A bowl of white chicken chili is the perfect way to warm up on a chilly day. It's filling since it contains both vegetables and protein, and it has a delicious flavor thanks to the combination of nutritious ingredients. No one could possibly dislike that.
When the winter blues hit, nothing beats a hearty bowl of traditional beef chili. Nonetheless, I must admit that this white bean chicken chili is one of my top picks for chili.
It's a light and nutritious combination of white beans, shredded chicken, vegetables, and just the right amount of heat. And while I do use some cheese as a garnish, there is no dairy in the actual dish. To thicken the broth without using any dairy products, read on!
WHAT’S IN WHITE CHICKEN CHILI?
Chicken Breasts, entire roasted chicken, or rotisserie chicken from the grocery store all work well here. There are a number of simple choices.
white beans, I use canned, but you can also use dried and heat them.
Corn: It sweetens everything up a little and makes everything chunkier.
Spicy but not overpowering, a tiny can of green chiles and one jalapeo can greatly enhance the flavor.
chicken broth Instead of water, try some chicken broth. It'll be a nice addition to the bland broth.
Classic chili aromas are brought out by a blend of dried spices including cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, and pepper.
WHICH WHITE BEANS TO USE
Cannellini, Great Northern, and Navy beans, all white bean options, appear to be the same at first glance. Because of this, it's important to double-check your interpretation of the labels. To break it down for you:
- Similar to Great Northern beans, but with a denser texture, are cannellini beans. You can use them to enhance the texture of salads and soups like Minestrone.
- The Great Northern Bean is a small, round bean with a creamy appearance and a mildly nutty flavor. They are ideal for soaking up the chicken chili flavors because of how well they absorb seasonings.
- Navy beans have a moderate flavor and a smooth texture, and they are on the smaller side. They're fantastic when baked into a casserole or pureed for a smoother consistency in dips.
- Which type of white bean should you use? Everything ever you want! Today I'm cooking using Great Northern beans, but feel free to substitute whatever is cheapest or most readily available.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST WHITE BEAN CHICKEN CHILI
Create a smooth foundation. In a blender, combine one cup of white beans with one cup of chicken broth. And then put it away.
Saute the vegetables. The onion, bell pepper, and jalapeo pepper should be sautéed for 4 minutes in a big pot over medium heat. Next, after a minute of stirring, add the garlic and spices.
Simmer the mixture after adding the other ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes before adding the remaining chicken broth and pureed bean mixture. Add the chicken, corn, white beans, green chilies, and cilantro, and mix well. Keep it on low heat for a few more minutes to heat through, then add the lime juice and mix.
Serve with garnishes. Avocado, cheese, jalapeo slices, and more cilantro are some of my favorite toppings. Nonetheless, read on for some additional topping suggestions!
CUSTOMIZE YOUR CHILI BOWL
The finishing touches make all the difference in stews. Each bite is a burst of flavor, texture, and color. Here are some suggestions for spicing up that bowl of white chicken chili.
- Chopped fresh herbs, such as cilantro or parsley, are always a welcome addition.
- Cheese: Any shredded cheese, such as cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella, or even cotija, will do.
- Avocado: To satisfy my inner Californian, I must have avocados daily. A few pieces of diced avocado are a staple in my kitchen.
- Red onion and green onion are my two favorites for this recipe, but any sliced onion will do. They are a colorful and energizing addition to the dish.
- Spices: Add some more jalapeno slices if you like things spicy.
One of the best meal-prep recipes is a big pot of chili, especially since it can be frozen for later use. Here are some potential storage options.
- To store, allow the chili to cool to room temperature before placing it in an airtight container. You can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- To freeze, place in a tray or container that can withstand freezing temperatures for up to three months.
- Reheat In a refrigerator overnight, defrost the chili. To reheat, simply transfer one serving to a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for 2 minutes, or reheat on the stovetop. This is one recipe that can be cooked successfully from frozen in a microwave, so don't worry if you forgot to thaw it first. Simply heat till comfortable.
White Chicken Chili
- 4.5 Quart Dutch Oven
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon each: ground cumin, dried oregano, salt, mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, cayenne pepper
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 6 cups chicken broth
- ⅓ cup half and half, (half milk, half cream)
- 2 (15.5 oz.) cans cannellini beans, drained
- 1 teaspoon Hot Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 (4 oz.) cans mild green chilies
- 1 lbs. bone-in skinless chicken breast, see notes
- 1 (15.25 oz.) can whole kernel sweet corn, drained. Can sub frozen corn.
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- Lime wedges, Diced Avocado, Sour cream, Tortilla Strips, Fritos, Monterey or Pepper Jack cheese.
- Combine the seasonings and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a 4 ½-quart pot. Add the diced onions and jalapeno pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the flour and toss to coat. Cook for 2 minutes, until raw flour smell is gone.
- Add the chicken broth in small splashes, stirring continuously. Add the half and half in the same manner.
- Optional: Reserve 1 heaping cup of drained beans and combine it with ½ cup broth. Blend in a food processor, blender, or immersion blender. Add it to the soup along with the remaining whole beans. (This helps to thicken the broth. Otherwise, all beans can be added whole.)
- Add the seasonings, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and green chilies. Bring to a boil. Let it boil for 15 minutes, uncovered, then reduce to a simmer.
- Season each side of the chicken with salt/pepper. Add the chicken and the corn to the pot and let it simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, uncovered. (Cooking too rapidly will make the chicken tough.) Stir throughout cooking to lift any beans that may have settled to the bottom.
- Remove the chicken and shred it once cooked through. Return it to the pot.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in the softened cream cheese. Stir continuously until the cheese is fully melted into the chili.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve with cornbread!
- Chicken: Bone-in chicken breast or chicken thighs will add the most flavor to the broth. You can also use 2 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts or 2 ½ cups cooked/leftover chicken.
- Rinsing the beans is optional and is a measure that can be taken to remove additional sodium.Green Chilies: I recommend getting mild green chilies unless you like a lot of heat.Cream Cheese: The cream cheese needs to be fully softened to melt well into the soup. Neufchatel cheese/light cream cheese can also be used.
Crock Pot Method
- Note: The liquid in this chili is able to reduce and concentrate with the stove top method as liquid evaporates during cooking. If using the Crock Pot, feel free to use ½ cup less broth and add ½ bouillon cube to the soup if desired.
- Sauté the diced onions and jalapeno pepper in melted butter over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Set aside.
- Optional: Reserve 1 heaping cup of drained beans and combine it with ½ cup broth. Blend in a food processor, blender, or immersion blender.
- Add the chicken to the crock pot along with the chicken broth, softened onions/peppers/garlic, chicken broth, pureed and whole beans, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, green chilies, corn, and seasonings.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4.
- Remove chicken and use 2 forks to shred it, then return it to the crock pot.
- Stir in the softened cream cheese and half and half.
- Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes. Stir again, and serve!
- Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Leftover chili makes a great freezer food.
- Nutritional information is per cup, this recipe makes approximately 12 cups.