White chicken chili, gently seasoned and loaded with chicken, corn, beans, and tomatoes, is one of my most requested recipes!

White chili in a bowl and in a pot, with fresh cilantro and tortilla strips.

White chicken chili with tender chicken, lots of beans, tomatoes, corn, creamy cheese, and mild southwest seasoning — this chili is always welcome. It’s perfect for tailgate parties or game days. Mild, but with tons of flavor, this is one of my most popular recipes.

Almost everyone likes white chicken chili. It’s easy to make, always turns out, and is a one pan meal for easy cleanup. You can make it as spicy, or not spicy at all. Topped with Monterey Jack cheese and your favorite toppings, it’s hard to resist. 

If I’ve invited a big crowd, I’ll have two kinds of chili, red and white, simmering in slow cookers. I add an array of toppings and have a serve-yourself chili buffet. I usually accompany the chili with homemade corn bread, veggies and dill vegetable dip, and a couple kinds of cookies for an easy party menu. Queso dip is always a hit, too. 

Large pot of white chicken chili.

About this chicken chili

I like to use already cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced or shredded. I almost always have some in the fridge or freezer. It’s such a time saver. Buy a family pack of chicken and cook up the whole pack for future easy dinners.

If you don’t happen to have cooked chicken, you can poach the chicken in the pan before you begin cooking the soup. Once the chicken is poached, remove it from the pan to cool slightly before you shred or cube it.

This recipe is so easy to make. Simply sauté the onions, add everything else, and simmer. An hour of simmering is about right, but if you run out of time, no problem, go ahead and serve it, it’ll be fine. Or if you want to simmer the chili two hours, ditto. It’s super flexible that way.

Chicken chili in a bowl with avocados, cilantro, and cheese.

What’s in chicken chili?

  • Boneless skinless cooked chicken (either breasts or thighs are fine)
  • Canned Great Northern beans and black beans (Note: the black beans are an addition I’ve added over the years. You can leave these out for a more traditional looking white chicken chili.)
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • Salsa
  • Corn
  • Onion
  • Ground cumin, Mexican oregano, salt and pepper
  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • Toppings! Sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, crispy tortilla strips, crumbled tortilla chips, sour cream, whatever you like. 

Overhead view of ingredients needed for white chili, all in glass bowls.

How to make this recipe

This recipe is super easy to make, which is why I love it! As always, keep scrolling for the condensed and printable version of the recipe.

First, grab a giant pot and sauté onions in olive oil until tender.

Onions cooking in oil in a blue and white pot.

Once they’re translucent, you’ll add your spices and salsa. Stir them around a bit to let them toast. This really draws out and intensifies the flavors!

Spices on top of onions in a large pot.

After a minute or two, you’ll add all the beans, corn, diced tomatoes, chicken, and chicken broth. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes or 2 hours. This one is seriously so forgiving.

Overhead view of white chili not yet mixed together in a large blue and white pot.

Right before you’re ready to serve the chili, melt in the cheese, or save it and sprinkle it on the top. 

Make it your own

There are lots of ways to customize this white chili. This recipe is super flexible. Use dark meat, if you prefer. Deli chicken or leftover turkey work fine. Add more seasoning, or less. Add garlic, if you like, or a can of green chiles. Use whatever kind of beans you prefer, or happen to have in the house. Mix in the cheese for a creamy chili, or sprinkle it on each serving. Go crazy with toppings. 

You get the idea! White chicken chili is hard to mess up — it turns out great every time.

White chili in a large blue pot.

Storage and reheating

Leftover chicken chili? Lucky you! You can enjoy it for lunch tomorrow, or another dinner.

Store leftovers in a covered containers in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, or in the freezer for a month.

White chicken chili being ladled out of a pot.

Make Ahead Tip: Make a double batch and freeze half for another day. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Heat it slowly on the stove or microwave, or put it in your crockpot for a couple of hours until it’s heated through.

Overhead view of a bowl of chili made with chicken, with a spoon and garnishes.

Warm up with more chili!

 

Chicken chili in a bowl garnished with avocado, cilantro, cheese.

White Chicken Chili

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

White chicken chili, gently seasoned and loaded with chicken, corn, beans, and tomatoes, is one of my most requested recipes!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup salsa (I use medium)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 48 oz. jar great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15.25 oz.) yellow corn, drained (frozen corn is fine, too)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) can low-sodium diced tomatoes, drained
  • 4 chicken breasts, poached (or baked), cubed or shredded
  • 4 cans (15 oz. each) reduced sodium chicken broth (or 5 cups of homemade broth)
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Optional toppings: tortilla strips or chips, fresh cilantro, sour cream, sliced avocado, etc.

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sauté onion in oil until tender. Add salsa, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper.
  2. Add great Northern beans, black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, chicken, and chicken broth. Mix thoroughly, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for one hour (see note).
  3. Right before serving, add cheese and stir until melted. Or, if you prefer, sprinkle the cheese on top of each serving.

Notes

  • Use more or less broth, to taste, for desired consistency.
  • The chili can be simmered for less time, or longer. Shoot for an hour, but it won’t be ruined if you don’t have an hour. If you simmer longer, I would recommend adding the corn later so that it doesn’t get tough.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 of 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 493Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 1647mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 15gSugar: 7gProtein: 43g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

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