This Chipotle Chicken Chili is one of our family’s favorite chilis, for sure, but this one? It’s going to come with a disclaimer. A warning! This is a serious, grown-up’s chili. That being said, everyone in my family loves it – both for its unbeatable flavor and its heat!
This is the Chili you want to serve to score points on game day or at the ski condo or on the snowmobile trip when you’re serving to those you know can man up and take it, even if they’re maybe not men. I am saying that a bit tongue in cheek. I’m a Grandma six times over and I love this chili!
About Chipotle Chicken Chili:
Seriously, this Chipotle Chicken Chili isn’t going to kill you but unless you have kids like mine that grew up eating all kinds of spicy food, you probably want to keep this for adult parties and get-togethers. (I do give you options for a range of heat from hot to hotter in the recipe, below, and I give you photos and links to a few of our other fave chili recipes, below, too, if you think this one won’t suit.)
Chipotle Chicken Chili is a bit different from other White Chicken Chilis out there – this Chipotle Chicken Chili is a deeply rich, earthy, spicy chili that just happens to have white beans and chicken. And it has a lot more than heat, it has an incredibly complex flavor that tastes like it was slowly simmered for hours. And that’s achieved in about 40 minutes.
I adapted this recipe from a recipe by Lucinda Scala Quinn of Mad Hungry (I loved that show!) that she called Hearty Chicken Chili. I made quite a few changes. But I do like to give credit where credit is due! Thanks, Lucinda!
- First of all, I fabulously “frugalized” it so you can have it on your table at a reasonable cost.
- Then I streamlined the recipe and instructions just to make it more doable.
One thing I regret not doing? Lucinda served her chili with darling little toasted cornbread “croutons.” That’s an idea I plan to steal and use often!!
Let’s Talk about that Heat:
First of all, let’s talk about the heat. If you decide to reduce the heat level, start by lowering the amounts of the different chiles rather than eliminating any of the three chiles in the recipe, the chipotle, jalapeno, and chili powder.
Together, these chiles give such a wide range of flavor and depth to the chili that would be missing otherwise. Each makes its own contribution.
Making Chipotle Chicken Chili:
Next, you’re probably gonna want to double the recipe. I always do, and sometimes make a LOT more! This recipe as written makes a little over six cups, which is a bowl for four people, about a cup and a half each. That’s not going to go far in my family and def isn’t enough for a party!
Besides, this is so good, I can’t bear the thought of no leftovers. Almost any slow-cooking “stew-like” recipe usually tastes better the next day and this Chili is no exception. This is a great candidate for making a larger batch, dividing, and freezing for a later meal, too. It freezes beautifully.
I want to stress there is one area of the recipe that is going to require some care. Watch the heat on your pan as you’re searing the chicken; too hot and you’ll burn all the fond (the lovely little browned bits on the bottom of the pan) and that gives so much flavor to the Chipotle Chicken Chili.
Watch the spices, too, as you toss them into the heat of the skillet to toast. That wakes up the flavors of spices, but be ready to add in the rest of the ingredients as soon as those spices become fragrant. If they cook too hot or too long, they’ll burn but adding in the other ingredients will lower that temperature in a heartbeat.
Our Other Favorite Chicken Chili Recipes:
I have a few different Chicken Chili recipes here on my site and of course, Beef Chilis, too. They all have their place and all serve their purpose. You might want to check out my Barbecue Chicken Chili, Easy White Chicken Chili, Creamy White Chicken Chili.or this fabulous White Chicken Chili (that last is a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot recipe,) And, actually, they’re all fabulous, but then I might be biased, lol!
Storing and Reheating the Chili:
When storing a heavy, dense dish like this, add it to the fridge after it has cooled jand don’t cover it or only cover it very loosely until it is chilled. It will cool down faster that way.
As far as reheating, you may need to add a bit of liquid. You won’t be able to judge so much until it has started reheating. You can reheat on the stove or the microwave, but either way, stir often.
This Chipotle Chicken Chili freezes well. Thaw overnight in the fridge or microwave on defrost before reheating.
Saving Money on Ingredients:
- This Chili can easily be stretched by adding another can or more beans and maybe just a bit more broth. The lowly bean is one of the healthiest foods you can eat – eating beans regularly basically eliminates the issues so commonly known.
- While canned beans won’t break the bank, dried beans are even less inexpensive. If you’re willing to invest the time, it’s easy to cook beans and divide them into approximately one-and-a-half-cup portions and freeze them. They can be used to replace a standard 15 ounce can. You’ll often find beans on sale, often unadvertised, after any Holiday in which Ham is usually served.
- It really pays to make your own Chicken Stock with bones and scraps, but if you don’t, buy your stock during the glut of sales over the Winter Holidays and around Easter.
- Canned tomatoes go on sale periodically so stock up, and if you’re not too particular about the brand you’ll find better deals. A lot of time you’ll see Catalinas on canned tomatoes; They’re slips that print out at check out giving you money back if you buy so many. Catalinas are often unadvertised. Check your coupon matching site.
- Cans of Chipotle Chilis are often on sale unadvertised, and usually at a low during Cinco de Mayo. Once a can is opened, just put the rest in a Ziploc and freeze. They don’t freeze totally hard and can be chopped right from the frozen state.
- Never pay full price on any chicken; it goes on sale often, usually reaching a low about once a quarter, and freezes well. Know your prices so you know when to stock up.
Chipotle Chicken Chili
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: main dish
- Cuisine: italian
- 1 large can (29 ounces) whole tomatoes, broken up, juice reserved for another use
- 1 jalapeno chile, halved (seeded if desired)
- 2 yellow onions, peeled and halved
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch cubes or equivalent amount of breast
- 2 to 4 tablespoons chili powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
- 1 3/4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 can (15 ounces) white or pinto beans, drained
Drain tomatoes, reserving liquid. Preheat broiler rack three inches from heat source. Arrange jalapeno, onion, and garlic, cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with foil for easy cleanup. Broil until starting to char, about 10 minutes, remove. Chop onion and mince jalapeno and garlic. Set aside.
Add oil to a large, heavy Dutch oven (preferably enamel cast-iron) and place over medium-high heat. Add chicken and allow to sear before stirring, five to six minutes, then remove to a plate. Work in batches if necessary.
Reduce heat to medium and add onion mixture. Cook, stirring now and then until golden brown. Push aside onion mixture and add chili powder and salt, stirring until it is fragrant and begins to darken, about a minute. Stir in chipotle and chicken, raise heat to medium-high and add tomatoes, stirring to loosen darkened bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the stock and cook for about 20 minutes at a simmer. Add beans and simmer until heated through about 10 more minutes.
Serve with desired toppings, and/or cornbread.
Keywords: Bargain Meal of the Week, Beans, canned tomatoes, Chicken, Chicken Breast, Chicken Stock, Chicken Thighs, Chili, Chipotle, Hot Peppers, Jalapeno, Mad Hungry, Soup, Tomatoes, white chicken chili.