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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.

When chili is made with chicken or turkey, white beans, and broth (rather than tomatoes), it is called “white chili” because it appears light in color rather than a deep red. It’s a bit lighter and brothier than ground beef chili or Texas-style chili, but it’s still comfort food. I have tried countless recipes for white chicken chili over the years, from super-easy crockpot recipes to more authentic, time-consuming versions made from a wide array of chili peppers and hominy. This recipe is the one my family loves best, and it falls somewhere in the middle effort-wise. Modestly adapted from Food Network, it’s a hearty one-pot meal you can have on the table in under an hour.

What you’ll need to make white chicken chili

ingredients for white chicken chili

Before we get to the step-by-step photos, a few notes about the ingredients:

  • The recipe calls for a store-bought rotisserie chicken. I typically 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.
  • 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.
  • I use frozen corn as it’s available year-round (there’s no need to defrost the corn before incorporating it into the recipe). If fresh corn is in season and you’d prefer to use that, you’ll need kernels from 1 ear of corn.

Step-by-Step Instructions

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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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: 4-6
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 chili 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. 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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Comments

  • Yum, yummy. My family (2 kids) and 2 adults, loved it. The only thing I had changed is I had lemon and no lime, but otherwise it was awesome. Served with avocado, scallions, more cilantro, cheddar cheese and tortilla chips. I also made whole grain biscuits using your best buttermilk biscuit recipe. A hit all the way around.

    • — Neil on December 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • Approximately how many servings does this make? (Sorry if you provided this and I missed it!)

    • — Denise on October 24, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Denise, It serves 4 to 6. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 24, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Jen would it work with leftover turkey after T’Day? Or do you think it would be too dry/flavorless?

        • — Klaus on November 15, 2022
        • Reply
        • Hi Klaus, I think it would be a great way to use up leftover turkey and don’t think it will be too dry/flavorless. I’d love to hear how it comes out!

          • — Jenn on November 16, 2022
          • Reply
  • I’ve made so many amazing recipes from you and this is definitely among my favorites. So perfect for these cold fall days and easy to make! Just made this and I have to say it’s even better the second day!! Love all your recipes!

    • — Kat on October 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Delicious. I like to make different recipes for Shabbat, not the same every week. My husband said this is a winner. Susan

    • — Susan on October 14, 2022
    • Reply
  • Can you use chicken tenders and how to prepare them.

    Thank you,
    Ann

    • — Ann on October 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure, chicken tenders will work. I’d poach them using this guidance. Please LMK how it turns out with the tenders!

      • — Jenn on October 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • Love all your recipes! I came to your site to look for a recipe I could use to feed 35-40 people for a meal program at Kathy’s House (similar to Ronald McDonald houses). Any suggestions for changing the recipe to feed that many people, or should I just make 10x the recipe? I plan to buy already shredded rotisserie chicken from Costco and use a food processor to chop the onions. Are there any other recipes on your site that you think would work better for such a large group?

    • — Diane Kavalauskas on October 7, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Diane, No, I don’t think you need to make any modifications here except to make 10 batches of it! Both of your shortcuts (with the chicken and onions) sound like a good plan. I think this is a good choice to multiply (and my ground beef chili would work equally well. Hope everyone enjoys it — it’s a great cause you’re cooking for. 💗

      • — Jenn on October 7, 2022
      • Reply
  • We really enjoyed this. Easy to make, healthy and very tasty. Thank you 🙂

    • — Heidi on September 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • I love this recipe! Make it with ground chicken to save me even more time.

    • — Parul on September 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • I don’t have any white beans. Can I substitute, Kidney and black beans?

    • — Dede on September 26, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on September 27, 2022
      • Reply
  • I have some dry beans that I’d like to substitute for the canned. How would you recommend using them? Thanks!

    • — Anita on September 26, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Anita, Here’s some guidance on cooking dried beans. Hope you find it useful!

      • — Jenn on September 26, 2022
      • Reply
      • Thank you, Jenn! That was very helpful and I’m saving it for future reference. And thank you for taking the time out and answering questions! Can’t wait to try this recipe out now that the weather is finally cooling down in Texas!

        • — Anita on October 4, 2022
        • Reply
  • Really awesome recipe Jenn, we loved it. Savory, spicy, (left a few pepper seeds in) and very filling. Thank you.

    • — Daryl on September 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • Wow! This was Delicious with a capital D! Super simple and quick and so flavorful. Thx for posting this. A new fave!

    • — Robin B on September 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • LOVE this chili! Ignore any ratings that say no flavor – there’s a ton in this chili/soup! I subbed shishito peppers, roasted the corn in the oven, and used better than bouillon because it’s my go-to for broth. I doubled the amount easily in my pressure cooker and topped with avocado and crispy hatch chiles from Costco. I will try bell peppers instead of corn next time as a veggie sub. New saved dinner recipe — thank you!!

    • — Arden Mesko on September 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Can you use regular chili powder instead of ancho chili powder? Would you use the same amount?

    Thank you. I prefer not to add another spice to my pantry.

    • — Steve on September 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Steve, If you happen to have it, you can use chipotle chili powder if you like heat — otherwise just use regular chili powder. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on September 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this same recipe once before and had forgotten just how good it is. It’s a cross between a hearty soup and a chili.
    I love your recipes, you keep them uncomplicated.

    • — Karen M. Soucy on September 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • What size dutch oven did you use?

    • — K W on September 19, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi, I used a 5.5-quart Dutch oven. 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 20, 2022
      • Reply
  • This is The BEST Chicken Chili I have ever tried! I added a bit more jalapeños and Pablano’s then recipe called for! was Delish!!

    • — Christine on September 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Could I make this with ground chicken? Thank you!

    • — Tracey Culver on September 18, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure. I’d season it with a little salt/pepper, saute it, and set it aside. Then add it back in when the chicken gets added to the recipe. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on September 19, 2022
      • Reply
  • I have loved every single recipe from this site and plan to by Jens book. However, this is the only one I did not love. I agree with the others who said it seems like something is missing. It was surprisingly lacking in flavor, not terrible, but underwhelming.

    • — Peach on September 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Shoot! I wish I had read this comment before making the soup. I agree 100%. The final result lacked any flavor. Just meh. Won’t make again.

      • — Bonnie on December 4, 2022
      • Reply
  • Delicious! We plan on making this as part of our regular dinner rotation. Pretty easy and super tasty.

    • — Jamee on September 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!

    Sorry if you have already answered this but will the chili freeze well? This is one of my sons favorite things (thanks so much!), and I want to make a batch to keep him well fed during fall sports. Any pointers or things to look out for?

    Thanks so much!

    • — Sara K. on August 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Sara, It does freeze nicely! See the bottom of the recipe for Freezer-Friendly instructions.

      • — Jenn on August 15, 2022
      • Reply
  • Great use for leftover rotisserie chicken! I roasted the poblanos and Jalapeno and roasted one ear of corn and scraped off the husk. So tasty! I served with cornbread and honey butter. Not a drop left!

    • — kathy fredericks on August 2, 2022
    • Reply

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