White Chicken Chili

What could be better on a cold night than a bowl of homemade White Chicken Chili, especially one made extra-easy with a rotisserie chicken or even leftover Thanksgiving turkey? White Chicken Chili is packed with goodness, pulled chicken breast, poblanos, green chilis, corn and creamy white beans.

Fresh & Seasonal. Hearty & Filling. Weight Watchers Friendly. High Protein.
White Chicken Chili ♥ KitchenParade.com, a spicy-but-not-too-spicy concoction of chicken, spices, chilies and white beans, so good on a chilly night! Fresh & Seasonal. Hearty & Filling. Weight Watchers Friendly. High Protein.

ON MY MIND: Setting Back the Clocks

The clocks are sorry,
the clocks are very sad.
One stops,
one goes on striking the wrong hours.

– Donald Justice, poet,
after losing his mother

On My Mind, an essay about setting back the clocks ♥ KitchenParade.com

In much of the country, we turn back the hands of the clock in late autumn, creating the illusion of a gifted hour.

My first job, I rode the bus to work. Frugality was the reason but I soon treasured the rhythm: workward, reading the morning paper; homeward, reading a book.

But after the fall time change, as the bus lumbered through neighborhoods whose names not residents I knew, I ignored my book and instead peered through thick glass.

On the Mondays and some times the Tuesdays and even the Wednesdays, folks had yet to adjust their evening routines: the drapes, the blinds, the curtains, they all remained open.

So the bright lights of kitchens and front rooms spilled into the dark, illuminating the families cocooned inside the warmth of their homes in living panoramas, mothers at the stove, kids at the table with schoolwork, the flicker of television in another room.

It was indeed a gifted hour, one I repeat, now on foot with the dog, each year.

What Is White Chicken Chili?

If you've only known traditional beef and tomato chili until now, oh, you are indeed in for a treat!

White Chicken Chili is definitely still chili. But the ingredients have been switched around!

  • Instead of beef, chicken
  • Instead of tomato, green chilies
  • Instead of beef broth, a creamy broth

And to my taste, White Chicken Chili is a little lighter. Where most chilis are cold-weather food, White Chicken Chili more easily spans the seasons. Still, it's filling and hearty, so so good.

My Annual Thanksgiving Public Service Announcement:
Make Soup!

White Chicken Chili ♥ KitchenParade.com, a spicy-but-not-too-spicy concoction of chicken, spices, chilies and white beans, so good on a chilly night! Fresh & Seasonal. Hearty & Filling. Weight Watchers Friendly. High Protein.

And speaking of Thanksgiving, everyone ready? Or should I say, ANYbody ready? : -)

White Chicken Chili fits perfectly with my annual Thanksgiving Public Service Announcement. I recommend adding just one more thing to your already-long to-cook.

But it's not what you might think. Read on!

Who else is cooking a big Thanksgiving Dinner this year? I really love the kitchen hyper-productivity that Thanksgiving requires but at the end of the day on Tuesday and especially Wednesday, the fridge is full of food but it's all for the Big Day, there's nothing to eat now!

1-800-Pizza? Sure! Or, better yet, on the Sunday or Monday before, make a big pot of soup that'll sustain throughout the week. This would be a good one, it makes up quickly, is hearty and filling and can easily pair with biscuits, tortillas, etc. So good!


Hands-on time: 30 minutes up front
Time to table: 90 minutes – 2 hours
Makes 9 cups
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 8 ounces canned chopped mild green chilies
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock (heated in the microwave to move things along)
  • 1 pound cooked breast meat from a rotisserie chicken, "pulled"
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 ounces frozen corn (or a 14 ounce can of corn, including the liquid)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (don't skip)
  • 2 cups whole milk (or half ‘n’ half for a real indulgence)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (full fat or low fat; no fat free, please) or 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco, optional
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish

In a large, heavy pot such as a Dutch oven, melt the butter with the chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Add the water, onion, red pepper, garlic and chilies; cook until the onions and peppers are soft.

Sprinkle the flour over top and stir in, let the mixture cook for 1 minute to cook off the floury taste.

Stir in the hot stock, cooked chicken, beans, corn and vinegar. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer for 45 to 90 minutes.

Stir in the milk, sour cream and Tabasco; rewarm but do not allow to boil, otherwise the mixture will curdle.

To serve, ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve and enjoy!

ALANNA's TIPS Once upon a time, BRC (that's Before Rotisserie Chickens), I cooked a pound of chicken breast pieces in a little of the chicken stock. But a rotisserie chicken is so easy, so is leftover cooked turkey. For more volume, use all the meat from a rotisserie chicken, just be sure to add another 1-1/2 cups chicken stock and a second can of beans. For stock, I use No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock. White kidney beans, called cannellini beans, are firmer than navy beans or great northern beans so are a better choice for a hearty soup like this that cooks for awhile and will likely be reheated as leftovers. When I first started making White Chicken Chili, I used fat-free half & half instead of regular half & half. But over time I became uncomfortable with its ingredient list; the fat-free product also appears curdled although the taste is fine. However, there are calorie consequences to a full two cups of real half & half. So mostly I use something less than that, 1-1/2 cups whole milk and 1/2 cup cream, say, even 2 cups whole milk. Half & half is a North American dairy product, half cream and half whole milk.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 234 Calories; 8g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 57mg Cholesterol; 309mg Sodium; 18g Carb; 3g Fiber; 5g Sugar; 21g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 5 & Points Plus 6 & SmartPoints 7 & Freestyle 4 & myWW green 6 & blue 4 & purple 4

More Hearty Chili Recipes

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Crockpot Chili with Spicy Sausage Chocolate Chili Twenty-Minute Beefy Black Bean Chili
~ Chillin': Favorite Chili, Chowder & Cornbread Recipes ~
~ more chili recipes ~ from Kitchen Parade

~ Fresh-Tomato Chili ~
~ Vegetable Chili with Sweet Potatoes & Chipotle ~
from A Veggie Venture

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ chicken recipes ~
~ poblano peppers ~
~ canned & dried beans ~
~ corn recipes ~
~ sour cream recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2015 (repub) & 2019

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/16/2007

    Thanks, Alanna, for a perfect Fall recipe! I started making chicken chili variations a few years ago, and now find meat-based chili just too overpowering.


  2. Anonymous7/16/2007

    I love this story, Alanna -- I'm a fellow fan of being able to look into homes as I pass by on a cold, early-dark night.

    Please note: this is different than being a peeper! :-)

    Thanks for the recipe, too. This might be a good thing to make this weekend...it's definitely chili weather, and we already had ground beef-based chili last week and this week...time for a change-up.


  3. Anonymous7/16/2007

    I too rode the bus to and from my first job in San Francisco. I always loved rolling down Fulton towards the ocean, the dying sunset in the distance, and the warmly lit vignettes of family life displayed for my fleeting view. I love your writing style.


  4. Anonymous7/16/2007

    It looks delicious. I thought about making white chili recently! :)



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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna