Chicken Chili with White Beans

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This chicken chili is a hearty, healthy dish you can feel good about eating.

chicken chili

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 — even your manly football fanatics will love it.

What you’ll need to make Chicken Chili with White Beans

how to make chicken chili

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 kind labeled “lean” – and same goes if you’re substituting ground turkey. Also, use Pomi boxed chopped tomatoes if you can find them; they are superior to canned tomatoes and lend nice texture to the chili.

how to make chicken chili

How to make it

To begin, heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or nonreactive soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and red bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring to prevent garlic from burning, about two minutes more.

how to make chicken chili

Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the ground chicken, chili powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, oregano, cayenne pepper, and salt.

how to make chicken chili

As the chicken cooks, use a wooden spoon to break the meat into very small clumps; cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

how to make chicken chili

Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, and sugar.

how to make chicken chili

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered with lid ajar, for about one hour, stirring occasionally. 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.

how to make chicken chili

For a soupier chili, you can add additional water. For a thicker chili, simmer uncovered until the desired consistency is reached. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Note that this chili is moderately spicy; feel free to adjust to your liking by increasing or decreasing the cayenne and red pepper flakes.

chicken chili

YOu may also like

Chicken Chili with White Beans

This chicken chili is a hearty, healthy dish you can feel good about eating.

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 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 (preferably not labeled "lean")
  • 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
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 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 Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large nonreactive pot over medium heat. Add the onions and red bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring to prevent garlic from burning, about two minutes more.
  2. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the ground chicken, chili powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, oregano, cayenne pepper, and salt. As the chicken cooks, use a wooden spoon to break the meat into very small clumps; cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered with lid ajar, for about one hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. 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 more salt if necessary.
  5. Note: Pomi boxed tomatoes are available at some regular grocers, Whole Foods and gourmet food shops.
  6. 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.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The chili can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat it on the stovetop over medium-low heat until hot. (The chili will thicken up some when frozen, so you’ll likely need to add some broth when reheating.)

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (1 3/4 - 2 cups servings)
  • 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

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

See more recipes:

Reviews & Comments

  • Can I use only a 1 lb of chicken and add more beans and other vegetables? Or would that not work

    • — Kaylee on April 23, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Kaylee, that will work. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on April 24, 2021
      • Reply
  • I has so enthusiastic of doing this recipe, but it was a disappointment.first didn’t thick up. And second it has too much liquid I think it needs to be less . I like thck chili is look more a soup.
    Wont do it a again:(

    • — Vyktorya on March 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was excellent!

    • — April on March 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hello Jen: I love this recipe. I’ve just volunteered at a new soup kitchen which serves a minimum of 50 people per day. I’d love to prepare your recipe for one of their meals. Would you have any tips or suggestions other than just increasing the ingredients by 10. It’s a lot more than just doubling a recipe and I want it to turn out delicious. I will be using dry beans, to keep costs down.

    • — Sandra Marsh on February 12, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandra, How nice that you volunteer in a soup kitchen! While I’ve never made this in such large quantities, I think you could do it without other changes. Hope everyone enjoys! 💗

      • — Jenn on February 12, 2021
      • Reply
  • I confess, turkey was substituted for Chicken. That said, the only reason I rated this recipe 5-stars is because it was not possible to give it 6-stars. The texture and flavors are outstanding. Another winner.

    • — Michael Shinevar on February 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • Excellent! Made tonight but tweaked other ingredients for just 1 1/2 lbs of ground chicken.
    Added a bit more red pepper flakes. Thanks!

    • — Laura on February 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have made this chili recipe 2x in a week because it’s that good. Perfect for a winter evening- so excited to try some other recipes by Jenn.

    • — C on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • It is a snowy, New England night and this looked like the perfect thing to make for dinner! I was right…it is delicious! I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfectly. It would be great for a crowd or to make and freeze. I added green onion and cheese for sprinkling on the top….yummy!

    • — Patti on February 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • First, let me say I don’t like chili. Well, I didn’t like chili before I made this recipe. It’s so delicious! I follow the recipe except I use ground turkey because my grocery never has ground chicken. I’ve made this recipe several times and am going to make it again tomorrow for the rainy weather we are having. I’ve made if for camping trips and for potlucks. I love the white beans. It’s full of flavor and so good over a baked potato. Another winner!

    • — Tracy C on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I could eat this every day it is so good! My whole family gets giddy when they find out it is Chicken Chili night, especially if it is being served with the Savoury Cornbread with Cheddar & Thyme (which it almost always is!). Hearty and warm and delicious, it brings back childhood memories of my mother’s homemade chili after a day of skiing. What could be better?!

    • — Jane on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This Chicken Chili recipe is a GO TO in our house. Husband is a former chef and quite discerning about even weeknight meals and he often requests this one.

    • — Amanda Kingsbury on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! I’ve lost count of your recipes that I’ve not only made but loved. This one is one of my fall\winter time staples. I substitute70\30 ground turkey for the chicken and stick to everything else. I’m trying the Italian Wedding Soup next!
    Keep doing what your doing!

    Regards

    • — Roderick Walker on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is delicious…I make it exactly as written and everyone loves it!

    • — Barb Pinson on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • What is the original source for this recipe?

    • — Andrea Mills on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Andrea, This is an old recipe and I don’t recall where the inspiration came from.

      • — Jenn on January 30, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made this Today, and it is DELISH!!! I just didn’t add as much red pepper flakes and no cayenne. Very tasty, my husband loves it! Next time I’m thinking of also adding grilled sliced chicken sausage links. Again Great Recipe Jenn!!

    • — Gigi B on January 17, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, i haven’t tried this recipe yet, but I’m planning to ASAP! I’m wondering if i substitute “hominy” for the cannoli beans would work??! I happened by a few other chicken chili recipes that have it/hominy and since I love hominy maybe it would work HERE?! Your thoughts?
    I trust YOUR recipes much more than some random chefs…ijs. 🙂 #noOffense

    • — Gigi B on January 17, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi GiGi, I’ve never cooked with hominy so I can’t say for, sure but assuming it’s cooked (not dried), I suspect it should work. Please LMK how the chili turns out if you try it. (And so glad you like the recipes!) 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 18, 2021
      • Reply
      • Welp Jenn I’d bought the hominy AND cannoli beans but when it came time, I wanted to follow your lead first by not changing your recipe. This was a fantastic recipe already, but NEXT time I will add the hominy. For those that don’t know what hominy IS, it’s basically dried CORN thats been soaked in a mineral lime bath. This process causes the kernels to double in size. Hominy is also used to make tortillas …,and grits too. I love the taste and texture of it, plus I love grits and tortillas too!!! So IMHO, it’s corn, and corn can easily go into chili! I’ll come back and report to ya Jenn!

        • — Gigi B on January 20, 2021
        • Reply
        • Glad it turned out well as is. Would love to hear back when you try it with the hominy! 🙂

          • — Jenn on January 20, 2021
          • Reply
  • Hi, I love all of your recipes. My only comment for this one is to use less salt, max 1 tsp. Thanks

    • — Darlene on January 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • Didn’t turn out like a chilli. Was very dry even though i added extra water in to make it soupy. Followed the instructions exactly except used diced tomatoes instead of pomi chopped. Perhaps thats why it didn’t turn out well?

    • — Atiya on January 8, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Atiya, Sorry you had a problem with this. The tomatoes shouldn’t have made a difference. This chili is fairly thick. Did it look different than what you see in the first picture? If so, is there any chance you made a measuring error?

      • — Jenn on January 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • I have made this several times and I have found that when I eliminate the chicken broth it is less watery and more flavorful.

    • — taryn on December 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • Love love love LOVE! I’ve made this recipe three times since I discovered it! Followed every instruction to the T! Leftovers are even better! Thank you Jen!

    • — P on December 9, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen. I love all of your recipes. I have made many things from your cookbook and website. I have not made the chicken chili yet. Can I use ground turkey instead?

    • — Mary on December 1, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you like the recipes. Sure, you can use ground turkey here! 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 2, 2020
      • Reply
  • Loved this. Will be making it again with a touch more heat! Thanks Jen!

    • — P on October 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • This chili recipe is a keeper! I’ve made it multiple times, for us and for a crowd, and always satisfying!

    • — Catherine V. on July 12, 2020
    • Reply
  • I followed this exact recipe and served it to company with steamed texmati rice, Scallions, and cheese. It was a huge hit and the we devoured the entire pot. The only thing I did differently was add an extra can of beans (black). I will make it again and again. Delicious!

    • — Linmore on July 11, 2020
    • Reply
  • Thanks, this is a great recipe for a basic chili and very good for a beginner level cook like myself. I’ve made it twice, first time I followed the recipe almost exactly and it was good but could use some improvement. Second time I added more chili flakes and put in a tablespoon of chipotle paste and some mild jalapenos and it was much better. Gave it a bit more bite and some smokeyness and fit well with the base recipe.
    So this is a tasty recipe that’s basic enough that you can easily expand upon and change it to your liking.

    • — Thomas on April 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this using ground chicken – all I could find at my large grocery store was lean. Other than the chicken I followed the recipe exactly, but ultimately it was much too watery, especially the frozen left overs. And when drained it was just sort of like stir fried ground chicken and beans. Perhaps the brand of tomato I used had too much liquid.

    • — Marie on March 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • I love this chili. It is so flavorful and delicious. It is one of my favorite chili recipes. Thank you so much!!!!

    • — Chris on January 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hello Jenn,
    Just found your site and can’t wait to try your receipes. Could this chili work with ground pork instead of chicken? Thanks!

    • — Lili on January 12, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Lili – it will probably be even better with pork.

      • — Jenn on January 13, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I make your recipes all the time and have found them to be perfect. I used turkey instead of chicken & my chili was rather watery. I was able to boil off the excess liquid but am wondering if ground turkey has more liquid in it than ground chicken. My turkey released a lot of liquid & another one of your reviewers had a similar issue with turkey. I will make it again as it’s a great recipe – I just may stick with ground chicken!

    • — Linda on December 30, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Linda, the amount of liquid released by ground meat varies based on how lean it is (with a leaner cut giving off a bit more water), so I suspect that the turkey was leaner than the chicken that the recipe calls for.

      • — Jenn on December 30, 2019
      • Reply
  • I’ve been making both chicken and turkey chili a lot recently. I think I prefer the texture of the chicken over turkey. Regarding turkey chili, I did try the less lean, 93% but I didn’t like the taste, I like the 99% lean ground turkey better. To make it work, I chop up 2-3 thick slices hickory smoked bacon and mix it it with the turkey before putting it into the pot, this gives the fat needed and a nice flavor.
    I use garbanzo beans in my chili, which is probably an acquired taste, but I like the bite it gives
    I haven’t tried your recipe yet, but it looks good and I will try it the next time I decide to make chili.

    • — Sheryl on December 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • While I love a traditional white chicken chili, I keep coming back to this recipe. Everyone loves it! I sometimes use ground chicken (or turkey), but I prefer cooking chicken breasts and shredding the meat. It’s a texture thing, and I get to bust out my pulled pork claws. Usually I have most of the ingredients on hand, and I was very happy to learn how good Pomi tomatoes are. I like to have a variety of garnishes on hand for people to top as they wish: sour cream, tortilla chips, shredded cheese (cheddar or jack), chopped scallions, lime wedges and a couple of hot sauces. Oh, and don’t forget the corn bread.

    • — PaulainVA on November 30, 2019
    • Reply
  • This is the first chili recipe that I’ve actually followed to the letter – usually I just chuck in the usual spices and taste as I go. This recipe has me using way more spice (volume, not heat) and the result is a restaurant quality taste. I’ve made it a couple times and I’ve reduced the oil and used extra lean turkey and it’s still fabulous.

    • — Diana Matthew on November 17, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi, thanks for sharing this recipe I used on one of our first cool, cloudy fall days in N. C.! It’s always great to feel like there is another chef in the kitchen when the ingredients for a good long-simmering chili begin to take shape while reading through someone’s tried and true list and instructions. I am so happy that everything has worked well for you as you made your passion for cooking a continuous part of your sweet family life. Best to you, and I will probably return to your place soon!

    • — Debbie Sheegog on October 20, 2019
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on October 21, 2019
      • Reply
  • Super excellent….added bay leaves…

    • — Dina on August 10, 2019
    • Reply
    • Fabulous chilli,the most delicious I have ever tasted.

      • — Ronnie on December 15, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, Would like you to know how much I enjoy your Cook Book plus the recipes on line…always perfect, always reliable. Question: I want to double this recipe for the first time. Question: Do I double the spices as well? Think I heard somewhere it is not a good idea.
    Great thank you
    Yvonne

    • Hi Yvonne, so glad you enjoy the recipes! If you plan to double the chili, I would double all of the ingredients including the spices. 🙂

  • Delicious, nutritious, heart-warming chili! I love the use of ground poultry and blend of spices. This has become my go-to chili recipe.

  • I made this chicken chili tonight and it is just okay. The recipe as it is calls for too much liquid and frankly it feels as if something is missing. It is not rich nor hearty. I will probably have to add cheese or sour cream to make it worthwhile. I had another chicken chili recipe that was fantastic but this one seem interesting. Lesson learned.

    • Dear Marie,
      Are you willing to share the fantastic chicken chili recipe?
      It would be appreciated.

  • This is a keep and repeat recipe! I used lean ground turkey, omitted the sugar, and cut some salt, but that is all personal preference. The spices and texture are just right! Thank you Jenn!

  • Novice chef here… this recipe is fantastic and very straightforward. Followed it exactly and turned out delicious.

  • My family loves this chili. Just the right blend of hot and spicy to make it a true chili, by our standards. And because it’s chicken, there is absolutely no guilt when I eat it! I have made this recipe exactly as Jen has written it and I’ve also tweaked it with extra fresh pepper, less hot pepper flakes and more beans. Anyway I make it, this chili recipe is a keeper!

    • — Bernadette Glendon
    • Reply
  • If you use my chili power and the amt of called for, it would be too spicy for most of the population

Add a Review or Question

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.