This White Chicken Chili recipe is loaded with tender chicken, white beans, green chiles, corn and spices simmered in a delicious creamy broth. This creamy White Chicken Chili is rich, hearty and delicious!
This Chicken and White Bean Chili however, is one of my absolute favorite comfort food meals and a recipe you should always keep in your recipe collection.
Best White Chicken Chili Recipe
This easy to make White Chicken Chili with cream cheese and white beans is going to become one of your favorite meals. Chicken Chili is a soup you will want to serve all year round – yes, it is that good!
Although the flavors and seasonings of this white chili are absolutely perfect, in my book chili toppings are as important as the chili chicken itself! Shredded cheese (cheddar and Monterrey Jack are our favorite), chopped cilantro, crunchy tortilla chips or corn chips, sour cream, sliced green onions and creamy avocado slices pair beautifully with the rich creamy broth. If you like your chili spicy, slices of jalapeno chiles are a must!
Chicken Chili Recipe Ingredients
- Chicken: Boneless and skinless chicken breast, small diced. You can use chicken thighs, if you prefer.
- Oil: I use extra virgin olive oil but, avocado, canola or vegetable oil can be used.
- Onions: Diced or chopped finely. I like to use brown onions but white and yellow onions work well.
- Green Chiles: I use mild canned green chiles. Use hot if you like extra heat.
- Garlic: I use fresh garlic. In a pinch, use garlic paste.
- Chicken Broth: Homemade or canned. Use low sodium, if you prefer.
- Great Northern Beans: I use canned beans, drained. Any other white bean like Canellini work well.
- Corn: Frozen corn is readily available year round and I always have a bag in my freezer. Use fresh or canned corn, if you prefer.
- Cream Cheese: I use full fat cream cheese.
- Half and Half: You can use whole milk although the white bean chili won’t be as rich. Heavy cream is also a good option.
- Cilantro: Chopped. Use parsley if you don’t like cilantro.
- Lime Juice: Fresh lime juice is the way to go!
- Green Onions: Sliced.
- Seasonings: Ground cumin, paprika, chili pepper, dried oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper (optional).
How To Make Chicken Chili
- Season the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- If you want a super creamy chili, mash or process some of the beans in a small food processor or blender. You will need a couple of tablespoons of liquid (broth or water) for the machine to run smoothly. You can also place the beans in a small bowl and use an immersion blender.
- Heat up the oil in a pot or Dutch oven. Cook the onions until they become soft. Stir in the chicken and cook for a few minutes. The chicken will be almost fully cooked at this point.
- Stir in the garlic, green chiles and then the spices.
- Stir in the chicken broth, the beans and the corn and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer.
- Whisk in the cream cheese and the Half and Half and simmer for a few minutes. Stir in the lime juice, green onions and season to taste.
How Do You Thicken Chili?
For this bean chicken chili recipe, I use the beans as a thickening agent. It is the best and healthiest way to thicken chili.
Here is how is done: Measure out about 1/2 cup of the white beans (it doesn’t have to be exact) and mash them with a fork or potato masher. You can also place the beans in a small food processor with a couple of spoonfuls of broth or water and process until the beans are smooth. This isn’t a science project, just some mashed beans! Don’t stress over it.
If you prefer using a different thickening method, you can use masa harina. Masa flavors go well with this chili recipe. Simply mix 2 tablespoons of masa with some water and add it to the chili. Simmer for a few minutes or until it thickens.
Does Chili Freeze Well?
Yes! Chili freezes and also reheats well. Cool completely and place it in freezer bags or a sealed container and freeze it for up to 2 months.
Defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat in a pot or in the microwave. If the chili gets a bit too thick, add chicken broth to thin it up.
Yes! To make this easy recipe in the crock pot, saute the onions, chicken and garlic in a skillet. Place this mixture in the slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cream cheese, half and half and green onions into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours. Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer 10 minutes.
Yes, you can cook this in the pressure cooker. Leave the chicken breast whole. Saute the onions and garlic, then place all the ingredients – except the cream cheese and half and half into the instant pot. Seal and cook on high for 12 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Open the pot, remove the chicken and shred it. Stir in the cream cheese and half and half. Return the shredded chicken to the pot. Press saute and allow the soup to simmer for a couple of minutes.
Easy Chicken Chili Recipe Tips
- You can use chicken thighs, if you prefer.
- You can make this chicken chili recipe with leftover rotisserie chicken. Add the chicken at the same time you add the beans.
- You can use ground chicken or ground turkey to make white chili.
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White Chicken Chili Recipe
- 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breast, diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 can diced green chilies
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 (14-ounces) cans chicken broth
- 2 (15-ounces) cans great Northern beans, drained
- 1 cup frozen or fresh corn
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1/4 cup half and half
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro plus more for serving
- 1 green onion, sliced
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- avocado slices
- Monterrey Jack cheese or Mexican blend cheese
- Sliced Jalapenos
- Sour cream
- Tortilla chips
- Place the chicken in a medium bowl and season it with salt and pepper to taste and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. Set aside.
- OPTIONAL STEP: Measure out 1/2 cup of beans and mash them with a fork or food masher. You can also place them in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of chicken broth (or water) and blend them with an immersion blender or food processor. This mixture makes the chili extra creamy.
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes or until the onions begin to soften.
- Add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently for about 3-4 minutes or until the chicken is lightly brown on the outside. (See Note 1). Stir in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Stir in the green chiles, cumin, paprika, chili powder, oregano and cayenne, if using.
- Stir in the chicken broth, the beans (whole and mashed – See Note 2) and the corn and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Whisk in the cream cheese until the cheese is incorporated. Stir in the half and half and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, cilantro and green onions and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve topped with the toppings of your choice.
- NOTE 1: The chicken should be almost fully cooked at this point however, the chicken will continue to cook in the soup so don’t worry if it is still slightly pink inside.
- NOTE 2: Mashing some of the beans is an optional step however, it makes the chili extra creamy. Add all of the beans to the chili in this step.