That Spicy Chick

Spicy Ground Chicken Chili

Made with ground chicken, two kinds of beans, onion, corn, fire roasted tomatoes and chilies, this Spicy Ground Chicken Chili is EXTRA flavorful with smoky and fiery notes! It feeds a crowd and is meal prep and freezer friendly too. Serve with your favorite toppings and sides like tortilla chips, sour cream, grated cheese, spring onion and coriander for the ultimate chicken chili meal!

Smoky, spicy, full of big and bold flavors, hearty, filling, and nutritious. Yup, that sums up this Spicy Ground Chicken Chili perfectly!

It’s easy to make in one pot and doesn’t require hours of simmering. Yet it is incredibly flavorful thanks to being beautifully spiced. It’s also loaded with protein from ground chicken and beans, high in fiber, and essentially a feel-good healthy meal.

While similar to my Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup and Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup, this ground chicken chili is heartier and thicker in texture.

You can serve it at game day gatherings where it’s guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. Or enjoy it on any given weeknight for a cozy dinner. Leftovers taste even more AMAZING the next day as the flavors intensify over time! 

Don’t forget to top of your bowl with your favorite classic chili toppings like tortilla chips, sour cream, grated cheese, coriander and spring onion or any other toppings you love. The more the merrier I say!

Two bowls with ground chicken chili garnished with cheese, spring onion, and coriander.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Quick and easy. It’s ready in just 40 minutes (inclusive of prep time) and made with mostly canned, pantry and refrigerator ingredients.
  • DELICIOUS and healthy! It’s full of robust tomato and fiery and smoky Mexican flavors. It’s also loaded with protein and fiber from ground chicken, black beans and chili beans.
  • One pot. All you need is one pot so there’s less cleanup post cooking! 
  • Customizable. You can add your choice of beans, more veggies, and make it as spicy or mild as you like.
  • Meal prep and freezer friendly. Make it on a Sunday night and enjoy it throughout the week. Or freeze it in individual portions for up to 3 months and enjoy it at a later date on a busy weeknight!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutes

Labeled ingredients for Spicy Ground Chicken Chili on a wooden board.
  • Veggies: Our base will be made up of red onion, red bell pepper and garlic.
  • Chilies: I’ve used fresh red and green Bird’s Eye chilies for heat and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to add signature smoky and spicy notes. Adjust the quantity of fresh red and green chilies to taste. You can also use a one or two jalapeños instead and deseed it for a milder flavor if desired. Alternatively, use a small can of diced green chilies and omit the fresh red chilies altogether.
  • Olive Oil: Or use any other mild flavored or neutral cooking oil.
  • Ground Chicken: You’ll need about a pound of ground chicken. You could use lean ground turkey or beef instead. (See ‘Variations’ section below for other protein options.)
  • Fire Roasted Tomatoes: I used two cans with medium green chilies for extra smokiness and heat. You can use regular fire roasted tomatoes without green chilies too or regular canned or boxed diced tomatoes if you prefer less smoky and hot flavors.
  • Beans: I used one can each of black beans (drained and rinsed) and chili beans. The later is made with pinto beans in a zesty tomato sauce with chili pepper, garlic, and onion and you don’t need to drain it. You can swap for two cans of any beans you like though. Kidney, cannellini, great northern beans etc. would all work well. Note that the broth will have a less tomatoey flavor if switching out the chili beans. You can add some tomato puree (tomato sauce) for more tomato flavor if using other beans.
  • Sweet Corn Kernels: Either frozen or fresh works. You could also use canned corn (drained) if you happen to have some on hand that needs to be used up.
  • Double Concentrated Tomato Paste: To enrichen the chili with bold tomato flavors.
  • Water: Or you can use low sodium chicken broth for extra flavor. You may need to use less kosher salt if doing so depending on how salty your broth is.
  • Spices & Seasonings: To season the chili, I’ve used kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, ground cayenne, American-style chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, smoked paprika (either hot or sweet works), ground cumin, dried oregano flakes and garlic powder. Feel free to tweak the amounts to your liking. 
  • To Serve (optional toppings and sides): Feel free to use as much and as many toppings and garnishes you like! Some ideas are corn tortilla chips or original corn Fritos, chopped coriander (cilantro), chopped spring onion (scallion/green onion), finely chopped red onion, diced/sliced avocado, grated/shredded sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream (light/regular) or Greek style yogurt, and lime wedges for squeezing. You could also serve it with a side of steamed brown or white rice for a more hearty and nutritious meal.

Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.

How to Make Spicy Ground Chicken Chili

1. Sauté the veggies and aromatics. Use a large Dutch oven or stockpot and sauté the red onion, bell pepper, garlic and chilies until softened and fragrant.

2. Cook the ground chicken. Add the chicken and season with a little kosher salt. Cook for a few minutes, breaking the clumps with your spatula, until just cooked.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer. Stir in the canned fire roasted tomatoes, chili and black beans, corn, tomato paste, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, water, and all of the seasonings and spices. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until reduced and slightly thickened.

4. Adjust seasonings. Uncover and give everything a good stir. Taste and adjust seasonings if you feel it’s needed. Continue simmering for a few brief minutes until further thickened and the chili has reached your desired consistency.

Process steps to make ground chicken chili in a Dutch oven.

5. Serve! Ladle evenly into bowls and top with your favorite toppings and garnishes. Serve immediately!

Dutch oven with spicy ground chicken chili with black beans and corn.
Two bowls with ground chicken chili and a bowl with tortilla chips.

Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.

Cook’s Tips

  • Adjust spice level to taste. If you’d like to make this chili milder, use less/omit the ground cayenne and fresh red and green chilies (or use milder fresh chilies). You can deseed the chilies too. Also, use less chili powder and 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.
  • Adjust consistency to your desired thickness. If you prefer a thicker and chunkier chili, you can simmer uncovered for an extra 10-15 minutes after adjusting the seasonings.
  • Prep ahead. As this chicken chili is made mostly with canned or pantry products, you can make it even speedier by prepping the fresh ingredients ahead of time. Chop the onion, bell pepper, garlic and fresh chilies a day in advance and store in airtight sealed containers. Then when you’re ready to cook it’s a simple matter of dumping ingredients into a pot, stirring and simmering before it’s ready and on the table.
  • Meal prep. This chili will last in the fridge for 3-4 days if stored properly in sealed airtight containers. You can enjoy it for lunch or dinner throughout the week. Reheat on high in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until hot throughout then add your favorite toppings and garnishes.
  • Freeze leftovers. This chili freezes beautifully and will stay good in your freezer for up to 3 months. Once cooked and completely cooled, transfer individual portions to freezer friendly sealable bags or containers. To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat either in a small pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat or in a microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until hot throughout.
  • Add cheese. Stir in 1 cup of freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese or 4 ounces (½ of a block) of light or regular cream cheese for a richer, velvety and creamier chili.
Bowl with ground chicken chili garnished with grated cheese, spring onion and coriander.

FAQs

Is ground chicken chili healthy?

Loaded with fiber and protein from beans, feel-good veggies and lean chicken meat, ground chicken chili is a very nutritious and healthy meal. It’s also a hearty and filling meal that will keep you full longer and your energy levels up.

What goes with chicken chili?

Cornbread or cornbread muffins, corn tortillas or tortilla chips, steamed white or brown rice, Mexican rice, sautéed sweet potatoes or sweet potato fries, a grilled cheese sandwich or panini, tater tots, nachos, jalapeño poppers, coleslaw and so much more! You can also serve it over hot dogs or in a sloppy joe, or over spaghetti, fettuccine or tagliatelle pasta if you like.

How to thicken chicken chili?

Use a cornstarch or masa harina slurry to thicken the broth. If using corn starch, mix together 1 tablespoon each of corn starch and cold water to make a slurry. Stir it in after adjusting the seasonings and simmer uncovered for 10-12 minutes until fully thickened. If using masa harina, make a slurry with 2 tablespoons masa harina and ¼ cup cold water. Simmer the chili (covered) for at least 10 minutes. Then uncover and stir it in. Continue simmering until the chili reaches your desired consistency.

Variations

  • Add more veggies. Feel free to add diced carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, celery, more bell pepper to boost the nutritional content and make this spicy ground chicken chili heartier. You will need to use more water/broth and maybe extra seasonings if doing so.
  • Use other ground meat. Ground turkey or beef would taste great! If using ground beef, brown it first in a little oil and remove to a clean bowl or plate using a slotted spoon. Add back into the pot after sautéing the veggies and aromatics and when adding the remaining ingredients.
  • Add beer. Replace 1 cup of water with 1 cup (or a full 330ml can/bottle) of an IPA, lager, or any other beer you love or have on hand. It’ll make the broth extra delicious and add more flavor and texture without making it taste like beer. If using a full can/bottle, simmering time may need to be increased by a few minutes.
  • Make it gluten-free. This chili recipe is gluten-free as written. If adding beer, make sure to use a gluten-free beer.
  • Use leftover shredded chicken. If you happen to have cooked leftover shredded chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken on hand, you can use it instead of the ground chicken. You’ll need about 2.5 cups of shredded chicken. Add it into the pot after simmering the chili for 10 minutes.
Ladle scooping up chicken chili from a pot and bowl with chili. Text overlay "Spicy Ground Chicken Chili", "Easy | One-Pot | Gluten-free" and "thatspicychick.com".

More Favorite Mexican and Mexican-inspired Soups


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Print

Spicy Ground Chicken Chili

Bowl with ground chicken chili garnished with grated cheese, spring onion and coriander.

Made with ground chicken, beans, onion, corn, fire roasted tomatoes and chilies, this Spicy Ground Chicken Chili is EXTRA flavorful with smoky and fiery notes! It’s a meal prep and freezer meal winner and so cozy and nutritious!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Mexican-inspired

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 medium Red Onion (or white onion) – diced
  • 6 Garlic cloves – minced
  • 212 fresh Red Chilies (Thai Bird’s Eye or any small hot red chilies – note 1), to taste – finely chopped
  • 14 fresh Green Chilies (Thai Bird’s Eye or a Jalapeño – deseeded if desired – note 1), to taste – finely chopped
  • 8 ounces (1 medium) Red Bell Pepper – cored, deseeded, diced
  • 2 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (plus 1.52 TBLS Adobo Sauce – note 1) – deseeded for less heat if desired – chopped
  • 2 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 480 grams / 1 pound Ground Chicken
  • 1 (411 grams / 14 ounce) can diced or crushed Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Medium Green Chilies
  • 1 (425 grams / 14 ounce) can Chili Beans (note 2)
  • 1 (425 grams / 15 ounce) can Black Beans – drained, rinsed
  • 1 cup Sweet Corn Kernels (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 TBLS Double Concentrated Tomato Paste
  • 2 cups / 473ml Water (or low sodium chicken broth)
  • 2.5 TSP Kosher Salt (use half the amount if using iodized table salt), to taste
  • 1.5 TSP freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1 TSP ground Cayenne, to taste
  • 1 TSP American-style Chili Powder, to taste
  • ½ TSP Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1.5 TSP Smoked Paprika (hot or sweet)
  • 2 TSP ground Cumin
  • 1.5 TSP dried Oregano Flakes
  • ½ TSP Garlic Powder
  • To Serve (optional toppings/sides): Corn tortilla chips (or Fritos), steamed brown or white rice, chopped coriander (cilantro), chopped spring onion (scallion/green onion), finely chopped red onion, diced/sliced avocado, grated/shredded sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream (light/regular), lime wedges for squeezing, sliced black olives, etc.

Instructions

  1. Prepare the ingredients: Chop the red onion, garlic, fresh red and green chilies, red bell pepper and chipotle pepper in adobo sauce as indicated in the ‘ingredients’ section. Drain and rinse the canned black beans.
  2. Sauté the veggies and aromatics: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the red onion and red bell pepper and sauté for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and fresh red and green chilies and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Cook the ground chicken: Add the ground chicken and season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes, breaking the clumps with your spatula, until just cooked.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients: Add the canned fire roasted tomatoes, chili beans, black beans, sweet corn kernels, double concentrated tomato paste, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce, water, remaining 2 teaspoons kosher salt, black pepper, ground cayenne, chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, ground cumin, dried oregano flakes, and garlic powder. Stir well to combine and allow to reach to a simmer.
  5. Simmer: Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until reduced and slightly thickened – about 20-25 minutes.
  6. Adjust seasonings: Uncover and stir. Taste and adjust kosher salt and black pepper and add more cumin or other seasonings if needed. Continue simmering for 3-5 minutes until further thickened and your desired consistency is reached.
  7. To Serve: Ladle evenly into bowls. Top with your desired toppings and garnishes and serve immediately with your choice of sides.

Notes

  1. Chilies: Adjust the quantity of fresh red and green chilies to taste and use 1 chipotle pepper (deseeded) and adobo sauce for less heat. You can also use a one or two jalapeños instead of fresh red and green chilies and remove the seeds for a milder chili if desired. Alternatively, use a small can of diced green chilies and omit the fresh red chilies altogether. USe less or more ground cayenne and chili powder based on your heat level preference.
  2. Canned Chili Beans: The can I used is made with pinto beans in a zesty tomato sauce with chili pepper, garlic, and onion and you don’t need to drain it. You can swap the black beans and chili beans for two cans of any beans you like though. Kidney, cannellini, great northern beans etc. would all work well. Note that the broth will have a less tomatoey flavor if switching out the chili beans. You can add 200ml /about ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon tomato puree (tomato sauce) for more tomato flavor if using other beans.
  3. How to thicken the broth? Use a cornstarch or masa harina slurry to thicken the broth. If using corn starch, mix together 1 tablespoon each of corn starch and cold water to make a slurry. Stir it in after adjusting the seasonings and simmer uncovered for 10-12 minutes until fully thickened. If using masa harina, make a slurry with 2 tablespoons masa harina and ¼ cup cold water. Stir it in after simmering for at least 10 minutes while covered, then uncover and continue simmering until the chili reaches your desired consistency.
  4. What to serve with it (sides)? Cornbread or cornbread muffins, corn tortillas or tortilla chips, steamed white or brown rice, Mexican rice, sautéed sweet potatoes or sweet potato fries, a grilled cheese sandwich or panini, tater tots, nachos, jalapeño poppers, coleslaw are some great sides for chili. You can also serve it over hot dogs or in a sloppy joe, or over spaghetti, fettuccine or tagliatelle pasta if you like.
  5. Prep ahead. As this chicken chili is made mostly with canned or pantry products, you can make it even speedier by prepping the fresh ingredients ahead of time. Chop the onion, bell pepper, garlic and fresh chilies a day in advance and store in airtight sealed containers in the fridge. Then when you’re ready to cook it’s a simple matter of dumping ingredients into a pot, stirring and simmering before it’s on the table!
  6. Storing and meal prep. This chili will last in the fridge for 3-5 days if stored properly in sealed airtight containers. You can enjoy it for lunch or dinner throughout the week. Reheat on high in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until hot throughout then add your favorite toppings and garnishes.
  7. Freezing leftovers. Once cooked and completely cooled, transfer individual portions to freezer friendly sealable bags or containers and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat either in a small pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat or in a microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until hot throughout.
  8. Nutritional information. Nutritional information for optional toppings, garnishes and sides have not been accounted for as it will vary based on what and how much will be used for each serving.
  9. See the ‘Variations’ section in the post above if you’d like to customize this ground chicken chili.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 423
  • Sugar: 12.9g
  • Sodium: 1441.9mg
  • Fat: 13.1g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.7g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8.6g
  • Trans Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 50.4g
  • Fiber: 15.1g
  • Protein: 25.7g
  • Cholesterol: 68.8mg

Keywords: ground chicken chili recipe, chicken chili with ground chicken, easy ground chicken chili recipe

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