Spicy White Bean Chicken Chili
Wholesome ingredients make a white bean chicken chili that’s filling (but not heavy) and comforting. Sweet corn kernels, tender chicken, creamy white beans and the spice of green chiles will warm you from head to toe, feed a crowd, and not break the bank.Jump to Recipe
Isn’t it wonderful to have a simple, comforting meal up your sleeve all the time? Something with basic ingredients (most of which you can keep in your pantry) and that can be customized to your family’s preference?
I know. I love it too.
And this white bean chicken chili ticks all the boxes. Plus the spicy box because we’re using an awesome good quality salsa verde here (that’s salsa made with green chiles) and that heat is P-E-R-F-E-C-T.
It also freezes perfectly or can be made ahead and chilled and re-heated up to two days after it’s made and the ingredients are really budget friendly.
Is white chili actually chili?
Not like you might think, no. It’s not a heavy tomato-based mixture and there’s no chili powder used to season this version. I’d call it more like a southwestern thick chicken stew than a chili.
Tips for keeping cooked chicken on hand
White chicken chili calls for cooked chicken which can feel like an extra step if you don’t have any on hand. I recently started making shredded chicken in bulk and freezing it in one or two cup amounts and I find that keeping it in the freezer makes everything easier.
If you can’t do that, rotisserie chicken from the grocery store will work in a pinch or you can cook some up in a pot on the stove, slow cooker or use the Instant Pot method. You’ll need about one pound of cooked chicken to make 2 cups worth for this recipe.
How to make white bean chicken chili step-by-step
Step one: Sautee the onions and garlic in a heavy bottomed pot until just starting to soften.
Step two: Add the chicken stock, diced tomatoes, green chiles, spices and spicy salsa verde and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes.
Step three: Add the beans, cooked chicken, and corn kernels. Stir well then cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step four: Serve warm with fresh diced tomatoes, cilantro, or a dollop of sour cream and cheddar cheese if desired.
How to store chicken chili
To refrigerate: If you want to make your chili ahead, simmer it and then let it cool to room temperature. Transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate for up to three days and rewarm as needed.
To freeze: Cool to room temperature and transfer to air tight freezer bags or air tight containers of your choice. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, either place the bag in the refrigerator the night before or peel away the bag from the frozen soup and place in a pot over medium low heat until the soup thaws, stirring often.
What to serve with white bean chili
This soup is almost hearty enough not to need anything else with it, but if you’d like something to dip and devour, you’ll want to try:
- Crispy Southern Cornbread
- No yeast dinner rolls
- No knead dutch oven bread (this one takes a bit of planning ahead)
- Mashed potato cakes
- Rustic cream cheese and chive biscuits
Spicy White Bean Chicken Chili
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 3/4 cup yellow onion diced in to 1/4" pieces
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chicken broth use a good quality or make your own
- 18 ounces hot salsa verde we tested with Mrs. Renfro's hot green salsa
- 16 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 7 ounces green chiles
- 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels
- 2 cups cooked chicken diced or shredded
- 15 ounces white beans rinsed
- cheddar cheese, sour cream or diced tomatoes for garnish optional
- Heat a heavy bottomed 5 quart or larger pot over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the avocado oil, garlic and onion, and half the salt.
- Sautee until the vegetables soften–about 5 to 6 minutes. Then add the oregano and cumin and cook one minute more.
- Add the chicken broth, salsa verde, fire roasted tomatoes and green chiles. Stir well and simmer 5 minutes more.
- Taste the chili and add the last half of the salt if necessary, or season to taste.
- Add the corn, chicken and white beans and simmer covered on low for 15 minutes.
- Serve warm with cheddar cheese, sour cream and diced tomatoes if desired.
It is a delicious recipe so tasty
I made this tonight and honestly, we like spicy, but this was way, way too spicy. I like the recipe though – love the green salsa cheat – but next time I’ll just skip the tomatoes entirely.
Certainly the brands you use will make the spice level vary significantly. That’s an easy fix for next time Jess. –Rachel
So good! I’m a new cook and this was easy and delicious
Thanks — I make something like this but use diced sweet potatoes instead of corn and add some toasted masa flour. Good page; great food ideas. Happy Thanksgiving.