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Small white bowl of white chicken chili with saltine crackers and a red handled spoon

White Chicken Chili

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This White Chicken Chili is a spicy, comforting dinner to enjoy at home  It’s a terrific game day chili option featuring chicken & cannellini beans! 

This Chicken Chili Recipe is destined to become a family favorite! Load it with gooey cheese,  sour cream and even tortilla chips for a delicious alternative to traditional beef chili.

White Chicken Chili in a white basketweave bowl

Chicken Chili Recipe

I bumped into a mom of one of Tom’s grade school classmates at an event recently. She pulled me aside and thanked me for sharing my chicken chili recipe in the school cookbook years ago, as it had become one of her family’s favorite soups.

For years, this Black Bean Chili was my go-to recipe, but this white chicken chili recipe is a bit lighter and just as delicious! It was due for some tweaking and after approval from the hubby, it was ready to share with you all.

White Chicken Chili in a white ceramic bowl garnished with cheddar cheese and next to a soup spoon

Tips for Making this White Chicken Chili

Spicier than my original, I was afraid Bill, the picky hubby, would call it a 3-alarm chili, AKA “I need 3 beers to wash it down!” I shouldn’t have worried, but here are some tips on how to tone down this white bean chicken chili or spice it up and more.

  • PRO-Tip: A  little dollop of sour cream is the perfect way to lessen the heat. Dairy is known to have a “cooling” effect and makes a delicious topping whether your mouth is burning or you love the spice!
  • Feel free to up the red pepper flakes if you want a fiery soup, as we have tender palates in this household. Well, one of us does. Adding some diced fresh jalapenos would also be a tasty addition.
  • Use rotisserie chicken, leftover chicken (only if the seasonings complement the chili) or poach some chicken the day before to make preparation even easier on the day you plan to serve the chili.
  • I prefer cannellini beans to red kidney beans, but any favorite canned bean would work. Adding black beans would be delicious, though this technically wouldn’t be a “white” chili. This is chicken chili is perfect on a chilly winter night or on game day. Give it a try!
Small white bowl of white chicken chili with saltine crackers and a red handled spoon

More Chili Recipes You’ll Love:

White chicken chili photo and text collage

This recipe was first shared in January 2015. Text and photos were updated in 2020.

White chicken chili in a small white soup bowl with crackers and a spoon

White Chicken Chili

A terrific game day chili featuring chicken and white beans.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Yield 4 servings


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounce can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 4 cups cooked and chopped chicken
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • Salt, optional, to taste
  • Green onions, Monterey jack cheese, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, cilantro to garnish, optional


  1. Cook onions in oil till soft. Add garlic and saute for a minute or so. Add chiles, beans, chicken broth, spices, and chicken and simmer for 30 minutes. Add spinach and cook till wilted.
  2. Check for seasoning and add salt to taste.
  3. Serve with garnishes of your choice.

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Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1 bowl

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 643Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 802mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 8gSugar: 8gProtein: 45g


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Skinny Tip

I’m offering a series of Skinny Tips. How I keep slim is one of my most frequent inquiries. I’m featuring some of my past tips to help you start 2015 on a healthy note. 

Tip #55: I eat numerous times a day. Squeezing in a healthy snack between meals helps stave off intense hunger pangs which can lead to overeating.


Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.

36 comments on “White Chicken Chili”

  1. Yum! This sounds like a lovely idea for Winter and I love having spinach in my chili. Super good!

  2. I will have to try spinach in my version. The original recipe I ended up tweaking called for 2 T. of cayenne. Talk about three-alarm!!!!!

  3. This sounds good Liz and I have some chicken in the freezer… Just need to pick up spinach:@)

  4. Looks delicious, and I love spicy! 🙂

  5. I’ve never made (or even tried) white chicken chili, but I’d love to give yours a try. We have tender palates in my house too (the others think I’m adventurous because I like medium salsa). I think they’d love this version!

  6. This looks so delicious! What a great way to warm up a cold winter day…love it! Thanks so much for sharing another great recipe!

  7. Guess what we were just talking about having for dinner on this cold, damp, rainy, London-like day! Are you back from N.Z.?? I am just pea green with envy about your trip!

  8. This look really fresh and delicious 🙂
    Liz x

  9. What a soothing chili and one that is sure to have everyone asking for seconds. It is also a healthy chili which is perfect to start my new year with!

  10. It looks so delicious yet quite healthy!

  11. I love white chicken chili, a warming bowl of this sounds wonderful!

  12. White chili is not so common. Great idea.

  13. It’s yummilious, Liz! Is this Asian style? It looks quite similar to our Chinese cooking.

  14. Lizzy,
    Great recipe. Just in time for the frigid temperatures.

  15. I made white chicken chili when all the kids were home for Christmas. The next time I will add spinach, its a great addition.

  16. What a heart-warming dish of comfort food!

  17. A tasty little soup you’ve made here Liz! Simple and lots and lots of flavor! Happy 2015!

  18. What a delicious chili! And so healthy too.. this is a recipe I need to make for myself tonight!

  19. Perfect bowl of comfort in the cold weather, Liz! Hope you had some in the freezer for when you arrived home, cold and tired. 🙂

  20. YUM! This looks so good!

  21. Fantastic! I tweaked the recipe a little to reduce the calories. I put everything but the beans and the spinach in the slow cooker. Cooked for 3 hours on high. Removed the chicken and shredded it then added back to the pot along with the beans and 1/2 c corn. Also, I used 2 cans of beans. The flavor is DELICIOUS! Thank you for sharing. It will be a regular meal in my house.

  22. YUM! I think this one is light enough to serve anytime! THANKS!

  23. I’m about to print this Liz. Thank you~!! This soup looks outstanding.

  24. We had this chili for dinner last night and it was delicious! It will definitely be on our regular rotation from now on!

  25. The veggies here are perfection! Love this comforting chicken chili!

  26. I’m all about the comfort food these days… Sounds like a winner:@)

  27. I was really hoping that soup/chili days would be numbered by now. Yesterday we woke up to a light dusting of snow. This recipe has all the ingredients of comfort food without the calories. I’m due for a major shopping on Thursday when we come out of isolation, I’ll make sure these ingredients find their way to my list.

  28. This is exactly what I want to be eating these days. Healthy, comforting and delicious! I believe I have everything I need to make it, too! Yay. Stay well! 🙂 ~Valentina

  29. This looks so good, Liz! And I have everything on hand to make it – yay!! Thank you for the inspiration! Be safe and well, my friend!

  30. We’ve been craving chili lately — but we always do in stressful times. White chilies are good, and chicken is perfect in them. Thanks!

  31. Green chiles can be like Russian Roulette sometimes. Especially fresh ones—even if they’re labeled mild. I made a white chili that called for 3 T. of cayenne. Talk about needing beers!!!!!!

  32. Hiya Liz! A big pot of soup on the burner is just what we need during these odd change of seasons. One day snow , the next day warm. Really like your idea of adding a dollop of sour cream to cool the heat. Stay well and take care

  33. I think we’re all looking for hearty and comforting dishes like this one, Liz!! It sounds terrific!

  34. Love this! Very comforting. And I like that it’s brothy, so it’s not too heavy, like regular chili.

  35. White Chicken Chili used to be a part of our Christmas Eve celebration and one that I’m ready to bring back. My daughter usually makes it but without spinach. I will share this new version with her and I know she’ll love it.

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