Recipe: Chicken Taco Chili

updated Jan 29, 2020
Chicken Taco Chili
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

There’s no shortage of ways to get your fill of tacos. Here’s how I get mine every year when chili season rolls around: I reimagine my favorite chicken tacos into a thick, chunky chili loaded with tender bite-sized pieces of boneless chicken thighs and a duo of beans, all topped with shower of cheddar and scallions. Just don’t forget the crunchy tortilla chips for dipping!

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

Start with Chicken Thighs and a Single Pot

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are my favorite cut for many reasons; I particularly love them for chili since they add extra flavor and aren’t quick to dry out. There’s no need to cook the chicken separately before starting the chili. Instead, the chicken is poached during cooking — this will take about 15 minutes — and then shredded before being added back to the pot to simmer until the flavors meld.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Chicken Taco Chili

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info


  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 large

    yellow onion, diced

  • 1 medium

    red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced

  • 1 medium

    green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced

  • 1 tablespoon

    tomato paste

  • 3 tablespoons

    chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon

    ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons

    garlic powder

  • 2 teaspons

    dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 1/2 cups

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 (28-ounce) can

    fire-roasted diced tomatoes

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    pinto beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 1 teaspoon

    apple cider vinegar

For serving (optional):

  • 1/2 cup

    shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • 2 medium

    scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup

    chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and bell peppers, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, tomatoes and their juices, kidney beans, and pinto beans, then stir to combine.

  2. Add the chicken thighs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer uncovered until the chicken is cooked through and registers an internal temperature of 165℉, about 15 minutes.

  3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Shred the meat with 2 forks, then return the chicken to the pot. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Serve topped with shredded cheese, scallions, and cilantro if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or frozen for up to 3 months.