Queso Chicken Chili with Roasted Corn and Jalapeño Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Queso Chicken Chili with Roasted Corn and Jalapeño

97 reviews / 4.9 average

Queso Chicken Chili! Creamy, spicy, and so easy. Made with roasted corn, jalapeño, and creamy Pepper Jack cheese. Super easy dinner!

Howdy hey!

We are in the midst of Deep Winter and I have a load of Queso Crockpot Chicken Chili with Roasted Corn and Jalapeño leftovers waiting for me in the fridge, brought to me by a weekend of relaxing. I think we’ve already talked about the beauty of a good Instant Pot or slow cooker meal in that it pretty much cooks itself, but in case it hasn’t been said enough: my ultimate favorite thing in life is when relaxing = flavorful, delicious, comforting, filling, warm dinner.

This soup is lots of things:

  • creamy
  • spicy
  • full of veggies
  • full of protein
  • very filling
  • queso-y cheesy
  • only slightly trashy thanks to a little knob of cream cheese
  • better as leftovers
  • perfect for chip dippin’.
Queso Crockpot Chicken Chili in a crockpot with a wooden spoon.

Some Tips For Making This Chili Awesome

  • Skillet-roast the corn. With the jalapeño.
  • Skillet-roast the peppers, too.
  • If you don’t want to stand at a skillet – I GET IT! The whole point of this is easy-button cooking. In that case, roast the corn and peppers! Instructions for both are below, in the recipe. (The reason we aren’t adding them to the crockpot or Instant Pot is because they just kinda disappear. We want the good flavor and the non-disappearing.)
  • The flavor just develops into something amazing the longer you let it hang out together in the crockpot or Instant Pot. What I’m saying is the leftovers will be amazing.
  • Add or subtract whatever you want here. Like many-a-good crockpot or Instant Pot recipes, this is one where you can kind of do whatever you want. I mean, if you want it in there, just… throw it in there. You can follow the recipe and/or you can blaze your own trail.

I love you, Mexican food. Or Tex-Mexican. Or Tex-Mex appliance cooking.

Only 27 days until spring. WE GOT THIS.

Queso chicken chili in a bowl with avocado and a spoon.

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Queso chicken chili topped with avocado in a grey bowl.

Queso Chicken Chili with Roasted Corn and Jalapeño

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


Queso Chicken Chili! Creamy, spicy, and so easy. Made with roasted corn, jalapeño, and creamy Pepper Jack cheese. Super easy dinner!


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 cups salsa, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bell peppers, minced
  • 1 14 ounce can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (without ribs and seeds)
  • 1 14 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 ounces light cream cheese
  • 6 ounces Pepper Jack cheese
  • cilantro for topping
  • blue corn tortilla chips for yummy dippin’


  1. Place the chicken breasts, 1 1/2 cups salsa, water, cumin, chili powder and salt in the bowl of a slow cooker or Instant Pot. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6-7 hours (or in the Instant Pot for 20 minutes on high pressure)
  2. Preheat oven to 450. Pat the peppers and corn dry with a paper towel. Place on a baking sheet with a little bit of oil. Roast for 10-15 minutes, until browned and… well, roasty-looking.
  3. When the chicken is done, shred the meat directly in the pot using two forks. Add the roasted peppers, roasted corn and jalapeño, black beans, remaining salsa, and cream cheese to the crockpot. Stir and replace cover, allowing the cream cheese to melt. Adjust the consistency of the soup by adding another 1/2 cup of water if needed. Let the soup simmer for another 15-30 minutes until everything is smooth and melted. Just before serving, stir in the Pepper Jack cheese.
  4. Spoon chicken chili into a bowl, top with avocado, scoop everything up with tortilla chips. REPEAT!



If you’d rather cook your peppers and corn over a skillet: Place the bell peppers in a large nonstick skillet over high heat without oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes WITHOUT stirring. This creates the browned, roasted look out on the outside of the peppers. Stir once and repeat until the peppers are nice and browned. Set aside. Repeat this process with the corn and jalapeño together.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Tex Mex

Keywords: chicken chili, queso chicken chili, instant pot chicken chili, crockpot chicken chili

Other Yummy Chili Goodness

One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our flavor-packed jalapeño recipes page. Check it out!

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Another punch of yum win! So good! I added about an additional cup of water to thin it out a bit more – we will definitely make this again.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Omg, I would like to say, thank you so much for this delicious meal. It was fire 🔥… flavor and filling but not overly heavy, just enough. This was absolutely amazing and oh so yummy! I enjoyed every bite. My husband and kids loved it too. This will be in rotation for this winter cold dinner meals. I am looking forward to the next time I make this. Thank you 🙏🏽! Blessings to you and your family!!!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was so, so delicious! Instead of cooking everything in a slow cooker or InstantPot, I ended up combining cooked shredded chicken, salsa, water, beans, and spices, and heated it all in a pot on the stovetop while the peppers and corn roasted. Once they were roasted, I tossed them into the pot with the cream cheese and let it all combine for a few minutes, until everything was heated up. Then I grated the pepperjack into the pot and stirred until combined. This was so yummy…we just had it for dinner tonight, and I’m already looking forward to making it again. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Such a good soup! Made with salsa verde because I am pregnant and it turned out amazing. Also my jalapeño was super spicy so I added juice from a lime and a cup of chicken broth to mellow it out. Will make again! Thank you.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi this queso chicken chili says it serves 8. Is that 8 cups? Making this for a company chili contest and just wanted to make sure I had the correct amount for everyone to try. Thanks!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was perfection and so quick! Going in the fall and winter meal rotation for sure!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’ve made this A LOT. It is super easy and packed with flavor. Plus I love all the things you can put on top! This last time, as I was pulling out all the ingredients, I realized I only had 1/2 lb of chicken. Welp, I improvised, adding in a can of pinto beans and a chopped onion to help bulk it up. I actually liked it better if you can believe it!
    I put my chicken in frozen and shred when I add in the cream cheese which is convenient and I put the beans in at the start instead of waiting. I was thinking next time to add a tablespoon or two of chipotles in adobe or smoked paprika. Great recipe to play around with!! Thanks!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I think it’s strange to put “salsa” as an ingredient. As a non-American, I don’t know how it is made and we dont have it ready made in stores. Also, your “Jump to recipe” button is not working, but I assume you already know that.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I absolutely love this recipe. I make it all the time, but without the cream cheese. Could you tell me what the nutritional facts would be without the cream cheese? Thank you!!!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    another hit! I added DIY cashew cream blended with a little nutritional yeast at the end instead of cream cheese to keep it dairy-free, and let the dairy folks sprinkle on their own cheese. Delicious, easy, fast, SO satisfying and flavorful! xo

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    So even though I didn’t have the bell pepper – this turned out soooooo yummy! Definitely a keeper. But definitely want to try with the bell pepper next time.

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    In process of making this . . . only to find I have NOOOOO bell peppers. 🙁 so bummed, but going try adding roasted onion and additional beans).

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    AMAZING!! We will make this again and again! We left out the cheese and just did cream cheese and it was still wonderful.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is on the menu for this week! We are (sadly) non-bean chili people, so would you recommend adding more corn/veggies, or just doing it without? Will report back, it sounds DELICIOUS!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Up to you! If you’d like more bulk in your chili, it’d be a great idea to add more corn/veggies!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Made this tonight and the entire family (three kids included) gobbled it up! I had chicken thighs on hand and they worked great. Used mild salsa because of the kids and it was flavorful but not spicy! Have already recommended it to friends!

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yum! Easy to make, and so tasty. I took this chili to a chili cook off and it won first place. Thanks for such a great chili recipe with tons of veggies.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      So, you used someone else’s recipe they developed in a contest that you won, AND you came here to tell them that you did this? Hahahaha the hubris.

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is a staple in our house — seriously amazing! Adjust the spice level based on what salsa you get. We fry up store-bought tortillas and dip them. Freezes well, and flavors are even stronger the next day.

    We double the chicken, but it works with the recommended amount too.

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo

    We made this last week and loved it! It came out a bit thin compared to the pictures, more like soup than chili. Any ideas how we can thicken it, or where I might have gone wrong? Thanks for the great recipe!

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi! How would you adjust the cooking time in a slow cooker if using ground turkey instead of chicken?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      We haven’t tested this using ground turkey in a slow cooker, but we think the cooking time would be the same.

  20. Pinch of Yum Logo

    If I make this with ground beef instead, how should I adjust the cooking time?