White Chicken Chili

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White Chicken Chili is a creamy soup filled with tender chunks of chicken, soft white beans, green chile and plenty of spices.

Truly more soup than chili, this has been one of our favorite rainy day meals for several years now. I first saw this Creamy White Chili over at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and I think I tried it within a day or two.

White Chicken Chili - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

 

My family loved it at first bite and over the years we’ve tried almost every possible variation on the recipe. I’ve made it in the crock-pot and on the stove top, eaten it right away or stashed it in the freezer for later.

It’s simple to make for a weeknight meal but is also a welcoming dish that begs to be lingered over on cold winter nights.

Creamy White Chicken Chili

For chili lovers getting a little sick of tomato based chilis, White Chicken Chili is a welcome change. This chili gets its creaminess from a combination of sour cream and heavy cream. The tang in the sour cream is balanced by the rich flavor of the heavy cream and the savory chicken broth.

I’ve used both homemade chicken broth and canned broth in this recipe. Either way, it comes out tasting delicious.

White Chicken Chili has become a well-established favorite in my house and I double the recipe almost every time I make it. This way, we can enjoy it right away for lunch or dinner and have plenty to save for later.

Freezer Meal Chili

This soup freezes well and it’s the most popular soup in our freezer anytime the kids spy it there. There are a few different ways to freeze it and all work just fine.

You can let the cooked soup cool completely, then transfer it to freezer safe containers for storage. You can freeze it all in one large container or portion the chili into several smaller containers to have single-serve portions ready to go whenever hunger strikes.

Reheat this chili in the microwave or allow it to thaw at room temperature before warming it on the stove.

If I’m making this recipe way ahead of time, I will often combine all the ingredients together in a freezer-safe zip-close bag (except the sour cream and heavy cream). I freeze the soup uncooked, then thaw and proceed with cooking the soup as directed.

Creamy White Chicken Chili recipe that can be made in the crock-pot or on the stove - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

15 Minute White Chicken Chili

There are times in all of our lives when, despite the best of intentions, we’re rushed to get a meal on the table. When you’re facing both a tight schedule and a house full of hungry kids, you start to come up with ways to make your favorite recipes ready in even less time.

That was the case when I discovered how to make this White Chicken Chili in just 15 minutes. I simply substituted the chicken breast in the regular recipe with 3 cups of cooked chicken.

Anytime I make chicken, I try to make a little extra so I always have leftovers on hand for soup, salad, enchiladas or other easy meals.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve made this recipe, in all of its variations, over the past few years. Served on its own for a simple meal, with a side of bread or a salad, as an afternoon snack; there isn’t a wrong way to make and serve this soup.

Freezer Soups

For more great soup recipes that freeze wonderfully, you’ll want to check out our recipes for Hearty Italian Vegetable Beef Soup and White Bean, Cabbage, and Sausage Soup.

This Skinny Chicken Fajita Soup is on my radar to try soon too. I love having a tasty selection of soups in the freezer all the time. I don’t think it could ever be possible to have too many soup recipes.

If it’s chilis you’re after, I’ve got you covered there, too. Hearty Pepper Chili has never served me wrong, packed with beans and lots of spicy Mexican flavors.

For an easy recipe that uses up lots of canned goods in your pantry, give The Easiest Chili Recipe Ever a try.

Vegetarian Four Bean and Chipotle Chili will satisfy even the most ardent meat lover’s chili cravings (and, of course, vegetarians love it too!). And Green Chili Stew with Sausage and Tomatoes is as hearty and flavorful as they come.

White Chicken Chili is a favorite all year long - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

15-Minute White Chicken Chili Recipe

  1. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, fresh garlic and saute 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  2. Add the broth, beans, chile and the spices. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add 3 cups COOKED chopped chicken. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat. Whisk together the sour cream and heavy cream, pour into the hot soup and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili Recipe

  1. Combine all ingredients (except the sour cream and heavy cream) in a crock-pot set to LOW heat.
  2. Cook for 5-7 hours, if the chicken is frozen, if will take the full 7 hours. (I’ve also cooked this on high, when in a hurry. It takes about 3-4 hours that way.)
  3. Once the chicken is cooked and tender, shred lightly with two forks or tongs.
  4. Toss the chicken pieces in the juices as you shred gently.
  5. Whisk together the sour cream and heavy cream until smooth and then pour over the mixture in the crock-pot.
  6. Stir to combine and cook on low for another half hour or so, until the soup is warm throughout.

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White Chicken Chili

4.75 from 4 votes
Recipe adapted from and with thanks to Mel's Cafe
Pin Print Review
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings (I usually double the recipe, so we have leftovers.)

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound chicken breasts cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 medium onion chopped into 1/2" pieces
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic minced, or 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups  cooked great northern beans or 2 cans
  • 2 cups chicken broth or (1) 14 ounce can
  • 1 7 ounce can of chopped green chile
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  • STOVE-TOP DIRECTIONS: In a large saucepan, over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the chicken, onion, fresh garlic and saute until the chicken is no longer pink. Add the broth, beans, chile and the spices. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about half an hour. Remove from the heat. Whisk together the sour cream and heavy cream, pour into the hot soup and stir to combine. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
  • 15 MINUTE DIRECTIONS: In a large saucepan, over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, fresh garlic and saute 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the broth, beans, chile and the spices. Bring to a boil. Add 3 cups COOKED chopped chicken. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Whisk together the sour cream and heavy cream, pour into the hot soup and stir to combine. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
  • CROCK-POT DIRECTIONS: Combine all ingredients (except the sour cream and heavy cream) in a crock-pot set to LOW heat. I've made this with both fresh and frozen chicken breasts. When cooking in the crock-pot, it isn't necessary to dice the chicken first. Cook for 5-7 hours, if the chicken is frozen, if will take the full 7 hours. (I've also cooked this on high, when in a hurry. It takes about 3-4 hours that way.)
  • Once the chicken is cooked and tender, shred lightly with two forks or tongs. Toss it in the juices as you shred gently. Whisk together the sour cream and heavy cream until smooth and then pour over the mixture in the crock-pot. Stir to combine and cook on low for another half hour or so, until the soup is warm throughout. Enjoy!
  • FREEZER MEAL: Let the soup cool completely before transferring to freezer
  • safe containers. Soup can be reheated in the microwave or it can be thawed
  • first and then reheated on the stove-top. I've also prepped all ingredients except the cream and sour cream and frozen the uncooked mixture in a large Ziploc freezer bag. When ready to cook, thaw completely and then cook as outlined above.

Notes

I've included directions below for making this soup on the stove, in the crock-pot, and even as a lightning fast 15 minute meal made with pre-cooked chicken.

Nutrition

Calories: 606kcal · Carbohydrates: 44g · Protein: 41g · Fat: 30g · Saturated Fat: 14g · Cholesterol: 143mg · Sodium: 1206mg · Potassium: 1359mg · Fiber: 13g · Sugar: 2g · Vitamin A: 880IU · Vitamin C: 14.9mg · Calcium: 238mg · Iron: 5.1mg
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{originally published 11-10-11 – recipe notes and photos updated 1-24-19}

This Creamy White Chicken Chili recipe can be made three different ways! get the full directions at barefeetinthekitchen.com

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Jamie Darrach says

    I love white chicken chili. It's been a couple years since I've had it, but I've never made it. I have this recipe in my slowcooker right now. Only thing is I add tortilla strips and cheese on when it's done.

  2. Melissa says

    Was not a huge fan but I am allergic to garlic so couldn't use that and we hate green chilis. We added creamed corn and more chicken than was called for to help avoid it not being too thin. We must have lacked the flavor from the chilis. I do a great version of white chicken chili that's kind of mixed with red aspects (petite diced tomatoes) as well as a Soup Starter, corn, really any veggie I have, and pinto beans on top of any white bean I have and shredded chicken that is excellent. I think I must be attached to my crock pot way of doing things. I'm sure those who stick to the recipe would be pleased.

  3. Nadia says

    I’m making this recipe for the fourth time. My family loves it! I use fresh chicken breasts, canned white northern beans, and usually a little less diced chiles if I’m making it for kids, but otherwise all the same. Mine’s on the crockpot right now and can’t wait to have it later with some corn bread muffins and a fresh salad :). I have never gone wrong with one of Mary’s recipes!

  4. Sabrina says

    I made this for dinner last night (minus the onion and garlic as I can not eat them) and it came out delicious! We loved the flavor, and the kick the cayenne added! The only thing I would do differently in the future is start it out with a rue to thicken it up, as overall the chili was a little soupy for our taste.

  5. Shirley Lowe says

    I have loved soup for as long as I can remember. ( 71 now ). When my kids were little , I made soup aLot. But none of my acquired the passion for it..
    I am diffidently going to make this an freeze some in individual servings for my lunches or a quick dinner or if someone stops by let minute.
    I do think I might not add as much chicken but add some diced potatoes .

  6. Nikki says

    This is the best white chicken chili recipe. I’ve made it several times, and served it to family and friends. Everyone asks for the recipe, and can’t believe the amount of flavor it has. I will say, I use black or dark red kidney beans instead of Northern beans. I also add a can of whole kernel corn. I usually season my chicken with the same seasonings called for in the recipe, cook it in the instant pot, and shred it. (So I know I’ve made a few personalizations). But I love the simplicity of the 15 min cooking instructions. Thanks!!5 stars

  7. Anne says

    What a awesome recipe, had heard of white chicken chili for years but never had any. Found this recipe and had to try, my family and I were not disappointed. We don’t like things too spicy though, so I omitted the green chilies, and a touch less cayenne. Sixth time I’ve made now, added some frozen corn this time was a nice addition to an already great recipe. Thank you Mary for a recipe that my whole family loves!!5 stars

  8. Laura says

    Good flavor & aroma – Tasty, not too hot; my house smells incredible
    Used my HUGE crockpot for 12 serving recipe
    If I make it again, will make rue (add flour with cream & bring to bubble stirring non-stop) – it was just too liquid as made.4 stars

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