A delicious blend of chicken, spices, beans, and peppers come together to make a hearty chili that will warm you up from the inside out.
If you are a fan of chili and have not yet tried White Chicken Chili, you must!
Although this chili is not technically white, it is softer and lighter in color than a traditional tomato based chili. My recipe is a bit richer in color than most and has a nice, creamy texture which is a requirement for chili in my book.
So, what makes White Chicken Chili different than traditional chili? Most obviously, we are using chicken in place of beef. In addition, there are no tomato products of any type and instead, it includes a deliciously seasoned chicken broth base. And, finally, white chili should include only white or lighter colored beans, so leave the red kidney and black beans in the pantry. Peppers are an integral component of the flavor but if you are sensitive to heat, you can easily control the spice level and I’m gonna tell you how!
Meet the peppers. That’s a poblano on the right and a jalapeno on the left. If you’re wary of spicy food, don’t fear the poblano. They are very mild but add an utterly delicious flavor to this chili. The heat will come from the jalapeno and if you’re sensitive, you can control the heat level by doing a thorough job of removing the membranes and seeds from inside the peppers before dicing them. I left just a few seeds behind and ended up with a moderately spicy chili that was perfecto for us! Rinse them, remove the membranes, and seeds as desired, and dice them up.
The recipe calls for two cans of cannellini (white kidney) beans. Rinse and drain one can of beans and transfer them to a small bowl and lightly mash them (reserve the 2nd can for later). I’m using a potato masher here but use what you have – the back of a spoon, the bottom of a clean glass, it’ll all work!
A light mashing is all they need. This looks good. Why are we doing this? Because the mashed beans will help add some body to our chili. I saw this idea on Taste of Home and loved it.
Rinse and drain the second can of cannellini beans along with one can of pinto beans and set them aside for later.
Coat a large pot or Dutch oven with a couple of tablespoons vegetable oil. Cut 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast into small bite-size pieces and saute it over medium-high heat until nicely browned. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste, while cooking. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and set aside.
Add the diced peppers and 1 cup of diced white onion to the same pot and saute until softened.
Add a teaspoon of minced garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute or two.
Next, we add the spices and let them toast up over the heat and become nice and fragrant. Chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt and fresh ground black pepper. A magical combination.
Add 32 ounces of low-sodium chicken broth. I always keep a couple of cartons of this Swanson broth stocked in my pantry. It just so happens to be the exact amount we need for this recipe, but the packaging is awesome even if your recipe calls for just a little broth. The pop-top carton can be closed and tucked in the refrigerator for later. Fantastic!
Add the chicken broth, mashed beans, whole beans, and browned chicken to the pot. Stir the chili and bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
To finish it off, we’re going to thicken it a bit for a nice, creamy texture. Combine 1/4 cup milk with 2 tablespoons cornstarch and stir this mixture into the simmering chili, stirring until slightly thickened. You won’t see this step in most recipes for White Chicken Chili but for me, the texture is what differentiates chili from soup. If it’s brothy, it’s soup and this is, without question, chili!
It’s delicious on its own.
But, it’s fabulous topped with some chopped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.
Some chopped avocado is a perfect complement, and, in keeping with the white theme, some shredded Monterey Jack cheese is in order.
This chili… it completes me.
White Chicken Chili
- 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt divided
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 2 14.5-ounce cans cannellini beans
- 1 14.5 ounce can pinto beans
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 medium jalapeno pepper seeded as desired and diced
- 1 medium poblano seeded and diced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 32 ounce carton (4 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- sour cream
- tortilla chips - for serving
- Cut chicken into small bite-size pieces. Coat the bottom of a Dutch oven or large pot with two tablespoons vegetable oil and place over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, or until nicely browned. While cooking, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste. Remove from heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer chicken to a plate. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, rinse and drain one can of cannellini beans, transfer to a small bowl and lightly mash with a potato masher or the back of a spoon. Set aside. Rinse and drain remaining can of cannellini beans and pinto beans (do not mash) and set aside.
- Return pan to medium heat and add onion and peppers. Cook, stirring frequently, for several minutes until softened. Add 1 teaspoon minced garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Season the vegetable mixture with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, fresh ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, and 1 teaspoon oregano. Cook and stir for a minute or two or until fragrant. Add chicken broth, mashed beans, whole beans, and the browned chicken, stirring well to incorporate the mashed beans. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine milk with cornstarch. Stir into chili and simmer over low heat until thickened.
- Serve with optional toppings and tortilla chips.
- Loosely adapted from Taste of Home