If you’ve ever craved the heartwarming comfort of a bowl of chili but found yourself short on time, we’ve got the perfect solution. Say hello to White Bean Chicken Chili – a delightful twist on the traditional chili recipe that’s both quick to make and incredibly satisfying. Instead of the lengthy simmering process associated with classic chili, this lighter version comes together effortlessly in just 30 minutes. By swapping out ground beef and kidney beans for tender chicken and creamy white beans, we’ve created a dish that’s not only delicious but also perfect for those busy weeknight dinners.
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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.
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.
How to Make Chicken White Bean Chili
There’s only 3 steps to making – and serving – this crowd-pleasing chicken chili:
- Prep chicken.
Cut chicken into small pieces (bite-sized) and season with white pepper and garlic powder.
- Sauté chicken.
Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add chicken and sauté for three minutes.
- 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 for Making Chicken White Bean Chili
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, 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.
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 FAQs
White chili beans are basically the same as Great Northern beans. The latter is slightly larger; the flavor and texture are equivalent.
White chili is as hot as you make it! The more green chiles or jalapeño peppers you add, the hotter it will be.
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.
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- 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
- 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)
- Cut chicken into small pieces and season with white pepper and garlic powder.
- Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add chicken and sauté for three minutes.
- Add remaining chili ingredients through the salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- To serve, ladle chili into individual bowls and garnish with a spoonful of sour cream, a sprinkling of grated cheese, 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.
Make ahead: Chili can be made up to 24 hours in advance, cooled to room temperature, covered and refrigerated. Reheat over medium heat.
- Category: Soups, Poultry, easy main dishes
- Method: Cooktop
- Cuisine: Southwestern
- 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