Easy Chicken Chili Stovetop Recipe

Chicken Chili is the ultimate cozy comfort food and a recipe you’ll have on repeat in Fall. Tender shredded chicken simmered in a creamy and hearty base is so inviting, especially topped with cheese that melts into the hot chili. It also reheats well so it’s a great make-ahead recipe for meal prep.

We love Chicken chili and we’ve made every variation from Crockpot Chicken Chili to Instant Pot Chicken Chili which produces the most tender chicken. Whichever is your favorite cooking method, this recipe is a crowd-pleaser.

Chicken chili served with cheese, avocado and tortilla chips

Ingredients for Chicken Chili

  • Chicken – we use 2 large chicken breasts, but you can sub with leftover roast chicken or store bought rotisserie
  • Onion – yellow or sweet onion work great
  • Chicken broth – use any kind of chicken stock or bone broth or make your own with water and bouillon
  • White beans – try any kind of white beans such as cannelloni, Great Northern, or Navy beans (avoid garbanzo beans). Canned is so easy, but you can also use home-cooked beans
  • Corn – drained can of whole kernel corn
  • Rotel tomatoes – use a 10 oz can with the juice
  • Spices – chili powder and cumin make this mildly smoky and spicy.
  • Ranch mix – this is the secret ingredient to add a ton of flavor. Ranch dip or dressing mix packets range from 0.4 oz to 1.5 oz, depending on the brand, but it should be enough powder to make 2 cups of ranch.
  • Cream cheese – regular full-fat will give the chili a creamy consistency
  • Lime juice – squeezing fresh lime adds a zesty twist

Ingredients to make the best chicken chili

How to Make Chicken Chili

  1. Saute onion – heat oil in a dutch oven pot and sautee onion 5 minutes.
  2. Make chili base – add broth, rinsed beans, drained corn, Rotel tomatoes with their juice, chili powder, cumin, salt and the ranch packet.
  3. Add chicken – submerge chicken breasts in liquid, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes until chicken is tender.
  4. Shred chicken – transfer chicken to a plate and shred with forks into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Finish chili – add cream cheese pieces, and lime juice and simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken back to the pot, bring to a simmer and season to taste.

Common Questions

Can I substitute chicken breast?

You can easily substitute with a cooked rotisserie chicken, just shred the chicken and add it to the pot when you would normally add the shredded chicken back into the chili. Chicken tenders would also work well.

Can I make the chili thicker?

If you prefer a thicker chili, you can leave the lid uncovered during the 20 minute cook time to allow more of the steam to escape.

Is Chicken Chili spicy?

This chili is very mild. To make it spicier, you can add more chili powder.

Can I cook this in a crockpot? 

You can slow cook chili, letting it putter away in a crockpot for several hours. We have print-friendly instructions for Slow Cooker Chicken Chili.

Can I make chili in an Instant Pot? 

Lucky for you, we’ve already tested this and posted a tutorial for Instant Pot Chicken Chili. It’s super fast and the chicken becomes super tender.

White chicken chili cooked in a pot on the stovetop

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