This delicious white chicken chili is made homemade tortilla strips, perfect for chilly days when you want a warm cozy meal.
White Chicken Chili
White Chicken Chili is a twist on traditional chili, using white beans and chicken instead of the usual red beans and beef. It’s lighter, packed with flavor, easy to make, and can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Blending the veggies into the soup is a good way to create a creamy consistency without
adding cream. Serve this dish with your favorite toppings, like avocado, sour cream, or red onion. If you prefer ground turkey, try my White Bean Turkey Chili.
What is White Chicken Chili?
White chicken chili is a flavorful stew that combines tender chicken with white beans, poblano peppers, fresh corn, and spices. Unlike its red counterpart, which is typically tomato-based and spicier, white bean chicken chili is milder. It’s often finished with sour cream or Greek yogurt to add richness and a velvety texture.
White Chicken Chili Ingredients
- Poblano Peppers: Slice two small poblano peppers, or any green chiles.
- Onion: Slice one white onion.
- Cumin adds smokiness to this white chili chicken recipe.
- Beans: The best beans for white chili are white beans like Great Northern Beans, cannellini beans or navy beans. Don’t drain the can—pour the liquid and the beans into the pot.
- Broth: Use four cups of low-sodium chicken broth or chicken stock.
- Bay Leaf: Add one bay leaf for a subtle herbal flavor and depth.
- Chicken: You’ll need a pound and a half of boneless chicken breasts.
- Salt to season the chili
- Corn Tortillas: Make your own tortilla chips with less oil by baking the corn tortillas.
- Corn: I prefer fresh or frozen corn, but drained canned corn works too.
- Toppings: I recommend topping this white bean chicken chili with fresh cilantro, sliced jalapeños, and a squeeze of fresh lime. Some other topping ideas are sliced avocado, Greek yogurt, red onion, low-fat sour cream, or shredded Monterey Jack cheese.
How to Make White Chicken Chili
- Sauté the onions and poblano in a large pot for five minutes. Add the cumin and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, followed by the can of beans with the liquid, broth, bay leaf, and chicken.
- Simmer: Increase the heat to medium-high and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes.
- Tortilla Strips: Cut the four tortillas into strips. Place them on a sheet pan in a single layer, spray with oil, and season with salt. Bake until golden and crispy for 10 minutes at 350°F.
- Chicken: Remove the chicken breasts from the pot and shred them.
- Blend the Chili: Remove one cup of chili and blend it in a blender or with an immersion blender. Return the chicken and blended broth to the pot with the corn. Bring it to a simmer, and then turn off the heat.
- How to Serve: Pout the chili into bowls and top with tortilla strips and any other desired toppings.
How to Thicken White Chicken Chili without Flour
I used two methods to thicken this white chicken chili without adding flour:
- Puree a cup of the bean-broth-veggie mixture for a creamy consistency without cream.
- Don’t drain the beans, as it adds viscosity.
Customizing Your Chili
One of the great things about white chicken chili is how customizable it is. Here are some ideas to make it your own:
- Spice It Up: Sauté diced jalapeños with the onion and poblanos for more heat. You can also add chili powder or cayenne pepper.
- Add Veggies: Throw in diced bell peppers or baby spinach for extra nutrition and color.
- Chicken: Swap the chicken breasts for boneless chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat.
- Make It Creamy: Add sour cream, Greek yogurt, or cream cheese for a richer chili.
- Hate Cilantro? Skip it.
- Tortilla Strips: If you don’t want to make the crunchy tortilla strips, swap them with tortilla chips.
- Crockpot White Chicken Chili: To make this chili in the slow cooker, sauté the vegetables in a skillet and add all the ingredients to the crockpot. Slow cook on low for eight hours or high for four hours.
What to Serve with White Chicken Chili
Packed with protein and fiber, this healthy white bean chicken chili with tortilla strips is a filling meal by itself, but if you want to serve it with something, here are some side dish ideas:
Storage and Meal Prep
Leftovers taste even better the next day and will remain good for up to 4 days in an airtight container. Reheat it on the stove or in the microwave. Make a double batch and keep it in the freezer up to 3 months for a quick, easy meal later.
Can you freeze white chicken chili?
This easy white chicken chili recipe is perfect for freezing. If you plan to serve it to a group, store it in a larger container. If you want individual portions for quick meals, store it in two-cup containers. Thaw it in the refrigerator the night before and microwave or heat on the stove until warm.
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Yield: 5 servings
Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
- olive oil spray
- 2 small poblano peppers, sliced
- 1 sweet onion, sliced
- 1 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 15 oz can white northern or navy beans, with their liquid
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, or boneless chicken thighs
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 6-inch corn tortillas, yellow or white
- 1 cup sweet corn, fresh or frozen
- chopped fresh cilantro, thin sliced jalapeno rounds & lime wedges for topping
- optional toppings: sliced avocado, Greek yogurt, low-fat sour cream, diced red onion, or jack cheese
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a 3 quart or large pot, heat some olive oil spray over medium. Add the poblano peppers and onion, cook occasionally until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add cumin and cook, stirring often until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add full can of beans, chicken broth, bay leaf and chicken breast; raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, stack on a cutting board and cut the tortilla stack in half, then into 1/2-inch wide strips.
Arrange the strips on a sheet pan in a single layer (you may need to use more than one pan, or bake in rounds) & spray with cooking oil. Season the strips with a few pinches of salt and bake until golden and crispy, about 10 minutes.
Remove chicken breast from pot, shred and reserve.
Pull 1 cup of the chili from the pot and blend. Return to the pot with the shredded chicken; add corn. Bring to a simmer & turn off the heat.
To serve, top the chili with a handful of tortilla strips, cilantro, jalapeños and any other desired toppings.
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- Add a jalapeno or two when sauteeing the vegetables for a kick of heat
- Keeping the bean liquid when cooking adds viscosity to the soup
- Blending the veggies into the soup is a good way to create a “creamy” consistency without adding cream
- Fresh or frozen corn is best, but canned corn (that has been drained) works as well.
Serving: 1 1/2 cups, Calories: 372 kcal, Carbohydrates: 40.5 g, Protein: 41 g, Fat: 5.5 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 99.5 mg, Sodium: 590 mg, Fiber: 7.5 g, Sugar: 6 g