Red Chicken Chili

the chili in a bowl with toppings.

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5 from 1 review

This warm and cozy chicken chili is a quick-cooking chili that’s ready in about an hour. The chicken is kept whole while it simmers, making it juicy and tender. Add your favorite toppings for a delicious dinner.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (stem, seeds, and ribs removed)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime 

Optional Toppings

  • Crushed Fritos
  • Shredded cheese like cheddar or pepper jack
  • Chopped cilantro


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan (or pot) over medium-high heat. While it heats, pound the chicken breasts with a meat mallot so they are of equal thickness (a good to four to five whacks on each piece is good). Season the chicken breasts with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  2. Brown the chicken in the pan on both sides, about five minutes or so on each side. You aren’t cooking them through at this point, just getting a light golden crust. Once browned, remove them from the pan and set them aside. 
  3. Lower the heat to medium and cook the onions, bell peppers, and jalapeno in the oil for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the black pepper. Stir to coat the veggies evenly in the spices.
  4. Add about 1/4 cup of the chicken stock and as it simmers, scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the rest of the stock, the tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes. Give it a stir, and then place the whole chicken breasts into the liquid so they are completely covered.
  5. Turn the heat to medium-high and cover the pan with a lid. When the chili boils, lower the heat to medium and simmer it with the lid on for ten minutes.
  6. Take the lid off and remove the chicken breasts, and set them aside. Stir the chili and adjust the heat, so it maintains a strong simmer. It should be bubbling but not violently. While it simmers, cut the chicken into pieces approximately 1-inch big.
  7. Simmer the chili for 10 to 15 minutes or until it’s thickened. Add the chicken back in and simmer it for five minutes longer. Add the cilantro and lime juice, stir and garnish each serving with toppings, if using.


I think this chili tastes even better the next day, so it’s great for making ahead for easy dinners and lunches. It will keep well for three to four days in the fridge or you can freeze it, too.