Creamy White Chicken Chili is so easy it can be made on the stovetop, in the slow cooker, or the instant pot. I love to use leftover chicken, making this a super fast weeknight meal!
Why I LOVE this recipe:
- Healthy: A lot of white bean chili recipes call for half & half, cream, and cream cheese. Not this one. This recipe has a flavorful broth base and sour cream makes it creamy, but can easily be substituted with Greek yogurt.
- Easy: Depending on your situation, you can make this soup on the stovetop, in the slow cooker, or in the instant pot (see variations below). It’s pretty fool-proof!
- Leftover Chicken: I love that I can speed up the process by stirring in leftover cooked or rotisserie chicken (or leftover turkey), but you can use raw chicken as well and cook it with the broth.
How to Make White Chicken Chili:
Cook Onions: Heat olive oil in a 5 or 6 quart pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until softened then dump in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Add Flavor: Add chicken broth, green chilies, cumin, paprika, cayenne, oregano, lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Thicken Chili: Drain and rinse beans in a strainer then measure out a big ladleful of the beans and add to a food processor with a splash of the broth from the soup. Purée until smooth then add thick puréed beans mixture, whole beans, and corn to the soup pot. This will add thickness and creaminess to the soup. Bring the chili to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and chicken.
Serve: Serve white chicken chili topped with cilantro, shredded cheese, avocado slices, and tortilla chips, if desired.
Store white chicken chili in the refrigerator for 3-4 days after making. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Cook chili up to step 5. Allow to cool and then freeze for up to 3 months (freeze the cooked chicken separately). To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and simmer on the stove-top until warm (or warm from frozen). Then stir in cooked chicken and sour cream. (I freeze the soup before adding the sour cream because the sour cream doesn’t freeze well and may separate upon reheating.)
- Green Chiles/Spice level: I use mild green chiles, but if you’re worried about the soup being too spicy you can use 1 can of green chiles instead of 2. You could also leave out the cayenne pepper. You could substitute ½ cup of salsa verde (my favorite brand is Herdez).
- Chicken – If you want to use raw chicken, instead of cooked rotisserie chicken, add 1.5 lbs in step 2, with the chicken broth.
- Beans: Any small white beans will work. I’ll sometimes even use pinto beans.
- Vegetarian: Leave the chicken out and substitute vegetable broth. You could also add additional vegetables to the soup, like bell peppers and zucchini.
- Slow Cooker: Add 2 raw chicken breasts (or use rotisserie chicken and stir it in at the end), broth, green chilies, spices (cumin, paprika, oregano, cayenne, salt & pepper),lime juice, corn and beans (drained) to slow cooker. Sauté onions for a few minutes then add garlic. Slow Cook on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours. Remove chicken to a plate after cooking and shred. (Optional, to make the soup thicker: Spoon a ladleful of the soup and beans into a blender and puree. Add back to the pot). Return shredded chicken to the pot then stir in sour cream. Serve with desired toppings.
- Instant Pot (I think the stove-top version is faster!): Turn Instant Pot to sauté setting. Add oil and onion and cook for a few minutes. Add garlic then turn instant pot off. Add 1- 2 raw chicken breasts (or use rotisserie chicken and stir it in at the end), chicken broth, green chilies, spices (cumin, paprika, oregano, cayenne, salt & pepper), lime juice, corn and beans (drained). Cook on Manual/High Pressure for 8 minutes. Allow pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes then remove chicken to a plate and shred. (Optional, to make the soup thicker: Spoon a ladleful of the soup and beans into a blender and puree then add back to the pot). Return shredded chicken to the pot and stir in sour cream. Serve with desired toppings.
- Classic Homemade Chili
Serve White Chicken Chili with:
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White Chicken Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion , chopped (about ½ cup)
- 2 garlic cloves , finely minced (or 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder)
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 4 oz cans diced green chilies
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 small lime , juice from
- salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- 2 15 oz cans great northern beans
- 1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup corn (frozen or fresh)
- 2 heaping cups cooked chicken , shredded (rotisserie or left-over chicken*)
- Fresh cilantro
- shredded cheese
- tortilla chips
- green onions
- Heat olive oil in a large (5-6 quart) pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add chicken broth, green chilies, cumin, cayenne, paprika, oregano, lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Drain and rinse beans in a strainer.
- Measure out a big ladleful of the beans and add to a food processor with a splash of broth from the soup. Puree until smooth (this step is optional but helps to yield the creamy and thick texture we want from this chili!) .
- Add pureed beans, whole beans and corn to the soup pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and cooked chicken.
- Serve garnished with cilantro, shredded cheese, avocado slices and tortilla chips if desired.
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I originally shared this recipe December 2019. Updated January 2022.