White Chicken Chili

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Made with a rotisserie chicken, this hearty white chicken chili is a one-pot meal that you can have on the table in under an hour.

I have tried countless recipes for white chicken chili over the years, from this popular and easy “dump it all in a pot” recipe to more authentic, time-consuming versions made from a wide array of chili peppers and hominy. My favorite recipe, and the one my family loves best, falls somewhere in the middle. Modestly adapted from the Neelys, this white chicken chili is a hearty, one-pot meal that you can have on the dinner table in under an hour.

What you’ll need to make white chicken chili

ingredients for white chicken chili

The recipe calls for a store-bought rotisserie chicken. I always shred the chicken as soon as I get home from the grocery store — it’s easier to do while the chicken is still warm, eliminates a step at dinnertime, and also takes up less room in the fridge.

The larger peppers you see in photo are mild poblanos. The small chili pepper is a spicy jalapeño. As always, when working with jalapeños, wear gloves or wash your hands very well afterwards (and always avoid touching your eyes). The seeds and ribs in the pepper hold all of the heat. I remove and discard them to keep the chili mild and family-friendly, but if you like a spicy chili, save them and stir some in at the end.

Note that I use low-sodium chicken broth for the chili; the canned beans are fairly high in sodium, so using a low-sodium variety broth helps to keep the flavor of the chili from being overly salty.

The corn in the recipe is frozen as, that way, you can make this year-round (and there’s no need to defrost the corn before incorporating it into the recipe). If you happen to be making this when fresh corn is in season and prefer to use that, you’ll need kernels from 1 ear of corn.

How to make white chicken chili

Begin by combining half of the white beans in a food processor with one cup of the chicken broth.

beans and broth in food processor

Process until you have a smooth purée. This is what will thicken the broth. Set aside.

puréed beans and broth

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and add the the onions and peppers.

oil, onion, and peppers in pot Cook until soft, about 4 minutes, then add the garlic.

soft onions and peppers with garlic added

Cook a minute more, then add the spices.

adding the spices

Continue cooking for another minute to toast the spices.

toasting the spices

Add the chicken broth, salt and puréed bean mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

adding the broth and puréed beans

Stir in the shredded chicken, beans, corn, and lime and simmer until everything is warmed through.

adding the chicken, beans, corn and lime

You will notice that the chili is quite soupy. This is intentional. It thickens as it sits — in fact, if you make it ahead of time, you will likely need to add some broth or water to thin it out. Plus, I find that if the broth is too thick, the chili gets gloppy and unappealing. A soupy broth is good!

finishing the chili with cilantro

Serve with sour cream, lime wedges, shredded cheese and crushed tortilla chips.

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White Chicken Chili

Made with a rotisserie chicken, this hearty white chicken chili is a one-pot meal that you can have on the table in under an hour.

Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Total Time: 55 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (see note)
  • 2 medium poblano peppers, seeded and diced (see note)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • Salt
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from one lime, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Optional For Serving

  • Sour cream
  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Shredded cheddar or Pepper Jack cheese
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, blend 1/2 of the beans (1 can) with 1 cup of the chicken broth. Set aside both the puréed beans and the remaining whole beans.
  2. Add the oil to a large pot or Dutch oven and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the onion, jalapeño pepper and poblano peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Add the cumin, coriander and ancho chili powder and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for one minute more to toast the spices. Add the chicken broth, puréed beans and 1/2 teaspoon of salt; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the shredded rotisserie chicken, reserved whole beans, corn, and lime juice; bring back to a simmer and cook until everything is heated through, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and lime juice, if necessary. Stir in the cilantro. (Note that the broth will be somewhat soupy -- that's how it is supposed to be. It thickens the longer it sits; see note below.) Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, and lime wedges.
  4. Note: The seeds and ribs in the peppers hold all of the heat. I don't use them to keep the chili mild and family-friendly, but if you like a spicy chili, save them and stir some in at the end. (If you do touch the seeds, be sure to wash your hands well and avoid touching your eyes.)
  5. Note: The chili thickens as it sits. If you make it ahead of time, you will probably need to add more broth or water to thin it out.
  6. Note: Nutrition info does not include optional toppings.
  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 (6 servings)
  • Serving size: about 2 cups
  • Calories: 465
  • Fat: 20 g
  • Saturated fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 40 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 32 g
  • Sodium: 913 mg
  • Cholesterol: 70 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.

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Reviews & Comments

  • This has become my family’s “go to” dinner recipe – everything about it is amazing! We love pairing it with your corn muffins.

    • — Kimberly on July 12, 2021
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  • I have made this twice so far with Costco rotisserie chicken. It’s delicious and it will continue to be in our rotation.

    • — Jennifer on May 21, 2021
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  • Delicious!

    • — Danute on April 9, 2021
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  • I made this for family and they loved it, will be making more often, thank you for the recipe

    • — Lupe on April 3, 2021
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  • Delicious and full of flavour! This didn’t last long! Thanks for another great recipe!

    • — Catherine V. on April 2, 2021
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  • While it tasted OK, it was somehow lacking in depth or complexity in spite of a fair number of ingredients. I couldn’t put my finger on what was missing, but I don’t have a lot of experience with chicken chili either. It just seemed like something was missing.

    • — Susan Lucas on February 25, 2021
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  • Jenn, another amazing dinner. It was flavorful and not heavy. Great flavors and aromas. So easy when using rotisserie chicken. Will add to our repertoire. Many thanks.

    • — Patticakes in Darien on February 22, 2021
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  • Unfortunately I was not a fan. It was lacking in flavor. It wasn’t about heat, it just needed something to pop the flavor profile.

    • — Suzanne on February 21, 2021
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  • Can Beef broth be substituted for chicken broth? I returned from store forgetting to buy more chicken broth. 😢 or would you recommend chicken broth cubes?

    • — Jen on February 13, 2021
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    • Hi Jen, Beef broth will be fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 15, 2021
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  • The best 😋

    • — Jonnette on February 7, 2021
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  • I’ve made the salmon croquettes and fudged them a little bit, but, I have to say I CLEANED MY PLATE :). I’m afraid of poblanos and I’ve never used ancho chili powder because I’m not supposed to. Anyway, I noted you said to NOT use the seed or ribs in the poblanos. Do I need to use all of them in the recipe? Also, should I cut back on the amount of ancho chili powder?

    Thank you for your help:)

    • — Susan on February 4, 2021
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    • Hi Susan, glad you liked the salmon cakes! I’m a little confused by your question. You can use seeds/ribs from the peppers if you want heat, but depending upon how much tolerance you have for heat, I’d definitely add a little at a time, increasing as needed. Hope that helps and that you enjoy the chili!

      • — Jenn on February 4, 2021
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      • The white chicken chili was fabulous! Since there was so much chicken, I added more broth, doubled the corn and added some chopped kale. It will join my rotation!

        • — Brenda on February 6, 2021
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  • This is such a delicious recipe! Super easy and quick too. The leftovers taste even better. I usually make a double batch so there is plenty for next day lunches. My family loves “White Chili night”.
    Thank you!

    • — BARBARA on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is such an excellent recipe! I’ve made it already several times. Usually have things on hand so not hard to make at all. I’ve substituted green chili’s from NM, instead of the poblano’s and they work well.

    • — Pamela Cail on February 2, 2021
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  • The flavor is great in this chili and seems to intensify after a day! I love the ease of the recipe and it tastes amazing!

    • — Kristen B. on February 2, 2021
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  • This was amazing! So easy and pleased the whole family. Simple with complex flavors and comes together in a snap. Great for a cold day or after a busy day at work.

    • — Linda S. on February 2, 2021
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  • I’ve made several of the recipes on Jenn’s website, and I honestly haven’t had a mediocre one yet. They have all been extremely tasty—some a bit more time-consuming than others. But I can say that this has been my go-to chili recipe for months now. I’ve made it more times than I can count, and it’s always delicious whether fresh or as leftovers. I even made some this past holiday to put in Mason jars for gift baskets. Thanks, Jenn—so glad I found you!

    • — Carole Easterling on February 1, 2021
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  • We made this for the first time last night for dinner during a cold winter evening. It was easy to make and extremely delicious. We put some cheese and sour cream on top and had tortilla chips on the side. We did keep some of the seeds in to make it a little bit spicier. Great recipe and will definitely make again.

    • — Cheryl M. on January 31, 2021
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  • So good. I love making this on game days for my husband and his friends.

    • — Rose on January 30, 2021
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  • Made this for a chili cook-off at my husband’s work a while back and it won first place. It was a little time consuming for me, as I have little kids, but certainly worth the effort if you have time on your hands.

    • — Ashley on January 30, 2021
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  • This is one of my favorite things to eat now! I didn’t have the poblano peppers and didn’t blend the beans but it was awesome just the same. I also added some spinach! It was a pretty easy recipe and filling. I also cooked mine for longer than stated but that’s probably because I didn’t blend the beans.

    • — Melanie C on January 30, 2021
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  • I love this recipe and think I will make it again for the Super Bowl. It is so delicious and quite easy to make, and fun for people to add their own toppings. I love how the soup is thickened slightly by blending some of the beans, and the corn adds a nice crunchy component. This was quite a hit with my family! Thank you for the only white chicken chili recipe I will ever need.

    • — Sandy on January 30, 2021
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  • This is a simple but wonderful soup. Followed directions exactly. Family loves it.

    • — Kathleen on January 29, 2021
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  • This is our favorite white chicken chili recipes. Make it at least once a month. My go to for sure. Yummy

    • — Joan Peart on January 29, 2021
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  • Lovely white chicken chili, full of flavor and easy to make, as well. I froze some for later and it was just as tasty as when freshly made. Delicious.

    • — MaryB on January 29, 2021
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  • We love chili’s and this one is delicious! Another hit in our house going on the rotation list

    • — Jen Pehlivan on January 29, 2021
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  • Soup is one of my favorite things to make during the winter and this recipe does not disappoint! I love the flavors and it pairs perfectly with cornbread. YUM!!!

    • — Corinne on January 28, 2021
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  • I love this chili! It’s easy to make and wonderful to be able to use rotisserie chicken! Always love it with tortilla chips and cornbread! Always love to freeze some for those busy nights!

    • — Susan on January 28, 2021
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  • Made this for the first time tonight. Easy. Fast. Tasty. Perfect for my cold, rainy night! I added some red peppers just for color, and I include the seeds as the optional directions suggest. I will be making this part of the soup rotation for sure!

    • — Christi on January 28, 2021
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  • Easy, delicious, and hearty, this is easily one of my favorites. Makes a ton, and freezes well for next to instant healthy meals on busy nights.

    • — Karen Johnson on January 28, 2021
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  • This is now my family’s favorite chicken chili recipe (my husband and 2 teenage boys). The spice level is perfect. If we have leftovers, it tastes as good the second day as the first. Thanks.

    • — Michele on January 28, 2021
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  • If I could give this 10 out of 10 stars I would as this chili is in our regular dinner rotation (my son even asked for it for his special Birthday dinner!). We always add extra lime wedges, sour cream and the tortilla chips on top and it’s the perfect one pot meal. Love using the store bought, whole cooked chicken, and everything comes together quickly enough to cook this on busy weeknight.

    • — Suzanne McCormack on January 28, 2021
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    • I added extra white beans. White kidney beans, and great northern beans. I also used ground turkey. It is a very good recipe.

      • — Lynn on January 28, 2021
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  • I make this at least once a month now, it’s so easy, tasty and healthy. I’m not usually a chili person because of the acidity of a tomato base, so finding this recipe has really been a treat. I make 1.5 times the recipe usually (hungry teens) and the cornbread muffins with it, which are also very easy and tasty.

    • — Laura on January 28, 2021
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  • This soup came together quickly and the recipe was easy to follow. It is delicious and hardy. Especially love the lime and cilantro.
    This was a nice change from a tomato based soup which my family is partial to.

    I also made the corn bread muffins which were recommended by other readers and they went perfectly w the soup!

    • — Lesley on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Another great stable to my rotation. Easy, comforting and quick to prepare. All ingredients are readily available and the flavor combination is great for chili lovers and novices alike. I’ve shared this one several times. As the old commercial says ‘try it, you’ll like it’

    • — Joe Hanlon on January 28, 2021
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  • This is a delicious and easy chili. It has such wonderful depth of flavor. Be sure to use the poblanos. Best of all it uses cooked chicken.

    • — Karla Keiser on January 28, 2021
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