My easy Ground Chicken Chili recipe is a comforting, hearty dish that’s also a healthy dinner choice for busy families. It’s a simple recipe that combines juicy ground chicken with a rich combination of spices, fresh vegetables, and beans, simmered together to create a delicious, thick chili recipe.

Ground chicken chili in a bowl, overhead photograph.

Why You’ll Love My Ground Chicken Chili

I’m such a fan of chili, and this easy ground chicken chili recipe is one of my favorites. It’s packed with bold flavors, thanks to the Ro-Tel, chili powder, cumin, and a secret ingredient—cinnamon! This recipe has all the charm of traditional chili, but really has a nice depth of flavor thanks to its unique combination of ingredients.

It’s also super versatile, leaving you room to add additional fresh vegetables (you may need to add a bit more chicken broth if you’re adding more veggies). You can also jazz it up with your favorite chili toppings like cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions, or tortilla chips.

Key Ingredients

Making easy Ground Chicken Chili is doesn’t take long at all. Here’s a list of the key ingredients that make this comforting chili recipe special. Reminder, you can always find a full, printable ingredient list with detailed instructions in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.

Ingredients flat lay
  • Ground Chicken: This is a wonderful, lean alternative to ground beef. Ground chicken is packed with flavor and protein.
  • Chili Powder: The core of most chili recipes, chili powder adds the signature smoky depth-of-flavor and warmth. It’s a blend of ground chili peppers and other spices, which can vary by brand, contributing to the bold flavors in my yummy Ground Chicken Chili.
  • Cumin and Cinnamon: These spices add that something special to the recipe. Cumin brings a nutty, earthy element, and cinnamon in chili brings depth and subtle sweetness, creating a unique flavor profile that sets this healthy chili apart.
  • Ro-tel Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilis: I am a HUGE fan or Ro-tel.  Diced tomatoes and green chilis offer a spicy kick and acidity that brightens the overall taste of the chili.
  • Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes: These tomatoes are charred over a flame before being diced and canned, adding a rich, smoky flavor that enhances the chili’s depth.
  • Beans (Red Kidney and Black Beans): What’s chili without beans? Red kidney beans (dark or light are fine) are a classic, while black beans add a different texture and flavor, making the dish more interesting and filling.
  • Brown Sugar: Just a touch of brown sugar balances the acidity of the tomatoes and the heat of the spices, rounding out the flavor. Adding brown sugar to chili is a game changer.
  • Chicken Broth: Used to deglaze the pot and add moisture, chicken broth also brings savory flavor that further enhances this recipe.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step One: Heat your tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or large Dutch oven. Add the ground meat, diced onions, minced garlic, and diced green bell pepper. Cook until the chicken is fully cooked and no longer pink, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon.

Recipe process photos

Step Two: Stir in the dried oregano, chili powder, ground cumin, and ground cinnamon. Cook for about one minute, just enough to let the spices become fragrant.

Mixing of the ingredients in my ground chicken chili

Step Three: Pour in the chicken broth to deglaze the pot, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom. Then, add the salt, black pepper, your bay leaves, the diced fire-roasted tomatoes, Ro-tel, and tomato sauce. Stir well to combine all the yummy ingredients.

Step Four: Bring the ground chicken chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step Five: Add the red kidney beans (with their liquid), drained and rinsed black beans, and brown sugar. Continue to simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Chili process photos

Step Six: Serve the chili hot in bowls, topped with your choice of shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, diced avocado, and/or fresh cilantro.

completed chicken chili in a pot

Substitutions and Variations

This recipe is super flexible. Here are some of the substitutions and variations you might enjoy!

  • Meat: While ground chicken is the star here, you can easily substitute it with ground turkey or ground beef. You could even use shredded chicken breast!
  • Beans: Feel free to experiment with different types of beans such as pinto beans, cannellini beans, or great northern beans. White beans would be tasty!
  • Vegetables: Add more fresh vegetables like red bell pepper, corn, or carrots for extra nutrition and color. Since this is a thick chili recipe, you may need to add additional chicken broth to accommodate additional vegetables.
  • Spices: Adjust the spices to your liking. Add more chili powder or red pepper flakes for a spicier dish or include a pinch of brown sugar for a subtle sweetness.

Recipe Tips

  • Simmer Slowly: Allow your chili to simmer gently. This slow cooking process helps blend the flavors together.
  • Adjust Thickness: If your chili is looking too thick, you can always add a bit more chicken broth or water. If it’s too thin, let it simmer longer to reduce and thicken.
  • Taste as You Go: Don’t be afraid to taste your chili as it cooks and adjust the seasonings according to your preference. We’re all different. Don’t be afraid to season to taste.
  • Rest the Chili: Chili always tastes better the next day after the flavors have had more time to meld. If you can, make it ahead of time.

How to Store

Ground Chicken Chili tastes even better on day two! This easy chili recipe stores well in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days. It’s also a great freezer chili.

Ground Chicken Chili Freezer Instructions

You can also freeze my cooled, Ground Chicken Chili, in an airtight container for up to 3 months. To serve from frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stove over medium heat until hot.

closeup of ground chicken chili with cheese and cilantro

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this ground chicken chili recipe in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can make Ground Chicken Chili in a slow cooker. Brown the chicken and vegetables as directed, then transfer them to the slow cooker with the remaining ingredients. Slow cook in your Crock Pot on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

How can I make this chili spicier? 

To make a spicy Ground Chicken Chili, you can add more chili powder, red pepper flakes, a diced jalapeño, or a even pinch of cayenne pepper. Another easy way to make your chili spicy or mild, is to use a different Ro-Tel (diced tomatoes and green chilis) product. I use the Original Ro-Tel in this recipe, but, if you prefer a milder chili, use Mild Ro-tel. Like is spicy? Go for the Hot Ro-Tel, which includes habaneros.

Can I use chicken breast instead of ground chicken?

Yes, you can use diced chicken breast, or shredded chicken breast, as a substitute for ground chicken. Cook it the same way as the ground chicken, making sure it’s fully cooked before proceeding with the recipe.

macro photo of chili with ground meat and beans

Ground Chicken Chili is such a versatile, healthy, and easy dish! Whether you’re looking for a comforting meal on a cold day or an easy chili that can feed a crowd, my Ground Chicken Chili will be a hit. If you make this recipe, please take a moment to leave a review and let me know what you think in the comments below. You’re gonna love it!

More Easy Recipes

Ground Chicken Chili

Ground Chicken Chili

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Hearty and flavorful ground chicken chili is a healthy and hearty family dinner recipe that has a deep, delicous flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can Ro-tel diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, with liquid
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy pot. Add the ground chicken, onion, garlic, and green pepper. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink and thoroughly cooked. Break up any large lumps with a wooden spoon or spatula. You may have some liquid in the pan, which will be some water from the chicken and vegetables. I usually leave this in the pot, but you can drain it if you wish.
  2. Add the oregano, chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon to the meat mixture. Sauté for just about one minute.
  3. Add the chicken broth and deglaze the bottom of the pot, using a wooden spoon or spatula, scraping up any bits that may have gotten stuck. Add the salt and pepper, bay leaves, diced fire roasted tomatoes, Ro-tel, and tomato sauce. Stir to combine the ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the can of red kidney beans with liquid and the black beans (drained and rinsed). Add the brown sugar. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes longer. Remove the bay leaves.
  5. Serve hot, in bowls, with your favorite optional toppings. I used shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and fresh cilantro.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 343Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 927mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 7gSugar: 6gProtein: 33g