chipotle chicken chili or “C3″

$9.51 recipe / $1.19 serving

I know, I know, I just made a chicken soup-type dish. Well, sometimes you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got. I have a ton of chicken in the freezer, I had some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce left over from another test recipe, and it’s getting all fall-like outside. What does that add up to? Chili, of course.

I went pretty light on the chicken in this recipe to keep costs down (even though I got a crazy-good deal on the chicken) and beefed it up with a couple different types of beans and corn. Most of the flavor in this dish comes courtesy of the sweet-spicy-smokey chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. They definitely have a kick, so start with just two peppers and a couple spoonfuls of sauce, and add more to taste.

The V8 juice was my biggest cost and I could have done better. V8 offers a depth of flavor that plain tomato juice can’t, so I wouldn’t suggest skipping this secret ingredient. Check the bottom shelves of the juice aisle for the large metal cans because they cost less than the resealable plastic jugs. If you have some left over, into the freezer it goes! (makes a great base for soups and cocktails!)

If you can’t get a good deal on chicken like I did, you can easily make this into a vegetarian stew. Just add some diced sweet potato for bulk and you’re good. Although it’s so far from chili at this point that I don’t know if it can go by that name anymore, but who cares, it tastes good.

Chipotle Chicken Chili (C3)

Chipotle Chicken Chili

5.0 from 2 reviews
chipotle chicken chili or "C3"
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $9.51
Cost Per Serving: $1.19
Serves: 8
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.24
  • 1 medium yellow onion $0.28
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • ¾ lb. chicken breast $1.46
  • 32 oz. V8 juice $2.69
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomato $0.95
  • 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans $0.99
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans $1.19
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels $0.54
  • up to half of a 4-ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce $0.68
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder $0.15
  • ½ Tbsp cumin powder $0.08
  • 1 tsp oregano $0.05
  • to taste salt $0.05
  1. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cook both in a large pot with olive oil over medium heat until soft and transparent (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add the chicken breast, V8 juice, diced tomatoes, beans (drained), corn, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Stir to combine. Open the can of chipotle peppers and take two out. Mince them and add to the pot. Take two spoonfuls of the adobo sauce from the can and add to the pot as well. Stir it on up.
  3. Bring the pot up to a boil over medium-high heat with a lid. Once reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and let the pot simmer for one hour (lid on).
  4. After an hour, carefully remove the chicken breast and shred the meat using two forks. Return the shredded meat to the pot. Give the chili a taste and add more chipotle peppers if desired. Add salt as needed. I added about one teaspoon of salt, but this will depend on how salty your beans were, so start with a little and add more as needed.
Enjoy! Goes great with cornbread, cheddar cheese, or a dollop of sour cream!

Chipotle Chicken ChiliI garnished with green onions because I had them laying around.

Step By Step Photos

onion garlicDice the onion and mince the garlic. Cook both in a large pot with olive oil until tender (about 5 minutes). (I’m not sure why I keep re-taking this picture… I could have just taken one and used it for all 100-million recipes that start this way.)

chicken breastAdd the raw chicken breast – whole. It will get shredded later. This recipe is admittingly light on chicken, but I think that’s an okay compromise for price. Plus, you get plenty of protein from the bean/corn combo.

bodyThen add all of this… and one cup of frozen corn. Also, I drained the beans so that I wouldn’t have too much liquid in my chili.

spicesAdd your spices (chili powder, cumin, oregano).

chipotle peppersAnd this is what the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce looks like. It’s a very small can (4 ounces) and is usually sold with the other Mexican grocery items. It’s easy to miss because it looks a lot like the small cans of sliced jalapeno peppers. Make sure to get the kind that is “in adobo sauce.”

chipotle peppersWhen you open up the can, there are little peppers in there like this, plus a bunch of yummy sauce. (I had left overs from a can in a plastic container in my fridge). Anyway, mince up the peppers and spoon some of the sauce into the pot as well. Start with just two peppers and add more later if you want. I ended up using about half of a can.

shred chickenSo, bring the pot up to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer with a lid on for an hour. This will make the chicken nice and tender. Take the chicken out and shred it with a fork, then return it to the pot.

finished chiliAnd then you’re pretty much done! Add more chipotles and some salt if desired. I added about a teaspoon of salt and ended up using about half of the can of chipotle peppers (plus sauce).

Chipotle Chicken ChiliServe with some cornbread to soak up the chipotle goodness!


  1. ELuke says:

    Wow this is delicious! We used generic vegetable juice instead of V8 to save a few cents and plan to make a second batch tonight after eating it all yesterday. A simple and tasty chili, with a nice spicy kick!

  2. Chris says:

    I don’t think they sell V8 Juice here in Europe. What is it exactly. Do you know more common things that I can use to substitute this V8?

    • V8 is a vegetable juice cocktail. It’s a lot like tomato juice, but with other juices mixed in so it has a bit more flavor (it’s mostly tomato, though). I guess tomato juice would be the closest second, but it will still be different.

  3. Made this yesterday. I was missing the chipotle chiles, so I added some ground chipotle. Also, I had a half a growler of porter that I had opened two days ago. It had gone flat so I poured a good helping of that in. Turned out great. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. Julie B says:

    This is delicious! As I always do with chili, at the end I added some of the broth to some masa flour to make a slurry, they stirred it back into the chili to thicken it. I cut corn tortillas into strips and baked them, then topped the chili with them along with cilantro and chopped avocado. I had planned to freeze some of this for leftovers, but it was gone too quickly.

  5. Eliza says:

    Hi! Would I be able to put all the ingredients in a pot before work (and leave it in the fridge) so when I get home I can just put it on the stove for an hour? Would the beans get too soft being in the liquid and fridge all day? Thanks!

  6. Anna says:

    Help! We just made this as a dish for a family in the neighborhood who just had a baby. I think it’s a bit spicy – I’m worried about gifting something they may not eat! Not sure if I’ll get a response in time but…..ideas for toning it down after I’ve already cooked it? TIA

    • Sorry about the delay, Anna. I hope everything worked out okay. Sometimes adding a touch of sugar can dampen the heat, but it definitely won’t work magic. :(

  7. Shadoe says:

    I used a 28oz can by accident, and I also doubled the chicken, it came out REALLY good!!! Perfect for the cold nights.

  8. Jennie says:

    Could I modify the cooking instructions to make in a slow cooker? Or would that make the beans too soft?

    • The beans probably would get really soft, but I don’t think that would be a super terrible thing. Or, you can try cooking the rest of the ingredients in the slow cooker (high for 4 hours, or low for 8) and then just add the beans at the end and warm through.

  9. Just made this–and it is sooo good! I subbed hominy for the corn, because it’s what I had on hand, and it was perfect!

  10. Maria says:

    Great Recipe! My husband loved it! =) Thank you so much! I don’t have any cooking experience but every time I make your recipes it turns out great!

  11. Jahyeon says:

    Just made this for dinner omg so good! It was a little soupy but i didnt mind:) it does have a lil kick to it which i love!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Easy and tasty. Using (low sodium) veg juice is a great way to add some nutrients to this dish, brilliant. I also enjoyed mine with some leftover yellow corn tortilla chips crumbled over top. This blog is awesome. Thanks.

  13. I’m one of those simple people that likes to make the same thing over and over again, and I’ve probably made this 4 times since I stumbled on the recipe. Big fan of your site now. Thanks!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I made this over the weekend for some friends and it was oh so delicious!!!

  15. Yummy Yummy!!!!

  16. We had this for dinner tonight – so good! I added a green bell pepper just because I had it left over from your amazing burritos recipe I made…

    The chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – smelt so good out of the can! I sliced the remaining pepper and put everything left over from the can in a freezer bag. Folded the freezer bag in thirds. I really didn’t want to throw the rest away! I think I had a larger can of it then you used.

  17. Made this for supper tonight – super good! Thanks for the recipe!

  18. I made this with blackened tempeh- 100% vegan and SO GOOD with tofutti sour cream, daiya chedder and cilantro!

  19. Just made this for our church’s fall festival, and it won second place for the chili cook-off! First time my cooking has ever won anything…!

  20. Made this delicious recipe’ for my husband and I this week. We each had a serving and froze the rest. Your blog has completely revolutionized our meal planning. Grocery shopping and making dinner used to be such a chore and was a great burden on our check book. Now I look forward to writing out a meal plan each week and it has cut our food budget in half, if not more!! Nothing goes unused and all of the meals are delicious and nutritious! Thank you so much for your blog and amazing recipes!

  21. Angela – Yes, this is fantastic for freezing!

  22. This is on the menu for next week at my house. We have a small family and I’m wondering if this will freeze well? I assume so but just thought I’d ask and see if you had tried it yet. Thanks!

  23. Janiece says:

    Great recipe. I used Low Sodium Spicy V8. It came in a 46 oz container so I just used it all. Excellent taste. Next time, I am going to add the sweet potato to give it a bigger taste difference that so many other ‘Mexican’ soups/stoups like Taco Bowls and Taco soup.

    My only suggestion is to call it Chunky Chicken Chipotle Chili soooo it would be C4…you know like the plastic explosive?? I do like puns.

  24. This is cooking now and smells so good! I doubled the recipe and used crushed tomatoes since I am out of diced. I added more chicken since I am well stocked right now. My house smells so good!

  25. S – Mine is somewhere between 5-7 quarts… I don’t have the original paperwork, so I’m not exactly sure :)

  26. This looks awesome! Can’t wait to try it. I LOVE your blog, and have shared it with my family and friends, and they love it too!

    Question (unrelated to this recipe): What size slow cooker do you use for the recipes you’ve posted? I recently took possession of my boyfriend’s slow cooker because he doesn’t use it, but it’s quite small, no bigger than 3 qts, probably closer to 2.5. Thanks!

  27. 4 cups = 32 oz. in case anyone was wondering lol I know i was! I do all your recipes exact so I can modify them effectively.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Margaret – Since I eat a lot of spicy foods, I have a feeling that my 3 would be your 7… so it’s probably safe to just say that they’re fairly spicy. I would maybe try some smoked paprika to get that smokey flavor, and maybe extra chili powder to give it more of a chili flavor without the kick.

  30. Margaret says:

    I’m a bit sensitive to spice, how hot do the chipotle peppers make this dish on a scale of 1-10. And, if its above a 7, what do you suggest as an alternative

  31. This looks awesome. I love chipotle anything!

  32. It was definitely delicious! V8 wasn’t very cost effective so I used a no name vegetable cocktail and it still came out very nicely. I’d like to try it possibly with tomato juice next time as I would prefer more ability to control salt/spice content. I’m also stocked for over a week as I made a double batch :D

  33. Mackenzie – Oh, you’re right about the tomatoes! Thanks for pointing it out, I just fixed it :) I hope your chili turns out delish!

  34. making this right now! My first time making soup :) it looks like the steps at the top don’t include adding the can of diced tomatoes, but I added it with the beans and stuff since it’s in the picture.
    thanks again for all the fun recipes!

  35. Ash_phoenix – I think this will work great in a slow cooker. It has many of the same ingredients as the Taco Chicken Bowls, and those turn out wonderfully after 8 hours :)

    Aine – Like Dean said, it’s a vegetable juice mix, so it has a slightly different flavor than regular tomato juice. If you look in the step by step photos, you can see a picture of the bottle, which might help. I hope they sell it where you are!

  36. Rachel says:

    I don’t like beans in my chili, so I made this tonight with diced sweet potatoes instead of beans–it’s absolutely delicious! Perfectly smoky and spicy without being overpowering, great for a fall night.

  37. Just made this for dinner. It’s delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  38. Dean James says:

    Aine – V8 is a vegetable juice, it’s available from Tesco, and probably other supermarkets too.

  39. I am U.K. based and I wonder if any of you could please let me know just what “V8″ is ??

  40. This recipe sounds delicious and I think I’m going to attempt putting it in the slow cooker today. Do you think it will hold up well?

  41. Alaina M. says:

    Spicy V8 is the “secret ingredient” in so many of my chilies/soups. I always seem to get coupons for it in the mail or online, so it can be more affordable.

  42. Emily – I noticed that too! Hahahah

  43. this sounds so flavorful! i have some leftover chipotle chilies in the freezer too… yum :)

  44. Your cumin made a heart in the pot!

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