Packed with hearty beans, succulent chicken and a rich base, this delicious chicken chili recipe is sure to become one of your favorites.

picture of bowl of chicken chili with toppings in small bowls

Mexican Chicken Chili

This chicken chili is made in a slow cooker and can be served up on busy weeknights or for that last-minute potluck. It has a nice depth of flavors and textures with a hint of Mexican heat and tender chicken and pinto beans. 

You can even use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving to make turkey chili.

I don’t usually do semi-homemade dishes. I like to use fresh veggies and meat when possible, but I’ve been busy lately and wanted something that tasted good but was quick to prepare. This hit the spot.

The first time I made it, I used fresh peppers and onions, and I ground up chicken breasts and cooked them down. While I thought the ground chicken would give the dish a chili-like texture, it didn’t quite hit the mark. 

My first reviews came back requesting shredded chicken instead. And while you can use fresh veggies, a jar of chunky salsa works just as well.

So, take two on this dish. I grabbed a couple of rotisserie chickens and picked them clean. Then, I just added a few cans of this and that to the crockpot, and the great recipe was born. So easy!

And you can have fun with the toppings. I set out bowls of shredded cheese, chopped lettuce, chopped tomatoes, Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) and homemade tortilla strips.

To make the strips, just slice up some corn tortillas and fry them in a skillet with vegetable oil. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Don’t have time for that? Just crush up some crunchy tortilla chips.

This slow cooker recipe will definitely become a dish I make over and over when I’m craving a Mexican-inspired meal.

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Chicken Enchilada Chili

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 2 rotisserie chickens, or leftover cooked turkey or chicken
  • 16 oz chunky salsa
  • 32 oz canned pinto beans, drained
  • 15 oz canned red enchilada sauce
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • black pepper, to taste


  • Tortilla strips
  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • chopped tomatoes
  • diced avocado
  • shredded lettuce
  • green onions
  • fresh cilantro
  • lime wedges


  • Prep: Pick all of the meat from the chickens, discarding the skin and bones.
  • Cook: Place the chicken, salsa, beans, enchilada sauce and spices in a Crock-Pot. Stir to combine. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours. It gets better the longer it cooks.
  • Serve: Spoon into a bowl and add toppings.


When adding the canned beans, pour in the full can, liquid and all. 


Serving: 1gCalories: 267kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 16gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 1941mgPotassium: 703mgFiber: 10gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 901IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 97mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Did you try this recipe?Be sure to rate it, leave a comment and save it so you can make it again. Show off your awesome results on social by tagging @zestuous
close up bowl of Chicken Chili

Ingredients for this chicken chili recipe

  • Rotisserie Chicken: Grab a chicken from Costco or your local grocery store or use leftover cooked turkey or chicken
  • Salsa: I use the jarred chunky salsa because it has more texture.
  • Canned pinto beans
  • Canned red enchilada sauce: You can control the heat by choosing hot, medium or mild salsa and enchilada sauce.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Ground cumin

Optional Toppings

  • Tortilla strips
  • Shredded cheese: cheddar and monterey jack cheese are both great
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Diced avocado
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Green onions
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges

Substitutions: Feel free to swap the pinto beans for black beans, white beans, navy beans or kidney beans.

See the full recipe card for servings and a full list of ingredients.

How to make this chicken chili recipe

  1. Prep: Pick all of the meat from the chickens and shred. Discard the skin and bones.
  2. Cook: Place the chicken, salsa, beans, enchilada sauce and spices in a crock pot. Stir to combine. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours. It gets better the longer it cooks.
  3. Serve: Spoon into a bowl and add your favorite toppings.
bowl of chicken chili with toppings

How to serve this chicken chili recipe

Use a ladle to spoon the chicken chili into a big bowl. Add a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt along with your other favorite toppings. I like to add a squeeze of fresh lime juice myself.

Serve the bowl of chili with a side of cornbread for the perfect meal.


Leftover chicken chili can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. This chili freezes well and can be kept for up to 6 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this easy chili recipe on the stovetop?

Yes. Just grab a large pot or soup pot and dump in all your ingredients. Heat over medium-high heat. Then, reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat for at least 15-20 minutes.

Can I use ground beef instead of chicken?

Yes. If you’re in the mood for beef chili, either use cooked ground beef or shredded beef.

Can I use fresh veggies for this recipe?

Yes. Feel free to sauté diced onion, bell peppers and garlic in some olive oil and add them to the chili. I used a jar of chunky salsa in this recipe to keep things simple. 

How to reheat leftover chicken chili?

The great thing about this chili is that you can reheat it directly from frozen. Just pop it into a small pot on the stovetop and heat on medium heat until warm. You can also microwave it for at least 1 minute, adding 30-second increments as needed. 

If the chili is too thick, you can thin it out with a small amount of chicken broth or warm water. 

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Christie Vanover

About Zestuous

Hi. I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and have dozens of top ten category finishes. People know me as the girl who is forever hovering over a grill, smoker or campfire with tongs in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Thanks for sharing this one with me! Came over to grab it for the round up, and pinned it. Adding to my meal plan next week!! Looks sensational! I just shredded a bunch of chicken yesterday, I know EXACTLY where it’s going!

  2. Had to check this out after you said it was the best… coming from you, that says a LOT! Loved your “sub” for sour cream, too (Greek yogurt) — this dish is as purdy as it is tasty!

  3. This looks super delicious! Do you think it would work just as well to throw a few raw chicken breasts in, and shred them before you serve it?

    1. I’m new to Crock-Pot cooking, so I have never cooked raw chicken in a Crcok-Pot before, but after reviewing some other recipes, I think it will work great. You may just have to cook it a bit longer. Let me know how it turns out.