This Creamy White Chicken Chili recipe is the best one I’ve ever tried, and it’s super easy to throw together! Tender shredded chicken is combined with white beans in a thick and creamy sauce. There is an unexpected secret ingredient that brings the flavor of this chili over the top! Originally posted October 1, 2021.
Eric and I keep getting the same type of reminders on our phones lately. A message will pop up that says “Call about.”
I got one the other day that just said, “Cancel first.”
Excuse me, cancel what exactly? And who am I supposed to be calling??
Ah, the joys of relying on modern technology. These were all of course reminders that we spoke into our phones at some point, that Siri didn’t quite pick up. Leaving us with a gnawing sensation that we’re forgetting something. Because we are forgetting something, and there is no way to find out what it is.
Does anyone else mess this up as much as we do?? Hardly a day goes by that I am not cursing Siri’s name! Here’s to technology, making all of our lives easier and also 10x more frustrating.
Who’s ready for chili season?? It comes every fall, right? We’ve got Fall Festivals, Harvest Parties, Halloween, and chili cook-off’s galore. If you are looking for something a little different than traditional chili or Quick and Easy Chili, look no further! White Chicken Chili is a classic!
Why is it called white chili?
White chili typically uses chicken, a white meat, rather than beef.
Is White Chili real chili?
But wait, hold up, does white chili even count as chili? OF COURSE IT DOES.
I guarantee you if you are asking this question, it’s because you have a Texan whispering in your ear. 😂
One time my sister, who is from California but lives in Texas, went to a chili cook-off hosted in someone’s home. She showed up with a big pot of White Chicken Chili and barely made it through the door before the host looked down at her food and said bluntly, “You know you can’t enter that in the contest, right?”
Texans take their chili VERY seriously. Come on, head to the comments, we know you’re silently imploding. Tell us all about how white chili is not chili, and how NO chili most Americans have ever had is real chili, because they have beans and tomatoes in them.
What’s the difference between white chili and regular chili?
Technically, chili started out as “chili con carne,” which is stewed chili peppers with beef. That’s delicious for sure (kind of similar to this Tejano Carne Guisada) but people started tossing tomatoes and beans in chili con carne WAY before anyone who is complaining about it was even born.
I’m sorry Texas, but you are no longer the chili authority. Beans and tomatoes are considered classic chili ingredients to most of the rest of us Americans.
As for White Chicken Chili? Is it real chili? Of course it is! It has chilis, tomatoes, Tex-Mex flavors, beans and meat. If that’s not chili, I don’t know what is! Sincerely, your chili defendant. I will go to court for you. ;) Now let’s get into these ingredients a little more:
What is White Chili made of (Ingredients for White Chili)
Here’s our line up! Full recipe below!
- Olive oil
- Spices: Kosher salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, chili powder, cumin, and oregano
- Ranch seasoning packet (technically this is optional but it’s soooo good)
- White beans
- Pinto beans
- Shredded chicken
- Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
- Cream cheese
- Frozen corn
- Rotel (or diced tomatoes)
- Diced green chilies
How to make White Chicken Chili on the Stove Top
This recipe is seriously so easy, and done in about 30 minutes.
First start by breaking down a rotisserie chicken if that’s what you’re using. (Any kind of cooked chicken is totally fine for this recipe.) Start by cutting out the breasts, then cut the dark meat off the wings. Get in there with your hands and get all that meat! Rotisserie chicken is so delicious, we don’t want to waste it! (Don’t throw away the plastic dish the chicken came in just yet.)
You are going to need about 2 and 1/2 cups of chicken for this chili, about 12 ounces. Freeze the rest for the next time you want to make it! Set it aside and start chopping veggies.
Heat up your oil and add in the onion. Saute for a few minutes.
What are the seasonings for a White Chili recipe?
Here is that secret ingredient I mentioned!
A packet of Ranch seasoning, added dry (don’t go making ranch dressing now). You don’t HAVE to add it in, but I love the flavor boost it adds to the chili! That little packet doesn’t just have more seasoning in it; it also has powdered buttermilk and thickening agents in it, to make your chili even more rich and creamy.
I add the ranch seasoning in addition to the other seasonings called for in the recipe (oregano, cumin, etc.) If you don’t have the Ranch packet, that’s okay. The other seasonings will still give you a delicious chili.
Next add in all your cans: diced green chilies, Rotel (or regular diced tomatoes), and beans.
Try to unsee all the dirty dishes in my sink please, yikes. Everyone drains a can of beans like this sometimes right? Tell me I’m not alone. Colanders are annoying to wash okay?
Stir these ingredients into the onions and spices to get them all coated in flavor. Add in your chicken broth and the shredded chicken itself.
If you used a rotisserie chicken, I highly recommend adding some of your hot broth to the plastic dish that you bought your chicken in. I dip it right into my chili. Swirl it around, melt all that fatty goodness and solidified broth, and dump it back into your chili. Instant flavor!
How to thicken White Chicken Chili
Now it’s time to thicken up this chili even more, and make it creamy! (Remember, the Ranch seasoning we added before also helps thicken.) Add in your chopped up cream cheese. Let the mixture come to a boil and then let simmer for 5 minutes or up to 60 minutes. Use your wooden spoon or whisk to break up the cream cheese as needed.
Just before serving, add in the frozen corn. It’s already been par cooked (before freezing) so we only need to warm it. If you put it in too early and simmer it, you will lose some of that good corny flavor.
And we’re done!! Except of course the millions garnishes you should definitely add:
What to serve with Creamy White Chicken Chili
The topping possibilities are endless, one reason everyone loves Tex Mex. Here are some ideas!
- cheddar cheese
- sour cream
- green onion
- tortilla chips
As far as side dishes go, here are some ideas to make it a full meal:
- Sweet Honey Cornbread
- Creamed Corn Casserole
- Buttermilk Biscuits
- Cinnamon Rolls. Just kidding. Kinda. My husband grew up in Montana and sometimes for school lunch they would serve chili and cinnamon rolls, as if that was a normal side dish for chili. Anyone else?? I am still very weirded out by this, haha!
- You could also serve with a big ol salad! I like this Raspberry Avocado Salad.
Can you freeze this White Chicken Chili Recipe?
This chili freezes well! Add to a ziplock bag, seal well, and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to use it, thaw in the fridge, then heat in a pot over low heat until it is hot. Or toss it in the microwave (from thaw OR frozen). You can also partially thaw it on the counter or defrost in the microwave until you can work it into a pot. Then add a couple tablespoons of water and heat on low until completely melted and hot.
How to make White Chicken Chili in a slow cooker
It’s super easy to make this recipe in the slow cooker! I do it all the time. See notes for more details, but here’s the idea: Add all the ingredients except the chicken, corn, and cream cheese to a slow cooker. Cook for about 5 hours on low, or about 3 hours on high. Add the corn, chicken, and cream cheese, and cook on low for another hour. Stir before serving with all the fixin’s.
I love me some chili and have some other recipes you are going to love! The first is The Best Chili Recipe I’ve Ever Made, and I stand by that title! It’s the best classic chili I’ve ever had. It’s got shredded beef and ALL the flavor. Another great weeknight option is this Quick and Easy Chili Recipe. It’s done in about 40 minutes and has a great depth of flavor. And don’t forget Chili Mac yes please. Here are some more ideas!
More comfort food recipes you are going to love!
- Cream Cheese Chicken Chili << today’s recipe is loosely based on this one, but it’s made in the crockpot and makes a TON
- Cowboy Pinto Bean Soup << lots of bacon in this! So good
- The Best Chili Recipe I’ve Ever Made << slow cooked labor of delicious love
- Quick and Easy Chili Recipe << done in like 40 mins
- Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup << this really does taste like enchiladas with that lovely corn flavor!
- Easy Potato Soup Recipe << another super fast comfort meal!
- How to Make Tomato Soup << it’s easier and tastier than you think!
- Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup << this is heaven
- Taco Soup from Southern Plate
- Best Clam Chowder Recipe from Reluctant Entertainer
- Chicken Soup Risotto from How Sweet Eats
White Chicken Chili
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, about 1 tablespoon minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 (1-ounce) package) Ranch seasoning, dry
- 1 (10-ounce) can Rotel, or a can of diced tomatoes
- 1 (7-ounce can) diced green chilies , I like the fire roasted kind
- 1 (14-ounce) can white beans, navy beans or cannelini (drained)
- 1 (14-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
- 2 & 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, about 12 ounces
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened (low fat cream cheese is fine)
- 1 & 1/2 cups frozen corn, or canned corn is fine
- cheddar cheese
- sour cream
- green onion
- tortilla chips
- Start by prepping your veggies and gathering spices. Chop the onion and mince the garlic. Add all the spices to a small bowl: 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cumin, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons oregano, AND the 1 ounce packet of dry Ranch seasoning.If you are breaking down a rotisserie chicken, do it now and set aside so it's ready to go. Get the cream cheese out of the fridge to soften.
- Make the chili. Heat a large pot or stock pot over medium high heat. When the pot it hot (at least 1 minute of preheating) add 3 tablespoons of oil. The oil should shimmer immediately, meaning it's ready for you to add what you're cooking.
- Add the onions to the oil and saute for 3-5 minutes until they are starting to turn translucent.
- Turn the heat down to medium. Add the minced garlic and the bowl of seasonings all at once. Continue sauteing for another 2 minutes or so, until the garlic is fragrant and the spices smell toasty.
- Add the can of Rotel and diced green chilies without draining them. Stir into the onion.
- Drain the white beans and the pinto beans. You don't need to bust out the colander, I always used the lid and just dump some of the liquid out into the sink. It doesn't need to be perfect and you don't have to rinse them. Add the drained beans to the pot and stir.
- Add 2 and 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (about 12 ounces), I like rotisserie chicken best, and prefer a mix of dark and light meat.
- Turn the burner up to high heat. Stir in 3 cups of water and 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base. If you used a rotisserie chicken, swirl some of the broth into the plastic dish that the chicken came in, then pour it into your chili. Get all that chicken goodness in there! See photos.
- Chop the cream cheese into 1 inch cubes and add to the chili.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer.Let simmer for as long as you want, I would say a minimum of 5 minutes or anywhere up to an hour if you want to get some good flavor melding going on. If you cook longer, make sure the chili is at a low bubble so it doesn't evaporate too much liquid. Add the corn after simmering, just before serving.
- Serve hot. This chili totally stands alone. It has so much flavor all by itself, but who can say no to a few toppings? And when I say a few I mean a lot. Shredded cheddar cheese is a must, sour cream is good but in my opinion a little redundant because of the cream cheese. Other options include cilantro (a must for me), lime wedges, avocado, jalapeno, green onion, and crushed tortilla chips.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for 3-5 days.
- Freezer Instructions: This chili freezes well! Add to a ziplock bag, seal well, and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to use it, thaw in the fridge, then heat in a pot over low heat until it is hot. Or toss it in the microwave (from thaw OR frozen). You can also partially thaw it on the counter or defrost in the microwave until you can work it into a pot. Then add a couple tablespoons of water and heat on low until completely melted and hot.
- Slow Cooker Instructions: Add all the ingredients except the chicken, corn, and cream cheese to a slow cooker. (If you want extra flavor, saute the onions, garlic, and spices first as described in the recipe, then add to slow cooker.)Cook on low for about 5 hours on low, or about 3 hours on high. Add the corn, chicken, and cream cheese, and cook on low for another hour. Stir before serving with all the fixins.