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?
There’s nothing like a big pot of classic beef chili to cure those winter blues (or this turkey chili or vegetarian chili). But I gotta say, this white bean 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. I’ve got a sneaky way to thicken the broth without dairy – keep reading!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
- One Pan Chicken And Rice
- Winter Vegetable Soup
- Chicken Fajitas
- Whole30 Chicken Broccoli Casserole
- Teriyaki Chicken
And if you love chicken thighs specifically, here’s a roundup of the best chicken thigh recipes!
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.
Best White Chicken Chili
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.