White Chicken Chili Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 15 min. Cook: 25 min.
Our white chicken chili recipe is a flavorful twist on traditional red-tinged chili. It's an easy one-pot meal that delivers tender chicken and creamy white beans in a rich, savory broth.

Updated: Mar. 07, 2024

Fall signals the beginning of soup season in my house. At the first sign of crisp air, I’m ready to ditch the summer salads and pull out all my favorite chili recipes! When I’m in the mood for a comforting bowl that won’t weigh me down, I make white chicken chili. This recipe captures the hearty spirit of a beefy red chili, but the tender chicken gives it a lighter touch. That doesn’t mean it’s light on flavor, though. The combination of mashed white beans and chicken broth gives the chili a rich, creamy consistency that’s satisfying and filling.

White Chicken Chili Ingredients

Ingredients to make White Chicken Chili place on a wooden surfaceTMB Studio

  • Chicken: You can make this chicken chili with white meat or dark meat. We usually use boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you can swap in chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat.
  • Chicken broth: Use a homemade chicken broth, or pick up one of our Test Kitchen’s favorite chicken broth brands.
  • Great northern beans: These beans are the secret to this stew’s thick consistency. They’re naturally starchy, so you don’t have to add a thickener like cornstarch or flour. If you can’t find great northern beans, use cannellini, navy or pinto beans.
  • Canned green chiles: These canned chiles typically contain roasted Anaheim chiles, a mild type of pepper that’s not nearly as spicy as jalapeno. To make a spicy white chicken chili, reach for the can labeled “hot.”


Step 1: Brown the chicken

Cooking chicken pieces and diced onions on a wooden surfaceTMB Studio

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the chicken and onion in oil until lightly browned.  Add the garlic, and cook for one minute longer.

Step 2: Bring the chicken mixture to a boil

Mixing green chiles, cumin, oregano in a broth TMB Studio

Stir in the broth, green chiles, cumin, oregano and cayenne. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Step 3: Mash the beans

Mashed beans in a small bowl with a potato masherTMB Studio

In a large bowl, mash one can of the beans with a potato masher until smooth.

Test Kitchen Tip: If you don’t have a potato masher, don’t worry! Add all three cans of beans to the Dutch oven. Using a ladle or wooden spoon, smash some of the beans against the sides of the pot until the chili is slightly thickened.

Step 4: Add the beans

Beans being added in a broth to cook White Chicken ChiliTMB Studio

Reduce the heat to low. Add the mashed beans and the remaining canned beans to the Dutch oven. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink and the onion is tender.

Step 5: Garnish and serve the chili

Adding cheese on White-Chicken-Chili in a bowl on a wooden surfaceTMB Studio

Top each serving with cheese and, if desired, jalapeno pepper, sour cream and tortilla strips.

White Chicken Chili served in a large on a with chips on a wooden tableTMB Studio

White Chicken Chili Variations

  • Stir in corn: Corn adds a bright color and juicy pop to white bean chicken chili. You can use fresh, frozen or canned corn. Or change it up a bit, and use a can of drained hominy.
  • Add richness: If your chicken broth could use a little oomph, try adding 1 teaspoon granulated chicken bouillon.
  • Make it creamier: A touch of dairy will take the chili’s silken texture to the next level. Whisk in a splash of heavy cream or a dollop of sour cream or cream cheese.

How to Store White Chicken Chili

Store leftover white chicken chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Can you freeze white chicken chili?

Chili is a great dish to make ahead and freeze. Freeze the cooled chili in freezer containers for up to three months. Check out more tips for freezing soup so it stays fresh and delicious.

When you’re ready to use, partially thaw the chili in the refrigerator overnight. Heat it through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, adding broth or water if necessary.

White Chicken Chili Tips

White Chicken Chili alapeno pepper, sour cream and tortilla strips served on a wooden tableTMB Studio

What do you serve with white chicken chili?

There are so many great toppings for chili! We use classic additions like shredded Monterey Jack, sliced jalapeno peppers, sour cream and crunchy tortilla strips. Feel free to branch out with other fresh additions like sliced avocado, chopped green onions, cilantro, pico de gallo, salsa verde or lime wedges.

If you’re looking for a great side dish, serve white chicken chili with a cornbread recipe (our favorite is Mexican cornbread) and a refreshing side salad like guacamole tossed salad.

Can you make this white chili recipe with rotisserie chicken?

Using cooked rotisserie chicken is a great time-saving trick. Don’t forget to save the bones to make homemade broth!

Can you make white bean chicken chili in a slow cooker?

We make our white chicken chili on the stovetop, but you could make it in the slow cooker. Check out our recipe for slow-cooker white chicken chili for more details.

How do you thicken white chicken chili?

Mashing one can of the beans is the secret behind this chili’s thick consistency. Beans are naturally starchy, and mashing them with a potato masher adds thickness and body to stews like chili. If the chili isn’t thick enough for your liking, try another way to thicken sauce like flour or cornstarch.

Watch how to Make White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 25 min
Yield 10 servings (2-1/2 quarts).


  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) chicken broth
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 3 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) great northern beans, drained, divided
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Optional: sliced jalapeno pepper, sour cream and crispy tortilla strips


  1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook chicken and onion in oil until lightly browned. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, chiles, cumin, oregano and cayenne; bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low. With a potato masher, mash 1 can of beans until smooth. Add to saucepan. Add remaining beans to saucepan. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and onion is tender.
  3. Top each serving with cheese and, if desired, jalapeno pepper, sour cream and tortilla strips.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 214 calories, 7g fat (3g saturated fat), 35mg cholesterol, 596mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 7g fiber), 18g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 1-1/2 starch, 1 fat.