White Chicken Chili

White chicken chili is hands down a cold-weather favorite! Not only is it a flavorful blend of healthy, comforting ingredients, but it’s also a satiating meal that’s packed with veggies and protein. Who doesn’t love that?

White chicken chili in a bowl next a pot of it.

There’s nothing like a big pot of chili to cure those winter blues. And I gotta say, this white bean chicken chili is by far one of my favorite chili recipes. It warms and nourishes you from the inside out.

It’s a light and healthy blend of creamy white beans, shredded chicken, veggies, and the perfect level of spice. And while I do sprinkle a little bit of cheese on top for garnish, the chili recipe itself is completely dairy-free. I’ve got a sneaky way to thicken the broth without dairy – keep reading! But long story short, the next time you need an easy, one-pot meal to whip up, this chili recipe should be tops on your list!

Ingredients for white chicken chili on a table.

What’s In White Chicken Chili?

With any type of chili recipe, it’s all about layering in flavors. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Chicken: You can use chicken breasts, whole roasted chicken, or even store-bought rotisserie chicken. Lots of easy options.
  • White Beans: I’m using canned beans, but you can soak and cook dried beans as well.
  • Corn: Adds a subtle sweetness and extra chunkiness to the overall texture.
  • Green Chiles & Jalapeño: A small can of green chiles and one jalapeño adds a serious depth of flavor (that’s not too spicy).
  • Chicken Broth: Skip water and opt for a chicken broth. It’ll add more flavor to the soupy base.
  • Dried Spices: A combo of cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, and pepper brings out classic chili aromatics.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

Different varieties of white beans in bowls.

Which White Beans to Use

When shopping for white beans, Cannellini, Great Northern, and Navy beans look almost identical. So you want to make sure you’re reading the labels correctly as they each have their own characteristics. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Cannellini Beans: These are similar to Great Northern, but are a bit more dense. They work great for added texture in various salads or soups such as Minestrone soup.
  • Great Northern Beans: These creamy colored beans are light, hold their shape well, and are naturally nutty in flavor. Best of all, they absorb spices easily, making them perfect for soaking in all the chicken chili flavors.
  • Navy Beans: Navy beans are on the smaller side with a mild flavor and creamy texture. They work wonders as baked beans or pureed in dips for added texture.

Which white beans should you use in this recipe? Any of the above! I’m using Great Northern beans today, but feel free to use what’s on sale or available to you.

Different Ways To Make Shredded Chicken

There’s a few ways you can go about making the shredded chicken. You can cook the chicken yourself and shred it, or use a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Here’s a few options:

  • Slow Cooker Whole Chicken: If you have a slow cooker, this whole chicken (rotisserie style) becomes super tender and easy to pull apart into pieces.
  • Shredded Chicken: If you prefer chicken breasts, this stovetop method with my shredding hack is the best!
  • Poached Chicken: This is also an easy method and takes about 15 minutes on the stovetop. Then shred it with either a fork or with the paddle attachment on a standing mixer.
  • Store-Bought Rotisserie Chicken: And if you’re on a time crunch, just pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store and pull apart small pieces to add into the chili.

How to Make The Best White Bean Chicken Chili

Make the creamy base. Blend one cup of white beans and one cup of chicken broth together in a food processor. Then set aside.

Blending white beans in a food processor for white chicken chili.

Sauté the veggies. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño pepper for about 4 minutes. Then add the garlic and spices and stir for one additional minute.

Cooking vegetables in a pot for white chicken chili.

Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer. First, add the remaining chicken broth, and pureed bean mixture and let it simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Then, stir in the chicken, corn, white beans, green chilies, and cilantro. Let it simmer for an additional few minutes to warm through, squeeze some lime juice, and stir it again.

Stirring ingredients in a pot for white chicken chili.

Garnish and serve. I love to top this off with diced avocado, a little cheese, slices of jalapeño pepper, and extra cilantro. But keep on reading for more topping ideas!

Two bowls of white chicken chili on a table.

Your White Chicken Chili Questions Answered

  • Can you make this a creamy white chicken chili? Absolutely, just add 4 ounces of cream cheese, sour cream or half a can of coconut milk as it’s cooking.
  • How do you make this with dry beans? If you’ve got a bag of dried white beans on hand, just pre-cook them before adding to the pot. You’ll need about 3 1/2 cups of cooked beans.
  • Can I switch out the beans? Of course. If beans aren’t your thing, swap them for a can of chickpeas! They’ll provide a very similar texture and load the chili up with extra protein.

Bowls of white chicken chili on a table with lime wedges and cheese.

Customize Your Chili Bowl

When it comes to stews, garnishes can make all the difference. They add color, texture, and pops of flavor with every bite. Here’s a few ways to make your white chicken chili bowl even more exciting!

  • Fresh herbs: You can never go wrong with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro or parsley on top.
  • Cheese: Shredded cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella or even cotija cheese will taste delicious.
  • Avocado: For the Cali girl in me, avocado is a must! I always love to add a small handful of diced avocado.
  • Onion: Any diced onions are great for garnishing, but my favorites for this recipe are red onion and green onions. They add a refreshing bite and pop of color.
  • Jalapeño: For extra heat, add a few extra sliced jalapeños!

How To Store And Reheat

A big pot of chili is undeniably one of the best meal prep recipes, especially since it freezes well! Here’s a few ways to store it.

  • To Store: Let the chili slightly cool first before storing in an airtight container. It will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge.
  • To Freeze: Use a freezer-safe tray or container and store for up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • Reheat This: First, thaw the chili overnight in the fridge. Then reheat on the stovetop or scoop one serving into a bowl and microwave for about 2 minutes. If you forgot to thaw, it’s okay, this is one recipe that’s fine going straight into the microwave frozen as well. Just cook until warm.

A big white pot of white chicken chili on a table.

More Cozy, Easy Chicken Recipes

If chicken is one of your favorite ways to pack in protein and flavor, I’ve got a few extra dinner ideas to add to your list.

And if you love chicken thighs specifically, here’s a roundup of the best chicken thigh recipes!

White Chicken Chili Recipe Video

Ready to cozy up with this pot of chili? Watch the video below for an easy, step-by-step guide on how to make it!

If you make this white chicken chili, let me know how it turned out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

White chicken chili on a table with toppings.

Best White Chicken Chili

5 from 28 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
This white chicken chili recipe is a cold-weather favorite! It's a flavorful blend of healthy, comforting ingredient, all simmered together in one pot!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces green chiles
  • 4 cups shredded chicken, see tips above
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh corn
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • avocado, jalapeno, cilantro, and cheese, for garnishing

Instructions 

  • Blend one cup of the white beans with one cup of the chicken broth in food processor. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender or even mash the beans with a fork, and then stir them with the broth. Set this aside.
    Blending beans for white chicken chili.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno pepper to the pot. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the garlic and spices and stir for another minute, toasting the spices.
  • Add the chicken broth and pureed bean mixture and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the green chilies, chicken, corn, white beans, and chopped cilantro. Simmer for a couple of minutes, until it's warmed through. Then add the lime juice and give it another stir.
  • Serve the white chicken chili and garnish with avocado, jalapeno, cilantro, and cheese before serving, if you'd like.

Lisa's Tips

  • The pureed bean mixture helps to thicken the chili without any additional dairy needed. It creates a wonderful soupy texture. But if you'd like it ultra creamy, you can always add 4oz of cream cheese, sour cream, or even coconut cream to the chili.
  • This chili is flavorful, but not overly spicy. If you'd like a little bit more heat, feel free to add 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • If you're using a white enameled pot like my favorite Le Creuset, don't forget to use a silicone spatula, so you don't scratch the inside. I'm obsessed with these spatulas, they're really the best.

Nutrition

Calories: 420kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 36g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 915mg, Potassium: 1171mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 795IU, Vitamin C: 46mg, Calcium: 147mg, Iron: 7mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken Chili, White Bean Chicken Chili, White Chicken Chili
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67 comments on “White Chicken Chili”

  1. This recipe is easy, fresh and delicious. Great for meal prep!

    I used the broth from cooking the chicken breasts and added it back into the soup. It added a little flavor boost and I am glad I did not throw it out.

    I especially appreciate the tip to use the Kitchen Aid stand mixer to shred the chicken, so easy!

    Thank you Lisa for another awesome recipe! Your site is my #1 go to for recipes.5 stars

    • Happy to hear this has become a new favorite Michele! It’s definitely one to keep in your meal prep arsenal :)

  2.  Made this tonight and loved it!  Served over rice with a dollop of sour cream.  Yummy.  It’s a keeper!5 stars

  3. Just made this today, and it is so good!! Such great flavours together. Next time I might make it spicier by adding some cayenne pepper, but I kept it milder today because of the kids.5 stars

  4. Hi Lisa,

    Since I saw this recipe my mouth has literally been watering! I finally made it today and it was sooooooooo good!! This is my first white chicken chili I ever had, and am happy to say that I am hooked! It’s definitely going into my “Favorites” folder! I added some double cream yogurt as a topping just to ease the heat of the green chillies and it just took it to another level!

    Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes!!5 stars

  5. Excellent! I’ve been looking for a white bean chicken stew recipe and am glad I found this one. I’ve made this recipe several times and it’s always a big hit. I used a rotisserie chicken which saved me a lot of time and made the chili so very flavorful. A keeper! Thank you!5 stars

  6. Hi Lisa,

    i made this about 2 weeks ago and it was the best white chili recipe i have ever had. i loved the northern bean and so did my husband, he even asked what type of beans were in the chili. i also used a rotisserie chicken and it adds to the flavor of the chili as well. Thanks again Lisa for a great new recipe.5 stars

  7. Thank you for this recipe. Is there an easy way to make this vegan? 

  8. We just finished the last of this chili that I had stashed away in the freezer.  It’s now one of my favorites – really full of flavor and filling.  5 stars

  9. Delicious! I omitted coriander and jalapeño (didn’t have these on hand). Used a little vegan cream cheese to cream up. Yummy!!! LOVE your hearty dairy free recipes ❤️5 stars

  10. I meal prepped this recipe my lunches this week. I snuck a bite before storing in the fridge. SO YUMMY!! 5 stars

  11. This soup was delicious! My whole family ate it even the 5 year old. This will definitely be one I make again in the near future. 5 stars

  12. Lisa, my husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed this recipe last week! I think I ate it 3 different times throughout the week. Definitely will be making it again!5 stars

  13. I made this for dinner tonight and it was everything I hoped for. This recipe is a keeper. Just the right amount of heat and the flavour is incredible. 5 stars

  14. Just finished making this and enjoying a bowl! 
    It was spot on and hit the spot!! Thank you for such
    a great and easy to make meal. 5 stars

  15. Greetings from London.  This tastes absolutely amazing so thank you.  I also used your shredded chicken method in my food mixer and your right, the chicken shreds amazingly well.   This will be my new go to comfort soup.   What a great recipe .  5 stars

  16. Was amazing! My Walmart didn’t have coriander in stock and didn’t have ground cumin. I used serrano instead of jalapeño. It was just like my favorite tortilla soup from BJs. I am sending this recipe to my family. I want everyone to try it!5 stars

  17. I just made this soup today and it’s so tasty! didn’t have corn at home but still turned out very good.  It’s a winner!  I made beef chili for my parents; but since my dad has gout he can’t eat beef; this white chicken chili is perfect for him.  Thank you Lisa!5 stars

  18. I made this chili for my husband and I tonight. It was perfect to have after a super cold winter day. We both loved it and the flavors were amazing! This may become one of our regular recipes!5 stars

  19. This recipe is great! Very flavorful and easy to make it! I love it!!! 5 stars

  20. Love the recipe. Can you tell me where I can purchase the earthenware bowls you served the soup in?

  21. I LOVE this White Chicken Chili! You are right, it is satiating meal—delicious with toasted bread. Refreshingly different taste than any chicken chili I’ve made in the past.

    I made it exactly as written and added some chopped zucchini, carrots, and celery. Instead of shredding the chicken, I chopped it into small pieces. It freezes very well. Will be an all-time favorite, for sure.5 stars

  22. Fabulous! Many thanks!5 stars

  23. I had never heard of white chili, so I was very excited to try this recipe. Sooooo yum and so happy I have left-overs for the next days ;-). It had the right amount of heat (not too much but just enough to have a nice kick) and so much flavor. Thanks Lisa!5 stars

  24. This recipe is dynamite! My partner usually won’t eat beans but he finished the whole pot (darn was hoping to have some for leftovers haha). This is crowd-pleaser that I am going to add to my regular recipe rotation. Thanks so much, Lisa! 5 stars

  25. Can you use your Vitamix for the one cup of white beans and one cup of chicken broth for the pureed bean mixture instead of your food processor?

  26. I typically made a basic beef chili recipe, but wanted to try something new and on the healthy side. This chili recipe was very delicious! I’ll definitely be making this recipe again. Thank you!5 stars

  27. Hi Lisa,
    I have found your youtube videos in last year and made lots of them through lockdown to keep me inspired so THANKS!
    I have a question about chicken. I have only just started eating a little chicken after being vegetarian for 40 years!! I am making the switch to include a little organic animal protein for health reasons as advised by functional medicine practitioner. This has been hard for me and I have struggled with chewy texture. How do you get lovely soft, tender chicken??
    Thanks so much x

    • Hi Rachel – Wow! That’s definitely been a long time for you. The key to tender chicken is to not overcook it, which you can read more about in my baked chicken breast recipe. I have a few tips in that post on how to bake it perfectly with the correct temperature and time!

  28. For more than 25 years Ina Garten was my favourite chef, but she has now been replaced by the very talented… Lisa Bryan! ❤️

  29. My all-time favorite chili ever!! So good!5 stars

  30. I love a good chili recipe and this one looks delicious!5 stars

  31. Warmed up with this for dinner last night and it did not disappoint! So bold and hearty; easily, a new favorite way to enjoy chili!5 stars

  32. We tend to make beef chili at home but my husband has been asking to try something new and this chicken and white bean recipe looks delicious. Looking forward to trying it with your suggested toppings as well.5 stars

  33. Pureeing the beans to make some of the sauce is genius! It has flavor though and through, and everyone in the family gobbled it up!5 stars

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