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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.

White Chicken Chili

White chili is a delicious variation of classic chili, featuring chicken or turkey and white beans in a savory broth base instead of the typical kidney beans and tomato base. This results in a lighter color and a more soup-like consistency compared traditional beef chili or chili con carne, while still delivering the same rich and comforting flavor.

I have tried countless recipes for white chicken chili over the years—from super-easy crockpot versions to more authentic, time-consuming ones made from a wide array of dried chili peppers and hominy. This recipe, adapted from Food Network, hits the sweet spot between ease of preparation and depth of flavor—and it’s my family’s favorite. Pair this hearty one-pot meal with warm, buttery cornbread, and you’ve got the perfect dinner ready in under an hour.

“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

What You’ll Need To Make White Chicken Chili

ingredients for white chicken chili
  • Canned White Beans: Add creaminess and a hearty texture to the dish.
  • Chicken Broth: Provides the flavorful liquid base for the chili. Since canned beans are fairly high in sodium, using a low-sodium variety broth helps to keep the flavor of the chili from being overly salty.
  • Onion and Garlic: These aromatic ingredients form the flavor base of the chili.
  • Jalapeño Pepper and Poblano Peppers: These peppers add heat and a mild smoky flavor to the chili. Jalapeños provide spiciness, while poblanos offer a gentle kick.
  • Spices (Cumin, Coriander, Ancho Chile Powder): The spice blend lends earthy, smoky, deep flavors to the chili.
  • Rotisserie Chicken: Adds a convenient source of protein. Pro tip: shred the chicken as soon as you 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.
  • Corn: Adds a touch of natural sweetness and a nice textural contrast to the beans and chicken. Frozen corn is convenient and fine to use; if you’d prefer to use fresh, you’ll need one ear of corn.
  • Fresh Lime Juice: Brightens the flavors of the chili.
  • Cilantro: Adds a burst of herbal freshness and color to each serving.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by combining half of the white beans in a food processor with one cup of the chicken broth. Process until you have a smooth purée. This is what will thicken the broth. Set aside.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve never cooked with poblano peppers. Can you describe them?

Poblano peppers are mild chili peppers with a subtle earthy flavor. They resemble green bell peppers but they are a bit darker and thinner with a pointy tip. They’re readily available in the produce section of most supermarkets, but green bell peppers are a suitable substitute.

I have some chicken that I’d like to use up. Can I use it in place of the rotisserie chicken?

Sure! You can use any leftover chicken, or my poached chicken makes a great substitute.

Can white chicken chili be made ahead of time?

Yes, the chili will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Keep in mind that it will thicken up as it sits in the fridge. When you reheat it, you will likely need to add more broth or water to thin it out. The chili can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat it on the stovetop over medium-low heat until hot.

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Video Tutorial

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 to 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
  • 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • Salt
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and shredded (about 4 cups)
  • ¾ cup frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from one lime, plus more to taste
  • ¼ 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 ½ 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 ½ 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. Make-Ahead/Freezer-Friendly Instructions: Yes, the chili will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Keep in mind that it will thicken up as it sits in the fridge. When you reheat it, you will likely need to add more broth or water to thin it out. The chili can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat it on the stovetop over medium-low heat until hot.

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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Comments

  • If I use boneless breasts instead of a cooked chicken, about how many pounds do you recommend?

    • — Jane Simon on February 21, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Jane, I’d guesstimate you’d need 20 to 24 ounces.

      • — Jenn on February 21, 2024
      • Reply
      • Thanks!

        • — Jane Simon on February 22, 2024
        • Reply
  • I made this last night. Next time I am going to double the recipe as there isn’t enough leftover for a second dinner! (Didn’t use rotisserie chicken, Instead I put meaty boneless chicken breasts in the slow cooker so I had plenty of cooked chicken) Don’t think I will drain the beans next time, as when the drained beans were puréed, the result was really thick. So I scooped out the beans and whisked the thick beans into the hot broth. I loved the addition of the lime. Served the “soup” over some crushed tortilla chips. Made skillet cornbread and side salad. Nice on a chilly and damp evening.

    • — Nancy on February 19, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn – I made this dish and it was a super hit. It’s loaded with flavor and it’s pretty quick and easy to make. Great instructions and spot on visual aids. Everybody loved it. It’s now in my Go-To collection of recipes.

    • — Fabrizio Danova on February 12, 2024
    • Reply
  • I have made this plenty of times, but last night it was a huge hit for half-time chili while watching the big game. None left. Yummy and a great recipe. Thank you.

    • — Neil on February 12, 2024
    • Reply
  • Question:
    Do you drain, wash the beans??

    • — Mandy on February 10, 2024
    • Reply
    • Yep, you do.

      • — Jenn on February 12, 2024
      • Reply
  • This was delicious. I substituted coriander for tarragon as I didn’t have it.
    I made a roast chicken the day before and had so much left over, so very happy I found your recipe. Will make this over and over again.
    Thank you!

    • — Mary on February 6, 2024
    • Reply
  • I have made this many times and it is always delicious. I have used chicken breast exclusively for some family members, still good but not quite as good

    • — Dan J on January 28, 2024
    • Reply
  • OMG! My salon loved this ! Has requested it weekly! Everyone I have made this for has asked for your recipe! I usually grill the chicken, with Tahin… great recipe thank you!!!

    • — Cynthia Cauble on January 24, 2024
    • Reply
  • can you use soybeans or no?

    • — Lina on January 23, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Lina, I assume you mean edamame? If so, I don’t think that’s the best choice here — sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 24, 2024
      • Reply
  • I always roast the poblanos and the jalapeño because growing up my mom always roasted them for use in her recipes, namely chiles rellenos. That may add to the prep time but I think it’s worth the effort. Thanks for all your wonderful knowledge and recipes Jen!

    • — Cristela on January 14, 2024
    • Reply
  • Great idea to thicken the chile with puréed beans instead of cream cheese or something similar!

    • — Marlene on January 12, 2024
    • Reply
  • This is one of very few recipes from this site that I found really underwhelming. I ended up adding a good bit of salt at the end, then hot pepper, a little extra lime juice and even a pat of butter and my husband was still not impressed. After adding cheese, sour cream and pickled jalapenos he liked it better. I do love the nutritional profile of this dish though so we may try it again and just kick up all the spices a notch. I have a feeling this recipe would do well with a good shlock of hot verde salsa, so I may try that next time.

    • — Robin on January 11, 2024
    • Reply
  • I loved this recipe, but I made a few modifications due to household and personal preferences that I think sent it over the top for me.

    – I pureed more than half the beans, probably about 1.5 cans’ worth, along with about 2 cups of the broth. This gave it a thicker texture while actually still giving plenty of whole beans in the end result. I also did this in my blender, not food processor, and let it run for several seconds beyond the point that it looked smooth.

    – As I do in most recipes that call for peppers and onions, I used my mini food processor to chop them VERY finely, almost into a paste. My husband appreciates the flavor peppers and onions give to a dish but has a texture issue with discernible pieces of them, so I tend to do this a lot. In this case, I think it not only didn’t hurt the end result, but actively helped it. Every bite has a lovely background note of the poblanos.

    – I also used my mini food processor for the cilantro, mostly because I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to chop it by hand – and I used more than 1/4 cup. This definitely added an excellent layer of flavor, too.

    – I added more garlic, a touch more of the ancho chile powder, and more lime. Fresh lime is absolutely essential here, do not use the bottled stuff. I would even go so far as to say that it’d be better to skip the lime entirely rather than use the bottled stuff – the flavor comes through pretty prominently.

    I served it for dinner with avocado and cotija cheese as my toppings, but I’ve eaten it for lunch with no extra toppings and it’s equally fabulous that way. Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Heather on January 9, 2024
    • Reply
  • Anyone try this with vegetable broth and no chicken?

    • — Christine Johns on January 9, 2024
    • Reply
    • I always make this dish with vegetable broth and leave out of the chicken because it’s delicious with the cannellini beans.

      • — Barbara on February 22, 2024
      • Reply
  • Another delicious dish! Loved the flavours in this great alternative to a heavy beef chili. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Ann-Marie D. on January 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • We found this quite bland. I followed the recipe To a tee. I ended up adding crushed red pepper flakes, a teaspoon of chili powder, and the juice of two limes. And it never thickened.

    • — Deb W on January 3, 2024
    • Reply
  • I so enjoy your recipes, most of which are fun, easy to follow as well as delicious. I do find all the advertisements so irritating especially the ones that interrupt your nice videos. They seem to be worse than ever. That said they will not keep me from using your website.

    • — Anna Futrell on January 2, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Anna, so glad you like the recipes and I’m sorry about the ads! For watching the videos without the ads, while you’re viewing one, about 1/3 of the way through, two little buttons show up on the right side of the video saying “next” or “stay?” Just click on the stay button and you should see the remainder of the video with no ad. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on January 2, 2024
      • Reply
  • Amazing! So delicious. I made it exactly as written. Only addition was when I tasted for seasoning at the end, I added a few dashes of adobo to taste. Will definitely make again. Whole family loved it. Thank you!

    • — Lauren D on December 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • This recipe is spot on PERFECTION!! I double the recipe and share containers of it with friends. They think I’m a brilliant cook. Little do they know how simple, quick and fool proof the recipe is!! Thank you Jenn, for all of your wonderful recipes!!

    • — Jen Boydstun on December 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is a wonderful recipe! I didn’t have coriander so I added some Sazon. Other than that I followed it exactly. It is easy and flavorful. I will make this again.

    • — Ruth on December 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • Do you think hominy would be a good substitute for the white beans? Thanks!

    • — Susan on December 12, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, I’ve never cooked hominy, so I can’t say for sure, but I think it should work. Please LMK how the chili turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on December 12, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi – has anyone tried this with leftover turkey?

    • — Lisa on November 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Lisa, I haven’t done it myself, but some other readers have commented that they’ve successfully used leftover turkey. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on November 27, 2023
      • Reply
  • Like everyone else, I give this a 12. Very tired of rotisserie chicken flavor, so I air fried 3 boneless skinless thighs for 16 min then shredded. Excellent. Sadly I ran to Walmart to buy tortilla chips. Opened the bag and my favorite Tostitos cantina style were over fried . I called just before we ate to complain. I was telling the csr about the white chicken chili and gave her your website. “I use her recipes all the time.” So I thought you’d enjoy that. Lots of Jenn groupies out there. I always make half batches bc we’re not fans of leftovers.

    Thank you, Chef Jenn. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    • — Judith Schell on November 20, 2023
    • Reply
    • Jen – I love your recipes! Any advice when doubling this recipe to feed a crowd?

      • — Debby K. on December 11, 2023
      • Reply
      • So glad you like the recipes! 😊
        No real advice regarding doubling this aside from ensuring that you have a large enough pot to fit double the ingredients. Hope everyone enjoys!

        • — Jenn on December 11, 2023
        • Reply
  • Thanks Jenn,
    Very nice flavors! We enjoyed this recipe and I will make it again soon. I like the brothy texture, reminded me of tortilla soup without the tomatoes. Next time I will add the jalapeño seeds for a little more heat.

    • — Patti on November 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is SO good! I made it last night on the first rainy day in Los Angeles and it was perfect. I couldn’t find a pablano pepper so used a different kind– think it was pueblo, was mild like a green pepper and then the jalapeno. Also didn’t have ancho chili powder so used a combo of chipotle chili and regular chili powder. Got raves and sadly now not that much leftover for lunch today. I love to cook from the pantry and fridge and except for the chicken, you can do with this recipe. It will be forever something I make. Thank Jen!

    • — Beth George Schulberg on November 16, 2023
    • Reply
  • Great flavor and so easy! I the recipe exactly and the texture and broth were perfectly in proportion. I will double the recipe next time for a crowd!

    • — S Harvey on November 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can I use northern beans? or it has to be the kind of beans?

    • — stephanie on November 15, 2023
    • Reply
    • Northern beans are perfectly fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 15, 2023
      • Reply
  • ANOTHER excellent recipe from you, Jen! I added extra corn because we love corn with out an issue. Love you recipes!

    • — L on November 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made the chicken stock from the bones of the rotisserie chicken. The chili was a little soupy, so I added taco seasoning to thicken it a little. I found that if cooked too long (longer than the recommended 20 minutes), the heat from the chilis dissipates. This was a fabulous recipe and one I’ll be making a lot during the winter months. Thank you!

    • — Valerie Moss on November 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • This white chili recipe was a bit disappointing. The pureed beans gave it an unappealing texture and flavor. I didn’t like it at all.

    • — Yuri Clingerman on November 13, 2023
    • Reply

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