Poblano Chicken Chili is a recipe I dreamed up for the Instant Pot I received this Christmas. It’s creamy, spicy, and deliciously savory comfort-food at it’s absolute finest!
Studded with chunks of tender chicken and pops of sweetness from the corn, this chicken chili isn’t quite like any you’ve ever tasted. The soup starts with dry Great Northern Beans that are pressure cooked in a slurry of mildly spicy poblano peppers, some jalapeno, onion, garlic, chicken stock and some of my favorite savory herbs and spices. I don’t think you will ever have experienced beans with such deep, rich flavor!
Adding the chicken, corn and cream cheese to those beautifully savory beans and broth, creates a unique and delicious chicken chili your family will ask for over and over, again. It’s such a satisfying dish!
When David tasted this soup for the first time, he said, “Wow! You’re really onto something here!” and proceeded to polish off two bowls in record time.
This Poblano Chicken Chili recipe is a keeper. And, it’s quick enough for weeknight dinners if you make it in an Instant Pot. I think you’ll love it!
Need another quick and easy chicken recipe for the Instant Pot? Try this yummy Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti from Feast for a Fraction!
About My Instant Pot
I received my Instant Pot for Christmas. And, before you make this recipe in yours, you need to know a couple of things. David surprised me with the new *8‑quart Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer unit. I have an older 6‑quart model, too, but I don’t believe this recipe would fit in it.
You definitely don’t need the Air-Fryer model of Instant Pot for my Poblano Chicken Chili. You DO need the 8‑quart size, though. If using a 6‑quart Instant Pot, cut the recipe in half. I don’t think the full recipe will fit, safely, in that size.
With an Instant Pot, when cooking anything that might foam up as it cooks, like beans or rice, you shouldn’t fill the pot more than half full. That’s why only the 8‑quart will accommodate this full recipe.
A recipe that could take 3 hours on the stove top is done in just one hour in the Instant Pot. I used unsoaked, dry beans (which are so economical in comparison to canned) and they were tender in 30 minutes! (You will need to allow 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure. Then add, 15–20 minutes for a natural pressure release at the end. So, plan for about an hour of cook time to get things finished.
Prepping the Chicken for your Chicken Chili Recipe
Use 4 pre-cooked chicken breasts to complete this recipe. You can cook and season them any way you prefer. If you have pre-cooked chicken in the freezer or fridge for fast meal preparation, even better. I also think you could easily use a rotisserie chicken, instead of chicken breasts. So, you choose what works best for you.
Whichever chicken you decide to use, you will want to shred or chop it before adding it to the chili.
Cooking the Poblano Chicken Chili
I prepped all the ingredients ahead of time so it would come together quickly when it was time to cook.
Start by removing the seeds from the poblanos and jalapeno. Cut them into chunks and toss them into the bowl of your food processor. Peel and quarter the onion and toss that in there too, along with the garlic.
Add the oil, cumin, oregano, salt and 2 or 3 cups of the chicken stock to the food processor, too. Then pulse a few times to get things moving. Turn the processor on high and let the veggies and herbs grind down until they are a fine mince floating in the liquid.
Now, load your Instant Pot. Start with the dry beans in the bottom of the pot. Then add the chicken stock and your vegetable slurry.
Add the Better than Bouillon chicken base, bay leaf and butter. It won’t look like much, right now, but trust me. This is going to be spectacular!
Close the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the pressure valve is set to sealed. Press Pressure Cook or Manual (depending on your model) and set the time for 30 minutes. Then press start.
When you first hit the Start button, your digital screen will only show On and High. There will be 3 buttons lit up: Pressure Cook, Start and Keep Warm. This lets you know that the Instant Pot is working to come up to pressure.
When the appliance has come to full pressure, you will hear a beep and and then the display will change. It will show you are pressure cooking on Hi for 30 minutes. The Pressure Cook and Keep Warm Buttons will still be lit, but the Start button will have gone off.
At the end of the 30 minutes, the Instant Pot timer will let you know it’s done and will begin to naturally release pressure. Let the natural pressure release go for about 15–20 minutes. Then carefully release any remaining pressure.
Remove the lid from the Instant Pot. Your beans should be tender and flavorful. They will still be floating in a good amount of stock. That’s perfect!
Now, choose the Saute button on the Instant Pot and hit Start. As it begins to bubble add the diced chicken, frozen corn and cream cheese. Stir to encourage the cream cheese to melt. It will only take a couple of minutes for everything to be heated through and the cream cheese to be melted.
You’re ready to serve Poblano Chicken Chili with your favorite garnishes and toppings. We like tortilla chips, avocado, cilantro, green onion, sour cream and grated cheddar. You do you and choose your family’s favorites.
Enjoy, my friend!
To cook the Beans:
- 2 cups dry Great Northern Beans (Cannelini or Navy Beans would also work.)
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 poblano peppers, seeds removed, cut into chunks
- 1 small (or 1/2 a large) jalapeno, seeds removed, cut into chunks
- 1 medium onion, any color, quartered
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon Better than Bouillon Chicken Base
- 2 Tablespoons butter
To finish the Chili:
- 4 pre-cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped or shredded
- 2 cups frozen corn kernels
- 8 oz block of cream cheese, cut into 1″ chunks
- salt and pepper, to taste
- optional garnish ideas: grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, sliced green onions, chopped cilantro or parsley, avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips
- Peel and quarter the onion.
- Remove seeds from poblanos and jalapeno.
- Mince the garlic.
- Add the poblanos, jalapeno, onion, garlic, avocado oil, cumin and oregano to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse to start breaking down the vegetables and continue on high until a veggie/herb slurry is formed. You want the vegetables chopped down to a fine mince.
- Rinse the dry beans to remove dust and give them a quick check to remove any bad beans, pebbles or debris that may have gotten into the bag.
- Add the dry beans to the stainless steel pan/liner of an 8‑quart Instant Pot.
- Scrape in the vegetables you chopped in the food processor.
- Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, salt, chicken base and butter.
- Seal the lid on your Instant Pot and make sure the pressure valve is closed.
- Select Pressure Cook (or Manual, depending on your model) and set the timer for 30 minutes. Push the Start button.
- When the Instant Pot timer goes off in 30 minutes, allow a natural pressure release for 15–20 minutes. Then, carefully release any remaining pressure and remove the Instant Pot lid.
- Select the Saute button on your Instant Pot and hit Start.
- Give everything a good stir and remove the bay leaf. Your beans should be fully cooked and there will still be broth in the pot.
- Add the diced chicken breasts, frozen corn and cream cheese to the Instant Pot. Stir occasionally over the next couple of minutes as the cream cheese melts and chicken and corn cook through.
- Taste the chili and make sure the seasoning is good. Add salt and pepper, if needed.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 50 min
- Category: Soup, Main Dish, Chicken
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Mexican-American