Chicken Chili


March 6, 2013 by Jason Rice MD

This is another new recipe for me. After the success of the chicken stew, I wanted to try another chicken dish in the slow cooker. I also wanted to make a milder, more kid-friendly batch of chili. Thus, this chicken chili was born. Just like my beef chili, this recipe does not follow the rules of traditional chili and does not fit into any of the regional chili categories. It has chili powder and meat in it. It’s a consistency somewhere between a soup and stew. And, well, that’s pretty much my definition of chili, so that’s what I’m calling it.

In addition to dialing back the spice for this recipe, I also increased the vegetable content by adding two zucchinis. They looked good this week at the grocery store, so I picked up a few extras, and I figured they would go well in this dish. They picked up a lot of flavor and add a nice veggie freshness to the chili. If you want it spicier, you can add some hot sauce, jalapenos, serranos or just double the chili powder. I will say that this batch was mild enough that our 15-month-old was able to eat it with us without any trouble, though. So, here we go…


  • 2+ lbs of chicken (I used a mix of breasts and thighs)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cubanelle peppers
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, no salt added if available
  • 2 cans of steamed white and/or yellow sweet corn (NOT creamed corn)
  • 1 large can (27 oz) of pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1-2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3-4 shakes of worchestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

photo 1


First, cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces. When cutting up the thighs, remove the skin in one piece and set aside to use later to flavor the chili. Discard any bones or cartilage. Add the butchered meat to your slow cooker.

Next, you will want to chop your fresh vegetables. I chop mine into chunks no larger than about a half inch, which makes them fit comfortably on a spoon when you’re eating your chili.

photo 2

I always like to use two different onions for chili – I think a red and a yellow have a nice balance of flavors, but I’ve used sweet onions in the past as well.

photo 3

Peel the zucchinis first. Then, I find it easiest to cut them into sticks and make cubes from the sticks.

photo 4

Cubanelle peppers have a great peppery flavor without adding heat. If you can’t find them, poblano or bell peppers make a reasonable substitute.

Once you have all your meat and fresh produce in the slow cooker, it’s time to get all the canned goods and spices into the mix. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and give everything a quick stir. It’s easier to stir the chili when there’s less in the slow cooker, and this helps get everything wet and easier to work with. Next, add the diced tomatoes (along with the tomato juice in the can). Drain the corn, but don’t rinse it, and add this as well. Finally, rinse the pinto beans thoroughly and add them to chili.

photo 1

Add the minced garlic and the dry spices. Add a little salt and pepper if you’d like, as well.

photo 2

Add a few shakes of worchestershire sauce (it wouldn’t be Eats For All Ages without it, right?) and give the whole mix one last stir. Last, place the skins from the thighs over the top. You will discard them at the end, but there’s a lot of great chicken flavor in there that will cook out into the chili.

photo 3

Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hours undisturbed. When the chili is done, pull out the chicken skins and throw them away.

photo 1

Serve with a little grated monterey jack, or the cheese of your choice, and enjoy!

photo 2


2 thoughts on “Chicken Chili

  1. Vinny Grette says:

    Looks really good! I just posted about turkey chili 🙂

    • Thanks! This recipe was originally going to be made with turkey as well, but chicken was on sale, so I made a last minute switch. Your turkey chili looks great, too – I really like the roasted broccoli nest!

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