Creamy White Chicken Chili

$12.81 recipe / $1.60 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.97 from 28 votes
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I’m all about cozy soups and stews this time of year and our Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili has always been one of my favorites. But this week I changed it up by making a faster stovetop version with no jarred salsa, and a super creamy finish. The result is an extra cozy, creamy, and lush White Chicken Chili that is easy enough for a weeknight. It’s so good, I think you’re going to want to make it all winter long!

close up overhead view of a bowl of white chicken chili with chips and cheese.

What’s in White Chicken Chili?

White chicken chili is a thick and rich chicken and bean stew made with tender chicken thighs, beans, corn, green chiles, jalapeño, onion, garlic, and a medley of southwest-inspired spices. Rather than using a tomato-based broth, like beef chili, white chicken chili uses chicken broth thickened with a little cream cheese and sour cream to make it extra rich and delicious.

Can I use Chicken Breast?

I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe because they’re super forgiving and always stay tender and delicious. Chicken breasts, on the other hand, can be a bit finicky and can dry out if overcooked. You can use chicken breasts for this recipe but you’ll want to be very careful not to cook them over too high of heat. Keep the chili on a gentle simmer so the breast meat cooks slowly without getting tough and dry.

Is White Chicken Chile Spicy?

You can make this white chicken chili either spicy or mild! If you prefer a mild chicken chili, simply skip the fresh jalapeño, make sure to buy mild canned diced green chiles, and skip the cayenne pepper.

If you’d like a spicier white chicken chili, make sure to include some of the seeds from the jalapeño, buy hot diced green chiles, and add more cayenne pepper to your liking. A few dashes of hot sauce would be awesome, as well!

Chicken Chili Toppings

My favorite part of chili, be it beef chili or white chicken chili, is the toppings. Sure, you can eat (and enjoy) a bowl of this chili plain, but I love to pile on the toppings to make my bowl my own. Here are some delicious topping ideas for white chicken chili:

  • Sour Cream
  • Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Green Onion
  • Cilantro
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Hot Sauce
  • Fresh or Pickled Jalapeños
  • Avocado
  • Lime
Overhead view of white chicken chili in the pot with toppings and a spoon.
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Creamy White Chicken Chili

4.97 from 28 votes
This creamy White Chicken Chili is easy and extra cozy for those cold fall and winter nights. The leftovers are great, too!
Overhead view of a bowl of creamy white chicken chili with toppings and a spoon.
Servings 8 1.25 cups each
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 50 minutes
Total 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion ($0.37)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.34)
  • 1 jalapeño ($0.22)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.13)
  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs ($4.94)
  • 2 15oz. cans cannellini beans (drained) ($1.78)
  • 1 15oz. can pinto beans (drained) ($0.79)
  • 1 7oz. can diced green chiles ($1.39)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin ($0.30)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano ($0.10)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
  • 3 cups chicken broth ($0.35)
  • 1 cup frozen corn ($0.47)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese ($1.10)
  • ½ cup sour cream ($0.45)

Instructions 

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Deseed then dice the jalapeño. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño to a large pot with the olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions have softened.
  • Add the chicken thighs, cannellini beans, pinto beans, diced green chiles, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, pepper, and chicken broth to the pot. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow the chili to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the chili simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the chicken thighs and shred with two forks. Add the shredded meat back to the pot along with the corn. Stir to combine and heat through.
  • Cut the cream cheese into chunks and stir it into the chili until melted. Stir in the sour cream. To further thicken the chili, smash some of the beans against the side of the pot.
  • Taste the chili and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Serve hot with your favorite toppings!

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Equipment

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cupsCalories: 403kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 30gFat: 14gSodium: 701mgFiber: 9g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Overhead view of a bowl of white chicken chili with toppings.

How to Make White Chicken Chili – Step by Step Photos

Diced aromatics in the pot with oil.

Dice one yellow onion and mince four cloves of garlic. Deseed then dice one jalapeño. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño to a large pot with one tablespoon of olive oil. Cook over medium heat until the onions have softened.

Chicken, beans, spices, and broth added to the pot.

Add 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, one 15oz. can of pinto beans (drained), two 15oz. cans of cannellini beans (drained), one 7oz. can of diced green chiles, 1 Tbsp cumin, 1 tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, and 3 cups chicken broth to the pot.

Chicken chili before simmering.

Stir everything together until combined. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the chili to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Simmered chili in the pot with a spoon.

After simmering for 30 minutes, remove the cooked chicken thighs to a cutting board and shred them with two forks.

Corn being poured into the chili in the pot.

Return the shredded chicken to the pot and add 1 cup of frozen corn kernels. Stir to combine and heat through.

Cream cheese chunks added to the chili.

Add 4 oz. of cream cheese (cut into chunks) to the chili and stir until it has melted in. Stir in ½ cup sour cream.

finished creamy white chicken chili in the pot with a spoon.

To thicken the chili further, smash some of the beans against the side of the pot. The chili will thicken even more as it begins to cool. Taste the chili and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.

White chicken chili in the pot topped with cheese, tortilla chips, and cilantro.

Serve the chili hot with your favorite toppings!

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  1. I made this vegetarian for me and my husband. I added an extra can of pinto beans and a whole bag of frozen corn and vegetable broth instead of chicken. Also, I used an immersion blender at the end to blend the beans instead of a fork. It was very good! We ate it with cilantro, pickled red onions, and some shredded extra sharp cheddar. We’ll definitely be making it again.

  2. I hate I found this recipe! It was so good . I’ll be making this in the dead of summer 😆

  3. Super easy and quick soup! I saw this on my Instagram feed and finally decided to make it. I did not have cumin so I improved without and added more cayenne and paprika, still turned out great! I highly recommend smashing the beans against the pot, it helps even the texture throughout the soup.

  4. We got back from a brutal 6 day cross-country road trip and had few groceries in the house to speak of and I didn’t even have the energy to throw food in the crockpot, so when my husband was hungry for the 2nd time and Mac and Cheese was now out, I hit this site and found this recipe.
    I have a chicken breast.
    I have an onion.
    I have a can of green chiles in the back of the pantry somewhere.
    I have frozen corn and a few cans of white beans.
    That will do! (Jalapeño? Meh. Skip it. Over it.)
    I have the energy to chop an onion and stir a pot; I can do this.

    And I did. (The chicken breast was still mostly-frozen; didn’t care)

    I didn’t add the cream cheese / sour cream because I didn’t want to add the calories/fat grams (I was prepared to add cream cheese if it needed it, though). We did crush some tortilla chips into our bowls.

    8 servings? LOLOL try 4.5 We definitely had seconds after our first bowl. And day 2 was even better.

    LOVED this and it will go on rotation. We love the crockpot version of this and eat it right about weekly, but I’m digging this one now, too. Thanks!

  5. This was so good! We like spicy so I left all the seeds and membrane in the jalapeno. I pretty much stuck to the recipe. Used skin on, bone in chicken thighs, removed skin and bones after the 30 minutes and chopped the meat up. I did use canned corn instead of frozen, adding it at the end just like the frozen. I also added a tsp each of dried cilantro and chives with the corn. I had shredded sharp cheddar cheese and crushed tortilla chips for toppings.
    It was fairly quick and easy and we will be having this regularly throughout the winter.

  6. Big hit with the family and that is saying a lot as my 7-year-olds usually run from anything resembling soup. I left out the jalapeno and cayenne to keep it non-spicy, then added pickled jalapenos when serving to give some kick for the adults. Served with your classic cornbread. Great fall meal!