White chicken chili, gently seasoned and loaded with chicken, corn, beans, and tomatoes, is one of my most requested recipes!
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 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, as well as 7 Layer Dip with tortilla chips.
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.
I’ll run through the basics of this recipe here. You’ll find the printable recipe card at the end of the post, with complete directions and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Boneless skinless cooked chicken: Either breasts or thighs are fine, or a combination.
- Canned Great Northern beans and black beans: The black beans are something I’ve added over the years because I love lots of beans. Leave these out for a more traditional looking white chicken chili.
- Canned diced tomatoes: There’s no need to drain the tomatoes. Choose a no-salt variety if you can find them.
- Salsa: Mild, medium, or hot – your choice!
- Corn: Canned or frozen is fine.
- Onion: Any type of onion will do. I usually use a yellow cooking onion for recipes like this.
- 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.
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.
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!
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.
Right before you’re ready to serve the chili, melt in the cheese, or save it and sprinkle it on the top.
While this is a matter of personal preference, chili is usually somewhat thick, with more of a stew-like consistency rather than soup. Keep reading for suggestions on how to thicken chili.
There are a few ways to thicken your chili:
-Try adding masa harina or cornmeal to the broth, 1 tablespoon at a time.
-Simmer the chili longer with the cover off to reduce the brothiness.
-Make a cornstarch slurry, using a bit of broth and 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Stir the broth and cornstarch together until blended; stir into the chili.
-Mash some of the beans before adding them to your chili.
Usually white chili contains onion, garlic, cumin, Mexican oregano, and cilantro, along with some kind of chili pepper such as jalapeño, poblano, or bell pepper.
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.
Storage and Reheating Tips
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.
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.
Warm up with more chili Recipes
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
- Vegetarian Chili – Stovetop or Slow Cooker
- Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
- Easy Chicken Chili Recipe — with only FIVE ingredients!
- Slow Cooker Texas Chili — the best crockpot chili!
- Instant Pot Chili — Paleo and Whole30 compliant
- Chili Seasoning Recipe
- Turkey Quinoa Chili (under 400 calories!)
- Vegetarian Quinoa Chili with Black Beans
- Turkey and Beef Chili with Beer and Beans
- Jerk Chicken Chili
- 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
- 1 jar (48 oz.) 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, undrained
- 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 (8 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- Optional toppings: tortilla strips or chips, fresh cilantro, sour cream, sliced avocado, etc.
- 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.
- 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).
- Right before serving, add cheese and stir until melted. Or, if you prefer, sprinkle the cheese on top of each serving.
- 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 does not include optional toppings.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.