White Chicken Chili

March 4, 2019  ·  Published May 15, 2013

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Flavorful White Chicken Chili made with hearty beans, tender chicken, and a rich and creamy broth. It’s a great alternative to traditional beef chili and makes for a super satisfying dinner! If you’re lucky to have any left it will make great leftovers for lunch the next day too!

White Chicken Chili in white serving bowl set over a brown plate. Chili is garnished with avocado, cheese, tortilla chips, cilantro and lime.

My Favorite White Chicken Chili Recipe

We’ve all made the classic chili with beef, kidney beans, tomatoes, and the traditional chili spices but have you tried white chicken version yet?

Want to see how to make this chili recipe? Watch the video!

This is a recipe you’ll want to be making year round, even as it starts to get warm outside. It’s probably different than what you’d expect with the label of “chili” in the title but it is amazingly delicious!

You’ll love the way the flavors of this chili blend together, those tender pieces of chicken and that creamy broth. It tastes far different from the classic chili but it’s a welcome change. Everyone loves this soup!

And it’s just that much better when you load on the toppings. Who wouldn’t love the addition of fresh avocado slices, crunchy tortilla chips, flavorful cheese and fresh cilantro? Bring on those toppings!

Navy blue pot full of white chicken chili. Chili includes pieces of chicken, pinto beans, corn, green chilies and a creamy broth, it is garnished with avocado and cilantro.

What Ingredients go into White Chicken Chili?

  • Chicken -I prefer rotisserie chicken but left-over cooked chicken will work great too.
  • Garlic and onion – these aromatics adds lots of flavor here. Use fresh minced garlic.
  • Chicken broth – for even more flavor try this soup with a homemade broth.
  • Green chilies – be sure to buy the mild kind unless you like heat.
  • Cumin, Paprika, Oregano & Coriander – these creates the perfect blend of spices here.
  • Cannellini Beans – great northern beans will work great too.
  • Frozen Corn – canned corn will work too, I just never have cared for the flavor.
  • Neufchatel cheese – cream cheese will work great too. I usually use Philadelphia but the store was out.
  • Lime – be sure to use fresh lime not the bottled stuff here.
  • Cilantro – feel free to add more to taste.
  • Desired toppings – I like to add avocado, tortilla chips, and cheese.

Ingredients needed to make white chicken chili shown here.

How do You Make the Best White Chicken Chili?

  • Heat olive oil in a 6 quart enameled dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion and saute 4 minutes minutes.
  • Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer.

Showing how to make white chicken chili. Sauteing onion in oil in a large cast iron pot.

  • Add chicken broth, green chilies, cumin, paprika, oregano, coriander, cayenne pepper and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring mixture just to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes.

Adding broth, spices and green chilis to white chicken chili mixture in pot.

  • Drain and rinse beans in a fine mesh strainer or colander then measure out 1 cup.
  • Set whole beans aside, transfer 1 cup beans to a food processor along with 1/4 cup broth from soup, puree until nearly smooth.

Pureeing cannellini beans in food processor for white chicken chili.

  • Add Neufchatel cheese to soup along with corn, whole beans and pureed beans and stir well. Simmer 5 – 10 minutes longer.
  • Stir in chicken, fresh lime juice and cilantro. Serve with Monterrey Jack cheese, more cilantro, avocado slices and tortilla chips if desired.

Adding cream cheese, corn and pureed bean mixture to white chicken chili mixture in pot.

The Trick For A Creamy White Bean Chicken Chili

You’ll notice there’s a step in the recipe that instructs you to process some of the Cannellini beans with some of the soup broth. I saw this once while I was watching Giada making a soup on Food Network.  If I’m remembering right, she added some pureed Cannellini beans to give the soup a creamy texture.

I thought that idea would be perfect to make this white bean chicken chili extra creamy so I decided to adapt that method and I loved it (if you don’t have a food processor or just don’t want to have to clean a food processor then yes, you could just add all the beans in whole).

Can I Make White Chicken Chili in a Crockpot?

Yes, this White Chicken Chili can also be made in a crockpot. To do so:

  • Use 1 lb. raw chicken breasts and add them at the beginning with broth, spices, chilies.
  • Finely mince the onions or saute first with garlic before adding to crockpot so they don’t end up crunchy.
  • Cook on high 3 hours or low 5 – 6 hours (or until chicken is cooked through) then remove chicken, add softened light cream cheese and cook until melted.
  • Stir in pureed bean mixture, beans, corn, shredded chicken, lime and cilantro. Heat through.

Overhead image of white chicken chili in a large white bowl sitting on a brown plate. Chili is garnished with cheese, chips, avocado, cilantro and lime.

It’s a Top Rated Recipe!

I first shared this in May 2013 and since then it’s become a reader favorite! Please try it for yourself and rate the recipe below I love to hear your feedback!

Now Made with Rotisserie Chicken for an Easier Option

Note that when I first shared this I used chicken breasts but after many years of perfecting the recipe I’ve realized rotisserie chicken or left-over chicken (either of which are added at the end) are a better option here. It’s easier, has more flavor, and you won’t end up with dry chicken breasts.

More Delicious Chili Recipes You’ll Love!

Whi
4.96 from 275 votes

White Chicken Chili

This White Chicken Chili is hearty, warming, creamy and perfectly comforting. It's a great alternative to traditional beef chili and makes a simple, yet completely delicious dinner! Makes about 8 cups.
Servings: 6 servings
Prep15 minutes
Cook35 minutes
Ready in: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion , diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic , finely minced
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (7 oz) can diced green chilies
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg Neufchatel cheese (aka light cream cheese), cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/4 cup frozen or fresh corn
  • 2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cooked rotisserie or left-over chicken*
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
  • Tortilla chips or strips, monterrey jack cheese, sliced avocado for serving (optional)

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a 6 quart enameled dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute 4 minutes minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer.
  • Add chicken broth, green chilies, cumin, paprika, oregano, coriander, cayenne pepper and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture just to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse beans in a fine mesh strainer or colander then measure out 1 cup. Set whole beans aside, transfer 1 cup beans to a food processor along with 1/4 cup broth from soup, puree until nearly smooth**.
  • Add Neufchatel cheese to soup along with corn, whole beans and pureed beans and stir well. Simmer 5 - 10 minutes longer.
  • Stir in chicken, fresh lime juice and cilantro. Serve with Monterrey Jack cheese, more cilantro, avocado slices and tortilla chips if desired.

Notes

  • *Recipe updated to use pre-cooked shredded chicken (previously used raw chicken in this recipe and cooked at the beginning). I like the flavor of rotisserie chicken better plus this way you don't end with over-cooked chicken breasts.
  • **If you don't own a food processor you can skip the pureeing step, soup just won't be quite as creamy.
Nutrition Facts
White Chicken Chili
Amount Per Serving
Calories 383 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 77mg26%
Sodium 525mg23%
Potassium 516mg15%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 560IU11%
Vitamin C 8.4mg10%
Calcium 166mg17%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Recipe first shared May 2013, photos have been updated.

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624 Comments

  • Reese EC

    OMG! Doubled and served this recipe for my daughters birthday. How can a chili almost upstage a 1st birthday? As people were saying their goodbyes they didn’t forget to ask for the link lol

  • Jen B

    I made this exactly as directed, doubled the recipe and it turned out amazing. I was actually bummed that I didn’t get seconds the next day because my husband and son ate the rest!
    It was definitely thicker the day after. I’ve been asked to make this again tonight with a tad bit more spice. Thanks for this great recipe!

  • Patsy

    If you use rotisserie chicken, do you wait to add it at the end of the cooking time? Otherwise, if you add it at the beginning isn’t it overcooked?

  • Kim M Frison

    This is a great recipe! Of course, I didn’t use it as is, I used a can of fat butter beans, chickpeas and a can of refried black beans that I had on hand. The addition of the cream cheese is magical! I’ve tried white chili other places and not been a fan but this is awesome!

  • Brandy

    I made it this evening, food is delicious! Not a fan of salt, and I usually can do without. But it pulled the flavors together nicely. Thanks! I added chopped jalapeños to my bowl.

    • Brandy

      One thing I might try next time is hominy instead of corn. Still delicious tho!

  • Tamara Noell

    1st time having white chicken chili…it was. AMAZING! Made it twice in one week!

  • Brittany

    Delicious! I used regular cream cheese versus the neufchâtel and it still turned out great. The fresh lime and cilantro at the very end really boost the flavor. It was easy to make. One of my new favorite soups now. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  • PamO

    We had this for dinner last night and it was delicious. We couldn’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch today!