This hearty White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe is easy to make, and it's perfect for those chilly nights when you crave a comforting meal. In just 35 minutes, you can have a pot filled with tender chicken, white beans, and sweet corn in a flavorful broth.
This white bean chicken chili recipe is sure to be a repeat on your weekly menu rotation!
This white bean chili is my family’s go-to when fall first hits, and that crispness is in the air. That’s when you know it’s time to get out the Dutch oven!
This chili has a touch of richness with half the usual amount of heavy cream that goes in a white chili recipe. It keeps it dreamy and delicious.
If you want a thicker texture, all you have to do is scoop out some of the beans and blend or mash them, then add them back to the pot for instant creamy chili.
And let's talk toppings! Fresh cilantro, a sprinkle of your favorite cheese, creamy avocado, or a dollop of sour cream – creating a flavor adventure.
See the printable recipe card below for all ingredients, specific measurements, and complete instructions.
- Olive oil: Used to sauté the chicken, onions, and garlic.
- Chicken: The star of the show, juicy chunks sautéed with onions for a hearty, protein-packed base.
- Yellow onion: Adds a sweet and savory flavor to the dish.
- Garlic: Enhances the flavor of the healthy white chicken chili.
- Green chilis: Canned green chilis add a bit of southwestern flair without adding heat.
- Corn: Whether canned or frozen, it brings a sweet crunch to the texture of the chili.
- Great northern beans: Added for their creamy texture, providing a satisfying bite in every spoonful.
- Chicken broth: Creates the hearty broth that ties everything together.
- Salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and chili powder: The flavor squad, enhancing the taste and giving the chili its distinct character.
- Heavy cream: Just a bit of heavy cream adds richness to this dish.
- Optional toppings: Cilantro, cheese, avocado, sour cream, and tortilla chips are all excellent chili toppings.
Chili Substitutions and Variations
- Lighten it up. Swap out the olive oil for coconut oil and substitute the heavy cream with plain Greek yogurt. Be mindful of your toppings - avocado, cilantro, diced tomatoes, and jalapenos are great options.
- Give it a Tex-Mex flair. Add some diced tomatillos to the base and try switching out the green chilis for diced jalapenos to add a little heat. A squeeze of lime juice will set it over the top.
- Make it in a slow cooker. Toss all your ingredients except the cream into the slow cooker and cook it on low for 6-8 hours for a hands-free cooking experience. Stir in the heavy cream during the last 30 minutes of cooking for the perfect creamy texture.
How To Make White Bean Chicken Chili
Heat the Dutch oven with a bit of olive oil – just enough to get things going. Add in the chicken and diced onions, give them a few minutes until the chicken loses that pink look and the onions soften up. Then, I add in the minced garlic because garlic makes everything better.
After that, it's time for the green chilis. Corn comes next, canned or frozen, doesn't matter. It brings in that sweet crunch that balances out the savory.
Now, for the great northern beans. Drain and add them in for that creamy texture. Seasoning comes next – salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. It's the combo that gives this chili its flavor.
Once the base is set, pour in the chicken broth. Cover it and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Then remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream and I like to add in some chopped cilantro (optional).
Here's a tip for the heavy cream. This recipe only uses ½ a cup because a little bit goes a long way, making the whole thing creamy without overpowering it.
Top it off with whatever toppings you like – cilantro, cheese, avocado, sour cream, or tortilla chips. It's your bowl, so make it your own!
Storing and Freezing
Store: To store this chicken chili, allow it to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. You can divide it into smaller portions for convenient reheating. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Freeze: For longer storage, freezing is an option. Place the chili in freezer-safe containers, leaving some space for expansion. Label the containers with the date for reference. The frozen chili can be stored for up to 2 months.
When reheating, thaw frozen chili in the refrigerator overnight and then gently reheat on the stove over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally for even warming.
- Try to keep your chicken cubes uniform in size. It helps them cook evenly, so you don't end up with some pieces overdone and others undercooked.
- When simmering, keep the heat low. Boiling might alter the texture of the beans and make the chicken tough. A gentle simmer lets the flavors blend.
- If you prefer a thicker consistency, scoop out some beans and blend or mash them. Then, stir them back into the chili.
- Seasoning is subjective, so taste the chili before serving and adjust the salt and spices as needed. It's easier to add more than to fix an overly salty dish.
Can I use a different type of bean in this recipe?
Absolutely! While the recipe calls for great northern beans, you can experiment with cannellini beans, navy beans, or any white bean variety. It might subtly alter the texture, but the flavor profile will remain delicious.
Can I omit the heavy cream in this chili?
Absolutely. Omitting the heavy cream will result in a lighter version of the chili. You can choose to leave it out entirely or explore alternatives like Greek yogurt for a creamy finish.
If you need more warm and comforting soup recipes, here are a few of our favorites!
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
- Chicken Mushroom Soup
- Cheese Soup Recipe
- Chicken Potato Soup
- Turkey Orzo Soup
I can’t wait for you to try this white bean chicken chili recipe – a delicious blend of tender chicken, creamy beans, and flavorful spices. I just know you'll love the warm, hearty goodness that this recipe brings to the table.
White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound chicken breast, cubed to ½-1inch pieces
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic (about 3 small cloves)
- 2 cans green chiles
- 1½ cups canned, (drained) or frozen corn
- 2 (15.9- ounce) cans great northern beans, drained
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ cup heavy cream
- chopped cilantro, optional
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add chicken and diced onion, and sauté. Stir occasionally until the chicken is no longer pink and the onion is translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
- Add the remaining ingredients except for the cream, and stir together.
- Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream and chopped cilantro (optional).
- Serve with optional toppings like avocado, sour cream, cilantro, cheese, and tortilla chips.