Onion-Free, Garlic-Free Chicken Chili Recipe

Chicken chili
Chicken chili. Getty Images/Sheri L Giblin/Photolibrary
Total Time 45 min
Prep 5 min, Cook 40 min
Servings 8 to 10 servings Chicken Chili

Is onion-free and garlic-free chili just a pipe dream? Making chili without onions or garlic is a double challenge: Not only do virtually all chili recipes include one or both of these ingredients, but you'll normally find one or both in commercial chili powders.

The solution? Make your own by using other aromatics to build a satisfying flavor and by using the other flavor components of spice mixes like chili powder and adobo to add heat and that indescribable "chili"-ness.

Based on a rice-and-bean chili my family ate often when I was growing up, no one will guess anything's unusual about this party-ready Onion-Free, Garlic-Free Chicken Chili recipe. It's free from all "big eight" food allergens to boot.


  • 2 red bell peppers, cored and diced
  • 2 serrano peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 pounds ground chicken or skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons ground red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoons dried oregano, or 3 tablespoons fresh
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 6 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black or pinto beans, or about 1 1/2 cups freshly cooked small beans
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes (with juice), or about 3 cups peeled, diced, and seeded tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice, rinsed and drained


  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat a small amount of oil over medium-low heat. Cook peppers gently for about 5 minutes, or until they barely start to brown.
  2. Add chicken to pot and brown on all sides over medium heat (you may need to add a little more oil), about 8 to 10 minutes. When chicken has browned, add salt and pepper to taste, ground red pepper, paprika, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Stir thoroughly to coat chicken and peppers with spices.
  1. Add chicken broth, beans, and tomatoes to pot and gently bring to a boil. When mixture boils, add rice, stir, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for at least 25 minutes. After rice is cooked, taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
  2. Chili is ready to eat at this point, but can be simmered further -- up to several hours -- for even stronger flavor. Simmer uncovered if you want a thicker chili and covered if you prefer a more soup-like texture. Stir every 15 to 20 minutes to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan while simmering.

Ingredient Note: Although they are slightly more expensive than bone-in whole chicken thighs, you'll find that boneless thighs are the easiest to use for this recipe.

Storage Note: This chili stores in the refrigerator for about a week and in the freezer for at least three months.

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