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

4.98 from 82 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. Delicious! I ended up cooking the soup longer after adding the beans as they were a bit too “crunchy” (not the “blendered” ones) for my family. Next time I’ll cook the beans a bit first to slightly soften them before adding to the soup. Definitely a keeper and will be making it on a regular basis especially since my MIL has become somewhat sensitive to tomato based dishes.5 stars

  2. I’ve made this before and it’s delish!! I’d love to put this in my slow cooker next time. Would that work?

  3. Another excellent recipe! My only additions were a cup of cashew yogurt and some crumbled bacon added at the end. Everyone raved!! I love that every Downshiftology recipe is excellent and foolproof.5 stars

    1. Those additions sound delicious for this white chicken chili! That’s great to hear this recipe was a hit, Gina.

  4. Fantastic recipe!! Amazingly delicious!
    I followed the recipe exactly but next time I’m going to try the coconut cream.
    Thanks, Lisa! You’re wonderful 💙

      1. I have to say this is the best chili ever!! Brings back memories of my time in SoCal! Made the recipe exactly as written…. fantastic! Thank you Lisa!5 stars

  5. Made this tonight — it was incredible! Left out corn for health reasons.
    Thank you for another great recipe, Lisa! Will be making a ton more of your fall recipes as the weather continues to cool down.5 stars

    1. Thank you for this recipe! I made it last night for dinner and it was a huge hit. It was delicious. I added a teaspoon of dried chipolte pepper, veggie broth (because that is what I had on hand), and crumbled cojita cheese on top. I will certainly make this again!5 stars

  6. Great recipe. The taste is awesome, I used a little more garlic as I like the garlicky taste I also used the cream cheese for creaminess I use celery instead of corn as the beans are enough carbohydrates and it is delicious. I topped it with avocado slices and cheddar cheese.5 stars

  7. I’m a believer! I thought this was going to be too hot for me because of the jalapeno and the green chiles, but it’s perfect on the first try. So flavorful. And my equally heat-phobic son just went back for seconds!5 stars

    1. Yay, so happy to hear you both loved it! And you’re right, it’s more flavorful rather than spicy. :)

  8. This the most delicious chili I’ve ever had. I ate it 2x a day for a week and then made another pot for the following week because it was so good.  Lisa is a culinary artist.5 stars

  9. This soup is amazing! It is very flavorful and filling. It also freezes and reheats well. It will be on continuous rotation at my house!5 stars

  10. I have a lot of food allergies & don’t love cooking so I’m always looking for easy, healthy, delicious recipes and this one👏 is👏 it! 👏 Incredible, you won’t regret it! 5 stars

  11. I like this recipe, but I found it to be a lot more flavorful when I doubled the jalapeños and the spices.4 stars

  12. This was really good, Lisa. I had to make a substitution and did a little tweak to the recipe, and it still turned out great. I didn’t have canned northern or cannellini beans, so I substituted the beans with chickpeas, and It turned out fine. I did add a can of ro tel, which it didn’t need, but I wanted a little tomato in there. I still added a can of diced chilis on top of that and it didn’t overpower it. Lastly, I ran out of fresh jalapeño, so I used dried. That worked fine too. Thanks for the recipe. I will definitely do it again. 

  13. This has become a staple in my home, down to the stovetop shredded chicken instructions that are linked! Super delicious and easy!5 stars

  14. This is the best white chicken chili I’ve ever tasted!
    I made your white chicken Chili for superbowl last night!
    I followed the recipe exactly and also added a can of coconut milk to thicken the broth as suggested. I used cook chicken breastst I made the night before and it was delicious 😋!
    Everyone loved it and wanted seconds along with the recipe! ❤️
    Only problem was that I didn’t make more!
    Bravo Lisa, another successful recipe that has become a winner🏆at my house!5 stars

  15. Made this twice already…..once as the recipe stated and once where I omitted the corn, made my own broth and roasted my own green chilis. It was a hit both times. I also love adding crushed tortilla chips for a little crunch!  I feel like this recipe is pretty adaptable to individual tastes. Will definitely be in the regular winter rotation. Thank you for posting such an informative recipe. 5 stars

  16. I made the white chicken chili and it just simply delicious! My husband loved it. So as all of my friends who made it. It’s my definitely go to now for a nice change from the traditional chili. It’s nutritious, comforting and flavorful. Thank you Lisa for that delicious recipe! 5 stars

  17. I was not sure at first since I rarely eat white beans but this chili is sooo good!
    I’m allergic to corn, so omitted but did everything else indicated in the recipe. The flavors are very good and I made cornbread to go alongside.
    Thank you Lisa, this one I will definitely make again.5 stars

  18. I made this last night and it was so delicious! My husband even ate leftovers for lunch. I used the chicken broth that I cooked the chicken in. Also I put the jalapeño in with the 1 cup of beans  and 1 cup of broth in the blender. It really made it so smooth tasting I’ll be making this again. Thanks!5 stars

  19. This was VERY good! I subbed out creamed corn for the whole kernel corn and it made it even better (according to my husband)5 stars

  20. I made this for my small group and they all loved it! I was unsure of using the whole can of green chiles as I don’t like spicy, but they were perfect. The flavor is so good! I can’t wait for my cookbook to come in!5 stars

  21. Hi. Great for chilli winter days. I would like to ask how did you calculate the calories? Is it 400 calories / 100 gr ? Thank you.

  22. I love your soup recipes. I can always alter the ingredients a little based on what’s in my fridge, which is so helpful to keep my grocery cost down and use what I have. Plus they are packed with ingredients to fill up even the hungriest in my family, which makes meal time so much easier!!5 stars

  23. My husband said this recipe is “quite delicious “. That is very high praise. I definitely agree. It is now in regular rotation. 5 stars

  24. Hi Lisa – this recipe sounds wonderful.  I am planning on making it with 2 minor adjustments. The bell pepper will cause digestive problems for me, but a poblano swapped in should work. And I will omit the corn entirely for the same reason.  Will let you know how it turns out!

  25. This recipe was absolutely delicious! I loved it with shaved parmesan on top and avocado. I also added sour cream to make it creamier and two eggs (my mom used to always add eggs to soups). Thank you! Making this again and it was just perfect for the first day of fall! 5 stars

  26. I made this Chili tonight and it was absolutely delicious and I don’t traditionally like chili!  There hasn’t been a downshiftology recipe I have made which was anything but a five star recipe!  Thanks Lisa!5 stars

  27. I’ve been making variations of white chicken chili for many years and this recipe is by far my favorite! The coriander and fresh lime are genius! I usually add a can of black beans (drained and rinsed) and double it because we eat so much and enjoy the leftovers plus is freezes well! Queso fresco and avocado are my favorite toppings.5 stars

  28. Hi Lisa,
    I was wondering, can this recipe be made in the slow cooker, rather than on the stove top? If so, what would be the steps to adapt this recipe? 

    Thank you! 5 stars

  29. Hi Lisa, I am addicted to this recipe. I made it twice before and now again tomorrow for when my parents come back from being away for 3 months.  It is absolutely perfect!!!!!! Thank you!

  30. This is possibly the best soup we have ever tasted!!!! So much flavor and yet still gentle on the tongue and stomach. 

    My husband & I love cooking. Lisa’s recipe’s are consistently top notch. Her blog is one of our favorites for new ideas. 

    The only modification we made was roasting the jalapeños that we garnished the soup with rather than freshly chopped.

    I’d also highly recommend the brand Hatch Valley 505 flame roasted green chilies for the chilies that go in the soup. That brand has excellent flavor! 

    Thank you Lisa for sharing your incredible talent of recipe creations!!!! 5 stars

  31. This was delicious! I did not change anything, I used the whole jalapeño and it wasn’t too spicy, the flavor profile is amazing! Thank you so much for another tasty recipe! Excited for your cookbook!5 stars

    1. Happy to hear you loved this white chicken chili Tamara! Can’t wait for you to cook through my upcoming cookbook as well :)

  32. So delicious and easy to make! I was nervous it’d be too spicy, but it isn’t. It’s also surprisingly filling. The only change I made was using roasted cumin instead of regular. 5 stars