chiles with a fork; and when the chili was simmering I chopped the cilantro and sliced the lime.
Chicken chili is one my favorite winter meals and this recipe is a very good white chili with Mexican flavors.
Some would say that, as written, it seems more like a soup. I used boneless chicken breasts and it was good but I can’t help but think would be even better with thighs as it’s hard to dry them out. My preference is for a thicker chili so next time I’ll experiment a bit with reducing the water or adding even more mashed beans in order to thicken the dish. Mashing beans is a technique that I’ve never come across in chili recipes and I think it’s a perfect technique to add some body to chili.
I would also consider doubling this recipe next time. (Yes, it comes together quickly, but I always like to have some chili in the freezer.) I used Hatch chiles. I left out the cilantro as I am not a fan.
Say chili to me and I expect a dish more resembling a stew than a soup. This recipe produces a soup but it’s a good soup with a strong chili flavor.
Most of the actual hands-on work with the recipe was done while earlier parts of the recipe were cooking. After tasting the finished recipe as written it was hot throughout but I felt it tasted very heavily of canned chiles. It’s not a bad soup at all. I made some adjustments that I liked. I added 1/2 cup white jasmine rice, 1 cup chicken stock, some cracks of black pepper, another pinch of cilantro, and 2 pinches granulated sugar and simmered until the rice was tender. This helped mellow the soup out a little in heat and chile flavor (although still quite prominent) and by the time the rice had finished the chicken and beans were fully tender without being mushy.
I added a touch of sour cream with the lime and cilantro garnishes. Quick and easy and definitely worthy of a weeknight dinner. I think next time, if I keep both cans of chiles, I would use 3 cans of beans and purée half of them.
Originally published February 06, 2021