White Bean and Chicken Chili is a fast alternative to traditional chilis – and is lower in calories and saturated fat, too!

(Photo by Laurie Smith)
Table of Contents
  1. White Bean Chili is Light and Easy To Make!
  2. White Bean Chili Recipe Ingredients
  3. How to Make Chicken White Bean Chili 
  4. Tips
  5. Serving this Recipe for White Chicken Chili
  6. Storage
  7. White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe FAQ
  8. More Soup Recipes You’ll Enjoy
  9. White Bean Chicken Chili

White Bean Chili is Light and Easy To Make!

Traditional chili dishes can often take several hours to make. This lighter version takes no time at all and uses chicken and white beans instead of ground beef and kidney beans.

For our White Bean and Chicken Chili, simply sauté chicken in a few tablespoons of oil, add all remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes. That’s it! And, as someone who doesn’t love chopping, I love the fact that you only need to chop three ingredients – the chicken, onion and cilantro. So easy, yet so impressive, and full of flavor.

White Bean Chili Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this amazing chicken chili:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts).
    I prefer that richer, more intense flavor of chicken thighs in this chili. Plus the meat is naturally more tender than breast meat, and therefore less likely to become tough or chewy. If you really prefer breast meat, it will also work in this dish.
  • Ground white pepper.
    White pepper is milder, more subtle flavor than black pepper, which counterbalances the spicy chiles and jalapeño juice.
  • Garlic powder.
    I love the way the garlic flavor permeates through the soup using garlic powder.
  • Vegetable oil.
    Can also use any other neutral oil.
  • Small yellow onion.
    Can substitute onion powder or onion granules, but I think this chili tastes best with fresh onion.
  • Canned Great Northern or cannellini beans.
    Either type of white bean works well in this recipe.
  • Chicken broth or stock.
    Either will work in this chili.
  • Chopped green chiles.
    Canned saves time, but you can roast your own, too.
  • Jalapeño pepper juice.
    From a jar of pickled jalapeño peppers.
  • Fresh cilantro.
    If you or anyone in your family has that gene that makes cilantro taste like soap (yes it is genetic!), then substitute fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley.
  • Kosher salt.
    Can use regular table salt as well.

Quick Tip

Rinse your white beans. The cloudy liquid packed with the beans is full of sodium and starch, and can sometimes take on a tinny flavor from the can. So, for the best texture and flavor, place beans in a colander and rinse under cold running water before adding to the chili.

White Bean and Chicken Chili in a blue bowl with a mug of beer
(Photo by Laurie Smith)

How to Make Chicken White Bean Chili 

There’s only 3 steps to making – and serving – this crowd-pleasing chicken chili:

  1. Prep chicken.
    Cut chicken into small pieces (bite-sized) and season with white pepper and garlic powder.
  2. Sauté chicken.
    Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add chicken and sauté for three minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients; simmer.
    Add remaining chili ingredients through the salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Tips

Here are a few of my tips for making this chili:

  • Cut chicken when it’s cold, or even partially frozen. I find that chicken meat, dark or light, cuts easier when it’s firmer. Since most of the time I’m thawing frozen chicken, I cut it up before it’s completely thawed.
  • Rinse your white beans. The cloudy liquid packed with the beans is full of sodium and starch, and can sometimes take on a tinny flavor from the can. So, for the best texture and flavor, place the beans in a colander and rinse under cold running water before adding to the chili.
  • Can I make chicken and white bean chili in a Crockpot?
    Yes, you can make this chili in a Crockpot or Instant Pot. In a Crockpot, cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4. In an Instant Pot, precook chicken on Sauté setting, then add rest of ingredients and cook on Slow Cook setting, Medium heat, for 4 to 6 hours.

Serving this Recipe for White Chicken Chili

To serve, ladle chili into individual bowls and garnish with a spoonful of sour cream, a sprinkling of grated cheese and chopped cilantro, and a slice of pickled jalapeño pepper (if desired). I like to add Easy Spinach Salad and some Parmesan-Buttermilk Cornbread on the side to complete the meal.

Warmed flour tortillas also make a nice accompaniment.

Storage

Place any leftover chili in a well sealed container and refrigerate. Once cold, it can be placed in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then rewarm in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe FAQ

What are white chili beans called?

White chili beans are basically the same as Great Northern beans. The latter is slightly larger; the flavor and texture are equivalent.

How hot is white chili?

White chili is as hot as you make it! The more green chiles or jalapeño peppers you add, the hotter it will be.

How is white chili different?

White chili is made with white beans, chicken and usually green chiles. Regular (or red) chili is typically prepared with darker colored (red kidney or black) beans, usually beef, and tomatoes (or tomato sauce) flavored with red chili powder.

More Soup Recipes You’ll Enjoy

Southwest Chicken Soup with Avocado Cheese Garnish
Corn and Chicken Chowder
Creamy Chicken Artichoke Soup
Indian Mulligatawny Soup
Award Winning Chili

Print
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White Bean and Chicken Chili in a blue bowl with a mug of beer

White Bean Chicken Chili

White Bean and Chicken Chili is a fast alternative to traditional chilis – and is lower in calories and fat, too!

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale

Chili

  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (can also use boneless, skinless breasts)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cans (15 ounce) Great Northern beans (can also use cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
  • 28 ounces chicken broth or stock
  • 2 cans (4.5 ounce) chopped green chilies (can also use 9 ounces fresh, roasted)
  • 1 can (10.75 ounce) cream of chicken soup, preferably organic
  • 3 tablespoons jalapeno pepper juice (from a jar of pickled jalapeno peppers)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Garnish

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Slices of pickled jalapeno peppers (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut chicken into small pieces and season with white pepper and garlic powder.
  2. Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add chicken and sauté for three minutes.
  3. Add remaining chili ingredients through the salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. To serve, ladle chili into bowls and garnish with sour cream, cheese, cilantro and a slice of jalapeno pepper (if desired).

Notes

Make ahead: Chili can be made up to 24 hours in advance, cooled to room temperature, covered and refrigerated. Reheat over medium heat.

  • Author: From “A Well-Seasoned Kitchen®” by Sally Clayton and Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: Soups, Poultry, easy main dishes
  • Method: Cooktop
  • Cuisine: Southwestern

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bowl (includes garnishes; assumes chicken breasts used)
  • Calories: 615
  • Sugar: 3.7 g
  • Sodium: 1373.1 mg
  • Fat: 15.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 8.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 41.1 g
  • Fiber: 10.2 g
  • Protein: 76.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 176.8 mg
White Bean and Chicken Chili in a blue bowl with a mug of beer

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I haves provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


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