Easy Smoky Chipotle Chicken Chili Recipe

This smoky chipotle chicken chili is an easy set-it-and-forget-it recipe that makes the perfect cold-weather meal and is always a hit for Sunday Football!

Chipotle chicken chili in a crock pot.

Chipotle Chicken Chili is a hit no matter what time of year!

The secret to the smokey and spiciness of this Chipotle Chicken Chili Recipe is the chipotles in adobo sauce which can be found in any local Spanish market or the international food section of your local grocery store. 

I have been making this as long as I can remember because it is one of those recipes where you can just dump the ingredients into a crock pot or slow cooker and forget about them for a while. An added plus is that you can choose your favorite chili toppings or change them every time you make it. We prefer sour cream, scallions (green onions), shredded cheese, a little extra hot sauce, and raw red onions.

ingredients for chipotle chicken chili

You do you!

I am a firm believer that YOU decide what a good chili is since the ingredient lists can be controversial depending on who you ask. We are obviously going to say ours is the best, but the best is the one you like! 

shredded chicken in a plate for chipotle chicken chili

Trust the process.

Let’s jump right in! The prep time on this meal is really quick. The only things that you need to cut up are the bell peppers, chipotles in adobo sauce, red onion, and garlic (unless you buy jarred which we do use from time to time.)

There are a million ways that you can cook this chili. My favorite way is to use my slow cooker, but you can always substitute a pressure cooker, or large dutch oven/soup pot. 

Chipotle chicken chili in a crock pot.

Set it and forget it!

Once everything is diced and minced start by adding your fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce into your crock pot, and stir until they are combined. Add in your chipotle chilis, garlic, red bell pepper (or yellow), red onion, and fire-roasted corn to the slow cooker and stir. Now it is time to add in your spices. Once added stir one last time and then nestle your chicken thighs in your sauce. You can also use chicken breasts here but thighs are far superior for taste!

Set your slow cooker to 6 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

plated chipotle chicken chili with sour cream on top in a bowl

Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…

20 minutes before your chili is done cooking remove the chicken and shred it with two forks. Add your chicken back to the slow cooker and add in your black beans and red kidney beans. Feel free to substitute any beans that you enjoy here. I have seen people use cannellini beans, white beans, and even pinto beans so use what feels right to you or what you have on hand! 

Allow this to cook for the final 20 minutes and then serve in bowls with your favorite toppings!

Tools we used to make our Chipotle Chicken Chili

  • We own this Hamilton Beach slow cooker and love it! It also makes transporting the finished product so easy!

Chipotle Chicken Chili FAQ

Can I substitute the meat in my chili?

You sure can! You can use ground beef, ground chicken, ground turkey, and chicken breasts!

What if I don’t like spice?

The less of the chipotles in adobo sauce you add the less spicy this will be. If you are sensitive to heat just add one pepper. Want to blow your own socks off? Add a whole can!

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plated chipotle chicken chili with sour cream on top in a bowl

Chipolte Chicken Chili

  • Author: A Couple Bites
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 mintues
  • Yield: 6 1x


This recipe for Chipotle Chicken Chili is a great cold weather dish and always a hit a Sunday football party! 


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (14oz)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28oz)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 chipotles in adobo sauce, diced
  • extra adobo for heat if you would like
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bag of frozen fire-roasted corn
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 red onion, diced for topping
  • 2 scallions, diced for topping
  • 1 lime cut into wedges for serving
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheese for topping
  • Sour cream for topping


  1. To your slow cooker add your crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste and stir.
  2. Add your garlic, and chipotle in adobo sauce, bell pepper, onion, corn, and garlic, and stir to combine. 
  3. Add in your spices and stir.
  4. Nestle your chicken thighs into your sauce. 
  5. Cover your slow cooker and set it to cook for 6 hours on low for 4 hours on high.
  6. 20 minutes before your slow cooker is finished remove your chicken thighs and shred them with two forks. 
  7. Add the shredded chicken, black beans, and red kidney beans to the slow cooker and allow the cooker to finish.
  8. Serve in bowls with your favorite topping! 
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: american

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