Three Bean Chicken Chili

The best chicken chili recipe ever!  It’s full of protein from chicken, 3 different kinds of beans, and a secret ingredient.

OK – first things first.  WHAT do you think of my facelift?  Wait – no, not me (I wish). My blog was treated to a light makeover because – hey, who can’t use a little bit of work every now and again? I hadn’t made any significant changes since I created this blog nearly 5 years ago, and it was time. A huge THANK YOU to the folks at Restored 316 Designs for their beautiful WordPress themes, and for all of their help with my update! I’m super excited about the new look, and I hope you like it.  I’m still tweaking and making some edits, but feel free to take a look around and let me know what you think.

Now, about the recipe…

When it comes to chili, do you crave the traditional beefy-tomato version, or the lighter chicken version? That’s a no-brainer for me – I’m hands down a white chicken chili girl. Nothing against tomatoes and ground beef, but I think they should stick to bolognese sauce. Red chili may be traditional, but I much prefer the lighter, fresher flavors in this version. The spices and fresh herbs, especially cumin, and cilantro really shine and explode in your mouth without the heaviness of the tomatoes and beef.

It’s the height of monsoon season here in Arizona (who knew the desert has a monsoon season??), and although it’s still ridiculously hot, the break from the constant sunshine actually had me craving this chili. I’ve been making it forever, and it always gets rave reviews from friends and family.  If it was about 40 degrees cooler, I’d turn on the oven and bake some cheddar-jalapeño beer batter bread to go with it, but I decided to toast up some corn tortillas on the grill instead.

3 Bean Chicken Chili|Craving Something Healthy

You can stick to just kidney or black beans if you like, but how colorful is this chicken chili with the three different types of beans? Also – don’t be afraid of the very un–chili-like secret ingredient in this recipe. I’ve always added milk and call me crazy, but it works. Makes the chili just a touch creamier, adds a little bit of extra protein, and tones down the heat from the chilis just a bit. Plus, it’s good for the bones.

Make a big batch, because it tastes even better after a day or two, and if by chance you have leftovers, they freeze nicely for the next rain storm, snow storm, or when you’re just craving some healthier comfort food.

3 Bean Chicken Chili

Three Bean Chicken Chili

My all-time favorite chili recipe!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 345kcal


  • 3 cups shredded chicken breast from 1 lb chicken breast, or rotisserie chicken
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 large red pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper seeded and minced
  • 3 small cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1-15 oz can black beans
  • 1-15 oz can kidney beans
  • 1-15 oz can pinto or white beans
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 green onions chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • Kosher salt
  • Optional garnishes: chopped avocado shredded cheese, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, chopped cilantro, chopped green onion, tortilla strips


  • If you are cooking the chicken breasts, season chicken with salt and pepper, and cook on the grill, or roast in the oven at 350 degrees. Set aside to cool, and then shred it with 2 forks.
  • Heat olive oil in a dutch oven, and sauté onion, red pepper, jalapeño and garlic about 5 minutes, or until soft.
  • Add spices and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add flour and stir to coat all vegetables.
  • Add broth and milk, and stir while bringing mixture to a simmer to thicken.
  • Once the base is thickened, add the shredded chicken to the pot.
  • Rinse beans in a colander, and add to the chili.
  • Simmer chili for about 20 minutes.
  • Add chopped cilantro, green onion, and lime juice just prior to serving.
  • Season with salt to taste, and adjust any other seasonings as needed.
  • Serve immediately, and garnish as desired.


Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 595mg | Potassium: 873mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1708IU | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 5mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @CravingSomethingHealthy!

Have you ever experienced a desert monsoon? It’s crazy! Check out this shot from my backyard.

The rain dumps out of the sky, and it’s very selective about where it dumps.  My neighbor got hit with this one and we got the blue sky on the left.

If you make this recipe, drop me a line and let me know, or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram at @CravingSomethingHealthy!  

Eat well!


  1. You never mention when to add the cooked, shredded chicken back in. When should that be done?

    1. Craving Something Healthy says:

      Thanks for catching that Sarah! I edited the recipe. You can really add it in at any point. I like to do it as soon as the base is thickened, so the chicken has time to take on the flavors of the chile. Enjoy!

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