Delicious and easy chicken chili recipe is perfect for using up leftover cooked chicken. It's hearty, tasty, and very filling!
Don't you just love making chili in the fall and winter? Whether it's made with chicken or with beef, I find it absolutely delightful. Steaming-hot and well-seasoned, I think it's one of the best ways to keep oneself warm when it's bitter cold outside (not that it ever gets truly bitter cold in California, mind you).
I've been making this chicken chili a lot ever since the weather started cooling off. We all enjoy it very much, especially The Picky Eater (and when she likes something I make it a lot!). It's an excellent way to use up leftover baked chicken breast or broiled chicken breast.
The ingredients you'll need
Here's an overview of what you'll need to make this tasty chili. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below:
Spices: Kosher salt, black pepper, ground cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano, and cayenne pepper. Make sure they are fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
Olive oil: I love cooking with this delicious oil. But if you're unsure about cooking with it, you can use avocado oil instead. It has a higher smoke point.
Aromatics: Onion, garlic, and diced chiles. They add so much flavor!
Chicken broth: I use regular broth here, not reduced-sodium. I think it's more flavorful. But I do try to use a brand with a moderate amount of sodium. Compare labels at the store and decide for yourself.
Heavy cream: Half-and-half might work too, but I haven't tried that, and I do like the richness of heavy cream.
Cooked chicken breast, shredded. You can also use shredded rotisserie chicken - just make sure you remove the skin.
Garnishes: Chopped cilantro, thinly sliced seeded jalapeño, shredded cheese, and sour cream.
How to make chicken chili
It's easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. Cook the aromatics and spices in olive oil.
2. Add chicken broth and simmer to allow the flavors to meld.
3. Stir in the heavy cream and then the chicken.
4. Cook just until heated through. The chicken is already cooked, you don't want to overcook it.
5. Garnish and serve.
How to make it thicker?
By definition, a white chicken chili, made with cooked chicken pieces and no tomatoes, is going to be thinner than traditional chili.
The best way to make it thicker is to add just enough broth to get it to a stew consistency. Don't add too much liquid and then try to reduce it. Especially in this recipe, where the chicken is already cooked. This will just dry the chicken out.
My recipe calls for 4 cups of chicken broth. If you find it's not thick enough to your liking, try using just 3 cups next time.
If you don't mind a little cornstarch, another trick is to whisk 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into the cold heavy cream before you add it to the chili. Make sure to whisk it well.
Can I use shredded rotisserie chicken?
Absolutely! I love using rotisserie chicken in recipes. It makes life so easy. Just make sure to remove the skin. It won't work in a chili recipe in terms of its texture.
How to serve chicken chili
I usually just serve it on its own, in soup bowls. It's hearty, delicious and very filling, so you don't really need to serve it with anything. But if you'd like to serve it with something on the side, here are a few good options:
- Cauliflower rice - you can top the "rice" with the chili
- Cheese biscuits
- Keto cornbread
- Savory cheese muffins
- Homemade pork rinds
What to do with the leftovers?
You can keep most cooked leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days.
When I cook the chicken especially for this recipe, I follow the 3-4 days rule. But when I use cooked and reheated leftover chicken, I prefer not to keep any leftovers, just to be on the safe side.
More chili recipes that you might enjoy
Chili is such a wonderful fall and winter comfort food. I've tried several chili recipes over the years. My no-bean chili recipe is easy and delicious.
But my favorite beef chili is this amazing, hearty pumpkin chili! The addition of pumpkin makes it extra thick and flavorful.
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- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (use less if using fine salt)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- ½ cup shredded cheese (I use Mexican blend)
- ½ cup sour cream
- In a small bowl, mix together the spices. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, the green chilies, and the spice mix. Cook, stirring, 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the heavy cream, then the shredded chicken. Simmer just until heated through, about 5 more minutes.
- Garnish and serve.