This Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili is the perfect example of why people love slow cookers so much. You literally just dump everything in the slow cooker, give it a quick stir, then turn it on and walk away. When you come back you have this hearty white bean chicken chili that’s ready for topping with creamy cheese and diving in with some tortilla chips. And when the sky is dark, the air is cold, and you’ve got the winter blues, easy dinners like this are a total life saver!
See this recipe used in my weekly meal prep.
Does White Chicken Chili Have Chili Powder?
Nope! Unlike traditional red chili, this “white” chili does not contain chili powder. It’s flavored using salsa verde, cumin, and oregano. This chili gets its name from the white beans used in place of the red kidney beans used in red chili.
Is This Chili Spicy?
This chili is a “medium” level spicy. If you want to make the chili more mild, skip the jalapeño and cayenne pepper listed in the ingredients, and make sure to use a mild salsa verde.
What Size Slow Cooker do I Need?
You can make this in a 3-4 quart slow cooker, or double the recipe for a 5-7 qt slow cooker and feed a crowd. I have a 5 quart slow cooker (affiliate link) and the recipe, as listed below, filled it about half way.
Can This White Chicken Chili be Frozen?
Yes, this chili freezes very well! As always, make sure to chill your chili completely in the refrigerator first, before transferring to the freezer for long term storage. I prefer to freeze all my leftovers in single portions so they can be reheated one by one whenever I get hungry.
Chili Topping Ideas
I highly suggest topping this chili with something creamy, like the Monterrey jack cheese listed in the ingredients below, some sour cream, or avocado. The creamy flavor is the perfect contrast to the salsa verde. You can also top with some green onion, sliced jalapeño, cilantro, pico de gallo, crumbled cornbread, or pickled red onions.
Easy Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
- 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
- 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
- 1 jalapeño (optional) ($0.11)
- 1 boneless skinless chicken breast (about 3/4 lb.) ($3.62)
- 1 16oz. jar salsa verde ($2.59)
- 2 15oz. cans cannellini beans ($0.98)
- 1 15oz. can pinto beans ($0.89)
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin ($0.30)
- 1 tsp dried oregano ($0.10)
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper ($0.02)
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper ($0.03)
- 2 cups chicken broth ($0.26)
- 4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded ($0.85)
- Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Slice the jalapeńo lengthwise, scrape out the seeds with a spoon, then dice. Place the onion, garlic, jalapeño, and chicken breast in the bottom of a slow cooker.
- Drain and rinse the cannellini beans and pinto beans, then add them to the slow cooker, along with the cumin, oregano, cayenne, and freshly ground black pepper. Pour the salsa over top.
- Pour two cups of chicken broth over the contents in the cooker and then give everything a brief stir. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours, or on low for eight hours.
- After four hours on high, or eight hours on low, carefully remove the chicken breast from the slow cooker and use two forks to shred the meat. Return the meat to the slow cooker. Stir the chili, slightly mashing the beans with the back of the spoon as you stir. The mashed beans will help thicken the chili.
- Serve the chili topped with shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Other optional toppings include fresh cilantro, diced avocado, freshly squeeze lime, or tortilla chips.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
Serve with a side of Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread!
How to Make Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili – Step by Step Photos
Dice one yellow onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Slice the jalapeño in half, scrape out the seeds, then dice the remaining pepper. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, and chicken breast to the slow cooker.
Drain and rinse two 15oz. cans of cannellini beans and one 15oz. can of pinto beans. Add the drained beans to the slow cooker along with 1 Tbsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, ¼ tsp cayenne, and some freshly cracked black pepper.
Pour one 16oz. jar of salsa verde into the slow cooker (I’ve used many brands for this recipe in the past, the one in the photo is Kroger’s Private Selectrion brand).
Pour two cups of chicken broth into the slow cooker.
Briefly stir the contents of the slow cooker to distribute the spices. Place a lid on top and cook on high for four hours, or low for eight hours.
After cooking on high for four hours, or on low for eight hours, remove the chicken breast to a clean cutting board to shred (or you can shred directly in the pot with two forks).
Shred the chicken using two forks.
Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Use the back of a spoon to smash some of the beans agains the side of the pot. The smashed beans will help thicken the chili.
Top with your favorite ingredients and enjoy!
Passed on to me by daughter Liz Mitchell. So easy to make and was just delicious! More than for two meals for Liz’s dad and me.
So good! Couldn’t be easier to make and had so much flavor
My family loves this easy, tasty recipe with tortilla chips on the side. It’s a regular at our house!
This delicious white chicken chili checks all the boxes: easy, delicious, and economical. Except for a bit of chopping it basically involves putting the ingredients in the crockpot and walking away. It was the perfect dinner for a cold winters day. Next time I would double the recipe so we could have some leftovers.
I just made this soup for dinner and it was delish! I had to make a few changes because of what I had in the house (no time to shop this morning), but nothing that made a big difference and it was still great. Subbed bone-in thighs for chicken breasts, omitted the jalapeño, used 1 can each of cannellini beans, navy beans and black beans, increased the chicken broth by 2 cups, and everything else as directed. Served it with fresh lime juice, cubed avocado, grated Monterey Jack cheese, and a dollop of sour cream; superb flavor and plenty of leftovers. My husband raved and asks for it to be made again. Thanks for the great recipe!
This will definitely become a staple in our meal rotation! It’s hearty, flavourful and delicious! I’ll need to double the recipe next time because my husband had three servings for dinner and now we have very little leftovers. The jalapeno adds a pretty good kick to it so no hot sauce was necessary – omit the jalapeno if you prefer a milder chili. I used boullion cubes in place of chicken stock – I didn’t bother dissolving them first, just added 2 cups of water and threw in the cubes and they dissolved while cooking. Such an easy recipe to pull together and great for the fall and winter months when you want something warm and hearty.
This became an all time favorite in hour house.
We are doing this chili at least 4 times a year. We are freezing some.
Took this recipe from a friend who received us for dinner and we loved it so much. Now family and some other friends asked for it and I had to write it in French since we are French Canadiens. Truly, it’s SSSSSOOOO DELICIOUS !!!!
Thanks for this recipe !!!
I came here to see if this freezes well. It seems like it should, or maybe add the cream cheese when reheating. I hope it turns out well for you!
Same cooking time if you double the recipe? I love this recipe and have made it several times but run out too quickly with my family. I want to double next time I make it
You can absolutely double. The cooking time should be about the same, but with higher volumes in the same size slow cooker, you will have to increase a touch. XOXO -Monti
This was delicious and so easy to make! The thing I would probably do next time is add an extra cup of broth, as I like a good amount of liquid in my soup, and I found this a bit lacking in that regard, though I did use maybe a third-pound more chicken so that’s probably on me. On a more general note, I just want to say that I truly appreciate your commitment to great food while also focusing on the cost, and trying to do things in the most affordable manner while not sacrificing taste. I’ve always been fairly willing to splurge on more expensive or unusual ingredients when a recipe called for them, but during this time of inflation I’ve really had to cut back on that and focus on cost and making recipes that use more common ingredients, and your website has been a godsend for me in that regard because the recipes are still excellent, so I don’t feel like I’m really giving up anything, all while saving a bit of money.
Well said, I completely agree! Thank you Beth and the Budget Bytes team.
I made this tonight and it was delicious! Because I like spicy food, I used two jalapeños and also added some frozen corn. I’m looking forward to eating the leftovers.
I made this today and it was delicious! Will definitely make it again. Because I like spicy food, I used two jalapeños.
Any recommendations for using chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts?
Hi Brittany! The cooking time is so long that you should be fine subbing a chicken thigh for a breast. You can also brown the thigh before adding it to the mix. If you have a thermometer, check to see that the internal temperature is at at least 160 to 165 degrees before eating it. If you don’t have a thermometer, place the thigh on a whiter plate and press down. If the juices run clear, you are good to go.
I have used this recipe at least 5x by now. Never have used Chicken Breast and always with Chicken Thighs or Drumsticks, and it has always come out really fantastic! I also double the amount of Jalapeno and Cayenne Pepper, and usually go for about 1 lb of meat, since chicken thighs is $1.39 per lb, where I live.
This was a great recipe!!! I had great northern and navy beans on hand. I will definitely will be making this again!!
Hi! Would you recommend making any adjustments to the other ingredients if I were to leave the chicken out?
Maybe add an extra can of beans to make up for the volume loss? But other than that you shouldn’t have to make any adjustments. :)
Have you done this with dry (soaked overnight) beans instead of canned? Thanks!
I haven’t tried that yet, unfortunately!
Hi, I did it but I cooked my beans before doing the recipe.
I only use dry beans because it’s so much cheaper and taste better but you really have to cook them well before doing this recipe.
This recipe is now a classic at home, WE LOVE IT ! There is spaghetti sauce and there is this chili recipe.