Queso Chicken Chili with Roasted Corn and Jalapeño

87 reviews / 4.9 average

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.

Other Yummy Chili Goodness

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Queso Chicken Chili with Roasted Corn and Jalapeño

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • 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.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Tex Mex

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

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One More Thing!

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

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Recipe rating


  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

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

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Hibah Nazir

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

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is DELICIOUS. I stumbled upon the recipe by accident, and now I crave it. It’s also infinitely malleable and can be changed up to reflect your preferences and the contents of your pantry. I don’t love corn, so I substitute an extra can of beans. I’ve also thrown in a bunch of chopped kale. I love spicy SPICY food, so I add a habanero in addition to the jalapeno and use the hottest salsa I can find. I used a ghost pepper salsa the first time I made it and it was far too spicy for everyone but me – bonus, no sharing required! 😉 My partner doesn’t like his food quite so searingly spicy, so I just add a little extra cream cheese to his to tone down the burn. Tonight, I used regular “hot” salsa, a shredded cheddar/Jack blend instead of pepper Jack, and three cans of beans (one black, one red, one white) in place of the chicken and corn. I always add a diced yellow onion and a couple of cloves of garlic.

    This is excellent with or without chicken, and I bet it would be great with shredded pork, too. So filling and cozy for these first few nights of autumn and all winter long! Thank you!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Mary Prokopczyk

    This looks like it will be a sure winner. Can you tell those of us who don’t own a slow cooker or instant pot how to adjust this if you’re just using a regular stove and pot?

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Just made this tonight as written! Soooooo good! I was worried about not having enough spices but it was super flavorful. Very easy in the instant pot. Love this blog so much!!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Julia Reesor

    I made this recipe yesterday. It is the best chicken chili I have ever eaten! Absolutely love it, as did my hubby. It has just enough kick to make it interesting. The flavors are so delicious!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Just made this in the instant pot and it was amazing! I quick released after 20 minutes and the chicken was extremely tender and easy to shred, I’ve had problems before with other chicken chilis in the instant pot being tough or rubbery. The only changes I made were adding a roasted yellow diced onion, I added about 1/4 of a cup of water instead of the full half a cup, and I doubled the chili powder and cumin. Will absolutely make this again, many times!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Delicious! This recipe and your chicken cacciatore recipe are my 2 favorite instant pot recipes.

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made this a couple nights ago and it was amazing! My husband and 2 year old loved it as well. We will be adding this to our regular rotation of meals 🙂

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Would this work as a freezer meal? If I went ahead and threw it all in a freezer baggie and saved for a later date?

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’m going to make this, it sounds incredible. I only have a crock-pot and I intend to use that to make this – do you have any suggestions for how to make this in the crock-pot? Thanks!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Hi there, Eman!
        So sorry, but I’m having trouble finding the slow cooker instructions on the recipe card. I’m sure I’m just looking in the wrong place, but if you could help me find it, I would be so appreciative! This sounds delicious! 🙂
        Thank you!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Caroline Elliot

    This was amazing! My chicken turned out chewy but I’m pretty sure it’s because I partially thawed it in the microwave and then put it straight in the instant pot still partially frozen. Can’t wait to try this with jackfruit, like another reviewer said, to make it vegetarian!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Caroline—you can cook frozen breasts in the instant pot, just add an extra 2-3 min. No need to partially thaw! Also though, we shred ours when frozen After 15-16 min in the pot, thawed about 13 min. Maybe it also depends on size. 🤷🏻‍♀️

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    So GOOD! I used boneless skinless thighs and put a whole onion and clove of garlic in.

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was delish! Will definitely make again. I used corn cooked from frozen and beans cooked from dried (just my preference) and also used full-fat cream cheese spread instead of light block cream cheese.

    I’m wondering if this would freeze well, as I know that sometimes recipes with dairy do not. Do you think it would work if you froze it with the cream cheese but before stirring in the shredded cheese at the end, then just add the shredded cheese when reheating? Thanks!