This is the best white chicken chili recipe! Made with shredded tender chicken, an assortment of fresh peppers, corn, creamy and flavorful broth and hearty cannellini beans, this chili is hearty, creamy and delicious! The flavor of the chili and the toppings make this the perfect soup.

Looking for more hearty soup recipes? Try our ham and corn chowder and lasagna soup!

A bowl of white chicken chili topped with cilantro, lime wedge, and crushed tortilla chips.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy and packed with flavor. I love an easy chili recipe that is packed with flavor and comes together seamlessly. I’ve made sure the instructions are very straight forward and easy to follow so you can make it perfectly every time.
  • Perfect dish for dinner tonight and leftovers! This recipe makes quite a bit and can easily feed a small crowd (I estimate about 12 servings). If you won’t be eating all 12 servings in 1 sitting, don’t worry! These leftovers taste amazing! We think it tastes just as good, if not better the second day. It’s one of the few recipes we actually look forward to eating night after night.
  • A white chicken chili without cream cheese. I know many versions of white chicken chili recipes include the cream cheese, but I like it without. You still get a creamy and delicious soup, however without it we have healthy white chicken chili!
  • One pot or crockpot: This recipe only uses one pot! Or you can adjust it for the crockpot by following my instructions in the recipe tips below.

Ingredient Notes

The Best White Chicken Chili Recipe ingredients on a white background.
  • Peppers: We use a combination of jalapeno peppers, anaheim peppers and poblano peppers.
  • Cannellini Beans: Also called white kidney beans. These beans have a smooth texture and nutty flavor.
  • Cumin: This spice adds a warm, kind of earthy flavor. And, fun fact, cumin is the base for taco seasoning!
  • Flour: The flour acts as a thickening base for the sauce.
  • Chicken Broth: Using some kind of broth in soup is always better than just using water. There is more flavor in chicken, beef or vegetable broth that will add to the soup. 
  • Cayenne Pepper: 1/4 tsp is kid-friendly. If you want to amp up the heat, add ½ tsp.
  • Heavy Cream: This helps add a creaminess to the soup. However, to make it even healthier, use half and half.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Cook the vegetables. In a large pot over medium heat, add the butter. Once melted, add the onions, peppers, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and salt. Cook until the peppers and onions have softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. 
A white pot full of diced onion and diced green peppers.
  1. Thicken the soup. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and stir to combine. 
  2. Mash beans. Add 1 can of cannellini beans to the pot and use a potato masher to mash the beans. This will create a naturally thicker consistency in the soup.  
A large pot against a white background, full of sautéed onion and green peppers.
  1. Add chicken and corn, then simmer. Add the remaining beans, chicken, and corn. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  2. Make it creamy. Stir in the heavy cream and heat until warm, about 3 minutes. 
  3. Garnish. Portion into serving bowls, top with cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, lime wedges, cilantro, and avocado. The toppings really make the dish over the top!
A ladle scooping up Best White Chicken Chili from a pot.

Recipe Tips

If you’re having a hard time finding “cannellini beans” at the grocery store, look for white kidney beans. They’re the same thing. If you can’t find either, you can substitute for great Northern beans (there will be a slight difference in texture and taste).

This soup is between mild and medium salsa on the spice scale. If you want ZERO spice, omit the cayenne pepper. I add 1/4 tsp cayenne and both of my kids eat it and love it. But if you want it to have more of a kick up the cayenne to 1/2 tsp or 3/4 tsp. 

By removing the seeds from the peppers, you’re already removing a lot of the spicy factor. 

Using 1 of the cans of cannellini beans to mash into the soup will create a thicker consistency — this is a really important trick/step not to miss. You can use a food processor or a potato masher works just as well!

If using cooked, rotisserie chicken, cook on high for 2 hours or until warm. Shred the chicken after it’s cooked, then add the heavy cream. Mash the can of cannellini beans and combine with the rest of the soup. Leave on low until warmed through (depending on how warm or cold your heavy cream was).  

How to Make White Chicken Chili in a Crockpot

Make this white chicken chili in the crockpot with just a few adjustments. Leave the chicken breast whole. Sautee the onion and peppers. Spray the bottom of the crockpot with nonstick spray. Add all the ingredients except the heavy cream and 1 can of cannellini beans. Cook on high for 6-7 hours (if using frozen chicken) or 4-5 hours if using raw, thawed chicken. Add the heavy cream and the other can of beans (mashed) at the end.

A bowl of Best White Chicken Chili against a white background, topped with cilantro, lime, and tortilla chips.

Garnishes

I would definitely say these garnishes are a must! I wouldn’t recommend skipping out on them because they really just kick the dish over the top!

  • Sour cream — A small dollop is all you need.
  • Cilantro, chopped — I am a huge cilantro lover, so grab a big handful of the cilantro and sprinkle it overtop. It adds some great flavor to this soup.
  • Tortilla chips — Can also use tortilla strips. The salty and crunchy chips added as garnish really make this dish come together.
  • Lime wedges — a spritz of lime pairs perfectly with this soup.
  • Avocado
  • Cheese — I enjoy using Monterey Jack cheese for this recipe, however if you don’t have it on hand you can use cheddar cheese, Colby Jack cheese, white cheddar cheese etc.

Storing

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.

FAQs

Can you freeze white chicken chili?

Yes! Make the dish through step 4, stopping before doing step 5 (which is adding the cream). You’ll want to freeze the chili without the cream. Let the soup cool completely before storing in a zip-top back or airtight container. The soup will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. When ready, remove the soup from the freezer and let thaw. Add to a pot to warm, then continue with step 5. 

How do you thicken white chicken chili?

Using 1 of the cans of cannellini beans and mashing it will help give a thicker and creamier consistency. Using heavy cream instead of half and half or milk will also make the soup thicker and creamier. I also have a touch of flour we’ll add to the chili to help make it thicker too. You can add a touch of cornstarch to a ¼ cup of broth (mix until fully combined) and add to the soup for an extra thick consistency. But, I don’t think it needs it. 

What cheese do you use for white chicken chili?

I love Monterey jack cheese! It’s amazing with this dish. 

What is in white chicken chili seasoning?

Peppers, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic, and butter are the base for seasoning in this dish.

White chicken chili and a spoon in a small bowl, against a white background.

More Delicious Soups and Chili Recipes

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a rating and review, or scroll below the recipe card and do so there. 

Stay up-to-date by following us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

A bowl of The Best White Chicken Chili topped with a lime wedge, cilantro, and crushed tortilla chips.
Print Review
5 from 4 votes

White Chicken Chili

Friends, this will officially become your go-to soup recipe! It has so much flavor with lots of peppers, beans, chicken, and corn. Don't skimp on the toppings! Add the crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, avocado and cilantro. The toppings elevate this dish 10 fold.
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 2 tablespoons butter - salted or unsalted is fine
  • 1 large yellow onion - diced
  • 2 anaheim peppers - seeded and diced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers - seeded and diced
  • 2 poblano peppers - seeded and diced
  • 5 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper - 1/4 tsp is kid-friendly. If you want to amp up the heat add 1/2 – 3/4 tsp
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic - minced, about 6-7 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 15 oz cans cannellini beans - rinsed and drained and divided
  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken - shredded. Can also use cooked and cubed chicken (really, whatever you have on hand is fine)!
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Garnishes

  • sour cream
  • cilantro - chopped
  • tortilla chips
  • lime wedges
  • avocado
  • monterey jack cheese

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot over medium heat add the butter, once melted add the onions, peppers cumin, paprika, cayenne, and salt. Cook until the peppers and onions have softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. 
  • Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and stir to combine. 
  • Add 1 can of cannellini beans to the pot and use a potato masher to mash the beans. This will create a thicker consistency in the soup. 
  • Add the remaining beans, chicken, and corn. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  • Stir in the heavy cream and heat until warm, about 3 minutes. 
  •  Portion into serving bowls, top with cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, lime wedges, cilantro, and avocado. The toppings really add a lot of umph to this dish! 

Notes

This soup is between mild and medium salsa on the spice scale. If you want ZERO spice, omit the cayenne pepper. I add 1/4 tsp cayenne and both of my kids eat it and love it. But if you want it to have more of a kick up the cayenne to 1/2 tsp or 3/4 tsp. 
Storing: Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Freezing: Make the dish through step 4. You’ll want to freeze the chili without the cream. Let the soup cool completely before storing in a Ziplock bag or airtight container. The soup will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. When ready, remove the soup from the freezer and let thaw. Add to a pot to warm, then continue with step 5. 
Make this in a Crockpot: Leave the chicken breast whole. Sautee the onion and peppers. Spray the bottom of the crockpot with nonstick spray. Add all the ingredients except the heavy cream and 1 can of cannellini beans. Cook on high for 6-7 hours (if using frozen chicken) or 4-5 hours if using raw, thawed chicken. Add the heavy cream and the other can of beans (mashed) at the end.
Nutritional information is based on one serving and does NOT include garnishes/toppings. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 119kcal (6%)Carbohydrates: 9g (3%)Protein: 3g (6%)Fat: 8g (12%)Saturated Fat: 5g (25%)Cholesterol: 25mg (8%)Sodium: 475mg (20%)Potassium: 215mg (6%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 2g (2%)Vitamin A: 506IU (10%)Vitamin C: 22mg (27%)Calcium: 27mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Did you make this recipe?snap a photo and tag @saltandbaker in your posts and stories so I can see what you’re making!

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.

This recipe was originally published on Feb. 19, 2021. It was republished on Nov. 15, 2021, to include additional information and photos.