White bean chicken chili is a warm, comforting bowl of hearty chili made with green chiles, white beans, chicken chunks, and an herb broth that is so crave-worthy. Double or triple the recipe to feed a crowd on game day, or freeze extra portions for quick lunches throughout the week. This pot of white bean chili comes together in jut 30 minutes, too!
White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe
I won't go so far as to say this is my favorite chili recipe of all time, except that I would then be lying. I have nothing against a regular bowl of red, but white chicken chili is so much more interesting! The slightly smoky roasted green chiles combine with the creamy white beans in a tangy broth spiked with sour cream. Big chunks of chicken make this chili so hearty and delicious.
Next time you have a cans of white beans and roasted green chiles in your pantry, I want you to make this chili. I prefer it with mild green chiles, because the hot green chiles can be very overwhelming and super spicy. Plus, please note that this recipe has jalapeños in it, too. We have plenty of heat going on here! The broth has plenty of sour cream to cool off the heat, if you want to go that way, though. It's your choice, completely.
The base of this white bean chili is onions, garlic, jalapeño, and dried oregano. When you're adding the dried oregano to the pot, use your fingers to crush it slightly to bring out the oils of the oregano. It makes for a much more flavorful soup base.
If you're looking for a soup recipe that isn't so spicy but uses cans of white beans, try my White Bean Soup. It has more classic Italian flavors than spiciness.
- chicken: One pound of chicken tenders is perfect for this recipe because they cook quickly.
- chicken stock: We're going to first cook the chicken tenders in the stock, and then use the same stock to make the chili. It'll be like a double dose of chicken broth, and bring so much flavor to the pot. You can use chicken stock or chicken broth, your choice.
- olive oil
- onion: One small white onion, peeled and diced.
- jalapeño: When it comes to cooking with jalapeños, you have the choice to leave in the ribs and seeds for extra heat, or remove them. When you remove the ribs and seeds, you still get a gentle heat from the jalapeño. You could also leave the jalapeño whole while cooking, and remove just before serving for more subtle heat.
- dried oregano
- green chiles: Reach for fire-roasted MILD green chiles. We have plenty of heat in this soup from the jalapeño, but you can use hot green chiles, if you like it extra spicy.
- white beans: Two cans of Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed before adding to the pot.
- sour cream: I really prefer full-fat sour cream in recipes, but if you'd like to use plain yogurt to reduce the calories, you may. Reach for Greek yogurt instead of plain yogurt for its thickness.
- cilantro: Just for garnish, if you don't like cilantro, leave it out.
- salt and pepper
How to make white bean chicken chili:
- Gather your ingredients: chicken tenders, chicken stock, oil, onion, jalapeño, garlic, oregano, green chiles, white beans, sour cream, salt and pepper. Use cilantro for garnish, if you wish.
- First, we're going to cook the chicken tenders in the chicken stock. Place the chicken tenders in a soup pan (use the same pan you want to make the chili in for easier cleanup), and cover with the chicken stock. Turn the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a simmer. Once the mixture is simmering, turn off the heat, place a lid on the pan, and let the chicken cook for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, test for doneness--the chicken should measure 165-degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part.
- Remove the chicken from the broth--reserve the broth mixture for the chili! Pour the chicken broth into a separate bowl and set aside for now. Place the chicken on a cutting board, and let cool until you can shred it with a fork into bite-size pieces.
- In the same pan you cooked the chicken in, add the oil, and cook the onion and jalapeño for a few minutes. Stir in the garlic and oregano, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. You can leave the jalapeño whole and remove it to reduce the heat in the chili, if you want.
- Next, add the green chiles, drained and rinsed white beans, salt and pepper. Add the reserved chicken broth and chopped chicken back to the pan. Bring to a gentle simmer. Taste the chili and adjust for more salt and pepper, if you like. Remove the jalapeño, if you left it whole.
- Stir in the sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt) just before serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro and divide between 4 or 6 bowls to serve.
Can you make this white bean chicken chili in the crockpot?
This is truly such a fast recipe (just 30 minutes!) that I don't think you need to make it in the crockpot. If you want to make it ahead and then keep it warm in a crockpot, be sure to leave out the sour cream until just before serving.
To make the entire recipe in the crockpot, add everything to the pot except for the sour cream and cilantro. Give it a stir, and place the lid on the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours. After 4 hours, open the lid and give it a stir. Remove the chicken, and let it cool before shredding with two forks. Add the shredded chicken back to the pan. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Just before serving, stir in the sour cream until fully melted.
My crockpot ham and beans might be more of what you're looking for, however.
What about the instant pot?
To make this in the instant pot, first, sauce the onion and jalapeño in the oil using the saute function, until it's translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, followed by all remixing ingredients (except the sour cream and cilantro). Switch the instant pot to high pressure cook, turn the valve to sealing, and then set the timer to 15 minutes. Do a natural pressure release for 10 minutes before CAREFULLY opening the valve and allowing all of the steam and pressure to release. Remove the chicken, shred it with two forks, and stir it back into the pot. Just before serving, stir in the sour cream and cilantro.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
- 2 ½ cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed to reduce the heat (or not!)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 4-ounce cans of MILD chopped green chiles*
- 2 15-ounce cans white beans (Great Northern Beans), drained & rinsed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 8 ounces (~1 cup) full-fat sour cream
- cilantro, for garnish
- First, add the chicken tenders and chicken stock to a soup pot pot). Bring to a simmer, turn off heat, cover and let cook all the way through, about 10 minutes. Check to ensure the chicken is done--it should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part.
- Remove the chicken from the broth (reserve all of the broth for the soup!), and shred into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
- Wipe out the pan, and then add the oil and turn the heat to medium.
- Add the diced onion and jalapeño (if using) to the pan, and cook while stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the garlic and oregano on top, and saute for 30 seconds.
- Next, add the green chiles, beans, salt, and pepper. Pour the reserved chicken broth and chicken back into the pan, and bring to a gentle simmer. Taste and adjust for more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Just before serving, turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream.
- Divide the soup between bowls, and serve with cilantro.
chicken: One pound of chicken tenders is perfect for this recipe, because they cook quickly.
chicken stock: We're going to first cook the chicken tenders in the stock, and then use the same stock to make the chili. It'll be like a double dose of chicken broth, and bring so much flavor. You can use chicken stock or chicken broth, your choice.
onion: One small white onion, peeled and diced.
jalapeño: When it comes to cooking with jalapeños, you have the choice to leave in the ribs and seeds for extra heat, or remove them. When you remove the ribs and seeds, you still get a gentle heat from the jalapeño. You can also leave the jalapeño mostly whole while simmering, and then remove before serving.
green chiles: Reach for fire-roasted MILD green chiles. We have plenty of heat in this soup from the jalapeño, but you can use hot green chiles, if you like it extra spicy.
white beans: Two cans of Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed before adding to the pot.
sour cream: I really prefer full-fat sour cream in recipes, but if you'd like to use plain yogurt to reduce the calories, but reach for Greek yogurt for its thickness.
cilantro: Just for garnish, if you don't like cilantro, leave it out.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 491Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 1052mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 10gSugar: 5gProtein: 42g