Ground Chicken Chili
Perfect for game day or any day of the week, this ground chicken chili recipe is a must try. Loaded with vegetables, beans, lean ground chicken and seasonings, you’re going to love this recipe. Plus, it’s lighter than traditional chili so you can feel good enjoying this recipe. This makes a fine addition to your healthy meal plans, and with a few adjustments, you can even make this instant pot chicken if you use the slow cooker option.
This recipe post is sponsored by Smart Chicken. I was compensated for my time. However, all opinions about this meal are my own.
Healthy Meal Plans: Perfect Chicken Chili Recipe
For this chili recipe, I used Smart Chicken’s chicken breasts. Simply slice the breast meat into one-inch-thick slices and add it to a food processor. For chili ground chicken also works if you don’t want to do the extra work. Buzz the meat until it is well ground and free of any lumps. This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes at most. My local grocer does not carry their ground chicken yet, so this is a great way to make homemade ground chicken in a pinch. You can also simply use their ground chicken product as well, if it is in your local store.
If you’ve been in the Healthyish club for a while, you know I am obsessed with Smart Chicken. Not only does it make the perfect chicken chili, but their products are the reason I started eating meat again after 9 years. Organic Smart Chickens are exclusively fed a certified organic, certified non-GMO diet, and are never given antibiotics, hormones, or animal by-products. Their program is certified humane by HFAC (Humane Farm Animal Care) and every chicken is free to roam, with access to outdoor pastures. All Smart Chicken is pure air chilled, without added water. The result is the best-tasting, highest-quality fresh chicken on the market.
This is one of many recipes instant pot comes in handy for, with it’s slow cooker option. You can use a Crock Pot or set your Instant Pot to slow cooker mode.When making this chili you only need your Crock Pot and a few simple ingredients for a stress free meal. Make sure to cook on the HIGH 6 hour setting. Serve with some cornbread and you’ve got a perfect slow cooker chili for easy dinners. This recipe makes 6 servings. Please see below for nutritional information.
Ground Chicken: Recipe Ingredients
Ground Chicken – I like using minced or ground because it is lean and tender. You could also use minced or ground turkey or beef for an equally healthy alternative, but I always suggest the chicken as it works well in chili.
Olive Oil – Use some olive oil to coat the bottom of the slow cooker before adding all of the ingredients.
Onion – Sweet onion works best for this recipe, but white onion would work too. Be sure to peel it and dice it into small even-sized pieces.
Sweet Potato – For this recipe, I cook with a sweet potato. Be sure to peel the sweet potato first before cubing it into even sized pieces. You could also use butternut squash or pumpkin in this recipe instead.
Celery – Celery add a fresh green crunch to this recipe. Be sure to slice it into thin even-sized slices. You want everything to be able the same size so it cooks evenly, but you still want to see bits of green in the cooker.
Diced Tomatoes – Add two cans of diced tomatoes with the juice. The diced tomatoes add more texture and flavor than crushed tomatoes in this recipe.
Tomato Soup – Add one can of Campbell’s tomato soup for this recipe. It helps thicken the sauce and adds a delicious tomato flavor.
Kidney Beans – Rinse and drain one can of kidney beans for this recipe.
Pinto Beans – Rinse and drain one can of pinto beans for this recipe.
Seasoning – Combine salt, chili powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper and add it to the chili so it can cook into the other ingredients
Bone Broth – Add some Smart Chicken bone broth to this recipe. You can also use chicken stock instead.
Optionally you can also add in peppers if you like those in your chili recipes.
Can You Substitute Ground Chicken for Ground Turkey in Chili?
While the flavor differs a little bit, it’s usually safe to make this substitution wherever you would normally use ground chicken. It’s important to note that smart chicken has a lot of benefits over normal ground chicken, and that can be especially difficult to find in turkey.
The ground chicken from Smart Chicken boasts a robust nutritional profile that makes their chicken superior to most ground turkey brands you can find in stores. I feel lighter and more satiated when eating Smart Chicken, so now I tend to opt for substituting it in for any recipe that calls for ground turkey.
What Thickens Chicken Chili?
There are a lot of fun ways to thicken chicken chili. If you notice that your chili is a little runny, you can add flour, cornmeal, or crushed tortilla chips to help thicken it up. In most cases, however, all it needs is a little more simmer time – so don’t be too hasty about modifying the recipe. This recipe uses beans and sweet potato to provide all the starch it needs, but it requires time in the pan to break down and mix properly.
What is the Secret to Making Good Chili?
A lot of people ask me what the secret is to making a good chili, and I have to say, hands down, the top thing I see people do right with chili is give it time and use fresh ingredients. The fresher your ingredients, the stronger the flavors will mesh.
Cooking time varies based on how long you can dedicate to cooking that day, but low and slow is the best way to go, allowing all the flavors to break down and meld together. You also don’t want to over-cook your chili, so be careful and set a timer.
Can You Overcook Chicken Chili?
Yes, you can overcook chili of any kind! You should always cook chili for a minimum of 30 minutes, but low and slow for longer is always better.
That said, even using this method, you should never cook chili more than 6-8 hours. If you over-cook the chili, you’ll wind up with a bland mixture. You’ll feel like you’re eating a bland soup, not a delicious multi-flavored chili.
Plus, if you’re not careful, cooking the chili too long will leave your ingredients with the texture of mushy peas. Good flavor is the key to keeping recipes healthy.
Should Chili Be Thick or Soupy?
It’s really up to you how thick or soupy you want the chili to be. If you’re looking for a little more soupiness, you can always add water and allow it to reduce and meld with the rest of the ingredients. If you’re looking for something a little thicker, you’ll need more starch. Flour, potato, and beans all do the trick in a pinch.
In most cases, the longer you allow the ingredients to simmer, the thicker the chili will become. For a thinner chili with ingredients that crunch, you’ll want to take your chili off the stove a little earlier – cooking for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Store any leftover chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to four days. Reheat in the microwave until heated through. Top with sour cream, diced onions, shredded cheese, cilantro or tortilla chips as garnish.
Looking for more healthy chili recipes or sides?
Ground Chicken Chili
- 1 lb. ground chicken, Smart Chicken
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1+¼ cup sweet onion, peeled and diced
- 1+¼ cup celery, sliced thin
- 1+¼ cup sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 2 cans diced tomatoes with juice, 15.5 ounces each
- 1 can tomato soup, Campbells 10.5 ounces
- 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained 15.5 ounces
- 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained 15.5 ounces
- 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup chicken bone broth, or chicken stock
- 1 crock pot
- 1 colander
- 1 non-stick saute pan
- Grab a Crock Pot and set it to HIGH 6 hours.
- Add olive oil, diced onion, sliced celery, peeled and diced sweet potato, diced tomatoes, rinsed and drained pinto and kidney beans, tomato soup, bone broth, salt, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, and paprika to the Crock Pot. Stir well.
- Next, spray a non-stick saute pan, with cooking spray and place it over medium high heat.
- Add the ground chicken and cook until lightly browned. Browning the chicken in a separate pan allows the chicken to develop more flavor. Use a wooden spoon to break up the chicken.
- Add the browned ground chicken to the Crock Pot with the other ingredients.
- Simmer for 4-6 hours or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.
- If it gets too tight, add more bone broth.
- Serve hot with sour cream, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, cilantro, and diced red onion as garnish.