Low Carb Chili Recipe with Ground Chicken

Low carb chili recipe with ground chicken. Pictured: chili with cheese, green onion, crackers, and cornbread muffins on the side.

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My low carb chili is something I look forward to all day when I know it’s for dinner that evening. On a brisk fall day, this will warm up the house, smell delicious, and taste even better.

Now, I’ll admit it up front — I’m not a big chili fan like most chili fans are. But I really love this particular chili recipe because it’s so flavorful. It’s packed with protein, diabetic friendly nutrition, and just a smidge of kick. It’s low carb, naturally gluten free, and a heart healthy one pot meal for lunch or dinner. So bake up some cornbread muffins and grab a spoon. You’ll want to put this on repeat!

Low Carb Gluten Free Chicken Chili. Pictured: a bowl of chili with cheese and green onion and crackers with cornbread muffins on the side.
Pictured above with diabetic friendly cornbread muffins

How to Make Low Carb Chili

This one pot meal is super easy to put together. You’ll see in the recipe below that the directions are pretty brief. It’s basically browning the meat, add some veggies, dump in all the other ingredients, give it a stir, and let it do its thing. So here are all the details in just 3 easy steps.

Low carb chili recipe ingredients. Pictured: olive oil, ground chicken, onion, bell pepper, chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato paste, applesauce, and spices.

1. Prep Ingredients AHEAD

I don’t typically include this as a step for a recipe because it’s a bit obvious, but this recipe comes together so quickly, it’s important to have everything ready to go up front. This includes chopping an onion, dicing bell peppers, draining and rinsing beans, and measuring out all the other ingredients. (You can just measure and put everything except the meat, onion, and bell pepper all into an easy-pour bowl if you want a quicker clean up later. It all goes in at once anyway!)

2. Brown the Ground Chicken

Now it’s time to cook the chicken. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the chicken and break it up as it browns.

Drain any grease from the meat, and return the meat to the pot. Then throw in the onion and bell peppers to cook for a few minutes.

low carb chili chicken and veggies

3. Add ALL the Other Ingredients

At this point, we are ready to add in all the other ingredients: chicken broth, beans, frozen corn, tomatoes, tomato paste, applesauce, chili powder, oregano, thyme, cayenne, and garlic.

(I will say this up front – this chili recipe does have a little bit of a kick. Nothing my kids can’t eat though. If you want more kick in your chili, feel free to add some extra spice. if you want a milder chili, cut back on the cayenne or leave it out all together.)

Give it all a good stir, and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, lower the heat to simmer with the lid on for about an hour, stirring a couple times as it cooks.

low carb chili simmering

Carbs in Low Carb Chili

As you might imagine, the carbs in “low carb” chili are pretty low. But there are still some. They come mainly from the beans and corn, and a bit from the applesauce too.

With the specific brand of ingredients I used for this recipe, the entire total was 274g of carbs. With this recipe making 12 one-cup servings, that’s 22g of carbs per serving.

Be sure to work this into your diet how you best manage your diabetes. And be sure to count the total carbs (or net carbs when dealing with fiber) in the specific products you use. Different brands vary in ingredients, so be doubly sure of the nutritional information in what you’re eating.

Low carb chicken chili recipe
Pictured above with diabetic friendly cornbread muffins

What makes a diabetes friendly recipe?

The term “diabetic friendly” is considered differently by different people. We all have unique diets and preferences and ways to manage our diabetes. And although most people with type 2 diabetes limit carbs and sugar intake for more of a low carb lifestyle, some people with type 1 diabetes will tell you they can eat literally whatever they want as long as they dose for it. And I won’t necessarily argue that.

For me, after living with type 1 for 30+ years, I consider something to be diabetic friendly if it is either:

  • a recipe that combines fiber, fat, and protein to help stabilize blood sugar levels to avoid a blood sugar spike
  • a more diabetes friendly alternative to the ingredients you would normally find in a traditional version of that recipe

what makes this chili recipe diabetes friendly?

This recipe is both of those two options!

First, this low carb chili recipe combines the fiber from the beans and peppers, the protein from the ground chicken and beans, and the fat from the chicken and olive oil (and the shredded cheese I put on top!) to help stabilize blood sugar. I honestly don’t see a blood sugar spike when I eat this meal.

Also, we use ground chicken as our main meat choice in lieu of ground beef or another higher fat protein. And applesauce helps sweeten the recipe just a touch as a natural sweetener instead of straight sugar.

Kaycee cooking and baking diabetes friendly recipes

I’m all about ingredient substitution, and I have been for years. I love to sub in healthier ingredients for traditional ones. Sub in whole wheat flour for all purpose flour. Exchange dark chocolate for milk chocolate. Sub applesauce or vegetable oil or coconut oil for butter. Use greek yogurt for sour cream. Try natural sweeteners or a sugar substitute for regular sugar. You get the picture. And you can get any of these basic things at any grocery store around, so it’s super simple to make healthier substitutions.

Sides to serve with Low Carb Chili

As a kid, I was always served chili with half a peanut butter sandwich (cut into a triangle, of course). But when my husband and I lived in Kansas City, people always served chili with a cinnamon roll. It was a thing every time. Maybe it’s to cut the heat with sweetness? I never got the answer while we were there, so please tell me if you know.

Other ideas might include my diabetic friendly cornbread muffins (pictured below) or crackers like I’ve done here, or a whole grain roll. Anything for dipping, if you ask me! But consider the carbs.

Low carb chili paired with cornbread muffins
pictured above with diabetic friendly cornbread muffins

Variations on Low Carb Chili

There are several ingredients in this low carb chili, and all the variation options would be a pretty long list. But here are a few that immediately come to mind:

  • Use ground turkey instead of ground chicken.
  • Not a fan of bell peppers? Use one instead of two, and dice it super small.
  • Prefer a different type of bean in your chili? Go for it.
  • Cut the carbs even more by leaving out the corn.
  • Looking for a hotter recipe? Add some kick. Want a milder recipe? Use half the cayenne.

OTHER PRO TIPS & IDEAS

  • First, this recipe makes a lot – so be prepared for that. Or cut it in half. But I always make this much because it freezes well. Then the next time I’m craving this chili recipe, it’s already made!
  • Also, in draining the meat, I would recommend this super simple way someone taught me. Line a bowl with aluminum foil, set your colander on top of that, and drain the meat into the colander. The foil-lined bowl will catch the grease and you can harden it in the fridge easily before tossing it. No mess and no grease down the drain!
  • I would also suggest making this ahead of time. There’s something pretty magical that happens overnight with this stuff. It warms up really well and tastes even better the next day!
  • For storage – I like to keep it in the pot I made it in as long as there’s room for it in the fridge. But it would keep well in the fridge for several days in any air-tight container. Then freeze what’s left after a few days and you have another quick and easy meal down the road.

And now for your free recipe!

Low carb chili recipe with ground chicken. Pictured: chili with cheese, green onion, crackers, and cornbread muffins on the side.

Low Carb Chili Recipe with Ground Chicken

a low carb, gluten free, high protein, one pot chili recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 14 oz. black beans drained and rinsed
  • 14 oz. kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 c. frozen corn
  • 14 oz. fire roasted diced tomatoes undrained
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 2 t. oregano
  • 2 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. cayenne
  • 1/2 t. thyme

Instructions
 

  • Prep all ingredients in advance: chop the onion, dice the bell pepper, drain and rinse the beans, and measure out all other ingredients.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the chicken and break up while browning until fully cooked.
  • Add the onion and bell pepper and let cook until they start to soften (3-5 minutes).
  • Add all other ingredients: chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato paste, applesauce, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne, and thyme. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  • Cover the pot, turn down the heat, and simmer for about one hour, stirring occasionally.

Notes

Low Carb Chili Recipe with Ground Chicken nutrition facts
Keyword gluten free, heart healthy, high protein, low carb, one pot meal

DID YOU MAKE this recipe?

If you’ve made this recipe, would you please leave a comment? I would love to hear from you!

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NOTE: I am not a certified nutritionist or registered dietician. Nothing here should be taken as professional medical advice. Any nutritional information provided should be used as a general guideline and estimate only. For the most accurate information, please calculate based on the specific ingredients and brands you use, as well as any changes you make to the recipe.

PIN FOR LATER

Low Carb Gluten Free Chicken Chili. Pictured: a bowl of chili with cheese and green onion and crackers with cornbread muffins on the side.

MORE RECIPES TO ENJOY

Hearty Italian Ground Turkey Soup with Vegetables
healthy whole grain pasta for diabetics
15 Healthy Fall Recipes for Balanced Blood Sugar

COUNT CARBS and Nutrition Facts EASILY

Looking for a way to count your carbs, fat, fiber, and protein easily? Look no further… 

I love how this template makes counting nutrition facts SO easy. You literally list the total grams from each ingredient, total it at the bottom, and divide by the number of servings. Voila! 

This recipe template walks you through every step. And you can keep it for future reference. Just calculate it once and you’re done!

Check my Etsy store for an instant download that includes a cover page, section header pages for different kinds of recipes, section tabs, and this recipe template.

Diabetic Recipe Template with Carb Counting and Nutrition Facts

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Kaycee - Devotions on Diabetes

HEY - I'M KAYCEE!

Welcome to my Devotions on Diabetes website! Thanks for stopping by. I've lived with diabetes for 30+ years. And I'm here to provide you with a heaping helping of encouragement while you deal with diabetes and navigate this chronic illness with God by your side.

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