Creatures of chili habit, I urge you to try a new blue-ribbon winner: White Bean Chicken Chili. With juicy chicken, hearty white beans, and a creamy green chile broth, it doesn’t mean you are saying goodbye to your traditional chili, but rather making room for a new friend in your life!
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Why You’ll Love This White Chicken Chili Recipe
- Something Different. We know and love the tried-and-true Healthy Turkey Chili, nutrient-packed Instant Pot Chili, and top-rated Vegetarian 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.
- Healthy. Unlike typical white bean chicken chili recipes (such as Pioneer Woman’s white chicken chili, yes I SAID IT) this easy white bean chicken chili recipe is made without heavy cream or cream cheese for a balanced meal.
- Adapted from a Reader Favorite. 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 it’s ready in a jiffy.
- 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. They add a spiced-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 bean chicken chili can be loaded with toppings galore, leaving you blissfully wondering whether the toppings or the chili is the main meal.
5 Star Review
“We made this last night and the flavor is absolutely AMAZING!!! It was really easy to make too – highly recommend!”— Tracy —
How to Make White Bean Chicken Chili
- 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.
- Chicken. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, delivering lots of healthy protein for a filling meal.
- Beans. Cannellini beans (or Great Northern beans) are mild and creamy, and add a double-punch of protein along with the chicken.
- 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.
- Sauté. Cook the onion, then add seasonings.
- Add the Protein and Chiles. Stir in the chicken, beans, and green chiles.
- Add Broth and Chicken. Bring to a simmer. Remove the chicken once it’s cooked through.
- Make It Creamy. Purée a portion of the chili with an immersion blender.
- Add the Chicken. Stir it back into the pot.
- Finish. Add cilantro and lime juice and then simmer. Serve, topping with lime juice and any other desired toppings. ENJOY!
White Bean Chicken Chili Topping Ideas
While enjoyable on its own, white bean 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
- 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.
Meal Prep Tip
White bean 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. It also reheats like a dream. Prep it 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 Bean Chicken Chili
- Salad. Pair your chili with a Tex-Mex-inspired salad like Black Bean Corn Salad or Mexican Street Corn Quinoa Salad.
- Cornbread. Sweet Potato Cornbread, Mexican Cornbread, and Jalapeno Cornbread all pair beautifully with this white bean chicken chili.
- Margaritas. Treat yourself to a classic Skinny Margarita or Peach Margarita. You earned it!
- Rice. Serve your chili over Instant Pot Brown Rice or White Rice, or stir cooked rice into the chili just before serving to make it even heartier.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Dutch Oven. I’ve joked that there were a house fire, this is an item I’d grab, but I’m not so sure I’m joking. This beauty will last a lifetime.
- Immersion Blender. A hand-held, less-mess blending tool for soups, like Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup and Mushroom Soup.
- Ladle. Effortlessly serve up all your stews and soups.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Use an Instant-Read Thermometer. It’s the best way to know when the chicken is done cooking! While you don’t have to worry about the chicken drying out since it’s cooking in liquid, it will get tough and rubbery if over-cooked.
- Blend Carefully. An immersion blender makes it easy to puree a portion of the soup, but if you don’t have one, you can use a regular blender—but do so carefully. Let the chili cool a bit, then ladle a portion into the blender jar. Vent the lid slightly to keep steam from building up, but place a kitchen towel over the top to catch any potential splatters. Stir the blended chili back into the pot.
- Adjust the Heat. There’s only a small amount of cayenne pepper in this recipe, but if you prefer to take a walk on the mild side, omit it altogether. You can add a little zip with black pepper instead or leave that out too.
White Bean Chicken 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
- 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.
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