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 Easy 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.

Why You Must Make

I bumped into the 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’s perfect for game day. You can keep it warm in a slow cooker until halftime.
  • Loaded with toppings makes a simple bowl of soup into a comforting dinner recipe on a chilly evening.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Cooking Oil, Salt, Onion, Garlic
  • Red Bell Pepper – Seeds and core removed, then chopped
  • Chopped Green Chilies – 4-ounce can, drained
  • Cannellini Beans – 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained
  • Chicken Broth – I use the Pacific brand as it’s not overly salty. If your broth is salty, consider eliminating the salt called for in the recipe.
  • Ground Cumin – Dried spices can lose potency over time. If any of yours are many years old, consider replacing them.
  • Chili Powder
  • Dried Oregano
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – Use more or less depending on your heat tolerance
  • Chicken – Cooked and chopped. May use leftover roasted chicken or even a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
  • Baby Spinach – Softer stems than regular spinach
  • Green Onions, Monterey Jack Cheese, Sour Cream, Chopped Tomatoes, Cilantro, Tortilla Chips – To garnish, optional
White Chicken Chili in a white ceramic bowl garnished with cheddar cheese and next to a soup spoon.

Recipe Tips

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 cook and 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 chicken chili is perfect on a chilly winter night or game day. Give it a try!
Small white bowl of white chicken chili with saltine crackers and a red handled spoon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is White Chili?

White Chili is usually made of chicken, white beans, and mild green chiles.

What Are the Best Chiles for Chicken Chili?

A small can of chopped mild green chiles provides a touch of heat and depth of flavor without overwhelming the chili.

What are the Best White Beans to Use?

Cannellini beans are the best white chili beans. They keep their shape and texture well.

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

White Chicken Chili

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

A terrific game day chili featuring chicken and white beans.


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½-1 red bell pepper, seeds and core removed, 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
  • ¼-½ 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 and bell pepper in oil till soft. Add garlic and saute for a minute or so.
  2. Add chiles, beans, chicken broth, spices, and chicken and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add spinach and cook till wilted.
  4. Check for seasonings and add salt to taste.
  5. Serve with garnishes of your choice.


Adapted from Back Home Again, Jr League of Indianapolis cookbook.

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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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