White Bean Chicken Chili

White chicken chili is a great alternative to the tomato based chilies many of us know and love.  It’s creamy and flavorful and feels a little less heavy in some ways.

White Chicken Chili

What is the Difference between White Chili and Regular Chili?

For starters, white chilis have no tomatoes.  They also usually contain white beans, and often chicken or another white meat, rather than beef.  The color of the chili isn’t really a true white or even cream color.  The spices and seasonings will add a pinkish tone to the mixture.  Some white chilies contain heavy cream and/or cream cheese, but I wanted to keep this on the lighter side, so I stuck with chicken broth and some sour cream of Greek yogurt at the end.

White Chicken Chili

What is White Chili Made Of?

This recipe contains:

  • Onion and garlic (for sure!)
  • Jalapeno and green chilies for a bit of heat 
  • Chili powder, cumin and oregano for seasoning
  • Diced chicken (dark or white meat; see below)
  • Chicken broth
  • White beans – you can use, navy, cannellini, Great Northern, whatever you have on hand
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt (I prefer whole milk Greek yogurt in this recipe)
White Chicken Chili

How Do You Thicken White Chicken Chili?

Adding flour to the oil and sauteed vegetables in the pot creates a roux, which is a combo of toasted flour and fat.  The roux will thicken the chili as it cooks.  Additionally, crushing some of the beans against the side of the pot as the chili cooks will also lend more body and creaminess to the chili.

Chicken in White Chicken Chili

You can use either chicken thighs or breasts in this chili, depending on whether you and your crew are more partial to white or dark meat.  Because the chicken is cut into small dice, the cooking time will be about the same for either.

White Chicken Chili: Creamy and chunky, filled with flavor, this chili is just the ticket on a chilly (ha!) winter night.

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White Chicken Chili

Reheating White Chicken Chili

The sour cream is added at the end of the cooking time, stirred in off the stove, which prevents it from making the sauce separate.  This is ideal, so if you are planning to make the chili ahead of time, hold back on adding the3 sour cream.  You can then store the chili in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze it in an airtight freezer proof container for up to 6 months.  When you reheat the chili, don’t add the sour cream until the chili is hot.

However, if you have leftover chili, and you’ve already stirred in the sour cream, that’s fine!  Just make sure to reheat the chili over low heat just until it’s hot.  Don’t let the chili come to a boil, or even a rolling simmer.  You just want the chili to be heated through, and that will give you the best consistency, without the sauce breaking.  But if the sauce starts to separate, that’s ok!  It will still taste great!

White Chicken Chili

What to Serve with White Chicken Chili:

The classic chili topping work beautifully here: avocado or guacamole, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions or scallions, salsa, and crumbled or shredded cheese. Also serve the chili with:

White Chicken Chili

Other Chili Recipes:

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White Chicken Chili

Creamy and chunky, filled with flavor, this chili is just the ticket on a chilly (ha!) winter night.
Yield: 8 People
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion , chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeno , seeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 (4.5 ounce) cans green chilies
  • 2 pounds diced chicken , breast or thigh meat
  • 3 cups chicken broth , preferably less-sodium
  • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans white beans , such as navy or cannellini, drained and rinsed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sour cream or plain whole milk Greek yogurt

To Serve:

  • Diced avocados, sour cream, salsa, shredded lettuce, crushed tortilla chips, grated cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Mexican blend cheese, fresh cilantro leaves


  • In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and stir until you can smell the spices. Add the green chilies and chicken and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken starts to turn white, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium high and add the broth, beans, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, and lightly crushing some of the beans with a spoon against the side of the pot to thicken the chili.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the desired toppings.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 646mg | Potassium: 568mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 583IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 4mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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