Barbecue Pulled Chicken Chili

Barbecue Pulled Chicken Chili

You know me by now.  You know that my rough-day cure-all is a cold porter and a plate of classic fudge brownies.   By now, you know that big bowls of soup are my favorite cold-weather food.  What you don’t know is that before making this easy-peasy chili, I paced around deciding whether or not it would work. And should I put cabbage in it. Really? Cabbage? Berrrrrserk.

Exuberance was my reaction to the finished product.  I added shredded smoked gouda cheese on the top, had a nice toasty piece of sourdough bread and was aiming to shout “barbecue pulled chicken chili!!” from the mountain tops.

A. It was cold outside, so the shouting stayed in-doors at the base of the mountains.

B. I’m thankful the “don’t add the cabbage” voice was heeded.

C. Barbecue Pulled Chicken Chili!!

Barbecue Pulled Chicken Chili

It’s the perfect balance of smoky, sweet, salty and spicy. It warms the belly. I made the chili on the stovetop because I already had barbecue pulled chicken from a previous recipe. You can make this recipe using your crock pot by cooking a chicken breast with all of the ingredients and shredding the chicken once cooked all the way through. You have options. You have barbecue sauce; you know what I’m going to say next about this chili. Go!

Barbecue Pulled Chicken Chili

Servings: 4 bowls
Author: Julia


  • 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
  • ½ yellow onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 jalapeños seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups cooked pulled chicken*
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can garbanzo beans drained
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons your favorite bbq sauce I like Trader Joe’s
  • Smoked gouda cheese and cilantro for topping


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil to medium and sauté the onion until soft, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and jalapeño and sauté another 3 to 5 minutes, until the jalapeño is fragrant.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes (including juices), garbanzo beans, chicken broth, chili powder and bbq sauce.
  4. Bring to a full boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove cover, add the pulled chicken and return to a full boil for 3 to 5 minutes to allow chili to thicken.
  6. Serve with shredded smoked gouda cheese on top and toasted sourdough bread.

Recipe Notes

*You have several options for “pulling” the chicken.
Option 1: I cooked my chicken in a crockpot with barbecue sauce on low for 6 hours and then shredded the chicken with a fork. I added the already cooked pulled bbq chicken to the chili.

Option 2: You can boil the chicken until cooked all the way through, shred it with a fork, toss it in a couple tablespoons of bbq sauce and add to the chili.

Option 3: Chop raw chicken breasts and brown the chicken with the onion and instead of having pulled chicken, you can use chopped chicken for the chili

Option 4: Throw everything, including 1 large chicken breast, in a crock pot and cook all day on low. Remove the chicken breast from the crock, shred with a fork then return the shredded chicken to the crock and stir before serving. If you choose this method, add an additional tablespoon or two of barbecue sauce.

Option 5: Marinate a chicken breast in bbq sauce, grill it until cooked all the way through, shred with a fork and add to the chili.

Barbecue Pulled Chicken Chili


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  1. Abby

    Shout it loud girl!! You have combined 3 of my favorite foods ever, which is why we are friends 😀 bbq chicken, chili and smoked cheese, OH MY! I think you’re on to something with soups and stews as the cure for cold weather, warm & hearty but healthy too. Next time I’ll bring the porter.

    1. Julia Post author

      Yeeeeah! So glad you like it. I ate it for like 4 meals in a row…including breakfast. I think it’s my favorite chili I have made so far and that’s a big step for me because I’m a huge chili lover 🙂 Hope you’re having a great weekend, lady!!

  2. Jenn@slim-shoppin

    This is perfect – I have leftover pulled bbq chicken in my fridge last night. I made homemade pretzel buns and had bbq pulled chicken sammies, but WAY too much leftover chicken.

    Totally going to make this tonight for my lunches this week! Thank you!!!

    1. Julia Post author

      Jenn, I’m so happy to hear it! This soup was inspired by the same “problem!!” We had extra pulled chicken on hand and were kind of sick of putting it on sandwiches, so I figured a nice smoky chili would do the trick. Let me know how yours turns out!!

  3. Sarah

    “You know that my rough-day cure-all is a cold porter and a plate of classic fudge brownies. ”

    Can we be besties? You are clearly my kind of woman.

    These photos are fantastic, and I hope you’ll consider contributing this post to this month’s Shine Supper Club. Our theme is one-pot meals.


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