White chicken chili is a delectable alternative to traditional beef chili, chock full of creamy beans and tender chunks of chicken, and filled to the brim with zesty spices and lots of southwest flavor!
White Chicken Chili, a Flavorful Alternative to Classic Chili
Beef chili is a scrumptious meal when I get that hankering for something a bit on the spicy side that is filling and hearty.
I love sprinkling some sharp cheddar cheese over top along with crumbled tortilla chips, and adding in lots of cayenne pepper or hot sauce. The spicier the better for me! 😉
But for those occasions when chili with a twist sounds really enticing, one that has a thick and slightly creamy consistency rather than a tomato base, this white chicken chili recipe is a super cozy alternative.
It's a big, beautiful pot of home-cooked comfort food just waiting to be ladled up and enjoyed with fresh toppings!
My Easy White Chicken Chili Recipe
My recipe for white chicken chili has lots of the same wonderful spices and seasonings as traditional beef chili, only it leaves out the tomatoes, replaces the beef with chunks of tender chicken, and substitues a combo of creamy white beans and pinto beans for the red and/or black beans.
I also add in lots of aromatics such as onion, garlic, and diced green chilies, as well as warm, earthy spices such as ground cumin, coriander, white pepper, and a dash of dried oregano.
What I really appreciate about my white chicken chili is that it's super convenient to prepare. My recipe calls for using good-quality canned beans (no soaking and cooking!) and cubing or shredding pre-cooked chicken (such as an organic rotisserie chicken) to add in at the end.
Here's sneak peek at my recipe for white chicken chili: (or just jump to the full recipe featured below...)
- I prep all of my aromatic ingredients (onion, garlic, diced green chilis and spices) so they're on hand for when I'm ready to add them to the pot.
- Next, I add in a generous amount of canned white beans and pinto beans, along with some savory chicken stock for simmering.
- I cube or shred some pre-cooked chicken and add that in at the end along with a squeeze of lime juice, then ladle up a bowl and top with my favorite toppings such as cheese, avocado, tortilla chips, and cilantro!
White Chicken Chili
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 536 calories
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
• Avocado oil
• 1 large onion, diced
• 2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chilis, drained of excess juices
• 6 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander
• ½ teaspoon dried oregano
• ½ teaspoon white pepper
• ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
• 3 (15.5 ounce) cans white (great northern) beans, drained of liquid
• 2 (15.5 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained of liquid
• 4 cups warm chicken stock
• 3 cups cooked shredded or cubed chicken (I used rotisserie for this)
• 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves, plus extra leaves for garnish
• 1 tablespoon lime juice, plus extra wedges to serve on side
• Sour cream, for optional garnish
• Sliced green onions, for optional garnish
• Diced avocado, for optional garnish
• Grated white cheddar cheese, for optional garnish
- Place a large pot over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2-3 tablespoons of the avocado oil; once hot, add in the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the diced chilis, the garlic, a good pinch or two of salt, along with the ground cumin, coriander, dried oregano, white pepper and smoked paprika, and stir to incorporate; next, add in the white and pinto beans, along with the warm chicken stock, and bring to a vigorous simmer/boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, and allow the chili to gently bubble/simmer, uncovered, for a total of about 45 minutes to 1 hour (stirring occasionally), mashing the beans with a masher about 20 minutes into the cooking process to help break some of them down a bit, and thicken the chili.
- Once thickened, turn the heat off from under the pot, and stir in the cooked, shredded or cubed chicken as well as the chopped cilantro and the lime juice.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish as desired!
Tips & Tidbits for my White Chicken Chili:
- Tasty short-cuts: You'll save lots of time if you use a good-quality rotisserie chicken and cube/shred that. Alternately, you can quickly sear off about 1 ½ pounds of chicken breast tenderloins and cube those while the chili cooks, if you prefer. Also, using canned white and pinto beans works like a charm, as there's no soaking and simmering required!
- Fresh spices: To gain the most amount of aromatic flavor from a chili recipe, make sure you're using fresh spices. The older the spices the less effective they are, so using fresh cumin, coriander and white pepper makes a difference.
- Diced green chilis: You can find diced green chilis in a can, typically in the Latin foods section of the market. These are on the mild side, and not very spicy. You can add in a jalapeno or two for some “heat” if you'd like, or use as a garnish.
- Vegetarian option: To make this white chicken chili vegetarian, omit the chicken and add 1 or 2 extra cans of beans instead. Also, substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
- Tasty topping options: Some of my favorite toppings to serve with white chicken chili are white cheddar cheese, cilantro, green onion, crumbled tortilla chips, avocado, and some lime.