Hearty Chicken Chili- plated chili bowl

Warm up with a comforting bowl of hearty chicken chili on a cold, rainy, or snowy day.  

This warm and hearty chicken chili is made with fresh tomatillos to give it that southwestern taste found in salsa verde. You can find fresh tomatillos in most grocery stores. They look like green tomatoes covered in a papery green husk. Unlike tomatoes, tomatillos have a more acidic and tangy taste which is perfect for this southwestern soup.

You can spice up this hearty chicken chili with a can of diced green chilies, red pepper, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce depending on your desired level of heat.   Although, this recipe is typically made mild.

Recipe Tips:

For the chicken:

Use pre-cooked shredded chicken instead of cubed, boiled-to-death chicken so the soup comes out perfect.  You can make the shredded chicken one of two ways:

  1. If you have an Instant Pot (IP) you can cook them frozen in 15 minutes.  First, want to make sure the breasts are not frozen together to avoid half cooked-half raw chicken.  Place 1 cup of water in the IP and put the trivet in place. Place the chicken breasts on the trivet. Put the lid on and seal the pot.  Set the IP to pressure cook for 15 min. It will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure, 15 min. cooking time, and then 10 minutes to depressurize, so about 30 minutes in all.  Since this is so easy, I usually make more chicken and reserve the rest for another recipe.
  2. For defrosted breasts, place them on a baking sheet in one layer. Drizzle the chicken with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place into an oven preheated to 350 degrees.  Depending on the size or the chicken breasts, it could take 20-35 minutes to reach 165 degrees in the thickest part of the breast.

Once chicken is cooked, move the breasts to a cutting board and shred with 2 forks.  Reserve the chicken for later.

Hearty chicken chili- shredding the chicken

Preparing the tomatillos:

Hearty Chicken Chili- Tomatillos

To prepare the tomatillos, peel their skin off. After they are peeled, give them a quick rinse under warm water to remove the sticky residue left behind.  Then, chop them into chunky pieces.

Hearty Chicken Chili - Diced tomatillos


This recipe complies with the following diets:

  • Paleo– remove the beans & increase chicken amount by 1 breast
  • Vegan/Vegetarian-  No
  • Low FODMAP– no
  • SCD– remove pinto beans, do not use canned beans- prepare navy beans by soaking first according to this soaking method.  If beans don’t agree with you, then omit and add more chicken.
  • Keto- no
  • Gluten free– yes
  • Grain free- yes
  • Dairy free– yes

Nutrition Facts

Per serving* (6 servings/recipe): 290 calories, 3.5g fat, 42g carbohydrate, 13g fiber, 24g protein

*This analysis does not include diced avocado topping

Hearty Chicken Chili

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Category: Main Entree

Yield: 6

Hearty Chicken Chili


  • 1 pound (2 medium) cooked, shredded chicken breasts
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1 lb tomatillos, peeled and chopped
  • 8 cups chicken broth (2, 32 oz cartons)
  • 1 15 ounce can pinto beans*, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can navy beans*, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Optional: diced green chilies, avocado (diced), Cilantro
  • Note: *refer to specific diets for using the beans


  1. Prepare shredded chicken and prepare and chop tomatillos, chop onion, dice garlic
  2. Heat oil on medium-high in large soup pot, add onion and a sprinkle of salt. Cook 3 minutes until translucent.
  3. Add garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add spices (cumin, chili powder, oregan, coriander) to coat, cooking for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add 1 cup of chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Add in chopped tomatillos, beans, and remaining broth. Bring to a boil and reduce and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add in shredded chicken and lime juice, heat for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to season to taste. Serve immediately and optionally top with diced avocado and cilantro.


Optional: to kick up the spice factor, add in a canned of diced green chilies or top with some sliced jalapeno or favorite hot sauce.Per serving* (6 servings/recipe): 290 calories, 3.5 g fat, 42 g carbohydrate, 13 g fiber, 24 g protein *Does not include diced avocado topping


Recipe post contributed by: Courtnay Mecca Nutrition

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