White bean chicken chili is a hearty and flavorful dish perfect for a cold winter day. Quick and easy on the stovetop, or you can make it ahead with the crockpot.
The White Beans
This is a great recipe to feature one of my favorite ingredients. White beans! You can use cannellini beans, great northern beans, and navy beans. They each have slightly different textures, sizes, and mild variations in taste. My personal preference is to use one can of each bean, but this recipe works equally well with all of the same types of beans. I just love an excuse to celebrate the variety of beans whenever I can.
If you want to dive into the difference between great Northern and navy beans, check out Post comparing culinary uses, nutrition, and my daughter's taste test.
Canned Beans vs Dried beans
Canned beans are the most convenient for this recipe unless you are in the habit of soaking, drying beans, and cooking them frequently. (I highly recommend trying dried beans; it's a wonderful way to meal prep a protein-packed and versatile ingredient- learn more about cooking dried navy beans and great northern beans)
Stove Top Instructions
In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and sauté onion and jalapeño until softened, approximately 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, oregano, and cumin, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken, broth, and chiles, seasoning with salt and pepper.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes until the chicken is tender. Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate and shred it using two forks.
Drain and rinse beans, reserving 1 cup. Set aside whole beans and puree 1 cup of beans with ¼ cup broth in a food processor until nearly smooth. Return the puree to the pot. This will create a creamy broth.
Add corn and the shredded chicken to the pot, stirring until heated through for about 1 minute. Mix in lime juice before serving. Ladle the chili into bowls and top with avocado, cilantro, and tortilla chips.
When I can plan ahead but am short on time on busy weeknights, I will opt for the crockpot method- you only need about 4 hours on low- but I have left it on for up to 12 hrs when we were going to be gone most of the day and I wanted to make sure we have something ready for dinner.
Start by draining and rinsing the beans, reserving 1 cup, and put aside for later.
Placing chopped onions, jalapeno, bell pepper, garlic, beans, green chilies, corn, chicken stock, chicken breasts, and all the dry spices into a 6-quart crockpot. Stir to combine the ingredients.
Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours, or more if convenient, and the chicken easily shreds. Once cooked, use tongs to shred the chicken.
Puree 1 cup of beans with ¼ cup broth from the soup in a food processor until nearly smooth.
Mix in lime juice before serving. Ladle the chili into bowls and top with avocado, cilantro, and tortilla chips.
Place lime wedges on the side for a zesty kick, chopped cilantro, and offer tortilla chips for a satisfying crunch. Add a dollop of sour cream for a cool contrast, and top it off with sliced avocado for a creamy texture. I like to add a few dashes of Tabasco sauce for a little spicy.
Chicken- consider substituting rotisserie chicken or ground chicken for the chicken breasts.
Cream- If you desire a creamier consistency, incorporating heavy cream into the recipe can add a luscious richness to the broth. Adjust the quantity based on personal preference.
Beans- For a variation in bean choices, swapping white beans with black or pinto beans can bring a distinct flavor profile to the chili.
Consistency- Adjust the consistency by varying the amount of chicken stock used, depending on whether you prefer a thicker or soupier chili.
Go Vegetarian- skip the chicken altogether and use vegetable stock instead. This ensures a flavorful and savory base for the chili. Additionally, consider adding an extra variety of beans like black beans or kidney beans to enhance the protein content.
More Soup Recipes:
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White Bean Chicken Chili
- large dutch oven or soup pot
- Wooden spoon
- Food processor
- 1 onion diced
- 1 jalapeno seed and finely chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper diced
- 2 tables spoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves fine minced
- 1-3 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts or skinless chicken thighs
- 1 can 7oz diced green chilies
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 3 cans of white beans cannellini beans, great northern beans or navy beans
- 4 cups cup of chicken broth
- 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ t coriander
- ½ dried oregano
- ½ chili powder
- ¼ cayenne pepper
- ¼ black pepper
- 1 salt teaspoon
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- fresh cilantro
- tortilla chips
- sliced avocado
- In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and jalapeño and cook, stirring, until softened about 8 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add chicken, broth, and chiles; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until chicken is tender and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Transfer to a plate and shred chicken with 2 forks.
- Drain and rinse beans in a fine mesh strainer or colander then measure out 1 cup. Set whole beans aside, transfer 1 cup beans to a food processor along with ¼ cup broth from soup, puree until nearly smooth.
- Add corn and shredded chicken and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute more.
- Mix in the lime juice before serving.
- Ladle chili into bowls. Top with avocado, cilantro and tortilla chips.
Use a tongs to shred the chicken. Drain and rinse beans in a fine mesh strainer or colander then measure out 1 cup. Set whole beans aside, transfer 1 cup beans to a food processor along with ¼ cup broth from soup, puree until nearly smooth. Mix in the lime juice before serving. Ladle chili into bowls. Top with avocado, cilantro, and tortilla chips.