Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

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This Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili comes together in just a few minutes, but tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen. It's healthy, delicious, and filling.

312 CALORIES39g CARBS3g FAT31g PROTEIN
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This Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili is the perfect cozy recipe for a cold night with chicken, white beans, and a slightly spicy broth. It's healthy, delicious, and filling.

This white chicken chili recipe! Yum. I could eat it every night. Beans, chicken breast, and just the right amount of spice from the green salsa.

When it comes to slow cooker soups, this one is a winner. We also love this Slow Cooker Chicken Fajita Soup, Taco Soup, and Black Bean Soup.

Top it with lots of fresh cilantro, onions, more jalapenos, avocado, and a touch of sour cream for the ultimate cozy dinner.

Plus since it freezes well, you can make a big batch and store leftovers for a future meal. Looking for something without beans? Try this Mexican Chicken Soup.

Why We Love White Chicken Chili

There are so many reasons to love this chili, but here are the top three.

  • Hearty and filling: This chili is packed with beans, chicken breast, and veggies so it will keep you satisfied and full for hours.
  • Make it homemade or use shortcuts: While the recipe below calls for store-bought green salsa and canned beans to save time, you can easily swap homemade salsa, chicken stock, and beans.
  • Budget-friendly: This recipe relies on affordable and easy-to-find ingredients.

Crockpot white chicken chili with white beans, shredded chicken, and cilantro in a black slow cooker.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here is everything you need to make this crockpot white chicken chili.

  • Chicken: Use chicken breast, chicken thighs, or really any chicken you like. If you prefer using rotisserie or pre-cooked chicken, add it at the end so it doesn’t overcook. Bone-in chicken can be used, but you need to increase the cooking time.
  • Beans: Since this is white chicken chili, white beans, like cannellini or navy beans, are most commonly used. However, you could swap in pinto beans, kidney beans, or black beans.
  • Onion and garlic: It’s almost impossible to make soup without starting with some aromatics. Onion and garlic ensure the broth, chicken, and beans are full of flavor.
  • Green chilies: Another common ingredient in white chicken chili is canned diced green chilies. If you prefer fresh, swap in jalapeno or poblano peppers.
  • Spices: Since this is a white chili, chili powder isn’t normally used. Instead, use a combination of cumin, oregano, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.
  • Chicken broth: Always reach for a chicken broth that is flavorful. Since canned beans and salsa can be high in sodium, try and use low-sodium broth if possible.
  • Green salsa: This secret ingredient adds tons of flavor to the chili without the need to saute lots of vegetables. Choose one at the spice level you prefer. You can also swap in homemade green salsa.
  • Refried beans: Instead of using cream, cream cheese, or sour cream to make a creamy base for the chili, I like to use a can of refried beans. It’s a healthier way to thicken the chili and adds extra fiber, protein, and nutrients.
  • Cilantro and lime: Once the chili is finished cooking, it needs some freshness to brighten things up. Cilantro and lime juice are the perfect way to do this.

How to Make Creamy White Chicken Chili

Many popular crockpot white chicken chili recipes are for a creamy version that uses heavy cream, cream cheese, or sour cream. This version is dairy free and uses refried beans to make it “creamy” without the need for a diary product.

If you want to make a more traditional version, simply add one of the following right before serving:

  • ½ cup of heavy cream combined with 2 tbsp masa harina or cornstarch (Pioneer Woman’s chicken chili)
  • 1 cup cubed cream cheese with ¼ cup heavy cream (creamiest option)
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (tangier option)

Dairy-free: If you don’t have refried beans, you can add an extra can of white beans. Then blend 2-3 cups of the chili (without the chicken) when it is finished cooking. Add the blended soup back to the slow cooker to thicken the chili.

Best Toppings for White Chili

One of the best things about this recipe is that you can finish it off with toppings that suit your tastes.

  • Cilantro
  • Jalapenos
  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Baked tortilla chips
  • Shredded cheese
  • Queso fresco
  • Lime juice
  • Green onions

White chicken chili served in a bowl with tortilla chips, lime, and cilantro.

Freezing Leftover Chili

Like so many soups and chili recipes, this soup only gets better after a night in the fridge when the flavors really have time to combine.

The best way to freeze chili is to freeze it stored flat in plastic zipper bags specifically designed for the freezer. They’re thicker than regular food storage bags and will help protect your leftovers from freezer burn.

But before you fill your freezer bags, the chili needs to be fully cooked. Freezing it while it’s warm will raise the temperature in your freezer and could cause other foods to start thawing.

Ideas for Leftover White Chicken Chili

This chicken and white bean chili is awesome on its own or as a topping for many other foods, but if you want to repurpose the recipe, try some of these ideas:

  • Quesadillas: Make a quick quesadilla using a low-carb tortilla, part-skim mozzarella, and this chili filling. Just use a slotted spoon so you don’t add too much broth and get a soggy quesadilla.
  • Stuffed sweet potatoes: White bean chicken chili is a tasty topper for regular potatoes and also makes a great filling for sweet potatoes.
  • White bean and chicken soup: Try adding some extra chicken broth to thin the chili into a soup. If you find it needs more kick, add an extra dash of cumin and top your bowl with slices of fresh hot peppers.
  • White chili scramble: Believe it or not, this is delicious with scrambled eggs for a spicy Southwestern-style breakfast.

No matter how you use it, this easy white chicken chili is sure to become a frequent go-to in your recipe repertoire.

What Is the Difference Between Chili and White Chili?

Many purists argue that any chili with beans isn’t a true chili. But even the International Chili Society, the founder and operator of the World Championship Chili Cook-Off, eventually expanded its competition in 2009 to include a “Homestyle Chili” category where the recipes must include beans.

And, under its “homestyle” definition, both red and white chilis can claim the world championship title.

What usually makes chili white is the color of the beans -- you can experiment with different types of white beans in this recipe to find your favorite -- and the type of meat used.

This easy white chicken chili recipe calls for chicken breasts, but you could substitute skinless turkey or ground chicken or turkey. Really, the spices and the slow cooker will help make any dish delicious.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about making these white chicken chili.

This soup works great in the Instant Pot. Follow the same instructions but simply cook it on high for 20 minutes in the Instant Pot. Let it naturally release for at least 10 minutes. 

Then shred the chicken, add the refried beans, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice.

Some of the most popular side dishes for white chicken chili include cornbread, a big green salad, cheese quesadillas, or tortilla chips.

Chicken chili with white beans in a bowl with tortilla strips, cilantro, and lime.
The Recipe
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Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

PREP TIME: 15 Min
COOK TIME: 4 Hours
TOTAL TIME: 4 Hours, 15 Min
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Ingredients

USMETRICS
  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 30 oz canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (low sodium if needed)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 oz canned green chilies (or 1 fresh jalapeno diced)
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 15 oz canned refried beans
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 lime

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Instructions

(Hide Photos)
1

Add the chicken to the bottom of the slow cooker.

Chicken breast being added to the bottom of a slow cooker.
2

Add the beans, onion, garlic, green chilies, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, salt, pepper, green salsa, and chicken broth. Stir well.

Beans, onions, garlic, chilies, spices, green salsa, and broth in a slow cooker.
3

Cook on low for 4 hours. Carefully remove the chicken. Let cool for a few minutes and then shred with two forks.

Chicken breast being shredded with two forks.
4

Stir the refried beans into the chili and continue to stir until they dissolve into the chili and it thickens. The refried beans act as a great thickener without needing an immersion blender or cream. Add the chicken back into the slow cooker and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Chicken being added to a crockpot with white chili.
5

Serve with chopped cilantro and fresh lime. Add your favorite chili toppings including cheese, sour cream, avocado, or crushed tortilla chips.

White chicken chili in a slow cooker.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1.25 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 312
Calories from Fat 22
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
3%
Saturated Fat 1g
2%
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 42mg
14%
Sodium 783mg
34%
Total Carbohydrate 39g
13%
Dietary Fiber 9g
35%
Sugars 1g
Protein 31g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

Notes

For a more traditional creamy white chicken chili, simply add one of the following right before serving. Please note you may need more broth.

  • ½ cup of heavy cream combined with 2 tbsp masa harina or cornstarch (Pioneer Woman’s chicken chili)
  • 1 cup cubed cream cheese with ¼ cup heavy cream (creamiest option)
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (tangier option)
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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
† We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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