Creamy White Chicken Chili
I have been dreaming up this recipe in my mind for awhile. For about a month actually, ever since I found out that my new neighbors were throwing our annual fall block party with chili cook-offs per tradition. Right away the wheels in my brain started turning. I’ve made lots of chili recipes over the year, but for this I wanted something different, something that may stand out from the spread of more traditional chili varieties.
Right away I knew I wanted to make white bean chicken chili, but I wanted a creamy chili that wasn’t watery. Many recipes I’ve seen have a thin, almost grainy broth and I wanted creamy goodness. I also wanted lots of beans, corn, peppers, and traditional chili ingredients while keeping everything white and green. The final result was good, and I mean really really good. So tasty in fact that I won first place! Yup you guys, this is award-winning, delicious chili right here.
Onions and peppers are sauteéd until golden, and then in goes the chicken, green chilis, corn, navy beans, and salsa verde.
A smooth, queso-like cream sauce made with Monterrey Jack cheese and sour cream is then folded in and mixed in with some broth until the consistency is just perfect. The final result is creamy, cheesy, slightly spicy and really dang good. It was served with lime wedges and tortilla chips and was really a hit all around.
This is the perfect game day, crisp fall weather type of meal. My whole family loves it and it’s a nice spin on classic chili when you want to try something different. I hope you try it and love it!
Ingredients needed for Creamy White Chicken Chili:
- Olive Oil
- Green Chilies
- Salsa Verde
- Corn (fresh, frozen corn, or canned corn would all be fine)
- White Beans (I like cannellini beans or great northern beans)
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts (raw or cooked shredded chicken)
- Chicken stock or broth
- Monterrey Jack Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Your favorite toppings: Fresh cilantro, Lime wedges, Avocado, Tortilla chips
Equipment needed for this Creamy Chicken Chili Recipe:
- Large soup pot or Dutch Oven
- large saucepan for the cheese sauce
Can I make this Chili Vegetarian?
Yes absolutely. Just skip the chicken and sub vegetable broth. I have done this before and it’s still great
Can I make this in my Instant Pot or Crock Pot?
The first part of the recipe would be perfect in an Instant Pot or Slow Cooker. You could even put the raw chicken breasts in without cutting and then shred the chicken back in. I’d add a cup of broth to the veggie mixture before cooking. (Probably 6 hours for slow cooker and 15 min on high pressure in the instant pot. After chicken is cooked and veggies are soft make the cheese sauce and stir it in!
I don’t have Monterrey Jack Cheese- can I use something else?
I like Jack here because it gets super melty and cheesy like queso. But I think cheddar cheese would work just fine in a pinch, or even pepper jack cheese for a little kick.
What type of beans should I use?
I prefer cannellini beans or navy beans because they are smaller than great northern beans, but in a pinch use black beans, pinto, or whatever you have on hand. (Just make sure to rinse them)
Can I use leftover chicken instead of cooking it in the soup?
Yes, in fact I love getting a rotisserie chicken and shredding it. You can stir it into the soup at the end when adding the cheese sauce. You can also easily sub chicken thighs.
How can I make this recipe spicy?
Depending on your family’s tolerance for spice level, you can use jalapeños as part of your chopped peppers or also add a teaspoon cayenne pepper to the onions. I also think a drizzle of hot sauce does the trick nicely.
What to serve with White Chicken Chili?
Honestly this is a complete meal on it’s own. It’s hearty, full of protein & veggies, and loaded up with garnishes feels like a complete meal. But I think some fresh tortillas and taco fixings would be a good addition to the dinner table with a cup of this soup on the side!
Other favorite fall soups:
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup
Creamy White Chicken Chili
- 1 large onion
- 2 cups chopped peppers (I used a mix of mild and spicy)
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite sized pieces
- 2-4 oz cans fire roasted green chilis
- 1 cup salsa verde
- 2 15 oz cans white beans*
- 1 cup fresh, frozen or canned sweet corn
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1-2 cups milk or broth
- 2 cups sour cream
- 8 oz grated monterrey jack cheese
- In a large pot or dutch oven, sauté the onion in some oil over medium high heat. When it starts to turn golden add the peppers and chicken, stirring and cooking until the chicken is mostly cooked and golden.
- Add the chilis, salsa, beans and corn, and stir to combine. reduce heat to low while you make the cheese sauce.
- In another medium-sized pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk until golden brown. Add the cup of broth or milk, and whisk until smooth. Continue to stir until the mixture has thickened a bit.
- Add the grated cheese and sour cream stir until smooth.
- Pour creamy mixture into the pot with the chicken and veggies, and stir to combine. Simmer on low for 15-20 minutes, and add more liquid if chili seems too thick.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with limes, tortilla chips, or avocado slices, cilantro or scallions
* I like navy beans because they are small, but any variety would work!
I was totally thinking the same thing as I searched for a white chicken chili the other day. This is soooo the kind of recipe I was looking for!
I’ve been looking for a great white chili recipe and I think I found it in yours! Silly question, but what types of peppers did you use?
Not silly! I used 2 large poblano peppers which were mediums spiciness and then 2 sweet banana peppers :)
So nice that your neighborhood has been welcoming – thats the stuff of suburban dreams <3 It's VERY MUCH chili weather here…time for me to get cracking and pull out the heavy bottom pots \o/
This chili was amazing Audra. So happy to have such a simple and delicious recipe at hand.
Queso meets chili…I like the sound of that!
Hey Audra, do you think I could sub greek yogurt for the sour cream? I’m hesitant to make any substitutions because it is PERFECT the way it is. :-)
Yes you could for sure!