White Chicken Chili

Imagine a chilly late-fall or winter night, what better way to warm up from the inside out with a big bowl of homemade White Chicken Chili, especially with a recipe extra-easy thanks to rotisserie chicken? White Chicken Chili is packed with so much goodness: tender pulled chicken, rich poblano, mild green chilis, sweet corn and creamy white beans.

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.

Approachable, Homestyle Whole Food, Made from Scratch. A Long-Time Family Favorite, Hearty & Filling. Great for Meal Prep. Low Fat. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly.

ON MY MIND: Setting Back the Clocks

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

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

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.

After the time change, 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.

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!

About This Recipe: White Chicken Chili

  • White Chicken Chili is chili, for sure, though it might masquerade as a soup, too if anyone in your crew is chili-averse. Most chilis skew toward ground beef, tomatoes and red spices. In contrast, White Chicken Chili is a creamy chili with chicken, mild green chilies, white beans and a milky stock. Like other chilis, White Chicken Chili is hearty, a meal in itself especially if served with a salad, cornbread, etc.
  • Distinctive Ingredients = Cooked Chicken (breast meat from a rotisserie chicken? for sure) + Green Chilies + White Beans + Milk + Cumin + Cilantro
  • Ingredient List = all the above + onion + poblano + red pepper + garlic + butter or oil + chili powder + salt & pepper + flour + chicken stock + vinegar + sour cream + Tabasco
  • It takes about 30 minutes to start the soup, then will simmer on the stove for 45-90 minutes.
  • This is pantry-friendly recipe, all the ingredients are easy to keep on hand to make sure that a big pot of white chili can be made whenever the whim hits.
  • This is a nutrition-friendly chili, low in fat, high in both chicken and plant-based protein.
  • This recipe yields about 9 cups of chili. All my recipes assume that a soup serving is one cup, that's plenty for smaller appetites (for women, say) but bigger appetites will likely want more.
  • For a more traditional chicken soup, see My Chicken Noodle Soup.
  • Not quite what you're looking for? Check out my other chili recipes or this recipe collection, Chillin': Favorite Chili, Chowder & Cornbread Recipes.

Make It a Meal: A Hearty Menu

~ White Chicken Chili ~
(recipe below)

~ Savory Cornbread Muffins ~
~ Homemade & Semi-Homemade Pub Cheese ~
~ Simple Arugula Salad ~

My Annual Thanksgiving Public Service Announcement:
Make Soup!

White Chicken Chili fits perfectly with my annual Thanksgiving Public Service Announcement: the recommendation that everyone add just one more thing to your already-too-long to-cook list.

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 may be full of food but it's all for the Big Day, there's nothing to eat now!

1-800-Pizza? Sure!

Better still, on the Sunday or Monday before, make a big pot of soup that'll sustain throughout the week. White Chicken Chili would be a good one, it makes up quickly, is hearty and filling and can easily pair with biscuits, tortillas, etc. So good!

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this flavor-packed soup inspires you, please do save and share! I'd be honored ...

White Chicken Chili ♥ KitchenParade.com, spicy-but-not-too-spicy, just chicken, spices, chilies and white beans.


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 (don't skip)
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 8 ounces (212g) 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.

Just before serving, 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 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. One particularly good pot of White Chicken Chili, I substituted whey for chicken stock. So good!
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 & future WW points

Seasonal Cooking: When Leaves Are Falling Across the Years

Chocolate Chili (<< personal favorite) Baked Apples Homemade Applesauce Three Favorite Sandwich & Cracker Spreads (Cranberry Orange Spread, Almond Cilantro Spread & Sun-Dried Tomato Spread) Thick Chops with Sauerkraut & Apples White Chicken Chili Lamb with Lemon & Oregano Fall Stew Baked in a Whole Pumpkin Healthy Trail Mix Homemade Sazón Champion Chicken Old-Fashioned Southern Brunswick Stew Stuffed Mushrooms with Cauliflower & Smoked Gouda #PieDayFriday

This Week, Elsewhere

~ Warm Root Vegetable Salad in Horseradish Vinaigrette ~
~ World's Best Green Bean Casserole ~
~ Brussels Sprouts with Apricot Glaze ~
~ more Recent Recipes ~
A Veggie Venture

If you like Kitchen Parade's recipes, you'll love A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables with more from-scratch recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, home to the famous Alphabet of Vegetables and vegetables in every course, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

More Hearty Chili Recipes

Chillin: Favorite Chili, Chowder & Cornbread Recipes ♥ KitchenParade.com, a collection of cold-weather, football-friendly favorites.

~ chili recipes ~
Chocolate Chili ♥ KitchenParade.com, my oldest (and still best!) recipe for homemade chili with lots of spices and yes, cocoa powder. Weight Watchers Friendly. Whole30 Friendly. High Protein. Gluten Free.

Vegetable Chili with Sweet Potatoes & Chipotle ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, a confetti of colorful vegetables and beans warmed with chili spices.

Easy Turkey Chili ♥ KitchenParade.com, zero points for Weight Watchers, extra-easy with frozen vegetables and canned beans.

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, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. 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, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, 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 & 2023

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