White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

I am a die-hard chili fan. It’s one of my absolute favorite meals during the fall and winter, and the best excuse for inhaling embarrassing amounts of shredded cheddar cheese and Fritos. I don’t discriminate when it comes to chili… ground beef, chunks of beef, and even chicken. As long as it’s thick, hearty, and a little spicy, I’m all-in.

A few summers ago, my brother-in-law was on a chicken salad kick. To this day, it’s the best chicken salad I’ve ever had. He would blacken chicken breasts on the grill, then either cut them up or shred them, and combine them with a mixture of peppers, mayonnaise and seasonings. Seriously, SO. GOOD. When I started thinking about a chicken chili, I wanted the flavor to replicate that salad. I used a good dose of chicken, an assortment of peppers, and lots of seasoning for tons of texture and flavor.

White Chicken Chili | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

While you can definitely grill or roast or poach your own chicken breasts for this recipe, you could also pick up a rotisserie chicken from the store for a super quick weeknight meal. That’s definitely a bonus when it comes to chicken chili versus its beef counterpart – you can have a big pot of chicken chili done and ready to eat in under an hour, while beef chili recipes typically require at least a couple of hours of cooking time.

This chili definitely has a kick to it; I would label it as moderately spicy (think “medium” when it comes to store-bought or restaurant salsa). If you prefer something milder, I would omit the cayenne in the recipe. Also, “white” chicken chili most definitely does not turn out white when you add chili powder, paprika and cayenne to it.

White Chicken Chili | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

I love smothering my beef chili in shredded cheddar and Fritos; why should chicken be any different?! I used shredded Monterey Jack to top my chicken chili, and the Fritos were just as fabulous :)

This is a perfect complement to my favorite beef chili recipes; now all I need is a go-to vegetarian chili recipe, and I’m all set!

White Chicken Chili | browneyedbaker.com #recipe

(I also need to get my brother-in-law to make me a batch of that chicken salad once it’s grilling season again!)

One year ago: Popovers
Two years ago: How I Refinished My Grandma’s Dough Board
Three years ago: Chocolate Mint Brownies
Six years ago: Brioche Raisin Snails

White Chicken Chili

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

A chicken chili recipe loaded with a variety of chiles, peppers, beans and, of course, chicken.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 poblano peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 Anaheim peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1½ teaspoons chili powder
¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
3 (15-ounce) cans cannelini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ cup heavy cream

Lime wedges
Monterey Jack cheese
Sour cream


1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until it is shimmering. Add the onions, peppers, cumin, chili powder, paprika, cayenne and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

2. Add the flour and stir until no raw flour remains and it emits a nutty aroma, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in the chicken stock. Add 1 can of the beans and, using a potato masher, mash the beans in the pot, creating a thicker texture.

3. Stir in the remaining beans, the chicken, lime juice and remaining salt, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and warm for an additional 5 minutes. Serve immediately with additional lime wedges, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, cilantro or sour cream. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Share This Post...


35 Responses to “White Chicken Chili”

  1. Diane W. on March 18, 2014 at 12:06 am

    I CANNOT eat chili without Fritos Scoops. I could seriously eat the whole bag, scooping chili. I much prefer the white chicken chilis because the tomatoes in red chili tend to give me too much heartburn. Love this recipe! Can’t wait to try it!


  2. Ari on March 18, 2014 at 12:30 am

    It’s currently windy and freezing outside and this soup sounds SO comforting and warm! Chicken chili is my favorite, I love it more than a beef/turkey chili! :)


  3. Laura (Tutti Dolci) on March 18, 2014 at 1:19 am

    I love chicken chili! The mix of peppers and spices you used sound fab.


  4. Averie @ Averie Cooks on March 18, 2014 at 4:21 am

    I don’t even eat chicken and you make me want this :) pinned!


  5. Joshua Hampton on March 18, 2014 at 6:29 am

    I so agree with your statement that chili is a good excuse to eat embarrassingly large amounts of cheese and Fritos. Now I’m craving for chili….


  6. Chloe @ foodlikecake on March 18, 2014 at 7:07 am

    Your chili looks amazing- I love when it’s smothered in cheese!


  7. Lexi @ Lexi's Clean Kitchen on March 18, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Looks so so so good!


  8. Marta on March 18, 2014 at 10:19 am

    This looks so good! I have to try it, too!
    I love your blog!
    Cheers from Vienna!



  9. Wanda on March 18, 2014 at 10:19 am

    You can make any chili vegetarian by just leaving out the meat and maybe adding more beans. I’ve found that the meat isn’t missed much. If you want it to seem meaty, you can use lentils. I used to make lentil tacos that my kids preferred to the hamburger kind.


  10. Pieliekamais on March 18, 2014 at 11:37 am

    You had me at cannellini beans. Saved this.


  11. Amanda on March 18, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Yum!!! I’m not wild about chili (but I love soups) because it’s so tomato-y. This looks incredible though. I definitely have to give it a try.


  12. Amy on March 18, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Could you PLEASE share the chicken salad recipe as well? Thanks!


  13. Christine C on March 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I am curious about the peppers. It sounds like you used them raw without the seeds and not peeled. I am used to seeing the peppers roasted or peeled before chopping. I am not sure if that would make any difference :)


    • Michelle on March 19th, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Hi Christine, the peppers do not need to be peeled or roasted before you use them, but you could certainly do that, if you’d like.


      • Christine C on March 19th, 2014 at 12:03 pm

        I will be trying it this week! Thanks for the reply :)


  14. The Macadame on March 18, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    There is something so comforting about chilli!
    I absolutely love this recipe – thanks for sharing!
    The Macadame. xx


  15. Tricia @ Saving room for dessert on March 18, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    This looks “lick the spoon” delicious. Loads of peppers and a little heat – perfect!


  16. Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction on March 18, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    White chicken chili is my favorite! Love your variation!


  17. Emily on March 18, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    White chicken chili is a family favorite. I’ll have to try your version out on them! Thanks! :)


  18. Lauren on March 18, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    That last picture with the melty cheese oozing off the spoon….OMG!! Yum.


  19. Kevin @ Closet Cooking on March 18, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    What a tasty bowl of soup!


  20. Marybeth on March 18, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    That looks delicious. And I highly recommend Julie Jordan ‘ s cashew chili for your go-to vegetarian chili!


  21. Sarah M. on March 24, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight, it was great! I used my immersion blender to puree everything after adding the first can of beans. It was a bit on the spicy side (but I’m a total spice wuss and it was not too spicy to eat). I’ll be making this chili again for sure. Thanks for sharing the recipe!


  22. Joanne Z. on March 24, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was wonderful. As a Texan, I prefer my meals with a good bit of heat, and this was just perfect. Very hearty and tasty! I’m so excited I have enough leftovers for my next few meals. Yum!


  23. Paul on March 25, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Thank you, Michelle, for a great recipe. I love peppers, so I doubled the Anaheim and poblanos, roasted and peeled them, and continued with the recipe. I also dusted the chicken with additional paprika and chili powder and left them in the refrigerator for about 6 hours before I cooked them. It turned out great! As I am looking to reduce fat, I subbed nonfat Greek yogurt for the cream. Regardless, the recipe is delicious however you tweek it and I wanted to thank you for adding a recipe to my repertoire. My friends said it was the best chicken chili that they have ever had.!


  24. Elyse on March 25, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Made this last night and it was a huuuuuge hit with my boyfriend. And I quote, “This is a make again. Soon!” Hooray! Thanks so much for sharing!


  25. Kem on March 29, 2014 at 12:03 am

    Mmmm this was delicious! Definitely added to the recipe binder for my chicken chili recipe winner!


  26. Helen Gregson on April 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Can this be adapted to a slow cooker recipe? If so, how?


    • Michelle on April 2nd, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      Hi Helen, I don’t see why not; once everything is stirred in, you could put it in a slow cooker on low, then stir in the cream before serving.


  27. Laura Dembowski on April 9, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Hi Michelle! Just wanted to let you know I just posted my version of this chili on my blog. I absolutely loved it! Thanks for the inspiration. I’d love if you’d check out my post :) http://piesandplots.net/vegan-white-bean-chili/


  28. Mark Johnson on September 20, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    What happened to the other 1/2 teaspoon of salt?


    • Michelle on September 21st, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      Hi Mark, Sorry, it should go in with the beans and chicken in step #3. I will correct it.


  29. Dana on September 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    This is gorgeous! The lime on top is a fresh touch!


  30. Sandy on January 16, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    I just made this tonight for my husband and I. It is fantastic! We love it and it is definitely a keeper. Thanks for sharing. BTW, my husband makes a really delicious vegetarian chili that has zucchini and quinoa. :)


Leave a Comment

(Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for your patience! If it is your first time commenting you may want to review the Comment Guidelines.)