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 350 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.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.
Recipe first shared May 2013, photos have been updated.

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752 Comments

  • Dawn

    I just smashed my beans with a large fork I have and that worked out fine. The soup came out VERY good; thanks for this recipe!

  • Zachary H

    I make this recipe and mostly follow it to the T. My family and neighbors LOVE this recipe, thank you for sharing Jaclyn!

    One of my neighbors even offered me money to make for him to freeze. I ov course declined because we always exchange food.

  • stephanie

    I made this vegetarian by using better than bouillon “no chicken” base for stock, and soy curls that I rehydrated in stock and pan fried with grilled chicken seasoning while the soupy stuff simmered. Had one can of cannellini and one can of great northern beans on hand, so that’s what I used. Mine ended up very soupy, which could likely be remedied by blending more than 1 cup of the beans or just letting it simmer longer (or maybe even REALLY bulk the recipe up by using a 3rd, totally blended can of beans)… I just threw in a bag of 90 second microwavable rice as a quick fix to thicken it up a bit. Final product is VERY tasty – as it should be, with a whole block of cream cheese in it!! It was easy to make and I have lots of ideas for when I make it again in the future. Curious about trying some things to make it dairy free.

    • Mara Upton

      I’ve always made it without the cheese and it is very tasty that way as well. Just use all the other ingredients accept the cheese and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  • Jacquelyn Taylor

    This recipe is one of my favorites! I’ve referred back to it at least 3x so far and have recently made again. I’ve also shared this recipe with others who have thoroughly enjoyed it or have put their spin to it.

  • Sheryl Strickland

    I made this white chicken chili and it was absolutely delicious and loved by everybody that ate it including myself. It was amazingly simple to make. I used skinless, boneless chicken breasts, boiled them to create my own chicken broth. I added salt and pepper to my chicken which believe it or not added a lot of flavor to them. I usually don’t use salt in my cooking for health reasons. I made it on Sunday, we had it for dinner then lunch and dinner the next day and then it was gone. A definite great dish to make for the family, especially when it is cold. I think you could serve this as a dip as well.

  • Kristi Schuster

    This was delicious. I varied a little based on what I had on hand already. I used northern and black bean, threw in a can of diced tomatoes w/chilis, no cayenne so I used chili powder. I crushed multi grain tortilla chips in it too. So delicious. Thank you for your recipe.😋

  • Deanna

    I made this by the book but I did not purée any beans with broth, it still came out wonderful. Used rotisserie chicken and frozen corn, very delicious end result. My husband said it’s the best I’ve ever made!