This flavorful White Chicken Chili recipe is an easy, one-pot meal perfect for busy weeknights. Tender chicken, white beans, green chilies and corn are simmered in a rich and super creamy broth. This hearty white bean chicken chili is pure comfort food!
The best white chicken chili recipe
This easy chili recipe is packed with all the good and delicious things! Lean chicken, white beans, corn and mild green chiles. The perfect combination of Tex-Mex chili seasoning add so much flavor, and the addition of rich cream cheese gives this white chicken chili its extra creamy texture.
We never shy away from the opportunity to pile up some toppings. Some of our favorite toppings are shredded cheddar cheese, avocado, fresh jalapeño, fresh cilantro, sour cream and tortilla chips.
This creamy white chicken chili recipe has been a family favorite for very long time. Made with simple ingredients you can find at any grocery store, and ready in less than an hour, this soul-warming and nutritious white chili recipe is sure to become one of your favorite recipes.
Why you’ll love this creamy chicken chili?
- Creamy goodness: This delicious chili has a ridiculously creamy texture because of the addition of cream cheese and half and half.
- Chicken many ways: Although we usually make this recipe with whole chicken breasts or thighs cut into small pieces, you can also use rotisserie chicken or any cooked chicken you may have leftover from a previous meal.
- One-pot comfort food: One pot cooking means easy clean up! A soup pot on the stovetop or a crock pot is all you need.
Chicken chili recipe ingredients
This is a partial list of ingredients and substitutions for this easy white chicken chili recipe. For a full list of ingredients and quantities, check the recipe card below.
- Chicken: Boneless and skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs can be used. if you have any shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken from a previous meal, that can also be used.
- Oil: Olive oil or any other mild oil such as avocado oil or vegetable oil can be used.
- Green chilies: I use canned green chiles. I prefer mild chilies but you can control the spice level by choosing medium or hot green chiles.
- Onion: Yellow onion, white or brown onions can be used.
- Garlic: I use fresh garlic. In a pinch, use garlic paste.
- Chicken stock: Homemade or store-bought chicken stock or broth are a must. Use low-sodium if preferred. Veggie broth can be used in a pinch.
- Canned beans: I use white beans but the truth is that you can use any type of bean you have at home with great results. Since this is a white chicken – white bean soup, white beans like great northern beans, cannellini beans and navy beans are preferred.
- Corn: Frozen corn, canned corn or fresh corn when available, can be used.
- Cream cheese: This is not a low-carb, super healthy soup. It’s a rich and decadent soup full of flavor! Full-fat cream cheese from a block is a must.
- Half and half: Between regular milk and heavy cream, there’s half and half. Not too rich but rich enough to add creaminess and taste to this easy white chicken chili.
- Spices and seasonings: Ground cumin, paprika, chili pepper, dried oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper (optional).
Chili Topping Ideas:
- Shredded cheese such as Monterrey Jack or cheddar
- Green onions
- Sour cream
- Tortilla chips
How to make white chicken chili step by step
- 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.
What is white chili made of?
White chili is made with white beans, chicken and green chiles in a flavorful chicken broth seasoned with spices like ground cumin and chili powder. Some recipes call for cream cheese or sometimes sour cream to make the chili rich and creamy.
What will thicken white chicken chili?
This white chicken chili recipe uses a small portion of the bean as the thickener. I fin this to be one of the best and healthiest ways 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 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.
Another great option is to thicken chili with masa harina. Masa, the same ingredient used to make corn tortillas and tamales, has a distinct taste that adds a lot of Tex Mex type flavor to any chili. Make a slurry by combining about 2 tablespoons of masa harina with some water. Stir into the chili and then simmer for a few minutes or until the chili thickens.
Is this white chicken chili spicy?
No, this white chili is mild as I use mild green chillies. If you like spicy foods, you can use medium or hot green chilies instead. Using chopped fresh jalapeño or serrano chiles as part of the toppings will also add heat to the chili.
Can I make white chicken chili in a crock pot?
Yes! To make crockpot creamy white chicken chili, sauté 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.
Can I make white chili in the Instant pot?
Yes, you can cook white chicken chili at high pressure on an electric pressure cooker. Leave the chicken breast whole. Sauté 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 sauté and allow the soup to simmer for a couple of minutes.
Storing, freezing and reheating
Leftover chicken chili can be store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Does white bean chili freezes well?
Yes! Chili freezes well. Cool the chicken chili completely and store it in an airtight container or store small portions in a resealable freezer safe bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
How to reheat white chili?
Reheat white chicken chili in the microwave or on the stove top until warm through. If the chili gets a bit too thick, add a bit of chicken broth to thin it up.
White Chili Tips for Success
- I use mild canned green chillies. If you prefer your white chili spicy, choose medium or hot green chilies.
- Use a 6Qt or 8 Qt soup pot or Dutch oven to make this recipe.
- For extra creaminess, use full-fat cream cheese from a block and half and half.
- Although this recipe asks for raw chicken, you can make it with cooked chicken (shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken works great). Add the chicken at the same time you add the chicken broth.
- To thicken the chili, you can blend or mash a portion of the white beans and stir them into the chili.
- Chili thickens while it seats. Add additional broth if needed.
Take a look at these delicious chili and soup recipes:
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Tom Yum Soup
- Best Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe
- Best Lentil Soup Recipe
- Albondigas Soup (Mexican Meatball Soup)
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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 FOR EXTRA CREAMINESS: 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.
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