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February 20, 2024

White Bean Chicken Chili

A colorful mix of garlic, green chilies, and red bell pepper mingles with cumin and chili powder for a white bean chicken chili recipe that will warm you from head to toe.

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a bowl of white bean chicken chili topped with jalapeño, Sour cream, avocado, tortilla strips, cotija and cilantro
Photography by Gayle McLeod

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An Easy White Chicken Chili Recipe To Make All Winter

When it comes to chili, this isn’t our first rodeo. We love chili in all forms, and are adding this white bean chicken chili to The Modern Proper Chili Hall of Fame, which includes our Simple Chili Recipe, Award Winning Chili, Turkey Pumpkin Chili, and Paleo Chili. And because chili is nothing without cornbread (fact) we encourage you to serve it with: Homemade Cornbread, Cornbread with Creamed Corn and Jalapeño Infused Honey, Spoon Bread, or Cheesy Corn Casserole.

white beans, chicken, corn, bell pepper, spices, broth, enchilada sauce, spices, cilantro and avocado in prep bowls

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Ingredients For Our Best White Chicken Chili Recipe

  • Seasoning: cumin, chili powder, sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper

  • Pantry: chicken stock, canned mild green enchilada sauce, canned green chilies, canned white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini beans, canned sweet whole kernel corn, extra-virgin olive oil

  • Fresh: yellow onion, garlic cloves, chicken breasts, lime, red bell pepper

onion and garlic being cooked in olive oil in a pot
white bean chicken chili cooing in a pot made with onion, green enchilada sauce, chiles, spices, corn and bell pepper

How to Make White Chicken Chili

  1. Cook the garlic and onions in a large Dutch oven or your biggest soup pot.

  2. With a wooden spoon, stir in the chicken, chicken stock, enchilada sauce, chilies, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 25-30 minutes to cook the chicken.

  3. Take the chicken breasts out and shred the meat.

  4. To create a creamier base, transfer 2 cups of the chili, including the beans and vegetables) to a blender and blend until nearly smooth. Alternatively you can use an immersion blender directly in the pot to blend ¼ of the chili.

  5. Stir the beans, corn, and bell pepper into the Dutch oven and let cook until the bell pepper has softened.

  6. Stir in the shredded chicken and lime juice.

  7. Top with jalapeño, sour cream, avocado, tortilla strips, cotija, and cilantro if desired.

cooked chicken breast being shredded with 2 forks on a plate
a pot of white bean chicken chili made with onion, green enchilada sauce, chiles, spices, corn and bell pepper

How to Store Leftover Chili + Tips

  • Toppings are key when it comes to chili, and we recommend having avocado, cilantro, cotija cheese, tortilla strips, sour cream, and thinly-sliced jalapeños on hand.

  • Chili leftovers get better with time, and can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to three months. Just make sure they have cooled completely before storing!

  • This recipe can easily be made in an Instant Pot. Follow along with our instructions in the recipe notes below.

a pot of white bean chicken chili made with onion, green enchilada sauce, chiles, spices, corn and bell pepper
a bowl of white bean chicken chili topped with jalapeño, Sour cream, avocado, tortilla strips, cotija and cilantro

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White Bean Chicken Chili

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  45 min
  • Calories: 416

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (19-ounce) can mild green enchilada sauce
  • 1 (4-ounce) can green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweet whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)

For serving (optional)

  • Sliced jalapeño
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado
  • Tortilla strips
  • Cotija cheese
  • Fresh cilantro

Method

  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is glistening, add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 more minute.


  2. Stir in the chicken, chicken stock, enchilada sauce, green chilies, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Using two forks, shred the chicken. If you like a thicker chili, transfer 2 cups of the soup, including the beans and vegetables) to a blender and blend until nearly smooth. Pour the blended mixture back into the pot. Alternatively you can use an immersion blender directly in the pot to blend ¼ of the chili.

  3. Stir the beans, corn, and bell pepper into the Dutch oven. Cover, and cook on medium low, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the bell peppers are tender and the beans are warmed through. Stir in the shredded chicken and lime juice.

  4. Divide the chili among 6 bowls. Top with jalapeño, sour cream, avocado, tortilla strips, cotija, and cilantro if using.


To make in an Instant Pot.

  1. Heat the olive oil in the Instant Pot set to sauté mode. Once the oil is glistening, add the onion and cook, stirring until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute more.

  2. Add the beans, chicken, chicken stock, enchilada sauce, corn, chilies, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bell pepper. Lock the lid in place, close the vent valve, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Manually release the pressure.

  3. Transfer the chicken to a plate. If you like a thicker chili, transfer 2 cups of the chili, including the beans and vegetables) to a blender and blend until nearly smooth. Pour the blended mixture back into the pot. Alternatively you can use an immersion blender directly in the pot to blend ¼ of the chili.

  4. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken. Return the shredded chicken to the Instant Pot and add the lime juice. Set the Instant Pot to sauté and simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.

  5. Divide the chili among 6 bowls. Top with jalapeño, sour cream, avocado, tortilla strips, cotija, and cilantro if using.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories416
  • Protein39 g
  • Carbohydrates49 g
  • Total Fat5 g
  • Dietary Fiber14 g
  • Cholesterol65 mg
  • sodium1895 mg
  • Total Sugars10 g

White Bean Chicken Chili

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • JL

    Is this recipe spicy?

    Nope! It uses mild enchilada sauce. Hope you enjoy!

  • Jamie Prusinowski

    Hello! I see the number of servings is 6. Can you tell me the amount per serving? Is it 2 cups, 1 cup. This white chicken chili recipe is on weekly rotation and definitely a family favorite!

    Thanks!

    We do not currently have yield.

  • Jasmine K

    Can I double the recipe? Will it fit? Have you doubled the recipe?

    We have not tried doubling it so it would depend on what size instant pot you have.

  • Tessa Daywalt

    Can I use frozen chicken breasts? Love this recipe! Have made it several times!

    In theory yes, but we haven't tested it with frozen chicken to know the cook time.

  • Sheila

    I’d like to use store bought rotisserie chicken - already cooked. At what point do I add it to the pot? In the beginning to pick up flavors, or at end to prevent it from overcooking?

    We recommend just adding it in at the end, Sheila. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Cassidy Carson

    Made this a few days ago! My family loved it. I used homemade chili paste in place of chili powder for an even more complex flavor!

    Thanks Cassidy, we are so glad you loved it!

  • Janine Vose

    Love this recipe! It was so simple and quick! It was a hit with the family on a busy night.

    Thanks Janine, we are so happy you and the family loved it!

  • Gretchen

    Genuinely an awesome recipe. Ate every day of the week as a lunch and never once got tired of it.

    Thanks Gretchen, so glad you loved it!

  • S. Wilson

    This is the best recipe! Fabulous and worth making!!

    Thank you! We are so glad you love it!

  • Casey Shutt-Hoblet

    This was my first recipe using the instant pot. It was so good. The chicken was so tender and the chili had amazing flavor. I will definitely make this one again. Thanks again Modern Proper for wonderful easy recipes.

    Thank you Casey! You're so welcome. We are so glad that you enjoyed it and great job using the instant pot and it can be intimidating your first time!