White Chicken Chili
Oct 09, 2023
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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?
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!
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.
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 reading for more topping ideas!
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.
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.
Absolutely, just add 4 ounces of cream cheese, sour cream or half a can of coconut milk while it’s cooking.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Chicken Soup – The perfect nourishing soup with winter vegetables.
- One Pan Chicken and Rice – A complete meal all in one pan.
- Chicken Fajitas – A Mexican favorite for weeknight dinners.
- Tuscan Chicken – Seared chicken breasts are simmered in the most luxurious cream sauce with Italian flavors.
- Teriyaki Chicken – An easy Asian stir-fry recipe you’ll make again and again.
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.
Best White Chicken Chili
- 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
- 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 ¼ – ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
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Recipe originally published February 2021, but updated to include new information for your benefit!