White Chicken Chili

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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 fill-you-up 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, warming pot of classic beef chili, turkey chili or vegetarian chili to cure those winter blues. But I’ve got to say, this white chicken chili is by far one of my favorite chili recipes.

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, this recipe itself is completely dairy-free. So don’t let the slightly creamy broth fool you. I’ve got a sneaky way to thicken the broth without dairy – keep reading below!

Ingredients for white chicken chili on a table.

White Chicken Chili Ingredients

When it come to making chili, it’s all about layering in flavors. So here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Chicken: You’ll need a good amount of shredded chicken for this recipe. You can cook chicken at home or use store-bought chicken to shred. I have a few tips and ideas listed below!
  • White Beans: I’m using canned white beans, but you can soak and cook dried beans if you prefer.
  • Corn: Sweet corn adds a subtle sweetness and extra chunkiness to the overall texture.
  • Green Chiles & Jalapeño: A small can of diced green chiles and one jalapeño pepper adds a serious depth of flavor (and it’s not too spicy).
  • Chicken Broth: Skip water and opt for a good quality chicken broth (my favorite is linked in the recipe card below). A good quality broth adds more flavor to the soupy base.
  • Dried Spices: A simple combination of cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, and pepper brings out those classic chili aromas.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How to Make The Best White 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.

Blended 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 ingredients for white chicken chili in a pot

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.

Cooking up white chicken chili in a large white pot

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

Two bowls of white chicken chili on a table.

Different Ways To Make Shredded Chicken

There are several ways you can make the shredded chicken needed for this chili. You can cook the chicken yourself and shred it, or use a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Here are a few options:

  • Baked Chicken: This is my go-to recipe for boneless skinless chicken breasts with the perfect seasoning.
  • 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: This easy stovetop method for cooking chicken breasts with my shredding hack is the best!
  • Poached Chicken: This easy method cooks the chicken in water and only takes about 15 minutes on the stovetop.
  • Store-Bought Rotisserie Chicken: And if you’re on a time crunch, just pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store and pull it apart into small pieces to add to the chili.
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.

Common Questions

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 while 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 ½ 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.

Storage Tips

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

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.

I hope you love this white chicken chili recipe! If you make it, let me know how it turned out in a comment below. Your review helps others in the community.

White chicken chili on a table with toppings.

Best White Chicken Chili

4.99 from 106 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

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. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!

Video

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon kosher 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
  • ¼ 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 ¼½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

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
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally published February 2021, but updated to include new information for your benefit!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




221 Comments

  1. This was so good and so easy to make!! I’ll definitely be making it again. Thanks for all of your delicious recipes!!5 stars

  2. You prepare so tastefull soups! I love your web page, it has all the details in the recipe and in the design that make it so easy to find everything we need!

  3. Sooo good! My family loved this recipe!! I used Trader Joe’s frozen Roasted Corn since it was all I had on hand. Yummy!!5 stars

  4. I made this Saturday night to help my honey feel better while he has a cold. Super easy to follow, and avocado as a topping just gives it that extra something special! Absolutely delicious and eating the rest for lunch today!5 stars

    1. Hi Jacqueline – What a perfect meal to make when you’re feeling under the weather. Glad you both enjoy it!

  5. My family loved this white chicken chili recipe. I loved that most of the ingredients were things I already had in my pantry.5 stars

  6. Thank you very much for this wonderful nice soup. I will make it again for sure. I reduced a bit the amount of chillies but still got a tasty comforting very satisfying meal. Thank you.5 stars

  7. I LOVE this recipe! I never thought I would be a fan of a while chicken chili, but this one is it. Super easy to make too. I like to add tortilla strips and shredded pepperjack cheese to mine, with a side of avocado. Perfection!5 stars

    1. Hi Sara – Wonderful! I’m glad this chili recipe was a hit. I hope everyone loves it at your Super Bowl party.

  8. Lisa, I’ve been cooking chicken for many years now and now I know I’ve been doing it all wrong! I was making your white chicken chili and decided to use your recipe for chicken breast. It was the best I’ve ever had, almost didn’t want to put in the chili. Can’t wait to use the rub recipe on just about anything!

  9. This recipe truly delighted and surprised us. I don’t even know what exactly makes it so wonderful – it’s cozy AND bright somehow. Filling, healthy, and delicious. Couldn’t ask for a better, easy food solution. Now I’m just concerned I’ll burn my family out on it by making it so much.5 stars

    1. Hi Lauren – It’s all the little things in this recipe that make it so delicious! I’m glad you love it.

  10. I made this tonight and subbed soy curls for chicken. This was so good and I expected it to be hot and spicy but it was mildly spicy and full of flavor!! Bet it is even better the next day or two. Next time I am making this one with jackfruit instead of chicken/soy curls. Thanks for another great recipe!!!5 stars

  11. This recipe is so delicious, we have it on repeat at our house…especially right now during the freezing Canadian winter!

    Thanks Lisa for always making the most flavourful recipes!5 stars

  12. Was looking for a recipe to make this! Found yours first, so happy I did! Made today and we have gobbled it up! So much flavor, thank you for sharing. It will be even better tomorrow, IF any left after today!5 stars

  13. Made this for the first time today. We loved it! My Dad is in stage iv renal failure so is on a strict diet, I didn’t have to substitute a single ingredient. He ate 2 1/2 bowls (cereal) after saying don’t make too much. I did add the cream cheese to make it creamier. I poached the chicken and put in extra corn. As we are not the biggest cilantro fans I didn’t t put in the full amount noted. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!5 stars

  14. How very brilliant to make a creamy case. Another terrific recipe, Lisa. This is jam packed with nutrition and yumminess!
    I do have a question… I, along with several members of my family, are in the 15% of the population that dislike cilantro. I eliminated it. Not knowing what it tastes like to the other 85%, what should I substitute? Italian parsley? Thank you, in advance.5 stars

    1. Hi Deborah – you can substitute with parsley if you’d like, but it will change the flavor a bit. Otherwise, I would just omit it.