By Christie Vanover | Published November 9, 2022 | Last Updated November 9, 2022
What Is Southwest chicken chili
There are several varieties of chicken chili. One of the most common is white chicken chili, which is made with white beans (like cannellini beans or great northern beans), cream cheese and sour cream. This is not that.
Southwest chicken chili is actually a lot easier to make, and it’s healthier because it doesn’t contain any cream or cheese.
It starts with a shredded roasted chicken. You can use a store bought rotisserie chicken or make your own Grilled Whole Chicken. Then, you just dump all of the ingredients in a pot and let it cook on the grill, stove or in your crock pot or instant pot.
Substitutions: If you don’t have time to pick up the West Coast Rub, use your favorite taco seasoning or 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin.
How to cook Southwest chicken chili
To make this Southwest chicken chili a little smoky, cook it on a charcoal grill, pellet grill or gas grill with wood chips. Hickory, pecan and cherry wood are great choices. Set your grill to 300F degrees.
You can also cook this on the stove over medium heat or in a slow cooker for 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low.
- STEP ONE: Pull the meat from the roasted chicken and discard the bones and skin. You can save those to make chicken stock for another recipe. One chicken should yield around 6 cups of shredded tender chicken.
- STEP TWO: Place the chicken in a large dutch oven with the salsa, pinto beans, enchilada sauce and rub. Stir to combine.
- STEP THREE: Set your grill or stovetop to medium heat (300F degrees). If using a grill, set the Dutch oven lid on the grill grate to create a level surface. This will prevent the legs from sliding through the grate. Close the grill lid.
- STEP FOUR: Cook uncovered for 90 minutes, stirring every half an hour.
How to serve Southwest chicken chili
A bowl of this Southwest chicken chili is great on it’s own, but it’s even better if you serve it alongside some taco toppings with some tortillas.
My favorite toppings include sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, diced tomatoes, jalapeños and crispy tortilla strips or tortilla chips.
If you have any leftover chicken chili, store it in smaller airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to five days. You can also freeze leftover chili in an airtight container for up to six months.
For frozen chili, thaw it before reheating. Then, pour it into a pot. If it needs a little more liquid, add a couple tablespoons of water or chicken broth.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely. You can use a salsa verde instead of the red chunky salsa and you can replace the red enchilada sauce with green enchilada sauce.
This chicken chili is much healthier than white bean chicken chili, because it doesn’t include heavy cream or cream cheese. The chicken is very low in fat because we’re not using any of the skin. And the salsa, beans, enchilada sauce and rub are also fat free. If you’re watching your calories, just be mindful of the type of toppings you add.
Traditional chili, like my Champion Chili Recipe with Smoked Tri-Tip, is made with kidney beans instead of pinto beans. Instead of salsa, it has canned tomatoes. And instead of a taco seasoning type of rub, classic chili is seasoned with rubs that are more chili powder forward. Lastly, it’s made with beef instead of chicken.
This recipe uses pinto beans, which are very popular in Southwest cuisine. When pinto beans are mashed down and cooked they become refried beans. For this recipe, you can also use black beans or navy beans. Or you can use one can of each for more variety.
5 Ingredient Southwest Chicken Chili
- 6 cups shredded chicken
- 16 oz chunky salsa
- 32 oz pinto beans including liquid
- 15 oz red enchilada sauce
- 2 tbsp BBQ Guys West Coast Rub*
- shredded cheddar cheese
- sour cream
- green onions diced
- jalapenos sliced
- tomatoes diced
- tortilla strips
- flour or corn tortillas
- Pull Chicken: If using a rotisserie chicken or whole grilled chicken, pull the chicken meat from the bones. Discard the bones and skin.
- Combine Ingredients: Place the shredded chicken in a Dutch oven or large pot with the salsa, beans (don't drain them), enchilada sauce and seasoning.
- Cook: Place the pot on a 300F-degree grill or on a stove top over medium heat. Cook uncovered for 1 hour and 30 minutes, stirring every 30 minutes.
- Serve: Serve with toppings.
This estimate was created using an online nutrition calculator