White Chicken Chili is a flavorful chicken variation from a traditional chili. This creamy chili is made with tender chicken, white beans, corn, sour cream, vegetables, and just the right spices to flavor the dish perfectly. It’s a wonderful dish for cooler weather and you can easily double the recipe and freeze some for later.
Many people think of chili as a perfect dish for cold weather. I think of chili as a perfect dish any time of year, and I actually make it about once a week! My kids love traditional beef chili and I love making it because it’s so healthy since loaded with protein and fiber. Sometimes, I mix it up and make chicken chili for them.
White chicken chili is a creamy chicken alternative that’s made with many of the same ingredients that are in the traditional chili. It’s loaded with meat, beans, vegetables, and the same spice palate. It’s an extremely flavorful dish and just as healthy.
Another great thing about this chili is that it’s gluten free. There are no glutenous ingredients in it and there are many gluten free options for toppings, including tortilla strips.
To make this chili creamy, I use sour cream because it is the best compliment for the vegetables. I also have some exciting news for my lactose intolerant readers! I found lactose free sour cream made by the Green Valley Creamery brand. It was a vary exciting discovery because in addition to being gluten free, this white chicken chili can also be lactose free.
Vegetables – Onion, garlic, tomatillos, jalapeño, and corn are all you’ll need. All of these vegetables will add great aroma and taste. It’s a great combination of spice, sweetness, and acidity. (If you got extra tomatillos, make some Salsa Verde!)
Chopped Green Chilies – Depending on how much heat you want to add to the chili, get mild or hot. I typically opt for mild because there is also jalapeño and spices that add more heat to the chili.
Chicken – I prefer to use raw chicken. That way, the chicken gets infused with all the flavors it’s cooked in. You can use chicken breast meat or a combination of breast and thigh meat.
Beans – Use navy beans, cannellini beans or great northern beans.
Chicken Stock – If you have homemade chicken stock available, that would be the perfect one to use. Otherwise, use store-bought low sodium chicken stock.
Spices – It’s not a chili without the aroma and flavor of chili powder, cumin, oregano, and garlic powder.
Sour Cream – Sour cream is the best compliment for this combination of vegetables.
Toppings – This chicken chili is wonderful on its own but even better with toppings like Monterrey Jack cheese, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, crunchy tortilla strips, or some fresh jalapeño if you like it spicy.
See recipe card for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
How to Make White Chicken Chili
Prepare. Dice the onion, tomatillos, and jalapeños. Smash and mince the garlic cloves. For a spicier chili, leave the jalapeño seeds in the mix.
PRO TIP: Prepare all of the ingredients before you start cooking so it’s all ready to go!
Sauté the veggies. Add some oil to a large pot and let it heat over medium. Add the diced vegetables and sauté until softened (1). Once softened, add the garlic to the pot and sauté just until fragrant (2).
Add the chilis. Mix in the can of chopped green chiles (3).
Add the chicken. Add the halved chicken breasts into the pot and nestle them in with the veggies. (4) Cover the pot and cook for about 15 minutes. Then, flip the chicken and cook for just a few more minutes.
Add more ingredients. Mix in the beans, corn, stock and spices to the pot. (5) Lower the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for about 1 hour.
Shred the chicken. Remove the chicken from the pot. (6) Shred it with 2 forks. You can chop the chicken instead if preferred.
Make it creamy. Add the shredded (or chopped) chicken back to the pot (7) and add sour cream (8). Mix well until sour cream is completely incorporated.
Absolutely! Using rotisserie chicken meat can be a nice and quick way to make this chili. Make sure to separate the meat from all the bones carefully and take off the skin. Shred the chicken meat and add it to the chili when done cooking the veggies. You can cut out the extra cooking time that it takes to cook the chicken.
Start by cooking the veggies in a pan first as stated in the recipe, up to the adding of the chicken step. Once the veggies are softened, transfer them into your slow cooker. Add the chicken, stock, and the seasoning. Cook on LOW for 2-3 hours. Take the chicken out and shred it.
Add the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker and add the beans and corn. Taste to make sure there’s enough salt and spice. Close the lid on the Crockpot and cook on HIGH for about 1-2 hours or on LOW for about 2-3 hours. Mix in the sour cream at the end.
Sour cream is a nice option to make this chili creamy and tangy. You can also use a combination of cream cheese and sour cream, or cream cheese and some heavy whipping cream.
How to Store White Chicken Chili
It’s always best to let your chili fully cool to room temperature prior to storing in an airtight container. Once it’s cooled off, store it in a container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
You can reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time it stops to distribute the heat until warmed all the way through. You can also reheat it right back in the pot over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until warmed through if you have a little extra time.
How to Freeze White Chicken Chili
Absolutely! I often make a double batch and freeze half of it for later.
Make sure to freeze the chili before adding the sour cream. Prepare chili as directed in the recipe, up to the step of adding sour cream.
It’s best to cool the chili as quickly as you can before freezing it. After it’s cooked, place the pot into a larger container filled with ice and make sure to stir it from time to time as it cools.
Once it cools, portion it into smaller freezer bags or larger bags, let all the air out, and close it well. Remember to label and date.
Lay the bags flat on the cutting board and freeze. You can stack the bags once frozen.
Chili can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Make sure to slow-thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Bring thawed chicken chili to simmer over medium heat and stir in sour cream until completely incorporated. Serve it with your favorite toppings.
More of the Best Chili Recipes
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White Chicken Chili Recipe
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 4 medium tomatillos
- 2 jalapenos seeds removed for less spice (leave in for more spice)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 16 oz can navy beans drained
- 8 oz frozen corn thawed
- 2 cup chicken stock
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder more or less to taste
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Dice onion, tomatillos, and jalapenos. You can leave seeds in or take seeds out of the jalapeno, depending on how spicy you want the chili. Smash and mince garlic cloves.
- Preheat a large pot over medium heat and add oil. Add diced vegetables and saute until it's softened.
- Add canned chopped green chiles and mix well.
- Cut chicken breasts in half and nestle chicken halves into the vegetables. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for about 15 minutes. Flip chicken breasts and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add beans, corn, chicken stock, and spices to the pot and mix well. Lower the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid.
- Cook for about an hour.
- Take chicken out of the pot and shred it using two forks. (If you want smaller pieces of chicken, you can also chop shredded chicken.)
- Add chicken back to the pot and add sour cream. Mix well until sour cream is completely incorporated.
- Serve with toppings like Monterrey Jack cheese, avocado, cilantro, squeeze of lime juice, crunchy tortilla strips, or some fresh jalapeno if you like it spicy.
- Using Rotisserie Chicken: Using rotisserie chicken meat can be a nice and quick way to make this chili. Make sure to separate the meat from all the bones carefully and take off the skin. Shred the chicken meat and add it to the chili when done cooking the veggies. You can cut out the extra cooking time that it takes to cook the chicken.
- Crock Pot Instructions: Start by cooking the veggies in a pan first as stated in the recipe, up to the adding of the chicken step. Once the veggies are softened, transfer them into your slow cooker. Add the chicken, stock, and the seasoning. Cook on LOW for 2-3 hours. Take the chicken out and shred it. Add the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker and add the beans and corn. Taste to make sure there’s enough salt and spice. Close the lid on the Crockpot and cook on HIGH for about 1-2 hours or on LOW for about 2-3 hours. Mix in the sour cream at the end.
Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles in October, 2019.