A delicious blend of chicken, spices, beans, and peppers come together to create this hearty White Chicken Chili. A bowl of this flavorful chili 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.
White Chicken Chili vs. Traditional Chili
What makes White Chicken Chili different than traditional chili? Most obviously, it calls for chicken in place of beef. In addition, there are no tomato products of any type and instead, it has 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 important component as well, but if you are sensitive to heat, you can easily control the spice level and I’m going tell you how!
- Chicken – You’ll need about 1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast.
- Beans – Creamy white cannellini beans are a must for this chili but I also like to add some pinto beans. Feel free to go with all white beans if you prefer. A combination of cannellini and small white beans works very well.
- Peppers – Jalapeno and poblano – one of each. If you’re wary of spicy food, don’t fear the poblano pepper. 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. For a spicier chili, leave some of those seeds.
- Onion – Diced yellow onion.
- Broth – You want to go with a low sodium chicken broth and season to taste.
- Seasoning/Garlic – Chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt and fresh ground black pepper. A flavorful, aromatic mix. You’ll also need some minced garlic.
- Oil – Use a neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil.
- Milk – A little 2% or whole milk to add some creaminess.
- Cornstarch – Combined with the milk, it makes a slurry that helps to thicken the chili.
How to Make White Chicken Chili
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the mashed beans and whole beans to the pot.
- Add the browned chicken and chicken broth. Stir well to combine the liquid with 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.
- Combine the milk and cornstarch and stir it into the chili. Simmer over low heat until thickened.
Set out the toppings you love and let everyone build their own bowl full of deliciousness. Topping choices include shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, and cilantro. And, don’t forget the tortilla chips!
Refrigerator – Transfer any leftover White Chicken Chili to an airtight container and promptly refrigerate. Use within 3 to 4 days or freeze for longer storage. Chili can thicken quite a bit upon chilling so add additional broth or a little water when reheating, if needed.
Freezer – Transfer the completely cooled chili to zippered gallon-size plastic storage bags. Push out the excess air, close the bags, lay them flat and freeze them solid. Once frozen, the bags can be stacked in your freezer to save space. For the best quality, use the chili within 3 to 4 months. To reheat, safely thaw the bags of chili in the refrigerator, then warm it on the stove or in the microwave.
More Comforting Chicken Recipes
- Chicken and Sausage Stew with White Beans and Spinach
- Creamy Southwest Chicken Soup
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Chicken Vegetable Tortellini Soup
White Chicken Chili
- 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- freshly 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
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup milk, 2% or whole
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- sour cream
- tortilla chips
- Cut the chicken into small bite-size pieces. Coat the bottom of a Dutch oven or large pot with two tablespoons canola or vegetable oil and place over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Add the chicken and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, or until nicely browned. While cooking, season with ½ teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Remove from the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a plate and set it aside.
- Meanwhile, rinse and drain one can of cannellini beans, transfer them to a small bowl and lightly mash with a potato masher or the back of a spoon. Set aside. Rinse and drain the remaining can of cannellini beans and pinto beans (do not mash) and set them aside.
- Return the pot to MEDIUM heat and add the 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, freshly ground black pepper, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and oregano. Cook and stir for a minute or two or until fragrant. Add the chicken broth, mashed beans, whole beans, and the browned chicken, stirring well to incorporate the mashed beans. Increase heat to HIGH and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the 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 the mixture into the chili and simmer over LOW heat until thickened.
- Serve with optional toppings and tortilla chips.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Loosely adapted from Taste of Home
This post was originally published on September 21, 2015. It has been updated with new text and images.
Questions and Reviews
Hi there! This looks SO amazing..I can hardly wait to try this! What’re your thoughts on using a crockpot? Do you think it could work and how would it alter the preparation of it?
This chili recipe actually cooks very quickly so I wouldn’t think it necessary to do in a slow cooker BUT, if you’d like to, I would cook the chicken and veggies and then transfer that to the slow cooker, add the remaining ingredients and set it to LOW for 4 to 6 hours. Increase the slow cooker temp to HIGH at the end of the cooking time and stir in cornstarch/water mixture to thicken it. I hope you enjoy it!
Made this last night and it was delicious! Thanks Val
I’m always looking for recipes my daughter would enjoy and I think this white chicken is just what we need. I’ll give your recipe a try soon. Thanks for sharing.
I love your white version. Sometimes tomato versions can be so heavy. This is the perfect comfort food!
This looks so flavorful. Loved the toppings too! Nice photos. 🙂
Yum! I love how you thicken it with the mashed up beans.
My husband loves white chicken chili and your recipe sounds like one we will have to try!
I love chicken chili! white chili is great and chili verde!
I love adding avocado chunks to a soup 🙂 Nice touch! This looks delicious!
Ooooh I am so ready for fall weather and soups. This looks perfect for a crisp and cool fall day.
This looks like the perfect fall soup!!
This chili looks delicious! I love that avocado on top!