Hawaiian Chicken Chili

Hawaiian Chicken Chili Recipe ThumbnailThe first time I made Hawaiian Chicken Chili I was competing in a Chili Cook-off. I wanted a recipe that forced people to think outside of the box. A recipe that challenged their definition of chili. Well, I succeeded. My entry finished dead last. What can I say? They wanted Hormels™ and I gave them Twilight Zone. Break out your shorts, your straw hats and those flower shirts. Try Hawaiian Chicken Chili today!

Hawaiian Chicken Chili

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 8 Servings

Hawaiian Chicken Chili

Hawaiian Chicken Chili Photo - Taken by Bob Loescher © 2016


  • 2 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1 large boneless chicken breast
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • 1 cup Chana Dal (dry)
  • 2 cups Soup Broth
  • 1 bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 cup Kale (chopped)
  • 1 bunch Scallions (chopped)
  • 1/2 can Hunts No-Salt Tomatoes
  • 1/2 can Dole Pineapple Rings


  1. Cut bacon into small chunks. Cook bacon in fry pan. Place bacon on a paper towel. Save the bacon grease.
  2. Cut chicken breast into cubes. Cook the chicken in the bacon grease. Add 1/2 cup of water to pan and cook for 5 minutes. Do not drain.
  3. Chop serrano pepper into 4 large chunks. Leave seeds in.
  4. Put 2 cups of broth into a slow cooker. Add bacon and chopped pepper to slow cooker. Add chicken including the water direct from fry pan.
  5. Add dry Chana Dal to the slow cooker.
  6. Cover and cook on high for two hours. The Chana Dal will absorb a lot of liquid so check the moisture level after 60 minutes. Add more water if necessary.
  7. After two hours, add chopped bell pepper, scallions, and kale. Add 1/2 can of Hunts Petite-cut No-Salt tomatoes. Cook on high for one hour.
  8. Cut pineapple rings into chunks. Set slow cooker to low. Add pineapple chunks and cook for one more hour.


This recipe is designed for a slow cooker.

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Nutritional Label

Hawaiian Chicken Chili Nutritional Label
As Calculated by CalorieCount.com

Thoughts About Ingredients

The ingredients of our Hawaiian Chicken Chili are a testament to the word alternative. I use Chana Dal instead of white beans. I use homemade broth instead of store bought chicken broth. ( see my article SOUP BROTH – A MODERN TRAGEDY ) I add bacon to give the chili a pork element. I use serrano peppers because it is two or three times spicier than jalapeño peppers. So far, though, I have not strayed too far the core concept of chili.

Using Pineapple?

Here is where I lose 90% of the audience. I add pineapple to my Hawaiian chili. Trust me; I have heard every comment from “…Are you nuts?” to “…I am not touching that crap with a ten-foot pole!”. However, pineapple is a favorite delicacy in many recipes. Think about pineapple on pizza or a grilled pineapple ring on top of a juicy burger. As a cook, I did not think twice about adding pineapple to chili. The rest of the world, on the other hand, finds this outrageous.

Hawaiian Chicken Chili Results

Regardless of the merits of using pineapple, here is a simple truth. As you eat a spoonful of this chili, you immediately taste the sweet flavor of the pineapple. Within seconds, though, the “heat” of peppers overwhelms your pallet. It is a delightful explosion of sweet and spicy. Other optional ingredients, like bell peppers, mushrooms or spinach, can be added to give this chili a nutritional boost of vitamins and minerals. In the end, the choice is yours. Stick with a traditional style or head over to the Twilight Zone with Spicy Hawaiian Chicken Chili.

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