The Other White Chicken Chili: Habañero Mango Chicken Chili Recipe

by Pamela

chicken chili, chili recipe, hot sauce recipe, white chicken chili, chicken chili recipe, homemade chili, healthy chili

White chicken chili is a nice, and lighter, change of pace from the traditional pot of beef chili. But let’s face it, it can get pretty boring. This chicken chili recipe, while not quite “white”…more orange, is the change up you and your taste buds are looking for. It’s still a healthier chili choice but with heat, sweet and tang this chicken chili recipe will brighten up the coldest and darkest days of winter.


I would like to take full credit for the idea of habañero mango chicken chili, but I can’t. (Although the recipe is mine.) For years, Craig and I would visit this chili shop, in Encino (yes…that’s “the Valley” as in Valley Girls), called Chili My Soul. The owner, Randy, had 12 – 13 homemade chili’s on the menu board everyday. Each chili recipe took 3 days to make and you could taste every second and ounce of love and attention that went into making them. And it was actually healthy chili.

One day I stopped in to pick up some of our favorite chili only to see the shop empty and closed. I stood there for several minutes trying to wrap my head around the situation. His shop was known the World over (no exaggeration) and had people driving for several hours to buy his chili. I popped into the deli next door to find out what was going on. It was then that I learned that Randy had passed away and his sister didn’t want to run the business, so she closed it down.

I was heartbroken, but I knew Craig and our dog would be more heartbroken than I. Craig and Rizzo have a love affair with Randy’s habañero mango chicken chili recipe. On the shop’s heat scale, this one was a 10 out of 10. Yes, our dog LOVES anything hot and spicy and no, it doesn’t affect her digestive system in any way shape or form. When I would walk in the house with a bag of this stuff, Rizzo would immediately sit down and start drooling. (She’s not really a drooler…so we knew there was something special about this chili).

The time had finally come when I needed to try and re-create Randy’s habañero mango chicken chili. And the time was now.

A chicken chili with a hot sauce recipe base

As the title of this recipe suggests, it does contain habañero peppers. But don’t let that scare you off. I’m a royal wuss when it comes to eating spicy stuff and this really isn’t too awful spicy. Plus, when you add the sour cream it helps a lot. The peppers actually give the chili recipe a lot of flavor. Yes, hot and spicy peppers can add flavor and not just throat scorching heat.

The base of this chili recipe comes from a mango habanero sauce recipe that I found on Melissa’s Produce site, but changed up a bit. I then proceeded to scrape the dark recesses of my brain to remember the flavor of that mango chicken chili we so loved. Scraping the dark recesses of my brain is like finally having to clean out that crisper drawer of your fridge. I find similar things in my brain, that are commonly found in the corners of those drawers, and am filled with the same amount of dread leading up to the chore.

habanero chicken chili recipe

I’ll admit that making this chicken chili takes a bit of time, not 3 days, but is totally worth it. It starts with the making of the hot sauce recipe (quick), then moves on to a crock pot recipe and finally a trip to the stove top. You could omit the stove top part, if you’re really strapped for time or just can’t keep your face out of the crock pot. But the stove top cooking helps to cook out the excess liquid and concentrating the flavors – so it’s really recommended.

You’re really going to want to make up a pot of this orange goodness. I’m betting that this might even make an appearance at your Super Bowl party this year. I know it’s going to be at ours.

Relationship Advice

Sometimes it really pays to do that thing you really don’t want to do.

Sometimes it really pays to do that thing you really don't want to do.


Recipe: The Other White Chicken Chili: Habañero Mango Chicken Chili Recipe


For Hot Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Cup Mango Chunks
  • 1 Medium Onion (chopped)
  • 2 Fresh Habanero Chili’s (de-stemmed)
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Ketchup
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar

For Chicken Chili

  • 5 Cups Mango Chunks
  • 4 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 2 Medium Onions (sliced thin)
  • 1 Fresh Habanero Pepper (de-stemmed)
  • 3 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (cubed)
  • 4 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 Tablespoon Chicken Bouillon


For Hot Sauce

  1. Add the vegetable oil to a small skillet and heat over medium high heat.
  2. Once hot, add the mango, onions and peppers to the pan. Cook until onion is soft (5-8 minutes). Stir while cooking so that things don’t burn.
  3. Add the lemon juice, ketchup and sugar to the pan. Stir and cook until mixture is slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).
  4. Remove from pan and add all of this to a blender.
  5. Puree until smooth. Make sure you vent the lid of your blender so that the hot contents don’t explode all over you and your kitchen.
  6. Set aside.

For Chicken Chili

  1. Add 4 cups of the mango chunks (save the remaining cup) to a crock pot.
  2. Continue adding the tomato paste, onions, habanero, chicken, garlic and bouillon to the crock pot. Top it all with the hot sauce and stir to mix everything up.
  3. Cover and cook, on low setting, for 6-8 hours.
  4. Once cooked, pour the chili into a large pot and heat over medium high heat.
  5. Add the remaining cup of mango chunks and cook until the pools of liquid have been cooked off.
  6. While the chili cooks, stir and break up the cubes of chicken so that it’s shredded.
  7. Cook the chili until it gets to a consistency you like.
  8. Remove from heat and serve with chopped green onions and sour cream.

Quick notes

I didn’t add any salt to this chili, but feel free to add a few pinches if you like.

Also, you can use fresh or frozen mango. I used frozen mango chunks. Just make sure that you thaw them before using.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 8 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Recipe by Pamela Braun.



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Wesley Vaughan October 26, 2020 at 4:40 pm

Hey Pam – 2020 here. Need a serious pickmeup from this crazy world we live in. Very interested in making this recipe for a chili cookoff I have on Thursday –

1.) Does the Habanero got chopped up for the chili? leave the seeds in?
2.) If I add 2 or 3 Habaneros to the chili – will it be TOO hot?
3.) If I want more heat and tang than sweet, should I cut down on the Mango?

Thanks so much, and I hope you get this comment 7 years later….

Pamela October 26, 2020 at 5:38 pm

Hi Wesley,

I’ll take your questions in order…
1. Yes, chop up the habanero. The seeds are up to you. The more you leave in, the hotter it gets.
2. You could probably go 2 (I’d leave the seeds out of number 2) and get some good heat working. With one chili, it’s what I would call a mild heat and I can’t eat anything that’s wildly hot. (Hope that makes sense.) But be aware that chiles can have different heat in them even if they are all habaneros. 🙂
3. As for the sweet…maybe cut back on the sugar. You can ease off the mango a bit, but give it a taste. Not all mangos are really sweet and you want a bit of that contrast in this chili.

Hope your 2020 gets better with this cookoff!

Zach November 7, 2015 at 6:03 pm

Add white beans to make it more classic chili. Otherwise, exceptional recipe and everyone loved it!

Pamela November 8, 2015 at 10:05 am

Glad you liked it Zach! The original way that Randy made it was without beans, so I left them out of my recipe. But when I make chili I tend to include beans because it makes it more filling. But yeah…that beans or no beans thing is a seriously hot debate here in Texas. 🙂

Zach November 7, 2015 at 5:35 pm

Great recipe but where’s the beans? I added white pinto and kidney beans to add classic chili texture. We can get into a debate but a defining trait of chili, at least outside texas, is presence of beans. Nonetheless, received great comments from the 8 or so people I served this to. Thanks so much for posting!!!!

For extra punch, we had a habnero hot sauce we made a few weeks prior that satisfied those who wanted to take heat to next level. Recipe as-is was fairly sweet as opposed to spicy. You really cook out the heat of those habs after a few hours so you may consider throwing some more in halfway through.

Amanda March 21, 2015 at 4:30 am

Thanks for the recipe! We are entering it in our family’s annual chili cook-off tonight, and have a feeling we might be a front runner. Unfortunately, one of the rules is: No Chicken Chili! So, substituted pork butt for the chicken. It is so tender and juicy. One problem, our chili is a little too thick. On advice on how to thin it out a bit without compromising the flavor?

Pamela March 21, 2015 at 7:01 am

Hi Amanda, That’s awesome! The pork butt is a perfect sub in this chili. I would use chicken stock to help loosen it up a bit. But make sure to add it 1 tablespoon at a time. It’s tedious, I know, but because I’m not sure how thick the chili is or how “un”-thick you want it to finally be, going a tablespoon at a time should work great. I’m guessing you won’t need more than a 1/4 cup. Can’t wait to hear how it goes. Good Luck!

Michael E. September 18, 2014 at 4:17 pm

I live in NJ, which is not exactly the epicenter of the chili universe. Because of this I decided to make my own. While looking over my chili recipes I began to reminisce about my years living in Thousand Oaks, near Los Angeles, and my frequent visits to a chili shack called Chili My Soul. I remember checking their website to see what varieties they were serving on a particular day and imagining what each would taste like as I waited in traffic on the 101. My favorite was the Mango Habanero Chicken Chili. Fast forward to the present. As I’m conducting my chili recipe search, I Google “Mango Habanero Chicken Chili”, but not a word about Chili My Soul. This is the first page that came up. How’s that for a spicy coincidence?!?

Pamela September 19, 2014 at 6:10 am

Hi Michael, I’m glad you found the site (and the recipe). It’s not quite Randy’s Mango Habanero, but it’s close. Maybe you can make NJ the epicenter of chili. 😉 There were some bits, here and there, that would pop up about Chili My Soul but because it’s been closed for so long, and no one really picked up his recipes, all traces of the place have pretty much disappeared. I still have one of the menus because we’d look it over then drive the 90 minutes to go pick it up. Enjoy the chili!!!

Marcos Pacheco October 1, 2013 at 9:09 am

Mindy ,I wonder how you going to make a cook book
Of the chilly recipes if you never got your,
Hands on the kitchen ???

Mindy August 26, 2013 at 5:11 pm

hmmm…this is not anywhere near the actual recipe. I’m sure you and Craig would remember me-the chilimaiden from CMS! I worked there and managed-anyway, kudos to you for trying 🙂 Also, the poblano turkey had no espresso in it-just an fyi…and Espresso Black Bean veggie chili-might be the one you are thinking of. All this said, is it the “Mindy remix” that you are missing so much? I make the chili’s all the time, and I am considering-maybe one day making a cookbook in his honor-we’ll see? It baffles my mind that no one can make the chili like he/we did! I’m so happy to hear you are trying though…try on and let me know how it all comes out in the end. I’m trying to fix my disaster in the kitchen as I write this-hahahahaha…one of the most difficult to make and balance out is the Habanero Mango Chicken chili for sure.

I miss him every single day…my best friend, my boss, I will always hold that place in my heart for him, always. He is resting peacefully 🙂 <3

Deekay February 11, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I was a frequent visitor to Chili My Soul and miss it and Randy terribly. Got a pot of this cooking right now, and it definitely looks promising! Do you have any other copycat recipes from CMS? Would love to try!

Pamela February 11, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Hi Deekay,

My next CMS copycat recipe is going to be for the espresso turkey chili that they insisted that you order a side of dark chocolate chips to go with. I’ll let you know when it goes up. It should be pretty soon, given that it’s been so ridiculously cold here lately. ENJOY the mango chili. Please let me know what you think.

Haley @ Cheap Recipe Blog January 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm

It’s -20 windchill here in Minnesota, but I am in my kitchen sweating with delight. I have a pot of this chili on the stovetop, and I have to say this is one of the best soups/chilis I’ve ever had. Thank you so much for posting this! This is sure to become a repeat recipe in my house.

Pamela January 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Hi Haley,

First off…BRRRRRRRR. I’m not sure I even experienced that kind of cold when I lived in Cleveland. And now I feel like a real wuss when I was crying about the 40 degree temperatures here in LA last week.

I’m thrilled that you like the mango chili and plan on making it again and again. 🙂 (I’m currently smiling from ear to ear.) We loved this stuff when we got it from the restaurant and this was a really close version of it. Craig keeps asking me when I’m making up another pot…So I’ll probably be making it again soon myself. ENJOY!!!

Kristi Rimkus January 8, 2013 at 7:33 pm

We had a favorite sandwich shop that just suddenly disappeared too. We were mystified because it was always packed. I should have made your chicken chili for the family this past weekend. They for sure thought mine was boring.

Pamela January 8, 2013 at 8:16 pm


Don’t you just hate finding out that way about your favorite place? My husband won’t say anything if he thinks my chili is boring…he just loads it with hot sauce (is that passive aggressive or smart husband behavior? hmmmm…..) There’s always this weekend. 🙂 Besides, mango’s are in season right now (but using the frozen is so much easier). I used the fresh for the final cup at the end.

Belinda @zomppa January 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm

That’s awesome that your dog loves chili – love the mango and heat in this!

Pamela January 8, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Belinda, if it’s spicy…my dog wants it. I hope you like it. It’s surprisingly not nuclear spicy.

Jessica / Burlap and Butter Knives January 8, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Thanks Pamela!! I have been looking for the “right” chicken chili recipe for a while, and since I trust your palate and taste completely, this is is!!!

Also, excellent advice, and not just for relationships! Sometimes we just have to get out of our comfort zones/ do what we don’t want to do and take a leap! It is usually always worth it. 🙂


Pamela January 8, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Thanks Jessica.

This chili has been a huge hit around here. Craig keeps asking me to make it again. 🙂

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