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

  • Excellent recipe, added crushed red pepper as we like spicy food! Everyone said it was a keeper.

    • — Diane on January 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • Easy and delicious! I bought the groceries after work and made it. My husband and I found it very satisfying. I saved the lime juice until the end.

    • — Julie E-F on December 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I love this recipe and make it often for my family. I have a big amount of family coming in. Could I double this recipe to feed them?

    • — Melissa pickard on December 11, 2019
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it! And, yes, it would be fine to double. 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 12, 2019
      • Reply
  • This is a favorite at my house. So easy and delicious!

    • — Lesley on December 10, 2019
    • Reply
  • I’ve tried a lot of green chili recipes and this one is a winner. We increased spices and salt since more broth was needed to accommodate extra chicken, and per our usual practice with soup and chili, let it sit in the fridge for a day to let the flavors come together. Really delicious. Thank you, Jenn!

    • — Staci H. on December 9, 2019
    • Reply
  • How do you think this would turn out with left over turkey and turkey broth made from the carcass?

    • — carol on December 5, 2019
    • Reply
    • I think it would be good and a great way to use up turkey!

      • — Jenn on December 5, 2019
      • Reply
  • This is amazing! The warm deep flavors of the spices, peppers and onions are brightened with the splash of lime and sprinkle of cilantro! I have made this recipe about a dozen times and don’t need to change a thing. Thank you for sharing consistently great recipes and tips. Love the beef barley soup recipe in your cookbook too!

    • — Mimi on December 5, 2019
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  • This is the ONLY recipe from this website (and I’ve tried A LOT of them!) that I didn’t like. I found it bland and lacking body. Oh well… can’t all be zingers!

    • — Melissa on December 3, 2019
    • Reply
  • Must rate again! Super with the leftover turkey too. My hubby loved it with a turkey sandwich – this is the first year I used up all my leftover turkey. So good!

    • — Lisa on December 1, 2019
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  • Good but more soupy than I would have preferred.

    • — Leslie on November 15, 2019
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  • Love this recipe and it is one of our favorite autumn/winter dishes. I live abroad, so I have to be a little creative with the ingredients (fresh chili’s impossible to find here), but this recipe is simple and always delicious. I often make this for friends/neighbors who need a meal and I have found that it freezes well. Makes the house smell fantastic and my kids love it, so it’s always a winner at our house. Love Jenn’s website and her cookbook is amazing, so buy yourself a copy!

    • — Cheynna on November 14, 2019
    • Reply
  • This has become my new favorite chili recipe. It has such a rich wonderful flavor. I did alter it slightly. I swapped the olive oil for cooking spray (sorry Jenn) and just baked some boneless chicken breasts I already had. I also leave out the garnishes. I’m on WW and by making these changes it is 0 smart points for a serving! I’m a huge fan of your recipes, and this one is now in my regular rotation.

    • — Noreen White on November 12, 2019
    • Reply
    • Thanks for clarifying-I’m also on WW and was pretty sure all the fat came from the garnishes. This looks like a great chili option!

      • — Liz Holzapfel on December 6, 2019
      • Reply
  • This is the best white chicken chili!! So easy and delicious. 🤗

    • — Andi on November 4, 2019
    • Reply
  • After seeing all if the positive 5 star reviews I was excited to take this to a company chili cook off. My wife and I cooked the chili the night before making sure to let it set and let the flavors blend into one another. The next day, once it was reheated, the chili smelled like stomach bile. I’m not sure what the combination was that created this smelly batch, but I still took it to the cookoff to have others say the same thing. We made this recipe NEARLY exact except for using rotisserie chicken, we used chicken breast we had previously purchased and ground mild chili powder instead of the chili called for. The added sour cream did not pair well with the cilantro and lime juice as the cream quickly curdled. Maybe if you take the lime juice out entirely? Not sure, but we will never make this again. Thanks though.

    • — Jarred on November 3, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yikes! I’m so sorry you had trouble with this, Jarred. Is it possible the chicken was spoiled?

      • — Jenn on November 3, 2019
      • Reply
  • Wow! Terrific flavor and great consistency after letting it sit in the pot for about an hour after cooking. That amount of time gives it a perfect thickness. Made it exactly as written but went ahead and added about 6-7 seeds from jalapeño pepper at the beginning when added with the onion. So good!!
    Thank you Jen for another perfect recipe!! 😊

  • This was stupendous! Tasty, fast and delicious. Added extra corn and green peppers as I had to leave out the beans (husband’s preference). Jen – I used the roux you recommended in place of the beans and it worked perfectly. Leftovers were actually even better than the original and heated up without issue. Highly recommend for an easy to pull together weeknight meal.

  • This was amazing! My husband absolutely loved it and it is now our standard for chicken chili.

  • A real keeper! My family, who thinks chili only comes in red, loved it and requested it again!

  • Brought this to a Halloween Chili Cookoff with a group of friends….at it won 1st Place! I went up against some stiff competition but I think what won everyone over is that literally everyone except the vegetarian LOVED it so it had universal appeal. It definitely needs a little time for the flavors to develop. I ended up adding more garlic and an extra jalepeno sauteed with extra spices to toast them. Truly turned out delicious and I will make this again and again. Thanks for another great recipe!

  • Made this tonight and it was yummy! Easy and relatively quick. Nice, moist rotisserie chicken is an important ingredient.

  • I made a double recipe this past weekend so I could share some with a few neighbors. The only change to the recipe I made was that I roasted the peppers on my gas grill. This made taking the skin off easier. The soup was delicious and will be a regular at our house!

  • I made this last night after getting the email, and it was so flavorful! I modified it for vegetarians/vegans by subbing vegetable broth and extra beans and corn for the chicken broth and chicken. We’ll be using this recipe from now on as an alternative to our standard tomato-based bean chili. Don’t skip the fresh lime (in my opinion.) It adds brightness and a pop of acidity to the dish. Thank you, Jenn!

  • Great new family staple! Comes together fast but feels like a special occasion meal. Another go-to when you feel like chili but want something just a little lighter and brighter.

    • — Elizabeth Mallon
    • Reply
  • Your recipe is the best version. Delicious and easy to make.

  • Hi Jenn, I very sadly have a husband and child who avoid beans like the plague (I on the other hand love them!). I can just leave the whole ones out, but wanted to know what I need to add to thicken it if I leave out the pureed beans? I was thinking of cornstarch but wanted to know your recommendation

    • Hi Elizabeth, I would probably use a beurre manié (equal parts soft butter and flour mashed together) and whisk it in at the end. You might also check out my chicken tortilla soup recipe, which is bean-free and thickened with corn tortillas. 🙂

      • Ok, thanks! Will try the roux (and make the tortilla soup next weekend!).

  • Absolutely delicious! Just what I was looking for, a white chicken chili that was easy to prepare while delivering on flavor. I am not a huge fan of rotisserie chicken, but this was a perfect match of ingredients. Thank you!

  • This recipe popped up in my email Thursday and it looked so yummy I made it that night for dinner. It earned 5 starts from my husband and I and 3 from our teen. 😉 It was even better as leftovers the next day and our teen ended up loving it when using it as a base for her nachos.

  • Made this for dinner tonight — hit the spot on a perfect fall night. Thanks, Jenn — another great recipe by you!

  • Love this recipe! Delicious and goes together fast and easily especially with the rotisserie chicken!
    Thanks again. Your recipes are great!

  • This is the best white chicken chili and the ONLY one we make! It is flavorful, a little spicy and comforting. It is the chili my husband requests on a regular basis. Absolutely love it. Do not alter it; it’s perfect the way it is.

  • This recipe is excellent. One question though. When recipes call for a lemon or lime, are they defaulting to the small or large? I’ve rarely seen a recipe anywhere that is specific, so I end up guessing. Thanks!

    • Hi Sarah, glad you like the chili! There’s not a lot of variability in the size of lemons or limes so feel free to grab whatever your grocery store carries. The bottom line here is that you’ll want 1 tablespoon of lime juice (which you can easily get from one lime). Hope that clarifies!

  • This, without a doubt, the BEST White Chicken Chile. Ever.

    • — Linda J. Cloutier
    • Reply
  • this looks delicious. I want to really reduce the spicy factor so it’s toddler friendly…should i replace the poblanos with regular sweet peppers? should i eliminate the ancho chili powder? replace it with what?

    • Hi Marlene, Yes, bell pepper would work as a substitute for the jalapeno and poblano peppers and you could replace the ancho chili powder with regular chili powder.

  • Hi Jenn,

    Can this be made in the instapot?

    Miriam

    • Hi Miriam, Thanks for your note. I recently purchased an instant pot and am just starting to play around with it. I don’t have enough experience with it to tell you confidently if you can convert the recipe, so you may want to take a peek at these tips. It looks like they could be useful in converting traditional recipes to ones that would work in an instant pot. Hope that helps!

  • Just made this for the first time tonight. It’s absolutely delicious – great flavors. Will definitely make this again. Thanks for another great recipe.

  • So, I was browsing recipes for chicken chili, thank the Lord I chose this one. this is now my go-to on those maybe a stew maybe a chili kinda days. the ancho chili is a must. we made a fresh pico de gallo to put on top with chips and a bit of cheese. is it chili? is it tortilla soup? or is it a magical cross between the two that leaves you with burns on your cheeks because you ran out and found yourself face deep in the hot pot trying to lick the last vestibules from the bottom before it cooled off thank you so much for posting this one.

  • Hi Jenn,
    What is ancho chilli powder?

    • Hi Lynne, Ancho Powder a version of chile powder made from ground poblano peppers. It’s got a rich, deep flavor with a medium amount of heat. Hope that helps!

  • I’ve made this so many times since I discovered it and it never disappoints. So much flavor and so easy to put together. Not just for fall or winter either. Great summer meal eating outside with chips, salsa, guacamole and of course a margarita!

  • Hi there — I’m excited to try this. My husband can’t eat corn. Should I just leave it out or sub in something else?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Eve, you can just omit the corn or substitute it with more white beans. Hope you enjoy!

      • Thank you! I requested and received your cookbook for Mother’s Day. So Happy!

        • Hope you enjoy it!! 💟

  • My husband and I loved this white chicken chili recipe. It was surprisingly very filling, even without the side of cornbread.

  • A family favorite and one of my go-to recipes for winter dinner parties. Occasionally, I replace the corn with black beans (which I prefer) but my kids like the original with corn. I’ve also struggled with finding poblano peppers and have substituted Anaheim, or orange/yellow bell peppers and the chili is still amazing.

  • I absolutely love this version of white bean chicken chili. I have tried many. The goopy canned soup based one and several “clean eating” versions that were basically chicken noodle soup with lime and cannelini beans LOL. However, this recipe has become OUR recipe at home. I make it often and it has just the right blend of spices and enough chile to please my husband (he’s from Mexico and really dislikes “Tex-Mex” types of food).

    If you’re looking for a new recipe to try… this is it!

    P.S. Every recipe I’ve made from your site has been a hit. Thanks so much Jenn.

  • Hi Jenn! I’ve made several different chilis over the years, but this one has become my go to chili recipe. It’s easy to make and has so much flavor. I love using a rotisserie chicken. That makes it quicker and easier which is always a plus! I really like that it is a mild chili. I slice some jalapeños to serve on the side with the lime, sour cream and crushed tortillas for those that like it spicier. I’ve used many of your wonderful recipes and bought your book for my three sisters and a few of my friends. I tell everyone that you can’t go wrong with Once Upon A Chef!

  • I made this when my in-laws were in town and everyone loved it. A really great, easy to make, chili. I stuck to the recipe and found it to be really good. If you want a little spice I would add a jalapeño or Serrano when cooking the onions.

  • Talk about super easy and the flavor payoff is incredible! This was actually the first recipe I ever made from the Once Upon A Chef recipes.. I was googling white chicken chili and this popped up! Omg I’ve been hooked on her recipes ever since! I made some cornbread on the side with the soup. Husband and two small picky eaters approved!!!

  • I see that you used cannellini beans. Should it taste much different if I used white kidney beans?

    • No, Mary, that should have very little impact on the taste. Enjoy!

    • White kidney beans are cannellini beans. Depending on what part of the world you may live, they’re either white kidney beans or cannellini beans.

  • Another winner Jenn! Full disclosure, I’m on WW so I bought two rotisserie chickens and only used the breast meat (zero SmartPoints)! Followed everything else as stated. My family loved the chili, definitely a keeper. The poblanos were milder than expected, might add an extra jalapeño next time. So WW-friendly—the ONLY ingredient with measurable SmartPoints is the Tablespoon of oil! With your permission I’d love to share the recipe link (with credit to you, of course) with my WW Facebook group?!

    • So glad you enjoyed this and that it’s so weight watchers friendly! I’d be flattered if you shared it with your WW Facebook group! Thanks for checking. 🙂

  • Do you think this would freeze well?

    • I do! There are freezer-friendly instructions at the bottom of the recipe if you want to take a peek at them.

  • Throw away all other recipes for white chili. This is absolutely perfect! 😋

  • I made this soup twice now. The second time I doubled the recipe and used one of the jalapeños with ribs and seeds and added extra cumin, coriander and smoked paprika. This soup is so flavorful and wonderful and the one whole jalepeno just added more incredible flavor without it being too spicy. This is now our all time favorite white chicken chili recipe! I could eat it all day. Thank you for another amazing recipe Jenn!

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