White chicken chili is one of the most popular dishes for home cooks to make. It's simple, delicious, can feed a large group and refrigerates well for leftovers to have later in the week. Most people don't have a white chicken chili recipe at the ready, but fortunately, there are a number of great ones around.

White Chicken Chili

It can be tough to decide whether to call this a chili or a stew. Like most traditional chilies, this white chicken chili recipe calls for beans, but the nontraditional white sauce and lack of tomatoes make it seem less like chili and more like a stew. White chicken chili can be served with a variety of traditional toppings like sour cream, red onion, cilantro, tortilla chips, a squeeze of lime and ample amounts of salt and pepper.

White bean chicken chili is one of the most versatile dishes in any cook's repertoire. If you have a slow cooker you can just drop everything in and let it cook together. It freezes beautifully, and the leftovers are even better than the freshly made dish because the flavors have had time to bind and deepen. The first thing to do before starting to make white chicken chili is to gather all your ingredients – make sure they are on hand – so you can add each ingredient in the correct order.

Total Time: Under 30 minutes Prep Time: 15 minutes Serves: 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels (no need to thaw)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans (such as Great Northern or cannellini), drained and rinsed
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth, store-bought or homemade
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges and plenty of tortilla chips for dipping (optional) 


  1. Cut up ingredients before you need to use them and measure out any spices in small jars and bowls so that you have them at the ready when it's time to add them.

  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a soup or stock pot. Once it's warm, add the onion and the jalapeno and cook, stirring regularly, until the onion has softened. This should take between two and three minutes.

  3. Add the chicken pieces, stirring gently until they are cooked through, slightly brown on the outside and no longer pink when you cut into them.
  4. When the chicken has cooked through, add the garlic and spices to the pot and stir them gently, making sure to evenly coat the chicken.

  5. Add corn, beans, broth and bring everything to a boil.

  6. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  7. Smash some of the white beans with the back of a spoon as the chili simmers. This will help to thicken the broth and to make the dish more like a chili or a stew and less like a soup.

  8. The seasoning should be left up to each individual person, so put salt and pepper on the table. These are the easiest seasonings to add, and guests will be happy to have the opportunity to add as much or as little as they want.


You can serve white chicken chili as is, or add toppings and garnishes of your choice. If you're serving a group of people, set out bowls with toppings like sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges and plenty of tortilla chips for dipping.

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About the Author

Ashley Friedman

Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience writing about education for a variety of organizations and educational institutions as well as online media sites.