There's a New Chili in Town

White Bean Chicken Chili

white chicken chili in bowl with toppings

Creatures of chili habit, I urge you to try a new blue-ribbon winner: White Bean Chicken Chili. With juicy chicken, hearty white beans, and a creamy green chile broth, it doesn’t mean you are saying goodbye to your traditional chili, but rather making room for a new friend in your life!

white bean chicken chili in bowl with toppings

Why You’ll Love This White Chicken Chili Recipe

  • Something Different. We know and love the tried-and-true Healthy Turkey Chili, nutrient-packed Instant Pot Chili, and top-rated Vegetarian Chili. Traditional chili is made with a tomato base, whereas white chili has a creamy broth base without tomatoes. Regular chili is also typically made with beef, and white chili, chicken.
  • Healthy. Unlike typical white bean chicken chili recipes (such as Pioneer Woman’s white chicken chili, yes I SAID IT) this easy white bean chicken chili recipe is made without heavy cream or cream cheese for a balanced meal.
  • Adapted from a Reader Favorite. Readers may already know my Crockpot White Chicken Chili. This white chicken chili recipe is an adapted stovetop version. It still tastes like it simmered all day but it’s ready in a jiffy.
  • Flavorful. Green chiles are a dynamo ingredient in some of my favorite Tex-Mex recipes, like Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas (also featured in my cookbook) and Green Chili. They add a spiced-but-not-spicy, deep flavor.
  • Perfect texture. Part of the beans are puréed with an immersion blender (my secret to thickening chili!) to deliver a creamy texture.
  • Toppings! White bean chicken chili can be loaded with toppings galore, leaving you blissfully wondering whether the toppings or the chili is the main meal.
stovetop white bean chicken chili in a Dutch oven

5 Star Review

“We made this last night and the flavor is absolutely AMAZING!!! It was really easy to make too – highly recommend!”

— Tracy —

How to Make White Bean Chicken Chili

The Ingredients

  • Onion. A yellow onion or white onion is an important ingredient for building the base flavor.
  • Spices. The spices that typically star in taco night—cumin, oregano, garlic, and cayenne (optional)—are turned up to give this chili loads of flavor.

Heat Level

Want to turn up the heat? This white bean chicken chili is mildly spiced. If you prefer a hotter chili, add a diced jalapeño (or a few) along with sautéed onion as well as the cayenne pepper.

  • Chicken. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, delivering lots of healthy protein for a filling meal.

Market Swap

This soup is made for chicken breasts, but you can try chicken thighs, turkey, or short cut with rotisserie or pre-shredded chicken.

  • Chicken Thighs. You can use the same amount of boneless, skinless chicken thighs in place of breasts if you prefer. You may need to adjust the called-for cooking time; check chicken for doneness (internal temperature should register 155 degrees F after simmering; the temperature will rise as it rests).
  • Turkey. You can try swapping for turkey instead of chicken, if you are looking for more Leftover Turkey Recipes.
  • Rotisserie Chicken. You can use shredded chicken from a store-bought rotisserie chicken in a pinch, make your own rotisserie with Air Fryer Whole Chicken, or use the leftovers from following this post for How to Cook Shredded Chicken.
  • Beans. Cannellini beans (or Great Northern beans) are mild and creamy, and add a double-punch of protein along with the chicken.
  • Cilantro. For a fresh finish. Feel free to omit if you are averse to cilantro.
  • Lime Juice. Balances the rich chili flavor and adds a brightness.

The Directions

onions for white bean chicken chili
  1. Sauté. Cook the onion, then add seasonings.
white beans for stovetop white bean chicken chili
  1. Add the Protein and Chiles. Stir in the chicken, beans, and green chiles.
beans and chicken cooking for chili
  1. Add Broth and Chicken. Bring to a simmer. Remove the chicken once it’s cooked through.
immersion blender in a pot of white bean chicken chili
  1. Make It Creamy. Purée a portion of the chili with an immersion blender.
shredded chicken on top chili
  1. Add the Chicken. Stir it back into the pot.
cilantro topped white bean chicken chili
  1. Finish. Add cilantro and lime juice and then simmer. Serve, topping with lime juice and any other desired toppings. ENJOY!

White Bean Chicken Chili Topping Ideas

While enjoyable on its own, white bean chicken chili is even better with toppings, such as the following:

  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Guacamole (see Best Guacamole Recipe)
  • Plain Greek yogurt or nonfat sour cream
  • Avocado slices
  • Jalapeño slices
  • Shredded cheese, such as cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
  • Pickled Onions
avocado and tortilla chip toppings on a bowl of chicken chili

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Store leftover chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze. Place chili in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container and freeze for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • To Reheat. Warm the chili in the microwave or on the stove top until steaming.

Meal Prep Tip

White bean chicken chili is freezer-friendly. You could individually portion the chili in freezer-safe ziptop bags and lay flat to freeze for future bowls of chili on a cold day. It also reheats like a dream. Prep it in advance and transfer to crockpot to keep warm until serving later that day, or rewarm on the stove from the refrigerator.

What to Serve with White Bean Chicken Chili

  • Salad. Pair your chili with a Tex-Mex-inspired salad like Black Bean Corn Salad or Mexican Street Corn Quinoa Salad.
  • Cornbread. Sweet Potato Cornbread, Mexican Cornbread, and Jalapeno Cornbread all pair beautifully with this white bean chicken chili.
  • Margaritas. Treat yourself to a classic Skinny Margarita or Peach Margarita. You earned it!
  • Rice. Serve your chili over Instant Pot Brown Rice or White Rice, or stir cooked rice into the chili just before serving to make it even heartier.
white bean chicken chili in bowl with toppings
  • Dutch Oven. I’ve joked that there were a house fire, this is an item I’d grab, but I’m not so sure I’m joking. This beauty will last a lifetime.
  • Immersion Blender. A hand-held, less-mess blending tool for soups, like Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup and Mushroom Soup.
  • Ladle. Effortlessly serve up all your stews and soups.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Use an Instant-Read Thermometer. It’s the best way to know when the chicken is done cooking! While you don’t have to worry about the chicken drying out since it’s cooking in liquid, it will get tough and rubbery if over-cooked.
  • Blend Carefully. An immersion blender makes it easy to puree a portion of the soup, but if you don’t have one, you can use a regular blender—but do so carefully. Let the chili cool a bit, then ladle a portion into the blender jar. Vent the lid slightly to keep steam from building up, but place a kitchen towel over the top to catch any potential splatters. Stir the blended chili back into the pot.
  • Adjust the Heat. There’s only a small amount of cayenne pepper in this recipe, but if you prefer to take a walk on the mild side, omit it altogether. You can add a little zip with black pepper instead or leave that out too.
white chicken chili in bowl with toppings
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White Bean Chicken Chili

The BEST white bean chicken chili. This healthy and creamy stovetop chili is made with chicken breasts, green chiles, and white beans.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Southwest
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 170kcal
Author Erin Clarke / Well Plated

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion or 1/2 large, 1/4-inch diced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts trimmed of excess fat (2 to 3 breasts)
  • 2 15-ounce cans reduced sodium cannellini beans, or Great Northern beans rinsed and drained
  • 2 4.5-ounce cans diced green chiles
  • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice about 2 limes

For Serving:

  • Diced jalapeño, diced avocado, nonfat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips

Instructions

  • In a Dutch oven or a similar large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until it is beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the cumin, oregano, salt, and garlic. Let cook for 30 seconds, until the garlic is very fragrant.
    onions for white chicken chili
  • Add the chicken, beans, green chiles, and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat so that the liquid maintains a gentle, steady simmer.
    white chicken chili preparation in pot
  • Continue simmering until the chicken registers 155 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, about 12 to 14 minutes; if the size of your pot is such that the chicken is not fully submerged, flip it over once halfway through. Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. Let rest 10 minutes. Dice or shred it into bite-sized pieces.
  • With an immersion blender, puree a portion of the chili to thicken it, leaving some of the beans whole. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can instead transfer a few ladlefuls of the chili to a food processor or blender and pulse roughly, then return it back into the chili.) Continue simmering 5 minutes more to further thicken it.
    immersion blender in a pot of white chicken chili
  • Stir the chicken, cilantro, and lime juice. Simmer 5 minutes more to allow the flavors to marry. To serve, portion into bowls and top with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Add any other desired toppings and enjoy.
    cilantro topped white chicken chili

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days
  • TO FREEZE: Place chili in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container and freeze for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • TO REHEAT: Warm the chili in the microwave or on the stove top until steaming.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Potassium: 523mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 134IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg

Bring on the Chili!