Chicken Chili with White Beans

5 stars based on 17 votes

chicken chili with white beans

Chili is a staple at every Super Bowl party but, let’s face it, most versions made with ground beef and store-bought seasoning mixes leave you feeling guilty and stuffed, and desperately searching for a TUMS. Not this one. This is a healthy chili that you can actually feel good about eating: it’s made from scratch, loaded with veggies, and chock-full of protein rich chicken and beans. Don’t worry, it’s still hearty and delicious, and even your manly football fanatics will love it.

Chicken chili 4

At first glance, the list of ingredients looks long but it’s really just a lot of spices; and while it simmers on the stove for almost two hours, active cooking time is only about 30 minutes. It’s important to use regular ground chicken – not the extra lean all breast meat – and same goes if you’re substituting ground turkey.

Chicken chili 3

Use Pomi boxed chopped tomatoes if you can find them…they’re far superior to canned and lend good texture. Also, feel free to double up on the heat if you like a spicier chili; this one is family friendly with a nice, moderate heat.

Chicken chili 7

Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread and have a fun Super Bowl Sunday…and if you’re not into football like me, at least enjoy some chili :)

Chicken chili 1b


Chicken Chili with White Beans

Servings: 6-8


  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (omit for milder chili)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions, from 2 medium onions
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds ground chicken (not extra-lean breast meat)
  • 2 (26 oz.) cartons Pomi chopped tomatoes or two 28 oz. cans chopped or diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 (15 oz.) can small Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed


  1. Make the spice mixture by combining the chili powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, oregano, cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed nonreactive pot over medium heat. Add the onions and red bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring to prevent garlic from burning, about two minutes more.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the ground chicken and spice mixture. As the chicken cooks, use a wooden spoon to break the meat into very small clumps; cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, remaining teaspoon salt and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered (set lid ajar so steam has a few inches to escape), for about one hour, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in the white beans and simmer, uncovered for about 50 minutes more, or until the meat is tender and the flavors are well combined. For a soupier chili, you can add additional water. For a thicker chili, simmer uncovered until desired consistency is reached. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  6. Note: Pomi boxed tomatoes are available at some regular grocers, Whole Foods and gourmet food shops.
  7. Note: A nonreactive pot is made of a material that will not react negatively with acidic ingredients. Stainless steel, enamel, glass and nonstick (as long as there are no scratches in the nonstick coating) are all safe to use. Do not use cast iron or aluminum.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Calories: 374
  • Fat: 17 g
  • Saturated fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29 g
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Protein: 31 g
  • Sodium: 1110 mg
  • Cholesterol: 111 mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    Hi! In regards to the chicken when you say not extra lean meat do you use ground dark meat? Or ground white meat just specifying that not extra lean. Thanks!

    - Sophia on March 14, 2016 Reply
    • Yes Sophia, you just want to stick to the regular ground chicken – not the one that specifies “extra lean,” which is all breast meat. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on March 15, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made half of this recipe to give it a try… I am sorry I didn’t make a full batch. Delicious! Thank you.

    - Tracy on February 27, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this exactly according to recipe the first time and found it to be too salty and spicy. That could have been because of a variation in the type of chill powder you use versus what I can get here in Canada. The second time I made it I used only 1 teaspoon of salt as the chicken stock is already salted and cut back to a little over 2 teaspoons of chill powder. YUM! a real keeper. thanks for all your hard work and the inspiration you provide to home cooks.

    - Adrienne on February 26, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    SO much flavor! I will make this again and again.

    - Renee on February 15, 2016 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Good for chicken chili!

    - Julie on January 16, 2016 Reply
  • We are teaming up at work to lose weight and looking for some good recipes to try and share the goods at lunch time. Some of your recipes have the “Nutrition Information,” but I don’t see any for this recipe. It is one that I would like to think about cooking and bringing next week to share. Do you have any information?

    - Bobbi Smith on January 12, 2016 Reply
    • Good for you! I just added the nutritional information for this recipe. Hope you enjoy–

      - Jenn on January 12, 2016 Reply
      • And good for you :) Many people like this information. Nutrition information you provide is for whole recipe, per 100g or per serving? I can’t find this info. Thanks.

        - HappyForks on January 12, 2016 Reply
        • It’s per serving.

          - Jenn on January 13, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    yum! I couldn’t find ground chicken so I used turkey. It wound up being a little soupy so I tossed in half a thing of cream cheese. Delicious. I will make this again. Thank you.

    - Sharon on January 10, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’ve made chicken chili before but with store bought packet of seasoning. This recipe sounds fabulous and looks easy so will be trying it for Bunco next month. This has to be so much better than how I’ve been doing it previously.

    - Sandra Hurt on December 20, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    For my family, I would lessen or omit the cayenne pepper. Definitely would consider the cornbread, since it would balance out the lighter chili. Jenn, I do love how you make those pre-emptive suggestions… such as being carful with purchasing regular ground chicken. Or that Pomi chopped tomatoes are worth the purchase. I balked at buying a red pepper for $4.99 or $5.99/pound. I finally found red peppers for $.99 each at Trader Joes. Will freeze the leftovers that will hopefully save me from one of my more scattered days. I also prepped the spices in a mason jar over the weekend. Anything that I can prep ahead, I just adore… xox

    - Elizabeth on December 16, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is such a great chili recipe. I used ground turkey. My husband was hesitant to try it since it wasn’t beef chili. However, he went back for seconds and is asking me to make it again!
    Love your website- very attractively presented with clear and detailed instructions. Thank you!!

    - Susanna Alcaro Funk on November 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Absolutely the best chicken chili. I did use the lean ground chicken breast and it was still great. My husband and teenage daughters all loved it. So excited I found this just as fall is kicking off. Will be a staple through the cold weather season.

    - Alicia on September 29, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Great all purpose chicken chili recipe. I substituted a beer for the chicken broth because that is what I usually do. I think it adds flavor….and beer is good for the Super Bowl right? but it is only September. ?Another winner of a recipe that is highly adaptable. Thanks for a great recipe

    - Claire on September 27, 2015 Reply
  • Is this chili spicy? I have a 3 and 4 year old that can’t eat spicy food.

    - Tanisha on September 18, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Tanisha, A little, yes. I would omit the cayenne pepper.

      - Jenn on September 24, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    So amazing. I was concerned this was going to be an average chili. Boy was I wrong. Even with 100 degrees outside it was worth it. From drought stricken California. Hello!!!

    - Tara on September 7, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Absolutely fantastic! The flavors were perfect with just the right amount of spice to please everyone. I made this for company along with your cornbread (Savory Cornbread with Cheddar and Thyme) and it was great for a relaxing and hearty dinner that was still healthy! Thanks so much!

    - Carissa on May 12, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Another winner! Made this exactly as directed and my husband and I loved it. Don’t even miss the beef. Definitely a keeper.

    - Lisa on March 26, 2015 Reply
  • I am trying this tomorrow and I just have two questions.

    1. Does this recipe work for a beef chili(for future reference)?

    2. Can I make this in a slow cooker(and do you have any modification suggestions)?

    I just found your site and I have made a list of things to make. Next up is the Curry Chicken!!!!

    - Maui on January 12, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Maui, Unfortunately, this recipe won’t work for beef chili (but if you can hold off a few weeks, I’ll be sharing a wonderful beef chili recipe soon). As for the slow cooker, I honestly don’t think it’s worth the trouble because you’d need to follow the same process, and as is it cooks very quickly on the stovetop. Hope that helps :)

      - Jenn on January 12, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe is now in my rotation of dinner meals – it’s great as a leftover meal, and is so easy to prepare. I once used Chipotle Chili Pepper and it added a nice spicy kick…. I usually halve the recipe since it yields quite a bit, and use a whole red pepper (instead of halving it for half the recipe) for the nice color. When I have time, I also bake your cornbread muffins which complements the flavor. Thanks for all the great recipes!

    - Ponyo on December 9, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I just made this (followed the recipe closely except using 1.25 lbs ground turkey instead of 2 lbs and regular canned tomatoes) and thought it was pretty good, but that it tasted a little flat and needed something to bring the flavors out. I added a teaspoon or two of balsamic vinegar for acid, which helped. Any other ideas? It was a four (out of five) star recipe on its own, but serving it with crushed tortilla chips and shredded extra sharp cheddar made it great. The cheddar added the “thing” that, to me, tasted like it was missing from the chili itself.

    Thanks for all your recipes–in particular, I adore the white chicken chili and the tortilla soup!

    - Erin on December 7, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Absolutely delicious! It was a huge hit.

    - Christine on November 21, 2014 Reply
  • What is the serving size for this recipe? Husband on weight watchers and I am trying to figure out how much he can have. Thank you.

    - Karin Downey on October 17, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Karin, I wish I could give you a specific measurement but I am only able to estimate serving size. I’d say one serving would be about 2-1/2 cups.

      - Jenn on October 18, 2014 Reply
  • I really enjoy chicken chili, and I’m excited to try your recipe. However, I don’t like onions and wondered if substituting celery would be recommended.

    Thank you!

    - Tina on September 21, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Tina, Unfortunately, I don’t think celery would work. I would just make it without the onions.

      - Jenn on September 21, 2014 Reply
    • Use leeks!!!!!

      - T on October 12, 2015 Reply
  • Made this chili (with turkey) during a ski trip with friends – it was a HUGE hit. Will be making the chicken version tonight for dinner. Your recipes are ones that produce consistently delicious results, no matter what I’m trying to make. Thanks!

    - Cynthia on February 5, 2014 Reply
  • I found your website when looking for a chicken chili recipe that was easy enough to make. This was it! It was so easy and delicious! As a new mom (and soon to be working new mom), I’m always on the look out for easy, healthy and tasty recipes…this was enough to make me sign up for your weekly newsletter! Thanks and looking forward to trying some other recipes on your website. :)

    - Neha on December 30, 2013 Reply
  • I have been searching for a really great chicken or turkey chili, and this is it for me! Absolutely perfect as it is, with just the right amount of spices and seasoning. I did add some frozen white corn kernels, which worked really well with these flavors. Served it with a little shredded monterrey jack on top.

    - Paula on November 7, 2013 Reply
  • Thanks! I usually do not have to modify your recipes, they are always spot on. This time I only had shredded chicken on hand and kidney beans. So slight changes, but the results were fantastic!

    - Jennifer on November 5, 2013 Reply
  • Try this with a supermarket rotisserie chicken, picked off the bones and shredded. Looks nice and adds a new layer of flavor!

    - Raver on April 23, 2013 Reply
  • I’ve never used anything but beef for chili so I had to try this one to make it a little lighter. I used the crockpot and it turned out great. Thank you!

    - Liz on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • I have made this twice. The seasoning was perfect, which I have always found hard to get right for chile – the seasoning for some of the chile that i have made have always been hit or miss. The second time I made this I reduce by half the ground chicken and substituted chicken thighs that I grilled with hickory chips. It gave it a nice smokey twist and the chicken broke down nicely into the chile.

    - Bill on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • What a great substitute for usual beef and bean chile. I amped up the heat a bit for hubby. Great dish on a cold winter day!

    - Sharyn on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • I make this recipe every time I make chili anymore. I use a 1lb bag of dried white beans that have been soaked, and then cooked for an hour+ until tender. I have also tossed 2 lbs of boneless chicken pieces in my food processor along with about half the spices for my own courser ground chicken.
    Super Bowl, Election Night… It’s always a huge hit!

    - ieatdarkchocolateeveryday on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • My kids love this chili and I feel good about making it for them because it is healthy. I use either ground chicken or ground turkey. Your recipes are always my go-to recipes. Thank you!!!

    - Amy on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • In the words of my boyfriend and his family, “BEST CHILI EVER!” I loved everything about this dish, the overall taste, spice, and healthiness of the whole thing! I doubled up on the spice as you suggested and added a can of golden sweet corn. I served it with light sour cream, some grated cheddar cheese, and chopped green onions. AND, I made it with your corn muffins, also a hit!

    This is the second dish of yours that I have made (the first was the middle eastern chicken), and I have tricked everyone into thinking that I can cook! So, thank you so much for making me look good :)

    - Shayne on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • I stumbled upon your website and this recipe while searching for a way to make a more flavorful chili. When I read the ingredient list, I knew I had found what I was looking for. I make this frequently, sometimes substituting turkey for the chicken. I have shared this recipe with family and friends and everyone loves it. I tend to use two cans of beans along with whatever peppers I have on hand (green or orange). I also leave out the red pepper flakes. Thanks for such a great recipe. I even have a few servings in my freezer right now!

    - Tonya on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • This is now my go-to chili. Love it!! I used the spice combination tonight to make Spanish rice (scaled down two thirds). It was really yummy!

    - Amy Simonson on March 4, 2013 Reply
  • This is a much requested dish in my house. My son’s friend was over for dinner and told his mom that I make the best chili ever!

    - Pam on March 3, 2013 Reply
  • Jennifer, once again another winning recipe from you!
    Made it recently on a cold winter day and it was delish!

    - Patti Burns on January 5, 2013 Reply
  • I’m not usually a big chili lover, but I made this recently and had two heaping bowlfuls, topped with a small amount of cream cheese and a sprinkling of cheddar. Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfectly! No more ground beef chili for this bunch!

    - Jennifer F on June 24, 2012 Reply
  • This has become our favorite chili recipe. LOVE it! Have substituted red beans just because I like the look. Thank you, Jenn!

    - Liz on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I added a can of beer like I do with my regular chili.

    - shar on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Doubled up on the heat as suggested, and added more beans for volume, and starch (we like it thick). This is lovely. My husband made chili dogs the next day, and chili mac the day after. He pretty much lived off it for a week.

    - amanda on June 4, 2012 Reply
  • Delicious! I’ve been looking for a better recipe than the one I have and this is it! Awesome as usual!

    - Valerie on May 17, 2012 Reply
  • This chicken chili recipe looks great ! I will have to try it soon.

    - Mary on May 16, 2012 Reply
  • I was searching for something to do with a package of ground chicken when I came across your recipe. This was my first time making a chicken chilli from scratch. I made a special trip to the store for the Pomi tomatoes . The results were perfect! I loved the flavor of the chilli and so did my husband.

    - Tonya on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • Love this chili!! Easy and delicious. I added some balsamic vinegar at the end for a little zing. Thanks for the great recipe Jen!

    - Karen Rindner on March 7, 2012 Reply
  • This is my new favorite chili recipe! It’s the perfect amount of spiciness…. yum!

    - Jennifer on March 4, 2012 Reply
  • Made this for a church luncheon (multiplied by 3) and it was a huge hit. No need to tinker with the seasonings. They are perfect. Have made the recipe numerous times for family and friends. It is LOVED by all.
    Thanks, Jenn!

    - Liz on March 4, 2012 Reply
  • This was the first recipe I tried on your site and it made me come back for more. Thanks for sharing.

    - Judy on March 3, 2012 Reply
  • I’ve never tried chicken chili, but now I may have to!!! Looks great.

    - Keri on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • This is probably my favorite “Once Upon a Chef” recipe, and believe me there are a LOT. It’s so much lighter than beef chili, and in my humble opinion, much tastier. Delish!

    - Alison on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • This chili has become a staple in our house! We make it with both chicken and turkey meat, and it’s always awesome. Since there are 2 of us, we can’t eat it all at one time but this freezes well so it works out great for us overall. Fantastic!

    - Marissa Pacelli on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Love chicken chili! This looks delicious!

    - Jan on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I am certainly going to give this one a try! I love the look of the spices and also the ground chicken….I will keep you posted!

    - Karie on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • This has become one of my staples. I made a pot Monday night, kept half for myself, and gave half to a friend returning from a funeral. I also made a pot for a friend who just had a baby, and it was a big hit for her and her kids!

    - Danielle on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • We love chili! I will absolutely make this feel good recipe with the Le Creuset Oval French Oven if I win one in the sweepstakes! :)

    - Barbara on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I made this yesterday and it is GREAT! My favorite chili recipe so far. I really appreciate the fact that it isn’t too cumin-y (while I like cumin, other chili recipes I’ve tried have been too heavy on the cumin). I’m looking forward to leftovers for lunch most of this week! Thank you for a great recipe!

    - Jennifer on January 16, 2012 Reply
  • I just made this, and husband could not get enough of it even though he still prefers the regular chili beans over Cannellini beans. I only used 1 pound of chicken, and it turned out just right for us. I was so happy to find Pomi tomatoes at our local Sprouts Farmers Market. It’s my first time using them, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’m usually not a chili or beans person, but I thought this was delicious. It’s light yet so flavorful!

    - Kim on January 8, 2012 Reply
  • Made this to feed the crew during a construction project, but tried ground turkey vice chicken – still wonderful and got rave reviews.

    - MicheleJ on May 9, 2010 Reply
  • This recipe made me a Hero in the kitchen during all the snow storms we had this past winter. I have found that those who love the spice of chilli really enjoyed this recipe more with 1/2 the meat and the same amount of the spice. For kids and myself who can’t handle the heat, this was the perfect chilli for us….thanks for sharing this recipe!!

    - Tammy Bane on April 19, 2010 Reply
  • I made this last night and followed your recipe (including Pomi crushed tomatoes, as I don’t used canned), except for a few things: I only used 1lb of ground chicken; I increased the beans to two cans instead of one and I left the starch in and used as a thickener; I also used 2 cloves of chopped garlic and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder; and I used one teaspoon of regular salt, and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. I let everything simmer for approximately 2 hours and it was amazing!! This recipe is definitely going into my recipes file!! Thank you. What a joy to finally have a simple, flavorful chicken chili recipe! I hope you don’t mind that I linked this to my blog!

    - Julia on February 19, 2010 Reply
  • Unfortunately my hubby can taste the difference between ground beef and ground turkey/chicken. So, I use bison – less fat/cholesterol than chicken, and he’s none the wiser! I use pinto beans in my chili, but white beans sound yummy! Next cold day I’ll give it a try :)

    - Chris on February 19, 2010 Reply
  • I’ve made this twice already in my crockpot using leftover shredded chicken from the previous day. It’s delicious! Thanks, Jenn!

    - Julie on February 16, 2010 Reply
  • I am not a big fan of chili, but this was tasty and spicy without being biting. Delicious! Thank you for the recipes. Keep them coming!

    - Carol McFarland on February 11, 2010 Reply
  • This was great. I took it to a Super Bowl party last night and all the men loved it! My husband was bummed there were no leftovers – so I will be making again this weekend!

    - Belinda on February 8, 2010 Reply
  • This was great! Made a big pot for the great snow in and we have been enjoying for days!!

    - Molly on February 8, 2010 Reply
  • seems good to make for a snow day! can’t wait to try!

    - Elena on February 4, 2010 Reply
  • You reminded me that I haven’t had chili in a while. This looks very good and it’s healthier too. I’ll have to give it a try. :)

    - Kitchen M on February 3, 2010 Reply
  • YOu are so right! There is nothing better than a homemade chili!!!

    - leslie on February 3, 2010 Reply

Add a Review or Question

Hungry for More?

Subscribe to my free weekly newsletter — where I share new recipes and seasonal menus for every occasion.

Your email address will never be used for any other purpose.
Curious? See a sample newsletter.