Ina Garten's Chicken Chili With A Twist

Ina Garten sure knows what she's doing when it comes to cooking. The celebrity chef is one of the most well-known in the industry, and pretty much every recipe that she puts out there is a slam dunk. Her famous chicken chili is one of her best known, with a five-star rating on Food Network's website and hundreds of rave reviews. 

Recipe developer Jaime Shelbert of Wholly Nourished has put a fun–and rich–spin on Garten's chicken chili that's sure to spice up the original dish. Shelbert's twist is "to deepen the flavor" of the dish by roasting some of the veggies, swapping out one of the main herbs, and tweaking the spices to give this chili a bolder taste. 

Since your mouth is probably already watering, you should also know before you get started that Ina Garten's chili with a twist is perfect for a crowd, a family dinner, or pretty much any other occasion. Here's how to make it. 

What did we change?

Jaime Shelbert's twist on Ina Garten's chicken chili recipe gives it a smokier taste. The Barefoot Contessa's chili uses basil as its main herb, but Shelbert has swapped that out for fresh cilantro. Additionally, she decided to roast the peppers before throwing them into the chili to simmer, and to use smoked paprika in place of Garten's cayenne and red pepper flakes.

Though not quite as hot as the original, Shelbert's chili is definitely bolder. "It's bursting with flavor," she says.

Grab your ingredients for the chicken chili with a twist

You're going to need a fair number of ingredients. For the vegetables, you'll need garlic, yellow onions, red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, and two 28-ounce cans of whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree. As chicken is the star of this chili, grab two large, split, bone-in chicken breasts with the skin still on.

For the spices, grab chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and kosher salt. Rounding out your ingredients list is olive oil, minced cilantro, and freshly ground pepper.

Additional ingredients include any toppings you might want to throw on top of your chili, like tortilla strips, shredded cheese, or avocado. 

Prep your peppers and onions

For the first step in the process, you simply need to turn on your oven, then you can core your peppers and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Simply drizzle olive oil over the tops and season them with salt, then pop them in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until they're slightly charred. Once they cool enough to touch, chop them up to add to the chili later. You don't even need to remove the skins.

Cook your veggies with the spices

Take out a skillet, pot, or Dutch oven and turn the burner onto medium-low heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat and add in the onions. The onions will take about 10 to 15 minutes to turn translucent. Once they change color, you can add the garlic. Now, your kitchen should be smelling pretty amazing. Once the onions finish cooking with the garlic, you can add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and salt. 

These items only need to cook for about a minute, so get crushing the tomatoes–either by hand or in batches using a food processor fitted with a steel blade. If you opt to use the food processor, pulse about six to eight times per batch so the tomatoes keep a little texture, like they would if you crushed them by hand. Then you add the tomatoes to the pot and bring everything to a boil. 

Roast the chicken

Now, you'll want to reduce your heat to a simmer. Make sure that your chili is left uncovered, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. You can occasionally stir to make sure everything is well combined. Then lower the heat of your oven (which you left on after roasting the peppers) to 350 F. 

To prep your chicken, rub the pieces with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle salt and pepper generously over each—this will add great flavor that will soak into the chicken breasts while they cook. Once the chicken is oiled up and seasoned, it's ready to roast in the oven. Set your timer for 35 minutes. Once your timer goes off, take the chicken out of the oven, but let it cool before separating the meat from the bones and skin. 

Once it's cool, you chop the meat to about the same size as the peppers and add it to the chili. Simmer everything uncovered for another 20 minutes, then take it off the heat and get ready to serve.

Add the cilantro

For the final step in the process, stir in the chopped cilantro. This will add just a bit more of a fresh flavor. You can serve this chicken chili with a twist in individual dishes and with the toppings of your choosing. Shelbert recommends serving avocado, lime wedges, or shredded cheese. Other great additions include sour cream, tortilla strips or tortilla chips. The possibilities are endless with chili toppings!

If you happen to have any leftovers, you can either stick them in the fridge or freeze them for future use. "The chili will last in the fridge four days, or four months in the freezer," Shelbert says. We hope that you loved this take on Ina Garten's chili chicken recipe as much as we do!

Ina Garten's Chicken Chili With A Twist
5 from 20 ratings
Ina Garten's chicken chili recipe with a twist adds roasted veggies, smoked paprika, and cilantro instead of basil for a dish that's a perfect family dinner.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Chicken chili in pot and serving bowls with bowls of fresh cilantro and cheese
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for chicken and peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for chicken
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 large split chicken breasts, bone-in, skin on
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Optional Ingredients
  • tortilla strips
  • avocado
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  • lime wedges
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
  2. Place the peppers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt.
  3. Roast the peppers for 25 minutes until slightly charred. Let them cool, then slice them into ¾-inch chunks.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the onions in the tablespoon of oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  5. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and salt. Cook for 1 minute.
  6. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulsing six to eight times. Add the tomatoes to the pot and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  9. Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  10. Roast the chicken for 35 minutes, until just cooked. Let the chicken cool slightly, then separate the meat from the bones and skin, and cut the meat into ¾-inch chunks.
  11. Add the meat to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes.
  12. Stir in the chopped cilantro. Serve with the toppings of your choice.
Calories per Serving 283
Total Fat 13.6 g
Saturated Fat 3.8 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 62.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 22.7 g
Dietary Fiber 6.0 g
Total Sugars 10.5 g
Sodium 404.2 mg
Protein 19.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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