White Chicken Chili

Tested & Perfected Recipes

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

  • Could I substitute ground turkey for the chicken?

    • — Jackie on January 16, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure. I’d season it with a little salt and pepper, saute it, and set it aside. You can add it back in when the chicken gets added to the recipe. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on January 19, 2021
      • Reply
  • Outstanding flavor with just the right amount of heat. Love that it is so easy to make and makes for great leftovers.

    • — Niki on January 15, 2021
    • Reply
  • So easy and tasty, loved by all family

    • — Natalie Daniel on January 15, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this yesterday and my family loved it!! Your recipes are always fabulous 💖

    • — Liz Reingardt on December 22, 2020
    • Reply
  • I make this alot as it is so good. Today I just poached two large chicken breasts with some TJ onion salt. I couldn’t get a rotisserie chicken. I think I like it better using the chicken breasts as it is less messy than dealing with a carcass and the white meat is zero points if you follow WW.

    • — Danielle on December 9, 2020
    • Reply
  • Excellent recipe! Only included the pureed beans due to picky kids, who had no idea pureed beans were in soup. Family loved it. Served with homemade cornbread. Recipe is a keeper, thank you!

    • — Rochelle on December 7, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’ve tried quite a few white chili recipes over the years, but this one is a keeper. Other than using shredded chicken breasts instead of the rotisserie chicken, we changed nothing. Thank you for sharing.

    • — Scott on November 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Very very tasty. I didn’t have white beans so I used black beans. I also didn’t have any peppers but I used some homemade hot sauce made from chili’s and it was perfect and quick. Other than the substitutions I followed the seasonings exactly. Such an easy meal! We used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for garnish. Will definitely make this again.

    • — Margaret on November 21, 2020
    • Reply
  • Instead of using a store-bought rotisserie chicken, I cooked my own from frozen at low in the slow cooker for 10 hours. The chicken fell off the bone and left a good quantity of stock which I could then use to make the broth for the recipe. It wasn’t all that much more trouble and was well worth it, as it resulted in richer flavors!

    • — JECL on November 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • Made this tonight. It really comes together nicely with the suggested garnishes. Easy to make, very tasty and filling. Don’t be afraid of using the two types of peppers and spices, in fact next time I might leave in some seed for an extra kick. Great for a cold night.

    • — Kelly G on November 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • This chili came out great. Been meaning to make it for awhile and finally did. It paired lovely with fall weather. One question Jenn, I used cannellini beans instead of white beans, is that ok to substitute?

    • — Michelle on November 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked it! Yes, cannellini beans are fine here. 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 10, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I am looking to make this soon, but I do not have a food processor. Could I use a blender? Please let me know when you can. Thank you!

    • — Jess on November 2, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Jess, a blender will work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 3, 2020
      • Reply
  • This is one of my go-to dinners–and I have served it for company as well. It’s so easy to through together, but everybody loves it. It tastes even better the second day (If I can get it to last that long!)

    • — Cathe on October 29, 2020
    • Reply
    • Do you think I could put this all together in crockpot and cook on low?
      I love this recipe and have made several times but thinking I’d like to try in crockpot.
      Thanks

      • — Eileen on January 16, 2021
      • Reply
      • Glad you like it, Jessie! I think this could be made in a slow cooker. I don’t have a slow cooker, so I’m not certain about the timing. These tips may help. (And if you use the slow cooker, I may suggest chicken thighs as they will retain more moisture while cooking low and slow.) I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it!

        • — Jenn on January 18, 2021
        • Reply
  • Do I need to drain the can of beans before I process it with a cup of broth?

    • — Virginia Lehner on October 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • Yes – Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 18, 2020
      • Reply
    • This was good. Used blender instead of food processor and it worked just fine. I hate cilantro and cumin so I excluded those. I used extra (regular) chili powder and some red pepper flakes. I also used a tiny, tiny bit of canned jalapeño. And good thing, because this was very spicy to me! But very tasty! The corn is delicious and I will be adding more: Nice change from regular chili.

      • — Lauren Frederick on January 6, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made this for a family gathering and everyone liked it. The 4 cups of ck broth wasn’t enough so I double it, and added a little cream. Of course this made it more soupy but I did a slurry to thicken it but it made it too chalky. Seasoning was okay but I added more spice for flavor. Overall, I will make this again but next time add the flour at the beginning with the sautéed veggies.

    • — Allison on October 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • This recipe is so good!! I’m pitching all my other Chicken Chili recipes, this one tops them all.

    • — Barb B on October 8, 2020
    • Reply
  • We LOVE this recipe, it’s been a go-to for years! Today I made a small modification, after the peppers/onions/garlic/spices were ready and before adding the pureed beans and broth, I removed the peppers and onions and pan roasted the corn with lime juice to deglaze the pot for about 5 minutes. I removed the corn and put it aside, put the onion and pepper back, and went on per the recipe. This was a nice enhancement absolutely worth the extra time and effort!!

    • — Alison on October 3, 2020
    • Reply
  • So flavourful! Another keeper for this household. Thanks!

    • — Catherine V. on October 3, 2020
    • Reply
  • I just made this for dinner. I used green peppers with the jalapeno and flat leave parsley instead of cilantro. It was delicious. I’ll be making this again for sure. Thanks for a great recipe.

    • — Bert on October 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • Highly recommended!!!

    • — Samantha on October 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • This soupy chili is amazing! The levels and depths of flavours were delicious. I replaced the corn with hominy to keep it on the salty/savoury side, and it resembled an old family soup recipe. Will definitely be making it again!

    • — Diana on October 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is now my go to recipe when taking a meal to a friend in need. It is a huge hit with hungry teenagers who always ask their mom to get the recipe 😊. Because I find teenage athletes are looking for a protein filled meal, I roast my own large chicken seasoned well with a lime chili spice blend. I tend to do this while making dinner the night before, let it cool and shred then or the next day. Thank you, Jenn! It’s so nice to have a reliable “go-to” meal for friends.

    • — Laura on September 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Could I use white kidney beans to replace the white beans?
    Thanks so much! Love all your recipes!

    • — Jennifer Patzer on September 29, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure! Hope you enjoy. 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 29, 2020
      • Reply
  • Good Morning, Jenn.

    I have a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I need to use up. What method would you recommend for cooking them to use in this chili to achieve the proper texture? Boiled, then shredded? Roasted, then shredded? Thank you!

    • — Bethany on September 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Bethany, I think I’d roast them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and then shred. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 21, 2020
      • Reply
  • Wow, this was exceptionally good. This has been on my to-try list for ages, and the only bad thing is that it took me so long to get around to trying it. The recipe was really easy to follow and it tasted amazing. I’d give it 6 stars if I could and will definitely be making this again and again. This is going into my regular dinner rotation. Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Laura on August 29, 2020
    • Reply
    • A bit over 4 months since I left this comment, and I have made this dish so much because it continues to be really easy and really tasty! It’s very forgiving for substitutions, which has been important lately when the stores have invariably been out of *something* I need — in different batches, I’ve replaced the whole white beans with black beans, and the jalapeño with chipotle chili powder. And if I don’t have a rotisserie chicken, I poach a couple of chicken breasts in a cup of the broth and shred them. I freeze leftovers in single portions, and they reheat well and taste just as amazing. I recommended this to my mum and got her hooked too. Thanks again, Jenn, for this winner.

      • — Laura on January 7, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Could I add some of your salsa verde to this? I have a garden full of tomatillos!

    Thank you for all your recipes!

    Kristen Berry

    • — Kristen Berry on August 4, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure – that would be an interesting twist!

      • — Jenn on August 4, 2020
      • Reply
      • The soup was delicious and on the second night I added a cup of your salsa verde to it and it was wonderful! THANK YOU!

        • — Kristen Berry on August 6, 2020
        • Reply
  • This recipe was so effortless and turned out so tasty!
    I had to substitute the Poblanos peppers with Capsicum (ie Bell Peppers) because it was not available here in Australia. Highly reccomend this quick, easy, nutrition and tasty recipe. You never fail me, Jenn!

    • — Patrick on July 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • Another 5 star recipe that’s easy to prepare! Thanks again!

    • — Donna on April 21, 2020
    • Reply
  • Really delicious and simple to prepare. Definitely a keeper!

    • — Marla Grace on March 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi! What can I substitute if I can’t find poblano peppers?

    • — Ju on February 13, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Ju, you can use bell pepper in place of the poblano. Hope you enjoy the chili!

      • — Jenn on February 13, 2020
      • Reply
    • My boyfriend who doesn’t like chili in general loves this recipe!!! He even fought over the leftovers for his lunch tomorrow. That’s how much he (and I ) like this. Cannot wait to make it again for friends and family. Thanks so much!

      • — Trang Nguyen on April 8, 2020
      • Reply
  • Jenn, your blog and cookbook are my new favs! My 4 kiddos and husband (and I!) have LOVED your recipes! And you make me look like a good cook. 😉 Thank you for sharing your culinary passion & giftedness with us!

    About the white chicken chili recipe, I made it last night for the first time and it was a huge hit! So I plan to make it again this weekend for company, which will be a family of 7. For 13 people (4 adults + 9 kids), I’d like to make it ahead of time in several batches on the stove top and then reheat later. Would it work to triple the recipe the night before, store it in the fridge overnight, and then reheat it all together the next day in a crock pot? To ensure that it stays warm while being served? Or would the crock pot method make it mushy?

    Thank you again for being such a blessing my family and me!

    • — Carrie on January 31, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you’re enjoying the recipes, Carrie! Yes, what you’re suggesting for the chili will work just fine. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on February 1, 2020
      • Reply
  • Another five star recipe we loved it and was very easy to make. Again thanks, Greg

    • — Greg and Sherry Heiden on January 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • This recipe is unbelievably delicious! I added an extra jalapeño and left seeds in because we like some heat. We had it for dinner last night and I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I’m now eating it again for breakfast:)
    This is most definitely a keeper

    • — Ali on January 19, 2020
    • Reply
    • This is very delicious! I made it a month ago and my picky son came with his friends tried it and my whole pot was gone. This morning my son woke up under the weather and asked if I can make it! I’m happy my son request something. So far every recipe of your has been a favorite! You are an excellent chef. Thank you Jenn.

      • — Salli B. on January 21, 2020
      • Reply
      • 💗

        • — Jenn on January 22, 2020
        • Reply
  • Being culinary trained, I perused the ingredients and decided to give it a try. I turned this version into a soup, due to having a family of four with friends. I added the chicken carcass from the rotisserie to the pot of stock, added water and reduced to 2/3rds, removed the bones, added a 1/2 cup of half and half and thickened with a corn starch slurry. Finished with a soaked, cooked bag of dry Great Northern White beans and frozen corn. Served with shredded Colby cheese, dollops of sour cream and yellow corn tortilla chips. It was arguably one the best we’ve ever had.

    • — Greg T. on January 6, 2020
    • Reply

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