Warm, hearty, and packed with bold but simple flavors, Pulled Chicken and Black Bean Chili is a comfort food for these cooler months. This recipe is a perfect use of leftover pulled or rotisserie chicken.
Give me all the comfort foods. Every single one of them in this season of life -- and chili is one of my favorites. I like chili because it's hardy, simple, and can be eaten for days. Simple is the key. I don't like any restaurant's chili...not a single one. My mom's weeknight chili is the only other chili I make. A girl knows what she likes, and she's stickin' with it.
This pulled chicken and black bean chili checks all the boxes for what I like in a chili: simple, comforting, uses fresh ingredients. All you need to do is sauté onions then garlic, add spices, tomatoes, black beans, and chicken, let it simmer, and start eating. We don't need to wait all day to enjoy a comforting bowl of chili. Ain't nobody got time for that.
What Makes This Chili So Delicious?
Perfectly Pulled Chicken: My Dutch oven pulled chicken recipe results in succulent, flavorful chicken, but if you are in a hurry, use rotisserie chicken!
Dynamic Spice Blend: A simple spice blend gives this chili its flavor. A combination of chili powder, smoked paprika, and green chilies in the diced tomatoes make for a flavorful combination. Adjust the spice levels to your liking for a personalized kick that suits your taste buds.
Black Beans for Texture: Black beans not only add a substantial amount of fiber and protein to the chili but also contribute a nice texture. Black beans hold their shape well during cooking, offering a hearty bite in every spoonful.
Great for Leftovers: This chili tastes even better the next day. The flavors have more of a chance to blend, which intensifies the spices. Make it a day ahead or reheat for leftovers.
Pulled Chicken for All Seasons
This recipe assumes you have pre-cooked pulled chicken. This recipe is great because it doesn't take long to make chicken that will be so tender that it shreds easily with two forks.
If you don't have pulled chicken, DON'T FRET! Grab a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and BOOM! You're all set.
Finally, if you don't have any chicken, you can always add more vegetables (sweet potato chili would be amazing as would hearty mushrooms) or keep it the way it is.
Now that we've covered how to make the most delicious pulled pork:
- extra-virgin olive oil
- chili powder
- smoked paprika
- cayenne pepper - optional for some heat
- black pepper
- tomato paste
- cooked pulled chicken
- black beans - use undrained canned black beans
- diced tomatoes - with green chilies if you want a little more heat
- lime juice, fresh cilantro, avocado, sour cream - optional for garnishing
Helpful Tips for Success
1. Customize the Spice Level: Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper and chili powder to match your spice tolerance. Start with a conservative amount and gradually add more if you prefer a bolder kick.
2. Don't Skip the Garnishes: Toppings are not just for aesthetics; they enhance the overall experience. Experiment with different combinations to find your favorite. A dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of cheese can make a significant difference. Also consider a squeeze of fresh lime juice or a sliced avocado on top!
3. Freeze for Future Fast Meals: This chili freezes exceptionally well. Prepare a big batch and freeze portions for quick, delicious meals on busy days. Just thaw and reheat for a taste of homemade comfort.
Want to make this chili vegetarian? Consider adding sweet potatoes instead of the pulled chicken. Let the sweet potatoes gently boil in the chili until fork tender. Mushrooms would also be a hardy add.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Absolutely! While shredded chicken is the star of this recipe, ground turkey, beef, or even plant-based alternatives can be substituted. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
To increase the heat, add more chili powder. You can also add ¼-1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Conversely, for a milder version, reduce these spices and adjust to taste. Buy regular canned diced tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes with green childes.
Remember, it's always easier to add more spice later than to tone it down.
Yep! Sauté the onion and garlic together, and then transfer everything to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 2-3 hours.
Allow the chili to cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for longer storage. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
Yes, this pulled chicken chili is naturally gluten-free. Double-check your spices and other ingredients to ensure they meet any specific dietary requirements though.
Other Cozy Dinners Using Leftovers
If you're interested in this Pulled Chicken and Black Bean Chili, you will surely love this Ham and Potato Soup that uses leftover ham. I make it every year after everyone is tired of our Christmas ham.
Dutch Oven Chicken and Dumplings is a great recipe to make using leftover pulled chicken or a rotisserie chicken.
Have leftover cans of pumpkin after the holidays? Try this Pumpkin Coconut Soup that has the most luxurious, velvety texture.
Wishing you all the warm and cozies!
Pulled Chicken and Black Bean Chili
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional for heat)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 2 cups pulled chicken cooked
- 2 15 ounce cans black beans undrained
- 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes (with green chiles if you want a little more heat)
- 1 cup water
- lime juice, fresh cilantro, avocado, sour cream optional for garnishing
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Cook onion, stirring often, until the onions become tender, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute until fragrant. Add chili powder, paprika, cayenne (if using), salt, pepper, and tomato paste, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.
- Add diced tomatoes, black beans, pulled chicken, and water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Serve, topping with fresh lime juice, cilantro, avocado, cheese, or sour cream. Enjoy!