Chicken Chili Verde

I’m still in the process of feeding off of the stores of “left over” items in my pantry and freezer. I had two split breasts (bone-in, skinless) in my freezer, left over from the Caldo Xochitl, that I knew would make a good hearty meal (or two.. or ten).

Chili Verde was calling my name. Chicken Chili Verde to be exact. What is it? Chicken, beans, green chiles and lots of mexican spice! The only thing that separates this from regular chili is the tomatoes and maybe the seasoning ratio. Regular red chili has tons of cayenne and some cumin where as chili verde has tons of cumin and just some cayenne. Topped with super creamy monterrey jack cheese and fresh cilantro, Chicken Chili Verde is hard to beat. This is definitely going to go on my “must cook again” list.

Because I was an irresponsible cook and didn’t separate my chicken breasts before freezing, they were completely frozen together and I had to use both. This yielded a SUPER meaty chili. If I was hard pressed for cash, one breast would have done the job and cut the price considerably.

You can make this recipe in half the time if you use canned beans instead. I’m still having a hard time using a can opener with this injured wrist so I went for dry beans that come in an easy, tear-open bag. Plus, as we all know, dry beans are about 1/3 the cost of canned. Directions for the canned bean version can be found at the end of the post.

…then half way through cooking the recipe I realized that the green chiles were also in a can. ugh. So worth the pain, though.

Chicken Chili Verde

Chicken Chili Verde

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5 from 2 votes

Chicken Chili Verde

Rich chicken chile verde combines creamy white beans, shredded chicken, and chopped green chiles for unbeatable flavor and belly filling power.
Total Cost: $9.15 recipe / $1.14 serving
Prep Time: 8 hrs
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time: 9 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 8


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.20)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.39)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.12)
  • 2 whole bone-in, skinless chicken breast halves ($3.78)
  • 1 lb dry white beans, great northern ($0.98)
  • 1 Tbsp bouillon ($0.30)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin ($0.15)
  • 1/2 Tbsp oregano ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes ($0.05)
  • 4 oz can diced green chiles ($0.56)
  • to taste salt and pepper ($0.05)
  • 8 oz shredded monterrey jack ($1.74)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro ($0.68)


  • Place the beans in a large pot or bowl, cover with cool water to at least two inches above the beans. Refrigerate over night. Prior to cooking the chili, pour off the water and rinse the beans.
  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Saute the onion and garlic in a large pot with olive oil over medium heat until softened.
  • Add the chicken breasts (thawed), beans, 6 cups of fresh water, bouillon, cumin, oregano, cayenne and red pepper flakes to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to medium and let simmer for one hour (no lid). If you’re concerned about the spice, start with half the cayenne and red pepper flakes and add more later if desired.
  • After the pot has been simmering for one hour, remove the chicken breasts (continue to let the pot boil). Using two forks, remove the chicken from the bone and shred the meat. Discard the carcasses and return the shredded meat to the pot.
  • Add the can of green chiles to the pot. Taste the broth and adjust seasoning as desired. Continue to let the chile simmer until thickened (about 30 minutes more). Mash some of the beans against the side of the pot to help thicken the liquid.
  • Serve each bowl of chili topped with shredded cheese and fresh cilantro leaves.


EXTRA GARNISHES OR ADDITIVES: Lime wedges, sliced jalapeno, spinach (stirred in to wilt), corn nibblets or diced fresh tomato.

Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclosure here.
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Chicken Chile Verde

Step By Step Photos

soak beans
Soak the beans over night in the refrigerator. Pour off the soaking water and rinse well.

cook onions garlic
Cook the onions and garlic in olive oil until softened.

add chicken
Add your chicken breasts…

add soaked beans
and the soaked beans…

add water seasoning
and the 6 cups of fresh water and seasonings (bouillon, cumin, oregano, cayenne and red pepper flakes).

let boil
Bring the pot up to a full boil over high heat then reduce the heat to medium and let simmer for one hour.

shred chicken
At that point, the chicken should be cooked through and soft enough to pull from the bone and shred. Let the pot continue to simmer as you do this.

add chicken back
Add the shredded chicken back to the pot…

green chiles
Along with the can of green chiles. I originally bought two cans but I thought one was sufficient in the end.

taste, adjust
Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Mash some of the beans against the side of the pot and continue to simmer the chili until thickened (about 30 minutes more).

optional corona
I happened to have a (one) lonely bottle of Corona in my fridge so I added about half cup to the chili… this is totally optional.

Chicken Chili Verde
Top each bowl with some shredded monterrey jack cheese and fresh cilantro!

Prepare with Canned Beans: Use two cans of white beans in place of the 1 lb. dry. Instead of adding 6 cups of water and 1 Tbsp of bouillon, replace with 1.5 cups of broth/bouillon (1.5 cups water + 1.5 tsp bouillon). Since the chicken will not be boiling for an hour with the beans, you’ll need to cook the chicken ahead of time, dice or shred and then add to the pot. The quickest way to cook chicken (IMHO) is to just throw it on a counter top grill. This also works best with boneless breasts as opposed to bone-in.