Chicken Chili with Beer and Kidney Beans

I don’t have many good things to say about the wintery weather we’ve been experiencing, but eating this chicken chili is the perfect cure for these dark at 5PM blues. Unlike the turkey chili I made last fall, this one calls for a can of beer which adds a depth and complexity to each and every bite. It also is a serves as a bite of nostalgia because it reminds me of pumpkin carving Sunday’s at my house growing up!

The three main spices are cumin, chili powder and ancho chili powder, and feel free to add more of each throughout the cooking process to get it to your desired spice level. We all know I love spice so I am a bit heavy handed with them! Lastly, I’ll leave you with one of my mom’s tips for making great chili: do not rinse the beans, just add them to the chili straight from the can. The starchy liquid from the beans works as a natural thickening agent and makes it stick-to-your-ribs good!

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Chicken Chili with Beer and Kidney Beans
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ½ c fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 (14) oz.can diced tomatoes plus 2 cans of water
  • 1 (14) oz. can red kidney beans
  • 1 can light beer
  1. Season chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large stock pot, heat with a layer of evoo on medium high. Once slightly smoking, place the chicken breasts in and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until they are golden brown. Remove from pot and set aside.
  3. Add to two tablespoons more of evoo to the chicken juices and lower heat to medium. Add in the chopped onion and cook for 4 minutes. Then toss in the garlic and cook for another 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the seasonings from the salt to the cilantro and the chicken breasts into the pot. Stir to incorporate with the onion and garlic then add in the diced tomatoes, water, kidney beans and light beer.
  5. Simmer for 4-6 hours with the lid half off until it thickens, stirring every hour. As the chicken cooks it will begin to shred and you can also break it up when you stir it. Be sure to taste the chili regularly as it simmers to make sure that it has enough seasoning, and if you need to add more of any seasoning feel free to do so.
  6. Enjoy with your favorite toppings!

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