Creamy White Chicken Chili

$12.81 recipe / $1.60 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.96 from 21 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

4.96 from 21 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


  • 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)


  • 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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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 just made this and wow it’s so damn good! The chicken thighs are so juicy when shredded and adds great texture to the dish. Super filling! I feel like oregano, salt, smoked paprika and thyme are powerhouses for flavor. I added green onions on top of mine, but next time I wanna try cilantro on top. I ate this soup with a cheddar jalapeño cornbread with butter! Will add to my rotation even in this summer heat

  2. Can this be made in a slow cooker? I know there’s a similar slow cooker recipe, but this one has corn, cream cheese, green chilies, chicken thighs, etc and I’d prefer to make this one if it will work! :)

    1. Hi Bree, yes you can! Though you won’t be able to saute the veg, if you don’t care about developing flavor, you can cook everything on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. The chicken is done when the internal temp reaches 165 degrees F. Then pul the chicken and continue with the directions.

  3. I have not made this recipe yet, but if we were to use pre cooked/shredded chicken, when would we put that in the pot?

  4. This is hands down one of the best dishes I have made from Budget Bytes! It was crazy flavorful and low maintenance dish, the chicken cooks perfectly in the stew- this is going to be a staple from now on!

  5. So gud and easy to make, one thing though is I think you should add salt even though its not in the recipe.

  6. This was the first Budget Bytes dish that I ever tried and it’s the one that got me hooked! This dish is so delicious and easy to make. I’ve made it and brought it to a friend who needed some extra support and she said it tasted just like her mom’s chili and was super comforting.

  7. Tried this for the family tonight and was an absolute hit! Came out amazing.
    I also had all of the suggested toppings available for everyone to add as they wished. Just didn’t use the hot sauce as went a bit overboard with the cayenne pepper and green chillis. Another staple to add to the list

  8. Easy to make, and followed every step of the way. Came out quite bland (SAD FACE)…but everyone’s palate is different. I will add more spices!

    1. We use a very moderate amount of spices in our dishes so that they are both budget-friendly and approachable for everyone in our community. Next time, feel free to double the amount of paprika, cayenne, black pepper, and garlic powder! Also, check out the section of the blog post labeled, “IS WHITE CHICKEN CHILE SPICY?” for some more ideas on how to pump up the flavors of this dish to suit your tastes. ~ marion :)

  9. I’ve made this several times and it’s always a big hit!

    I used frozen breasts (because that’s what was on hand) and they shredded nice as can be when the time came. I toss in a pinch or two of red pepper flakes for a li’l extra zing & no one was disappointed smelling, then eating this yummy family meal!

    Bonus – leftovers enough to cover Sunday lunch #MomWin

    Thanks for another good’un Budget Bytes!

  10. Absolutely delicious soup! I had trouble getting the cream cheese to melt fully, but this did not affect the flavor, which is fantastic. Thanks for another awesome one!

  11. This recipe was delicious. I even gave some to my mom when she came over and she said it was very yummy. The only adjustments I made was slightly more spice with same ratios, omitted the jalapeño, and used a can of diced tomatoes with chiles instead of just plain chiles.

  12. This was delicious! I haven’t had much success with white chicken chili in the past, so it felt like a bit of a risk to try again, but I had ingredients that fit this recipe on hand that needed to be used up.

    I followed the recipe as written using the recommendations for a milder version (so mild peppers and no seeds/ribs in the jalapeno pepper), except that I accidentally grabbed a 4oz can of mild green chili instead of the 7oz as written, and that I’m pretty heavy-handed with all dry spices (same proportions but used a heaping measurement scoop of each).

    I wish I had more toppings on hand such as avocado or lime, but even with just a handful of crushed tortilla chips on top, this was awesome! It will stay in the winter soup rotation for sure.

  13. I use a big poblano pepper for a gentler heat and Quorn ChiQin Pieces beecause we’re vegetarian. I also cut the Cumin in half because it upsets my husband’s stomach. Even with these minor changes, this recipe is incredibly delicious. Eating this was first time I really felt like I could claim to know how to cook. This has become an instant family favorite, perfect for the cold winter evenings we have in Washington state.