Chicken Chili with White Beans

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Reviews & Comments

  • 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
  • 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!
    Thanks!

    - 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

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