White Chicken Chili

I have a lot of favorite soups, but most people who know me know that this White Chicken Chili is at the top of my list, partly due to the fact that I make it from things my pantry very rarely runs out of, so I end up making it a lot when other meal plans get tossed out the window. It’s really fast, and really easy, and it’s major comfort food for me. I often make a pot at lunch time and just keep it warm until dinner, grabbing a bowl or two in between! Kids love it because they can put chips and cheese on it. Heck, I love it because you put chips and cheese on it.

The Best White Chicken Chili

Ingredient Notes

  • Chicken – This recipe calls for raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts. If you want to speed dinner up or use up leftovers, rotisserie or previously cooked chicken works great, simply add it to the pot during the last 5-10 minutes of simmering to heat up.
  • Great Northern Beans – Any white bean will do! Look for great northern, large white, or canellini.
  • Chicken Broth – This makes up the main body of the soup so make sure to use one you love. Canned or boxed broth is great, or Better Than Bouillon. Avoid bouillon cubes or powder.
  • Condiments – The possibilities are endless here. Don’t feel like you have to have every one of them available, just pick your favorites: sour cream or Greek yogurt, cilantro, green onions, shredded pepper Jack or Jack cheese, cojita or queso fresco, diced avocado, tortilla chips or tortilla strips. I also LOVE this soup with a loaf of warm, crusty bread smothered with this Creamy Jalapeno-Lime Butter.  When you dip the bread into the hot soup, the butter melts and it is seriously the most amazing thing.
  • Spice – This is not a spicy dish. If you want to add some heat, add some diced jalapeños in while cooking your onions, or add some Tabasco sauce near the end of cooking or as a condiment.
  • Lime Juice and Cilantro – These flavors add so much to the soup, but they also mellow quickly. If making ahead to refrigerate or freeze, omit the lime juice and cilantro. Add them after the soup has been reheated, just prior to serving.

Instructions

The Best White Chicken Chili
  1. To start, you’ll cook up some chicken, onion, and garlic really quickly.  You would do this in a large soup pot or Dutch Oven.  The only reason I’m using a large skillet here is because it’s easier to shoot the photos!
  1. When that’s mostly done cooking, you’ll add in some white beans (great northern or canellini work) and some diced green chilis.  These are mild, so they don’t add heat, just tons of flavor.  Don’t drain them, you’ll want all those good juices, too. Add a handful of seasonings, and then let it simmer away.
https://ourbestbites.com/2013/10/creamy-jalapeno-lime-butter/
  1. After a quick simmer, add in some fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro.  Then serve it in bowls with allllll the toppings.  Seriously, guys.  Don’t forget the toppings.
The Best White Chicken Chili

Serving Suggestions

I love serving White Chicken Chili with warm, crusty bread like this Easy No Knead Overnight Artisan Bread and Creamy Jalapeno-Lime Butter. Brazilian Lemonade would be a fun accompaniment to the Latin spices as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this as a freezer meal or freeze leftovers? I LOVE soups as freezer meals. Most of them freeze and reheat beautifully. Simply prepare the White Chicken Chili but omit the lime juice and cilantro. Cool completely and transfer to your preferred freezer container. I love freezing individual servings in my Souper Cubes molds to pull out for an easy lunch. Once reheated, add lime juice, cilantro, and toppings.

Did You Make This?

I’d love to hear from you! Snap a picture and tag me on Instagram, then come back and give this recipe a rating!

White Chicken Chili

5 from 1 vote
Warm and comforting, this White Chicken Chili is full of fresh, bright flavors including classic Latin spices, cilantro and lime.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings8 cups

Ingredients

  • CHILI
  • 1 tablespoon Extra virgin Olive Oil or non-stick spray
  • 1 pound boneless chicken cubed (about 3-4 boneless, skinless breasts)
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cans Great Northern Beans
  • 1 3.5- ounce can green chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 32 ounces chicken broth
  • CONDIMENTS
  • in addition to measurements above
  • Sour cream or non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Pepperjack or Jack cheese shredded
  • Avocado
  • Tortilla Chips or make your own tortilla strips!
  • Also great served with crusty bread and Creamy Jalapeno-Lime Butter

Instructions

  • In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add chopped onion and cook for about 2 minutes- just until it starts to become translucent. While onions are cooking, drain beans, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
  • Sprinkle chopped chicken with a little salt and pepper and add to pot. Add garlic as well. Cook until there’s no more visible pink on the chicken, probably 3-4 minutes. Then add green chills – along with all of the juices in the can.
  • Add beans, cumin, oregano, coriander, salt, and a few turns of fresh cracked pepper. Stir to combine and then add chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the juice from one lime and the 1/2 C chopped cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Ladle into bowls and top with toppings.
  • Makes about 8 cups of soup.

Notes

I call this a chili, but it’s really a soup consistency. If you want it thicker, just reduce the amount of broth. Or, alternatively, take an additional can of beans (drained and rinsed) and place them in a blender. Ladle in a cup or 2 of the finished broth (avoid the chicken pieces, etc.) and puree until smooth. Add this mixture to the soup.
Keyword: chicken, chili, soup
Author: Sara Wells
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I am trying this recipe tonight and wondered if you have the new WW points for this. I put the recipe in but it is showing it to be much higher in points thatn I imagined. I was hoping to compare with what you calculated. Thanks!

  2. This is my wife and I's favorite go-to dish. Anytime we're at the store and can't decide what to get for dinner, we head for the white beans and chicken stock.

    We use half a can of mild rotel diced tomatoes instead of the can of chilis though, to make it a little less spicy. It makes the color of the stew a little less appealing, but the flavor is still spot on.

    Thanks so much!

  3. Just made this tonight for my family and everyone loved it! Thanks so much for inspiring me to try something new. I am new to your blog and am so excited to try some more of your great recipes!!

  4. I added a half bag of tiny pasta (bigger than couscous) and it soaked up all the extra liquid and made a much heartier chili.

  5. Hey just wondering, maybe this is a dumb ?? but what are great nothern beans?, are they pinto Beans?? i am from canada and maybe we dont have those here?/
    who knows??

  6. Thank, thank you for this recipe. I needed a quick easy chicken recipe for dinner and this fit the bill. So yummy and quick and simple. You ladies are amazing! You are like cooking blogger angels.

  7. We just tried this tonight and the whole fam loved it! I thought I had tons of chicken and didn’t have any so I substituted sausage (cut up brats) and it was killer. I loved the cilantro, I love the lime!

  8. We just tried this tonight and the whole fam loved it! I thought I had tons of chicken and didn’t have any so I substituted sausage (cut up brats) and it was killer. I loved the cilantro, I love the lime!

  9. Honestly the BEST white chicken chili that I have ever had. Plus, I had the great honor of introducing my daughter and husband to the dish. What a hit!! Definitely a keeper. I thank you for re-igniting my craving for this yummy autumn dish, enough to prompt me to get up off of my lazy butt and make a big fat pot of it. Thank you, thank you… I am officially a fan from this point forward.

  10. Jeni- I’m so glad you guys liked it! Leaving out the coriander isn’t a big deal at all. Coriander is the dried seeds from the cilantro plant, so the taste is very similar. I don’t really know how to explain it, but it’s yummy. A very bright flavor. You will get some of that same flavor by stirring in the cilantro at the end, so no worries.

    Just for everyone’s reference- coriander is great in anything that cilantro is great in. I usually put it in my black beans as well.

  11. I made this chili tonight for dinner and my kids and husband LOVED it! Logan’s comment was “Phenomenal”. Steve ate and ate and raved about every bowlful/spoonful! Thanks Sara, a new family fav! (Oh, I didn’t have coriander and so I left it out, is that a big mistake?)

  12. This sounds way too tasty! I’ll be keeping this my mind for an upcoming meal when I decide to cook! haha I too am a huge soup fan and make a mean homemade chicken noodle soup.

  13. Nat- you can totally just shred chicken in it. I think I mentioned that- did I? If not, I meant to. You can just toss in any pre-cooked chicken, rotisserie, or whatever. That would make it super quick too.

  14. Haha, on Sunday I had to sign up to bring a dish to our next activity. I signed up for White Chicken Chili, and thought, “I’m going to have to go dig up the recipe because I can’t remember where I put it.” So thanks!!!

    Question: To save money, I was thinking about using a whole chicken and just shredding it (since I’m going to be making a really big portion). Do you think that will make a difference? Should I stick to chopped chicken breasts?

  15. Oh how I wish I had cilantro in my fridge ’cause I would totally be making this for dinner tonight it looks amazing!

  16. I have searching for new soup recipes, I’m so excited for this and the corn chowder. Thank you!!!

  17. I LOVE white chili! I make a quasi-salsa to go on top out of roma tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, fresh lime juice and kosher salt. Similar to what you did with just a bit more flavor and color. It is always a hit. I also like to sprinkle pepperjack cheese on top for a bit more kick.

  18. I love this time of year too. I find any excuse to make Chili. I generally break it out for the first NFL pre-season game. Your’s looks really good. I will have to give it a go sometime.

  19. I find it so funny that you posted this NOW. I really wanted white chicken chili on Friday night so I was searching the house for the recipe. I almost called you to get it, but I was too hungry and I pretty much remembered the spices so I just threw some stuff together and luckily it turned out just as good as I remembered 🙂

    I was going to email you and suggest you put it on the blog so I could find it more easily next time!

    I think it should also be added that my favorite “condiment” is really a side- butter, garlic, lime juice and cilantro all whipped until fluffy and spread on chewy warm dipping bread- YUM!

  20. Yum! My recipe calls for cayenne pepper which gives it QUITE a kick, so that’s something else to try if you want it spicier. In fact, I started cutting it in half (but my DH always adds a few extra shakes to his bowl).

  21. Cami- good question. We actually need to do an entire post on oils because we get so many questions about it.

    I need to be better at always writing “Extra virgin olive oil” because that’s really the only kind you should use. I get lazy and just write olive oil assuming everyone can read my mind, lol.

    the “Extra” in the name means, premium, or the best. It’s the highest grade you can buy. I’ll go into the specifics in a later post, but that’s always what you should use.

    Plain olive oil is actually a blended product. It starts with a really low-grade virgin oil, but then it’s chemically altered and refined so they can sell it as olive oil. Yuck.

    There’s also “light” olive oil, but all that is, is the above chemically refined oil with *less* of the good stuff in it so it has a more mild flavor. It’s not light in calories or anything.

    Bottom line- always use extra virgin olive oil. You’ll find tons of different varieties and price tags, which can be kind of confusing. Olive oil is kind of like wine. Every brand will have a different look and taste depending on the olive harvest and flavor etc.

  22. Fall’s hitting the Seattle area with temperatures in the 60’s. I prefer white chili to the typical red chilis, so maybe I’ll try this sometime.

  23. Yay! I finally have a google account so I can leave comments. I can’t wait to try this soup. And I am hosting a cooking class at my home this Thursday so I can demonstrate your BBQ grilled pizza.

    It is definately not fall here in California. I am getting so tired of summer clothes!

  24. I’m one of those who has the “old” recipe so I’m definatly going to have to try it again. But we loved it the first time around! And no, fall has not hit in north central Utah! The mountains are beautiful red, but for Becka’s birthday on Saturday it was in the 80’s!! I’m decorating today so I at least feel like it’s fall!

  25. This looks great! Can’t wait to try it.

    P.S. What is the difference between pure olive oil, and extrta virgin olive oil? And which do you use?

  26. I think I’ve had this 50 times and it’s still great! Such a good, filling meal esp on a cold day!

  27. Oh my goodness! I was just looking through a soup cookbook this afternoon deciding that we NEED a soup week! My family might revolt if all they get is soup this week but if I start with this one how can they complain? Yum!

  28. Ooh, I actually have all these ingredients on hand (my cupboards are a little bare). Thank you for your perfect timing! I love a good soup that’s hearty enough for my husband to eat. This looks perfect.

    By the way, Kate, my roommate from college found your site so your buttons must be working!