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 108 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
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. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!




  • 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.
    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.


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


  1. I made this today and it was delicious. I made the mistake of adding salt early in the cooking and, after adding canned ingredients, it was over salted. Next time, I’ll wait until the end and taste it before I add salt.5 stars

    1. Absolutely sensational chili, Lisa! I’m a little nervous about chili recipes being overly spicy, but this was just the right amount of heat. (Like you said in the video 🙂)
      I used chicken thighs and poached them according to your shredded chicken recipe. So delicious! Thank you for all your great recipes and clear instructions!5 stars

      1. Since I can’t handle too much spice myself, I normally won’t make things too spicy 😉 But, I’m glad you ended up loving it Dalia!

  2. Thank you so much for this delicious (and filling) stew  recipe! I followed your directions except adding the lime juice in the individual bowls because I only have a stainless steel soup pot. This one goes into rotation!

  3. AMAZING! This is my first recipe to make of Lisa’s and it is fabulous and super simple. I zhuzhed it up a bit because I like things nice and spicy. Thanks, Lisa!

  4. Made this tonight and so delicious! Making some cornbread muffins to go with it and can’t wait to sit down and devour it! The rotisserie chickens I found looked small so I bought 2 of them. I might have a lot more chicken in my chili than intended but I can always add more liquid to it. Very easy and love all of Lisa’s recipes!

  5. This dish goes great on rainy night! So good and healthy, but warming for the tummy! I can’t to prepare this dish for my friends, thank you!5 stars

  6. Great recipe. I made it with leftover turkey. Fast, easy and soooo good and satisfying. I forgot to get a picture, but I agree the green pepper adds nice color. Any bell pepper would be nice, though. Made it on a cold Sunday after Thanksgiving. Quick dinner!5 stars

  7. Great meal for entertaining guests.  Must, I repeat must be overcast, leaves have to be turning colors, and cold outside.  :)  5 stars

  8. This is the most amazing recipe! I have made many of your recipes and love all of them. Thank you for your directions on what kind of beans to use. Your instructions are perfect and I can’t say thank you enough! This is so good you could serve it for a dinner party!

  9. Absolutely loved it!! So fresh tasting…bursting with flavor! Will be making this often.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Greetings from Ontario Canada Eh!5 stars

  10. Made this tonight and LOVED it! Followed the recipe and I loved adding extra fresh chopped jalapeño pieces at the end too. My husband loved it and I’m also sharing it with my sister and her family. It made a lot for all of us. (We don’t eat too much!) Still…very filling and was great on a chilly rainy night. Thanks for the recipe! Will be adding this to my winter recipes! 5 stars

  11. Made this last night for work lunch today and it was delicious.

    One single de-seeded jalapeño sadly left the chili way too bland, so we broiled five jalapeños and two serranos in the oven for half an hour, then threw them whole in a blender with just a bit of chicken stock. Added it to the chili and it took it to the next level of savory deliciousness!

    I really recommend throwing the chiles in the blender before adding, that way it doesn’t overpower the other textures in the chili.4 stars

  12. I just tried this recipe and it went to the top of my favorites list after one taste – it’s amazing. Pretty straightforward process and the ingredients are in just the right proportions – not too spicy or too bland, and as mentioned in other reviews the flavors of the various ingredients complement each other so well…5 stars

  13. I was hesitant making white chili because I’m usually lukewarm with regular chili but this recipe was delicious and s exceeded my expectations! The various textures was a party in every bite. I omitted the jalapeño and green chiles so my young kids could eat it and it was still flavorful. Loving all the recipes I’m making from this site!! 5 stars

    1. This chili definitely has loads of flavors in it! Glad everyone enjoyed this recipe Tina :)

  14. 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

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

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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

    1. Wonderful, I’m so happy you loved the recipe, Jo! And yes, a rotisserie chicken does save a lot of time with this recipe. Enjoy!

  19. 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

    1. You can omit the chicken and add in more hearty veggies such as zucchini, mushrooms, potato, etc…

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. 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

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. 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

  30. 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

  31. 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

    1. Glad your first white chili experience was a success Babette! This one has also become a new favorite of mine :)

  32. 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

  33. 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?

  34. 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

  35. 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

    1. 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!

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

  37. 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

  38. 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

  39. 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