Warm up with a bowl of this creamy southwest chicken chili! It's super creamy with chunks of pulled chicken, corn, and beans in every bite. You can whip it up in 30 minutes on the stovetop for a quick and easy weeknight meal or freeze it to enjoy later.
Chili season best season.....or something like that, right??
Jokes aside, I do really love the cold weather months because it's socially acceptable to curl up on the couch with a bowl of your favorite cozy dish and just relax a little. Maybe have a fire going, a blanket near by, and most definitely some fluffy socks on.
This stovetop chili is the perfect dish to whip up while the temperatures are low. It's beyond easy to make in about 30 minutes and the leftovers are even better. Not to mention is a pretty "healthy" meal while also being nice and comforting. It's filled with fresh ingredients like beans and corn and chilies and lean protein with the chicken.
Give it a try and will definitely become a weeknight favorite!
My no bean sweet potato turkey chili is also a great cozy meal you'll love!
- Why you'll love Chicken White Bean Chili
- Ingredients for White Bean Chicken Chili
- How to make White Chicken Chili (Stovetop)
- White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe Variations
- The Best White Chicken Chili Recipe Tips
- How to serve this White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe
- Chicken and White Bean Chili storage
- Frequently asked questions
Why you'll love Chicken White Bean Chili
- Light and healthy meal
- Easy to make
- Filled with great protein
- Can be made gluten free & dairy free
- Great for leftovers
- Cozy a warm meal that's perfect for winter
Ingredients for White Bean Chicken Chili
- Cannellini beans - These are my preferred white beans to use in chili. They are larger in size which adds some extra creamy texture in every bite. You can also use navy beans or northern beans.
- Broth - Any type will work. I used vegetable broth and chicken broth is also great. Use reduced sodium to decrease the amount of salt in the dish.
- Cream cheese - This is how we get that creamy consistency. I like to use dairy free cream cheese to make this dish dairy free or reduced fat to lighten it up. Regular cream cheese will work as well, just make sure it's plan flavored.
- Greek yogurt - This also adds to the creaminess. In traditional white chicken chili recipes, sour cream is used to develop a creamy white consistency. Greek yogurt does the same but also adds some nice protein and lightens up the overall dish. Use plain and non-fat. Swap for dairy free yogurt to make dairy free.
- Green chilies - Adds some nice southwest flavor to the chili and can add some heat if you use hot chilies. Don't skip this ingredient, it really does pull the chili flavors together! I used mild green chilies.
How to make White Chicken Chili (Stovetop)
To make this stovetop chili, all you need is a large pot and a spoon! It doesn't get simpler than that!
Step 1 : Sauté onions and garlic. Add the olive oil to a pot with the diced onions and chopped garlic. Heat over medium heat until the onions become soft and translucent. This should take about 5 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning.
Step 2 : Add the spices.
Next add the spices to the pot and mix well to distribute. The onions should turn a soft brown color and continue to cook.
Step 3 : Add the chicken and broth. Nestle the chicken in the pot and pour the broth over top. Place the lid on top of the pot and allow the chicken to cook through.
Once cooked, pull the chicken. You can do this inside the pot with some big forks or I like to add them to a stand mixer and pull the chicken that way. Add the pulled chicken back the pot.
Step 4 : Add the corn, beans, and chiles. Drain the can of cannellini beans and rinse the beans with water. Drain the can of corn as well but no need to rinse with water.
Pour the beans and corn into the pot along with the can of green chilies and toss well.
Turn the stove up to medium-high so the chili reaches a simmer.
Step 5 : Fold in cream cheese and greek yogurt. Once the chili is warm, add the cream cheese and greek yogurt. You want to wait for the chili to be warm so the cream cheese and yogurt can melt into the mixture.
Stir well with a spoon or rubber spatula to distribute.
Allow the chili to simmer for at least 5 minutes. This allows the mixture to thicken up and the spices to infuse well into the chicken.
The chili should start to turn a creamy yellow color and bubble at the top while simmering. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
How to make this Recipe for White Chicken Chili in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker
Yes! This chili works well in both a slow cooker and instant pot.
Instant Pot - Add the olive oil to the pot and heat on the saute setting Add the onions, spices, and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent, stirring consistently. Add remaining ingredients except the cream cheese and greek yogurt and give everything a big stir.
Put the lid on the Instant Pot and cook on the manual setting for 12 minutes. Let the IP slowly release the steam for 15 minutes before quick releasing any extra steam. Pull the chicken in the pot or pull it out onto a cutting board and then place it back in the pot. Stir in the greek yogurt and cream cheese until melted and well combined in the chili.
Slow Cooker - Place all ingredients except the greek yogurt and cream cheese in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours or on high for 3 - 4 hours until the chicken is fork tender. Pull the chicken and stir in the greek yogurt and cream cheese until well combined and serve.
White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe Variations
- Add a dash of hot sauce for a little kick.
- Finely chop up some jalapenos and throw them into the pot with the corn.
- Chop up some of your favorite greens like spinach or kale and mix into the chili 5 minutes before serving for extra color.
The Best White Chicken Chili Recipe Tips
- Make sure not to over cook the chicken, you want it opaque all the way through so it’s cooked all the way but not overdone.
- I have found the easiest way to pull chicken is with a stand mixer. Make sure the head of the mixer is locked and add the warm chicken to the bowl and mix on low to pull apart the chicken. After about a minute of two you should have decent sized shreds. Don’t over do this or you risk having minced chicken.
- Keep the pot on the stove at a medium heat so the cream cheese and yogurt will effortlessly melt into the soup. If it’s not hot enough, it will take a while to melt.
- If you prefer a soupier chili, feel free to add more broth to the pot until you reach your desired consistency.
How to thicken White Chicken Chili
We use both cream cheese and greek yogurt to thicken white chicken chili in this recipe. Many other recipes call for all purpose flour or cornstarch or milk.
How to serve this White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe
Serve the stovetop chili in big soup bowls and top with toppings. Here are my recommendations:
- Avocado slices or chunks
- Parsley leaves or cilantro leaves
- Dollop of greek yogurt
- Hot sauce or chili powder sprinkled on top if you want some heat
What to serve with White Chicken Chili
Chicken and White Bean Chili storage
Transfer the southwest chicken chili to an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
When ready to enjoy, heat the chili back up on the stove in a pot with a splash of broth or water until simmering. You can also microwave it in individual bowls in 30 second increments. I also recommend adding a splash of broth to help loosen the chili.
Freezing leftover Chicken White Bean Chili
This chili freezes really well - the flavors all blend together even better with time!
Let the chili cool completely before storing in a freezer safe container or bag. It will keep in the freezer for up to a month.
To thaw the chili, let the container sit out on the counter for a few hours or let it thaw in the fridge overnight. If. you want to expedite the process, you can allow the container to sit in a pot with warm water. Once the chili has thawed, heat it up on the stove with a splash of broth or water until desired temperature.
Frequently asked questions
This is what the cream cheese and greek yogurt do! If you want your chili even thicker, add another ¼ cream cheese or greek yogurt. You can also add 1 tablespoon corn starch if needed.
This chili should simmer for 5 - 10 minutes until slightly thick. The simmering process not only thickens up the broth but also distributes the flavors into the chicken.
Yes, really any type of bean will work in this recipe. I also like to use navy beans if I have them on hand.
For more cozy meals, check out my:
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Chicken White Bean Chili
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup white onion - diced
- 1 garlic clove - chopped
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon sage
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 30 oz cannellini beans - drained and rinsed (this is 2 15 oz cans)
- 15 oz corn - drained
- 4 oz green chilies - mild
- 1 ½ lbs chicken - cooked and shredded
- 3 cups broth - vegetable or chicken, divided
- ⅔ cup cream cheese - use dairy free if needed
- ½ cup greek yogurt - use dairy free if needed
- grain-free tortilla chips
- avocado slices
- parsley or cilantro leaves
- extra dollop of greek yogurt
- shredded mexican cheese - use dairy free if needed
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat with the diced onions and chopped garlic. Allow the onions and garlic to cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.3 tablespoon olive oil, ½ cup white onion, 1 garlic clove
- Add the cumin, paprika oregano, sage, and salt to the pot and mix well to coat the onions and garlic.½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon oregano, ¼ teaspoon sage, ½ teaspoon salt
- Nestle the chicken in the pot and pour about cups of the broth over top. Place the lid on top of the pot and allow the chicken to cook through.Once cooked, pull the chicken. You can do this inside the pot with some big forks or I like to add them to a stand mixer and pull the chicken that way. Add the pulled chicken back the pot along with the other 1 cup of both.1 ½ lbs chicken, 3 cups broth
- Drain and rinse the cannellini beans and add to the pot along with the drained corn and green chilies. Mix well with a spoon or rubber spatula to disperse the ingredients.30 oz cannellini beans, 15 oz corn, 4 oz green chilies
- Add the cream cheese and greek yogurt to the pot and mix well to combine. The heat of the chili should melt the cream cheese and yogurt so it incorporates well into the mixture. Allow the chili to simmer for at least another 5 minutes which will help thicken it up. You will notice the chili turns a soft creamy yellow color.⅔ cup cream cheese, ½ cup greek yogurt
- Once the chili is slightly thick and hot, pour into large soup bowls and top with desired toppings. I like to crush up tortilla chips over top and add avocado slices and another dollop of greek yogurt. Sprinkle some parsley leaves or cilantro leaves too to garnish and enjoy!grain-free tortilla chips, avocado slices, parsley or cilantro leaves, extra dollop of greek yogurt, shredded mexican cheese
When ready to enjoy, heat the chili back up on the stove in a pot with ½ cup broth until simmering.
To thaw the chili if it's frozen, let the container sit out on the counter for a few hours or let it thaw in the fridge overnight. If. you want to expedite the process, you can allow the container to sit in a pot with warm water. Once the chili has thawed, heat it up on the stove with ½ cup broth.