Chicken Chili With Cream Cheese

This rich and hearty red chicken chili with cream cheese is perfect for colder days or sharing with friends while watching sports or camping. It’s hearty, filling, and packed with flavour and nutrients. Ready in 45 minutes!


red chicken chili with cream cheese and toppings
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Jump to: ℹ️ Overview | 🛒 Ingredients | 📷 How To Make | 📹 Watch The Video | 👩‍🍳 Recipe Tips | 💡 Variations | 🥘 Serving Suggestions | 📝 Full Recipe Card | 🍽 More Similar Recipes


This chicken chili with cream cheese recipe is a delightful variation of the classic chili with a creamy and rich texture and deliciously spiced tomato base. It’s ready in just 45 minutes and will quickly become a favourite in your household as it has in mine.

This recipe is super simple to make with classic chili ingredients like chicken breasts, herbs and spices, beans, corn, and diced tomatoes. But there’s also a secret ingredient (a cinnamon stick – maybe not so secret anymore) and the use of cream cheese that takes this to a new level of tasty!

This dish is high in protein, fibre and nutrients, with only a little cream cheese to give it that decadent touch.

It’s perfect for cozy nights at home or gatherings with friends and family. And while the chili is the star, the funnest part is customising your own bowl with toppings and condiments.

👩‍🍳 If you’re hungry for more, make sure to check out these 33 best chili recipes; and, you might also like my hearty chicken paprikash here or this creamy chicken orzo skillet dish.

creamy red chicken chili with beans in a pot
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What You’ll Need

Here is what you’ll need for this red chicken chili recipe. Find the full measurements in the recipe card below.

  • Chicken breasts – you can substitute ground turkey or ground beef for the chicken if you prefer.
  • Vegetables: yellow bell pepper (capsicum, red or green can also be used), onion, garlic, frozen corn kernels, chopped green chili or jalapeños
  • Canned stuff: diced tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans; you can swap out beans depending on what you have.
  • Spices: chili powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, dried oregano, cinnamon stick, salt and pepper to taste
  • Worcestershire sauce for extra umami and tang; swap with a teaspoon of soy sauce and a teaspoon of Balsamic.
  • Cream cheese – if you’re looking for a lighter option, you can use reduced-fat cream cheese or even Greek yogurt as a substitute. Cottage cheese is also a great substitute that I have tried.
  • Toppings: corn chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped avocado, fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped raw red onion and tomatoes, salsa.
chicken chili ingredients
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How To Make Chicken Chili With Cream Cheese

Find the full recipe and nutritional information below. Here are some handy step-by-step photos.

  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, cook until browned, then set aside. In the same pot, add the remaining oil, onion, and bell pepper; sauté until softened. Add green chilis, garlic, herbs, and spices; mix well. Stir in diced tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, corn, and Worcestershire sauce. Return the chicken to the pot, add the cinnamon stick, and simmer on low for 30 minutes.
how to make chicke chili with cream cheese part 1
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  • Remove the chicken, shred it, and set aside. Blend the sauce slightly with an immersion blender, leaving some beans whole. Return shredded chicken to the pot and stir in cream cheese until incorporated. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Serve in bowls, garnished with shredded cheese, cilantro, sour cream, and a squeeze of lime juice.
how to make red chicken chili part 2
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Slow Cooker Version

Use a slow cooker for an easy, hands-off cooking method. Simply brown the chicken, add all the ingredients, except for the cream cheese, and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir in the cream cheese during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Watch The Video

Recipe Tips

  • Adjust the heat level to your preference by adding more or less jalapeño and chili powder.
  • If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a potato masher to break up some of the beans and thicken the sauce or scoop some of the chili and process it very briefly in the food processor or a blender.
  • Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers for a quick and easy meal on a busy day.
  • To save time, use a store-bought rotisserie chicken and shred it for the chili.
  • Experiment with different toppings, such as avocado, green onions, or crushed tortilla chips. Or go all out and do them all!

Variations

I’m already planning on making this recipe again and again, so here are some variation ideas to try out to keep it interesting!

  • Spicy chicken chili: Add more green chilis, jalapeños or a dash of cayenne pepper for an extra kick.
  • White chicken chili: Replace the diced tomatoes with an equal amount of chicken broth and use white beans instead of kidney and black beans.
  • Vegetarian chili: Omit the chicken and add extra beans or vegetables for a meatless version of this dish.
  • Smoky chili: Use smoked paprika instead of sweet paprika to add a smoky flavor to the chili.
chicken chili with cream cheese and toppings
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Serving Suggestions

Classic pairings for chicken chili include serving it over steamed rice, with buttery cornbread, or using crunchy tortilla chips for dipping. Try baked potatoes topped with chili, cheese, sour cream, and chives. Or keep it simple and serve with a side of crusty bread.

Enhance your chili with fresh toppings like shredded cheese, fresh cilantro, and sour cream for added flavour and creaminess. Avocado slices or guacamole provide a rich texture, while chopped green onions and jalapeño slices add a mild crunch and extra heat.

For additional accompaniments, a crisp green salad or grilled vegetables like zucchini and bell peppers balance the meal. Cheese quesadillas make a great side or dipping option. Fun presentations include serving chili in bread bowls, making chili tacos or burritos, or stuffing bell peppers with chili.

A chili bar with various toppings lets guests customize their bowls.

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chicken chili with cream cheese and toppings
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Chicken Chili With Cream Cheese

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 6 servings
Course: Dinner, Main
Cuisine: American
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Calories: 539kcal
Learn how to make rich and hearty red chicken chili with cream cheese. It’s filling, flavorful, nutrient-packed and ideal for chilly days or gatherings with friends while watching sports or camping. Ready in just 45 minutes!

Ingredients 

Browning the chicken

  • 3 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 pound chicken breasts 450-500 grams
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1 tbsp green chilis or jalapeños chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced

For the chili

  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder can be reduced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 28 oz. canned tomatoes 2 x 14 oz cans, diced
  • 15 oz kidney beans 1 can, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz black beans 1 can, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup kernels corn frozen
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cinnamon stick

After cooking for 30 minutes

  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, sour cream

Instructions

  • In a large pot, heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts, season with salt and pepper, and cook until browned on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  • Add the remaining olive oil, diced onion, and yellow bell pepper to the same pot. Sauté for a few minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
  • Add the chopped green chilis, minced garlic, and all the herbs, spices, salt and mix well.
  • Add the canned diced tomatoes (with their juices) to the pot, along with the kidney beans, black beans, frozen corn, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine.
  • Return the cooked chicken to the pot, nestling the chicken into the sauce, and add the cinnamon stick on top. Bring the chili to a simmer over low heat. Cover and let it cook for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot and shred it using two forks. Set aside. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce a bit, leaving some whole beans for texture.
  • Add the shredded chicken and cream cheese to the pot, stirring until the cream cheese is fully incorporated. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
  • Ladle the chicken and bean chili into bowls and garnish with your desired toppings, such as shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, and sour cream. Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice for freshness and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Version:

  • Use a slow cooker for an easy, hands-off cooking method. Simply brown the chicken, add all the ingredients except for the cream cheese, and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir in the cream cheese during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Video

Notes

Storage tips: Store any leftover chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can freeze the chili in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Reheat in a pot on the stove over low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. You can also reheat it in the microwave in a microwave-safe container.
Equipment: I used a large Dutch oven pot to make this recipe although it is not 100% necessary. Any large pot with a thicker bottom will do the job perfectly. Just make sure to use a large enough pot, with a lid, to minimize splashes and mess.
What are the most important spices in chili? Cumin, chili powders and paprika are the spices most commonly added to chili for their unique flavour. Dried oregano and coriander are also very often used.
Is this recipe gluten-free? Yes, this recipe is naturally gluten-free. However, always double-check the labels on your ingredients to ensure they are gluten-free.
Can I make this recipe dairy-free? To make this recipe dairy-free, you can use a dairy-free cream cheese alternative like cashew cream or omit the cream cheese altogether.
Can I add other vegetables? Absolutely! Feel free to add other chopped vegetables, such as zucchini, mushrooms, or spinach, to the chili for added nutrition and flavour.

Nutrition

Calories: 539kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 896mg | Potassium: 1401mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1445IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 156mg | Iron: 7mg
Keywords: Chicken Chili, Chili, Chili Recipe, Cream Cheese Chicken Chili, Red Chicken Chili
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Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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