& that’s exactly what happened: magical chickpea chipotle chicken chili with sweet potatoes, shredded kale & cinnamon.
Ooooh lordy, is this chipotle chicken chili GOOD.
It’s so good, in fact, that I couldn’t wait to share it with you. I was planning on posting this after thanksgiving, as a “let’s use up your leftovers!” solution, but I just couldn’t wait another month. A month is basically an eternity, you know?
This chipotle chicken chili is too good to keep to myself. It just had to happen ASAP. When it comes to chili, I love the classics, but I also love mixing things up a little bit & giving chili some modern flare. This & chipotle chicken chili absolutely delivers on the “modern flare” front.
Chipotle chicken chili is loaded with onions & peppers, of course, but replaces jalapeños with chipotle peppers. The chipotle peppers add amazing smokiness & warmth. In place of kidney beans or black beans, this chili calls for chickpeas, which I think have a little bit more texture (in the best way!) than other beans. They totally hold up to the slow, long simmer that develops the flavor in this chili. & for an extra punch of nutrients – sweet potatoes & kale. Healthy comfort food, yes please. ✔️✔️✔️
Oh, & wanna know where the ✨magic✨ comes in? Cinnamon. YAS. Cinnamon is just the thing that brings this entire chili together. Its warmth complements the spice of the chipotles & balances out the sweetness of the sweet potatoes.
& it’s exactly the thing that keeps you coming back to your bowl of chipotle chicken chili, spoonful after spoonful after spoonful.
Cozy, modern, magical chili. Autumn comfort food vibes on high. It just does not get better.
A few things to keep in mind about chipotle chicken chili:
- Guess what! Chicken is pretty readily available year-round! Most grocery stores carry chicken breast all year. If you can’t find it in the fresh meat cases, have a look in the freezer section. I love using chicken breast in recipes – it tends to be less expensive than boneless skinless chicken breast, & it’s so much more approachable than roasting a whole freaking chicken. The ultimate shortcut? Use store-bought rotisserie chicken!
- & you can obviously use turkey instead of chicken. Using turkey is totally fine. The ultimate shortcut? Use store-bought rotisserie chicken!
- Chipotle chicken chili is ALL about the toppings. I mean, if you ask me, any chili is all about the toppings. I go with pepper jack cheese, a big dollop of the best guacamole ever, chopped cilantro for freshness, & crushed up cornbread crisps (aka cornbread crackers from Trader Joes…they are SO addictive!). Add whatever toppings you like to make this chipotle chicken chili your own!
- Meal prep friendly! Chili is totally weeknight friendly, especially if you do a little bit of meal prep to cut out some time during the week. I’d suggest chopping up the onions & peppers in advance (store them in an airtight container or Ziplock bag in your fridge). All you need to do to get your chipotle chicken chili going during the week is a heating up some oil & tossing the veggies on in. My favorite meal prep shortcut, though? Making a pot for our sunday supper & eating the leftovers throughout the week as my lunch.
- Freeze the leftovers. Like most soup/stew/chili recipes, this recipe makes a big ‘ol pot, enough to serve maybe 8 people. If you have leftover chipotle chicken chili, know that the leftovers freeze beautifully. Transfer cooled chipotle chicken chili into freezer-safe containers or bags & freeze for up to 3 months.
If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations!
Cozy Cravings?! We’ve got plenty of Soup, Stew, & Chili Recipes you’ll love! Be sure to try our PWWB Best-Ever Minestrone, Slow Roasted Whole Chicken Soup, or this Lightened-Up Italian Wedding Soup next. Happy cooking! ♡Print
Chipotle turkey chili is healthy, comforting, & full of modern flare – smoky heat of chipotle peppers, sweet bites of sweet potato, nutrient-dense kale, & a little touch of cinnamon for some warmth. The perfect cozy comfort food dinner. You can even swap out the chicken for turkey & use up your thanksgiving leftovers!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- coarse kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 red or orange bell peppers, diced
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 chipotle peppers (from a can, with adobo sauce), finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 12-ounce bottle beer (use your favorite light beer)
- 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
- 4 cups finely shredded kale
- Brown the chicken: Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken dry with paper towel, then season generously with 1 teaspoon each kosher salt and ground black pepper. Carefully add the chicken to the pot, working in batches as needed to avoid overcrowding. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until deeply golden brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside. The chicken will not be cooked through at this point – that’s fine!
- Cook the veggies: Reduce the heat under the pot to medium. Add in the diced onion & peppers, seasoning with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the sweet potatoes, stirring to combine.
- Add the spices: Add the garlic, chili powder, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle peppers & tomato paste to the pot, stirring to coat the veggies. Cook for 2-3 minutes, to allow the spices to bloom.
- Deglaze: Slowly pour the beer into the pot, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil & allow the beer to reduce slightly.
Build & simmer the chili: Add the tomatoes & garbanzo beans to the pot, & return the browned chicken thighs back into the pot. Stir to combine. Bring the chili to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes, allowing it to thicken slightly.
- Finish the chili: Remove the chicken thighs from the pot & carefully shred. You can do so using 2 forks, or my favorite trick: pop them in a stand mixer & let the paddle attachment do the work for you (I swear this works!). Add the shredded chicken back into the pot, along with the shredded kale. Stir to combine. Cook 2-3 minutes, until the kale has softened. Taste and season with additional salt or ground black pepper as needed.
- Serve: Ladle the chili in individual bowls & finish with toppings of choice – pepper jack cheese, guacamole, chopped cilantro, & crackers, etc. Enjoy!
Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Eat Love Eat