This easy white bean chicken chili will quickly become one of your favorite crockpot recipes! And, the crock pot white chicken chili can be made straight from your stocked pantry! You can also leave out the chicken and make this white bean chili vegetarian.
White Chicken Chili Recipe with Beans
My friend Tawni turned me on to this chili recipe with chicken and it’s one of the reasons I’ve remained friends with her. (I kid, I kid.)
This will actually be one of the easiest recipes chicken chili you’ve ever made for the slow cooker and will become a favorite white chicken chili recipe for the entire family.
It’s so easy and so yummy that I usually keep the ingredients for this in the pantry as a “Dang, what are we going to have for dinner?” panic meals or a frugal pantry meal.
It’s nice because, depending on the kind of cheese you use (shredded or cubed), it can be a short couple of hours to cook or an all day white chicken chili in a crock pot.
What is white chili made of?
White chili is made of:
- White beans
- White cheese (like Monterey Jack)
Our white bean chili chicken recipe calls for canned chicken (find it in the same area as canned tuna at the store), but you can easily make this white bean chili with chicken breast, either fresh or frozen.
(I often use frozen chicken breasts. I just put them in frozen and let them cook down.)
If you want to be prepared for pantry cooking recipes, keep some of this canned white chicken breast in the pantry as a “just in case.”
Sometimes, I also add other things I need to use in the refrigerator, like carrots and celery. It’s still good!
Why is it called white chicken chili?
Chicken chili recipes are called white chili because it’s white in color instead of the reddish color of traditional chili with a tomato base. White chicken chili stays white because it is cooked with light ingredients like chicken, a light broth (like chicken), white beans, and a white cheese (like Monterey Jack).
White Chicken Chili Beans
What kind of beans are white beans?
There are several types of white beans:
- Northern white beans
- Navy beans
- Cannellini beans
- Lima beans
What white chicken chili beans should I use?
For the beans for white chicken chili, use Northern white beans. The flavor is really mild compared to some of the other white beans. However, you can substitute other white beans and get a different flavor for your chicken white bean chili in the crockpot.
Are white beans and northern beans the same?
White beans describe a variety of beans from Northern white beans to lima beans. Great Northern white beans are part of that group. They are large beans with a more nutty, mild flavor.
Recipes for chicken chili usually call for Northern white beans because of their mild flavor over other white chili beans.
White Bean Chicken Chili Crockpot
We made our white chicken chili slow cooker style, but you can also make it white chicken chili Instant Pot, too!
- 3 cans great northern (white) beans, undrained
- 1-2 12-oz cans chicken, drained (OR 2 chicken breasts, fresh or frozen)
- 1 can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
- 1 soup can of water OR 1 cup chicken broth
- 8 oz. salsa (mild, medium or hot-your choice!)
- 8 oz. Monterey Jack Cheese (or any cheese you have!)
- Drain liquid from canned chicken (or place frozen or fresh chicken breasts in bottom of crockpot).
- Add remaining ingredients to the crock pot.
- Cook on high for 2 hours if using shredded cheese, or on low for 6 hours if using cubed cheese.
- IF USING CHICKEN BREASTS, shred the chicken and stir back into the chili before serving.
- To serve: Sprinkle extra cheese on top and serve with a side of crusty bread, corn bread, or tortilla chips. Add sour cream, if desired.
We've also used cheddar cheese when we didn't have Monterey Jack and it also turned out good. (It will just be less white.)
Serving Size:2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 355Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 918mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 29g
Nutrition information is estimated. Changes to the recipe and use of different brands may cause changes to the nutritional information to vary slightly from the ones provided here.
Is white chicken chili supposed to be thick?
White chicken chili will be thick, but not as thick as you may be accustomed to with a beef chili. It has a soupier texture than beef chili, but can be thickened with cornstarch or by using an emulsifying blender to blend down some (but not all) of the beans.
How do you thicken white chicken chili?
If you find your white chicken chile too thin or soupy, simply remove about 1/4 cup of the chili broth that’s been cooking. To the broth, add 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch. Stir until the cornstarch dissolves. Add the mixture back into the chili and stir. Continue cooking until thickened or it makes your white chicken chili creamy.