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White Chicken Chili – WellPlated.com


Creatures of chili habit, I urge you to try a new blue-ribbon winner: White Chicken Chili.

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While white chicken chili starts with the familiar chili flavors of sautéed onion, cumin, oregano, and cayenne, instead of a tomato base, it is made in a creamy white sauce with chunks of tender chicken, hearty white cannellini beans, and flavorful green chiles.

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 is ready in a jiffy.

bowl filled with white chicken chili cooked on stovetop

Why You Should Try White Chicken Chili

When you need to warm your spirits on a cold night, it’s Game Day, or you need to feed a crowd, the Dutch oven beckons for a batch of comforting chili. 

We know and love the tried-and-true Healthy Turkey Chili, nutrient-packed Instant Pot Chili, and top-rated Pumpkin Chili.

With white chicken chili, we’re not breaking up with all our other chilis.

We’re just changing it up.

  • Healthy. Unlike typical white chicken chili recipes (such as Pioneer Woman’s white chicken chili, yes I SAID IT) this easy white chicken chili recipe is made without heavy cream or cream cheese for a healthy, balanced meal.
  • 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, and add a spice-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 chicken chili can be loaded with toppings galore, leaving you blissfully wondering whether the toppings or the chili is the main meal.
stovetop white chicken chili in a Dutch oven

How to Make the Best White Chicken Chili

White chicken chili is made with sautéed onion and spices, boneless skinless chicken breasts cooked to tender perfection, white beans, diced green chiles (of course!), chicken broth, and finished with lime, cilantro, and mega toppings.

It’s a one-pot-stop that is fantastic leftover and freezes well.

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 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 and extra potassium.
  • 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 chicken chili
  1. Sauté onion. Add seasonings.
white beans for stovetop white chicken chili
  1. Add the chicken, beans, and green chiles.
beans and chicken cooking for chili
  1. Add broth. Simmer. Once the chicken is cooked through, let it rest on a plate and then dice or shred it.
immersion blender in a pot of white chicken chili
  1. Purée a portion of the chili with an immersion blender.
shredded chicken on top chili
  1. Stir in the chicken.
cilantro topped white chicken chili
  1. Add cilantro and lime juice and then simmer. Serve, topping with lime juice and any other desired toppings. ENJOY!

White Chicken Chili Topping Ideas

While enjoyable on its own, white 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.

Storage Tips

White 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.

Meal Prep Tip

White chicken chili reheats like a dream. You could prep the soup 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 Chicken Chili

Cornbread is a classic chili side; great for dunking. A salad would also pair well for victorious soup-and-salad meal.

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

Immersion Blender

You might not think you need one more kitchen tool, but if you don’t own an immersion blender, you do.

This immersion blender has 12 speeds and an 800-watt motor with a turbo boost, plus with snap-on attachments

white chicken chili in bowl with toppings

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

white chicken chili in bowl with toppings

White chicken chili doesn’t mean you are saying goodbye to your traditional chili, but rather making room for a new friend in your life.

I know you’ll love getting acquainted!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Make White Chicken Chili in the Crock Pot?

Yes, white chicken chili can be made in the slow cooker or stove top. I have adapted this white chicken chili recipe for the crock pot in this OG Well Plated recipe Crock Pot White Chicken Chili.

What’s the Difference Between Regular Chili and White Chicken 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.

How Can I Purée My White Chicken Chili if I Don’t Have an Immersion Blender?

To thicken white chicken chili and make it not watery, I purée part of the beans with an immersion blender. 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Serving: 1servingCalories: 170kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 25gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 73mgPotassium: 523mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 134IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg

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Bring on the Chili!


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