White Chicken Chili
This White Chicken Chili is so creamy, hearty, and loaded with chicken, beans, green chiles and sweet corn! One of my favorite chili recipes, it is easy to make and comes together in under an hour, making it perfect for busy weeknights.
It is no secret that I am a chili lover, but this white chicken chili really conquered my heart! Other chili recipes I love are my Turkey Chili, Sweet Potato Chili, Pumpkin Chili and Double Chocolate Chili.
Yes, soup season is coming to an end, Super Bowl is long gone and everybody is excited for summer grilling and dining alfresco.
But I just couldn’t wait to share this White Chicken Chili recipe with you! Plus, if you’re anything like me, chili is an all year round dish. After all, that’s what air conditioning is for, amirite?
Whether you are eating it on a chilly winter night, on a rainy spring day, or in the middle of the summer, this is one of those dishes that not only warms your body but also comforts your soul!
It has quickly become my family’s favorite chili, and is a recipe I learned by heart from making it over and over again.
What is White Chicken Chili?
White Chicken Chili is a soup made with white beans, chicken and green chiles.
Unlike traditional chili, which has a tomato base, white chicken chili has a creamy base that can be made with cream, cream cheese or by simply puréeing some of the white beans.
If you have never tried white chicken chili, oh boy, you are in for a treat!
To make white chicken chili, you will need:
- Chicken – I like using chicken breasts to make this chili, but you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer.
- Onion and Garlic – Also known as “the aromatics”. They are the flavor foundation of this dish, along with the chiles.
- Green Chiles – I use canned mild green chiles, but you can use the hot kind if you like more heat. If you can’t find the canned chiles, you can use salsa verde instead.
- Beans – Any type of white beans work here. Cannellini, Navy Beans or Great Northern Beans.
- Corn – Fresh, canned or frozen. No need to defrost if using frozen!
- Chicken Broth or Chicken Stock – Store bought or homemade. If buying store bought, get the lower sodium kind.
- Cream Cheese – Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature and cubed. That will make it easier to incorporate it into the chili!
- Heavy Cream – For even more creaminess! Yum! 😋
- Lime – A squeeze of lime juice gives this chili a little tang and helps balance the richness from the cream cheese and heavy cream.
- Oil – We’ll use olive oil to sauté the aromatics.
- Spices and Herbs – I like to flavor my chicken chili with chili powder, dried basil, dried oregano and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Salt and Black Pepper
How to Make White Chicken Chili
There are many white chicken chili recipes out there, each with its own spin on this not-so-classic classic. But I personally think this one is the winner!
It is not spicy (unless you want it to be), but has lots of flavor! And it’s perfectly creamy thanks to both cream cheese and heavy cream.
No, it is not a low calorie recipe, but it’s okay to indulge in something delicious every now and then! You deserve it! ♥️
Recommended tools and equipment: Dutch Oven.
Here’s how I make this white chicken chili recipe. As always, you will find the printable (and more complete) version of the recipe at the end of this post!
Step 1: Sauté the aromatics and cook the chicken.
- Sauté the onion, garlic and green chiles in olive oil.
- Pour in the broth and add the spices, herbs, salt and pepper. Add the chicken breasts and cook until they are cooked through and no longer pink.
Step 2: Shred the chicken.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the pot and shred using two forks, or – my favorite method – using a hand or stand mixer.
- Return the shredded chicken to the pot.
Step 3: Cook the white chicken chili!
- Stir in the beans, corn and cream cheese.
- Cook until the cream cheese melts.
- Pour in the heavy cream and the lime juice.
- Cook until the chili is thickened to the desired consistency. If you’d like your white chicken chili super thick, use the back of a wooden spoon to mash some of the beans against the sides of the pot. That will help thicken the chili!
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
- Serve with desired toppings!
- Want to save some time? You can make this chili with shredded rotisserie chicken and skip cooking the chicken breasts.
- This recipe is also a great way to use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and/or Christmas!
- To make this recipe dairy-free, omit the cream cheese and heavy cream, and add an extra can of white beans, puréed. The starch from the beans will thicken the chili.
What to Serve with White Chicken Chili?
This chili goes great with some tortilla chips, crackers, cornbread, garlic bread or even rice!
Half the fun of eating chili is topping it with yummy things!
Here are some of my favorite toppings:
- Diced avocados
- Sliced jalapeños and/or sliced red onions
- Sour Cream – because there’s no such thing as too much creaminess!
- Shredded Cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese
- Cilantro or green onions
- Lime wedges
- Tortilla strips
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! Sauté the aromatics and green chiles in olive oil, on the stove, then transfer to the slow cooker and add all the remaining ingredients (minus the cream cheese, lime juice and heavy cream). Cook for 8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
Then, shred the chicken and return to the pot with the cream cheese and heavy cream. Cook on high for 15-20 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and serve!
Yes, this chili can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 4 days!
Yes you can freeze white chicken chili (for up to 3 months), but save the cream cheese and heavy cream to add after the chili is thawed and reheated.
If your white chicken chili is frozen, defrost in the fridge overnight. Then, reheat in a Dutch Oven (or large pot), over medium-low heat. You might need to add a little more heavy cream or broth to bring it back to the original consistency!
More Chicken Recipes
- Chicken Paprikash
- Chicken Stroganoff
- Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup
- Brazilian Chicken and Rice Soup
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tortellini Soup
White Chicken Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 (4-ounce) cans green chiles, mild, hot or a combination
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 pounds chicken breasts
- 2 (14-ounces) cans white beans (such as Navy, Cannellini or Great Northern Beans), drained
- 1 cup sweet corn, (fresh, canned or frozen)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Juice of half a lime
- In a large Dutch Oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and continue sautéing for another minute, or until the garlic is fragrant. Then, add the green chilies and cook for a minute or two, so the extra water can evaporate.
- Pour in the chicken broth and add the oregano, basil, chili powder, cayenne (if using), and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then add the chicken breasts, cover and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook until the chicken is tender, about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and shred. Return to the pot, along with the beans, corn and cream cheese. Cook over medium heat, until the cream cheese melts and incorporates into the chili.
- Stir in the heavy cream and lime juice. Cook until thickened to the desired consistency. For a thicker chili, use the back of a wooden spoon to smash some of the beans against the sides of the pot. The released starch will help thicken the chili further.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Serve with the desired toppings!
- diced or sliced avocados
- sliced jalapeños and/or sliced red onions
- sour cream
- tortilla strips
- lime wedges
- cilantro or scallions