Easy Ground Chicken Chili

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Make this Easy Ground Chicken Chili with ground chicken and just a handful of pantry staples! It comes together quickly in under 30 minutes for a comfort food meal that the whole family will love. It’s hearty, delicious, and most importantly, provides a warm and satisfying meal on busy weeknights. You can even double the batch for an easy meal prep dinner in the future!

A bowl of ground chicken chili in a bowl garnished with sour cream.

I don’t know about you, but when the cooler months come around, I crave meals that effortlessly blend flavor and simplicity. This easy ground chicken chili recipe is the perfect solution, offering a delicious escape from traditional chili with a secret ingredient!! And the best part is – it’s simpler and quicker than you think!

This easy weeknight meal comes together easily so you can enjoy your evening without spending hours in the kitchen. With just a handful of pantry staples and fresh ingredients, you will sit down to a dinner that leaves you more time to unwind. Pile on your favorite chili toppings and if you really want to kick it up a notch, try this amazing (but easy) DIY chili bar.

So grab a large pot, and let’s make the most delicious, comforting chili recipe bursting with flavor. The hardest part is waiting for it to gently simmer as the mouthwatering aroma fills your home!

What you’ll love about this recipe:


  • MINIMAL INGREDIENTS – Made with just a handful of readily available ingredients that you can find in your local grocery store.
  • FAMILY-FRIENDLY COMFORT FOOD – The cold weather is beckoning a hearty bowl of chili – this one has all the bold flavors but is totally kid-friendly.
  • MEAL PREP FAVORITE – It’s so easy to scale this recipe and make a larger batch to cozy up to later.
  • SO EASY – This is basically a dump-and-go recipe! It comes together in no time!

RECIPE INGREDIENTS

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this Easy Ground Chicken Chili:

Ingredients needed to make ground chicken chili.

INGREDIENT NOTES

Ground chicken: The main source of the chili. Use ground chicken breast for a lean and tender texture but any ground chicken will work.

Beans: Feel free to mix and match your canned beans however you like. You can use black beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans. Drain and rinse two cans of beans.

Salsa: This is the secret ingredient that takes chili from good to great. Use your favorite jarred salsa, either from the store shelf or the deli section! I use Trader Joe’s Pepita Salsa in this dish, and it’s BOMB!

HOW TO MAKE GROUND CHICKEN CHILI: STEP BY STEP

Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!

Step 1: In a large Dutch oven, pot, or deep skillet over medium heat, add ground chicken and onion. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks.

Ground chicken and onions cooking in a white pan.

Step 2: Season the meat with salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. Then, add beans and salsa.

Remaining ingredients such as tomatoes and beans being added to the chicken chili.

Step 3: Stir everything until evenly combined. Turn the stove down to medium-low heat and simmer chili for 20-30 minutes. Taste test and add more salt or seasonings if necessary. Serve with your favorite chili toppings.

Ground chicken chili in a white pot simmering with a wooden spoon.

RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS

  • Slow cooker chili. Cook the onion and chicken first, then add all ingredients to a crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.

  • Break up the meat. Use a potato masher to break up the ground chicken if you want fine pieces of meat.

  • Don’t drain the grease. When cooking the ground chicken, don’t drain the excess fat that’s rendered. That adds incredible flavor to the chili.

  • Balance seasonings. Taste the chili as it simmers, and adjust the seasonings as needed. Sometimes, a touch more salt or even a dash of lime juice can make all the difference.

  • Make ahead. Chili always seems to taste better the next day. Prepare it ahead of time and let the flavors blend overnight in the refrigerator. I like making a batch on Sunday for easy lunches all week!

Confidence Tip

You can play around with the thickness of the chili by adding a splash of chicken stock if you like a thinner-type chili. For thick, hearty chili, let it simmer a bit longer! Make it your way!

STORAGE & REHEATING

  • Storage: Store leftover chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

  • Reheating: To reheat, transfer chili to a small saucepan or stock pot and warm over medium-high heat on the stovetop until heated through. Stir regularly to ensure even heating and avoid scorching on the bottom of the pot. If you find the chili is a little too thick, add a splash of water or low-sodium chicken broth to thin it out and give a good stir.

  • Freezing: Freeze in a large gallon-size ziplock bag for up to 3 months, squeezing as much air as possible before sealing. Freeze flat to conserve freezer storage space. You can also divide the chili into individual serving-size portions using airtight containers or freezer-safe Ziploc bags.

    When ready to enjoy the chili again, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or defrost it in the microwave—reheat as instructed above.

Additions & Substitutions

ADDITIONS:

  • Convert to a soup: Add chicken stock to the chili to thin it out slightly.
  • Add veggies: Consider adding fresh vegetables like red bell pepper, minced garlic cloves, or green onions. Sweet corn, fire-roasted tomatoes, and green chilies also make delicious additions.
  • Favorite toppings: Top this chili with all your favorites, like a dollop of sour cream, cheddar cheese, crushed tortilla chips, sliced jalapenos, cilantro, and diced onions.

SUBSTITUTIONS:

  • Use leftover chicken: Swap out the ground chicken with rotisserie chicken or any leftover chicken breasts or thighs. Shred the chicken meat and add to the pot to simmer.
  • Sub with any ground meat: You can use ground turkey, ground beef, or pork in place of ground chicken.
  • Green chicken chili: Use white beans and salsa verde to make the best white chicken chili.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Can I make this ground chicken chili ahead of time?

Absolutely! This is a great recipe to meal prep and make in advance as it allows the flavors to meld together, making it more flavorful.

You can make this up to one week in advance and keep it in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy. You can also freeze for up to three months.

How can I scale the recipe?

You can double or halve the recipe by adjusting the quantities of the ingredients to suit your needs. Just make sure to adjust cooking times as well. This is a great recipe to double the batch and freeze half for later or deliver to a friend.

Can I make this chili in the pressure cooker? What about the crockpot?

Yes! To make Instant Pot chicken chili, saute onion and chicken in the inner pot for a few minutes, then press cancel. Add the remaining ingredients and close the lid, setting the safety valve to sealing. Select manual and change the cook time to 10 minutes, followed by a natural release of pressure.

This is an easy crockpot recipe, too. Cook the onion and chicken first, then add all ingredients to a crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.

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A bowl of ground chicken chili in a white bowl garnished with sour cream and jalapeno slices.

I hope you love this Ground Chicken Chili! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

easy ground chicken chili close up with jalapeno slices on top

Easy Ground Chicken Chili

Casey Rooney
Make this Easy Ground Chicken Chili with ground chicken and just a handful of pantry staples! It comes together quickly in under 30 minutes for a comfort food meal that the whole family will love.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 292 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 cup sweet onion, diced about 1 small onion
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1-2 15oz. cans of beans (drained and rinsed) red kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans are my favorite
  • 2 cups salsa use your favorite jarred or fresh salsa (See Note 1)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder

Instructions
 

  • Cook: In a large pot or deep skillet over medium heat, add ground chicken and onion. Cook 5-7 minutes until chicken is no longer pink. Break up the meat with a spoon as it cooks (Pro Tip: Use a potato masher if you want your meat to be broken up nice and fine!)
    Note: No need to drain any liquid that comes from the ground chicken.
  • Add: Season the meat with salt, pepper, cumin, chili power and garlic powder. Then, add beans (drain two cans) and salsa. Stir until everything is well-mixed.
    Optional: This is a nice, thick chili. If you prefer it a bit thinner, add 1/2 cup of chicken broth or stock. I like my chili super thick but adjust to your preference!!
  • Simmer: Turn the stove down medium-low and simmer chili for 20-30 minutes. Taste–add more salt/seasonings if necessary then serve with your favorite chili toppings and this Sweet Cornbread!

Notes

Note 1: I use Trader Joe’s Pepita Salsa in this dish, and it’s BOMB!
Crockpot Instructions: Cook the onion and chicken first (Step 1), then add all ingredients to a crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.
Instant Pot Directions: To make this dish in the Instant Pot, using the saute function, cook onion and chicken in the inner pot for a few minutes, then press cancel. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, and close the lid, setting the safety valve to sealing. Select manual and change the cook time to 10 minutes, followed by a natural release of pressure. 
 
Nutrition is only an estimate based on the Very Well Fit Nutrition Calculator

Nutrition

Calories: 292kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 31gFat: 6.6gSaturated Fat: 1.7gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 1238mgPotassium: 841mgFiber: 9.3gSugar: 6.2gCalcium: 82mgIron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wow, I have honestly never thought to switch out beef for ground chicken!! Brilliant! Can’t wait to try this.

  2. 5 stars
    This chili looks so hearty, comforting and terrific. Love that it uses ground chicken and that it’s so easy to make. Looking forward to trying this out.

  3. 5 stars
    Wow, this Easy Ground Chicken Chili recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are so rich and comforting, it’s like a warm hug in a bowl. You’ve nailed the balance between simplicity and taste, making it perfect for weeknight dinners.