White Bean Chicken Chili

4.62 from 310 votes
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White bean chicken chili simmered in a crockpot with whole roasted jalapenos, tender beans, corn, and lean chicken breast. This recipe is fantastic, if I don’t say so myself!

White bean chicken chili recipe served in a white bowl.

White bean chicken chili is one of my favorite comfort foods. A big protein-packed bowl is one easy way to satisfy my hunger. I let my Crockpot do all the work by simmering the ingredients so I don’t have to hang out in the kitchen all day.

This recipe is perfect for those lazy days, so you can just scoop and devour or pack it up for a gathering with friends and family. Once you’ve tasted this chili, I promise you’ll be coming back for seconds! If you need a quicker cook time, I provided a stovetop option to have this delicious meal ready in just minutes.

How to make white bean chicken chili in a slow cooker

Making chili in the slow cooker is ideal because it gives all recipe ingredients time to meld together. Here are some tips to maximize the flavor potential of this white bean chicken chili.

A crockpot with whole roasted jalapenos, tender beans, corn, and seasoned chicken breast.

Chicken selection

Use boneless skinless chicken breast for lean pieces of protein. Alternatively, you can use chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat. If you have leftover rotisserie chicken, this is a great time to use it in the chili. You could even add the flavorful bones to the pot to simmer for a more rich and more flavorful chicken stock base.

Roasted chilies

The key to the spiciness and intense flavor is roasting the jalapeños until nice and blistered and then peeling and de-seeding them before adding them to the Crockpot. The high temperature brings a subtle smokiness to the chili and new flavor compounds from Maillard Browning. If you are a spicy daredevil, leave in the seeds for added heat. Additional canned roasted green chilies are added for extra pepper flavor.

Microwave

Pre-cooking the onion, garlic, and cumin together with the oil in the microwave quickly softens the vegetable in minutes. It helps bloom and releases the dry, earthy notes from the cumin for a more robust flavor.

White bean chicken chili simmering in a slow cooker, all the ingredients are mingling together

White beans

Great Northern beans or Cannellini beans work nicely. I buy canned beans because they are super affordable, already pre-cooked, and you don’t have to make them from scratch for two days.

Add creaminess

To create some texture in the soup, add beans, roasted chilis, and chicken stock or broth to a blender to make a puree. Only a tiny amount of each ingredient is mixed, so you still have chunks of bean, corn, cooked chicken, and chilis in each spoonful. The natural sweet starches from the corn also help to thicken the mixture.

You can use canned or frozen corn for the recipe. If you like an extra creamy consistency, stir in some cream cheese or heavy cream right before serving. This also helps to tame the heat from the roasted chilis.

Slow cook the chili

In a 6-quart Crock-Pot, add the chilis, chicken broth or stock, chicken breasts, beans, corn, and pureed mixture. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours. After a few hours of slowly simmering in the slow cooker, remove the meat. Shred the chicken into smaller pieces, or chop it into cubes.

This white chicken chili recipe is also excellent for meal prep throughout the week. As you may know, soups taste even better the next day because the flavors get more time to infuse together.

White bean chicken chili simmered in a crockpot with whole roasted jalapenos, tender beans, corn, and lean chicken breast. A healthy recipe pack with flavor and spice.

Topping ideas

Now for the fun stuff, the toppings! Avocado, cilantro, green onions, sour cream, thinly sliced jalapenos, or radishes add fresh flavors and texture to the chili. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top to enhance the taste.

Make some crispy tortilla chips if you have some tortillas lying around in the kitchen. Cut them into about 1/4-inch strips and then fry them for 2 to 3 minutes in vegetable oil at 325°F (165ºC) or until golden and crispy. Please do it. You’ll thank me later.

I’ve been building up my spicy tolerance lately, and let me tell you, on a scale from one to ten. I could handle maybe a 3! So I’m pretty proud of my increased capsaicin capacity, but you won’t be catching me at any chili-eating competitions!

Now that you’ve got a warm and spicy bowl of white bean chicken chili, it’s time to get cozy on the couch with a nice snuggly blanket or buddy. Grab a spoon and enjoy each bite!

More slow cooker recipes

Bowls of white bean chicken chili with slices of avocado and radish.

Recipe Science

What makes jalapeno peppers spicy?

Those beautiful green fleshed jalapeno peppers have a hidden spicy surprise in them. A compound called capsaicin is only found in hot peppers. Measured in Scoville Units, a Jalapeno is about 2,500 to 8,000 Scovilles (pure capsaicin is 15-16,000,000 Scovilles, HOT!). You can remove the inner membranes and seeds to reduce the heat. Wear gloves when working with peppers and wash your hands thoroughly as the spice can soak into your skin and burn.

White Bean Chicken Chili

White bean chicken chili prepared in a crockpot with whole roasted jalapenos, tender beans, corn, and lean chicken breast.
4.62 from 310 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree, Soup
Cuisine Mexican

Ingredients 
 

  • 3 jalapeño peppers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups yellow onion, ¼" dice
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 ¼ pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup roasted green chilies, canned, divided
  • 2 ½ cups white beans, two 15 oz cans, drained
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock, divided
  • 1 ½ cups corn, 15 ounce can
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions 

  • Roast the Jalapeños – Turn on the broil setting on the oven. Line a small baking sheet with foil and evenly space out three jalapeños. Place the sheet tray on the highest rack in the oven. Roast until the skins brown and blister, turning over as needed to get all the sides browned, about 15 minutes.
    Place the roasted peppers in a small bowl and cover them tightly with plastic wrap. Allow them to come to room temperature. The trapped heat will make the skins easier to peel.
  • Remove the Skin and Stems – Once cooled, remove the skin and stems from the peppers. If you like a very spicy chili, leave the seeds. For a mild chili remove the seeds and discard. Set aside.
  • Microwave the Aromatics – In a large microwave-safe bowl, add olive oil, diced onions, minced garlic, and cumin. Stir to combine. Microwave for 3 minutes, stir and cook another 2 minutes until onions are tender.
  • Add to the Slow Cooker – Add the aromatics, chicken breasts, ½ cup of roasted green chilies, corn, 1 cup of white beans, and ½ cup of chicken stock.
  • Puree the Peppers – In a blender, puree ½ cup roasted green chilies, roasted jalapeños, 1 cup beans, and ½ cup chicken stock until smooth, about 45 seconds. Add the mixture to the slow cooker.
  • Slow Cook – Add salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, or low for 6 hours.
  • Shred the Chicken – Remove the chicken and shred or cut it into cubes. Add it back to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
  • To Serve – Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm with desired toppings.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Serving Size: about 1 ½ cups
  • Suggested Toppings: Avocado, jalapenos, sour cream, green onions, cilantro, and radish.
  • Stovetop Recipe:
    • For step 3, Heat a large pot over medium heat. Heat oil, once hot add the onions and garlic, and saute for 2 minutes. Add the cumin and cook for 30 seconds.
    • For step 4, Place the ingredients in the pot.
    • For step 6, Turn the heat to medium-low, and simmer with the lid on but slightly ajar. Check after 30 minutes, then check every 10 minutes after that until the chicken is done cooking.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 482kcal (24%)Carbohydrates 50g (17%)Protein 45g (90%)Fat 13g (20%)Saturated Fat 2g (10%)Cholesterol 91mg (30%)Sodium 724mg (30%)Potassium 1414mg (40%)Fiber 11g (44%)Sugar 6g (7%)Vitamin A 89IU (2%)Vitamin C 13mg (16%)Calcium 141mg (14%)Iron 6mg (33%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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91 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Laura Streckfuss says

    I’ll give this a 5 star rating! Not everything was to my liking but I knew that ahead of time and made adjustments. I left out the canned chilis since I don’t care for them. I roasted 3 peppers (which I’ve never done before) but used only 2, keeping the other one just in case I needed it. When it was done cooking, it was a bit thick for me so I added more broth. The cilantro and avocado were great add ons!

    I never microwaved onions before — along with the cumin & oil. I like the idea since it used a dishwasher safe bowl, compared to sautéing in a skillet that I’d have to hand wash.

    I used a small immersion blender to puree the beans & chilis. It worked great, again keeping me from the mess of a blender.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you so much for sharing your feedback on the chili recipe. The adjustments you made will sure help other home cooks!

  2. Courtney Dreher says

    if i wanted to double or triple the recipe would it all still fit in 1 crockpot? excited to try! thanks!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Courtney, I think doubling that you could at most double or 1.5 times the recipe in a 6-quart crockpot. You may need to add less liquid initially if it’s get over 3/4 full, then add some later once the chili is done cooking.

  3. Cheyrl says

    I didni’t like it. A whole slow-cooker pot of food and money wasted. I have tasted this type of chili before but this one was not a good taste for me. There are a lot of good comments, so I tried it. It just didn’t work for me.

  4. Janie Cassady (The Comeback Kitchen) says

    This chili is SO delicious and easy! The flavors are so interesting, and the textures are great. Would definitely make again!

  5. Michelle says

    if i’m cooking for kiddos and need it to be mild, would i leave out the jalapeños or substitute something else?

    This looks delicious and perfect for a cold, snowy day; can’t wait to try it!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I would leave out the roasted jalapenos and serve it on the side. Also, you may also want to decrease the canned roasted chilies if you think they taste a bit too spicy.

  6. Tara says

    This is my favorite! Even without the seeds it’s still too spicy for the kiddos, but that just means more for mom! ? Can’t wait to have it again for lunch tomorrow.
    Every recipe I’ve tried from your site has been a winner- thank you!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes you can use raw cubed chicken and cook it. However reduce the cooking time for simmering as it will be ready much faster.

  7. RJ Vitiello says

    Hi Jessica, we’d love to make this recipe in the Instant Pot. Can you tell me how to convert the recipe to IP? Thank you! :0)

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi RJ- I would still roast all the peppers in the oven. Then cook the chicken breast in the instant pot on high pressure with the pureed chilis, some beans, and all of the chicken stock for 7 minutes. Depressurize the system and turn the unit to saute. Add the remaining ingredients, shredded chicken, and cook until the chili is hot. Let me know how it goes!

  8. Roben says

    Jessica, I have tried this recipe several tImes. Love the favor of all the ingredients. I will b e making a large Dutch oven full today. Will be using fresh corn, homeny and will be searing one jalepeno. This is going to feed my co-workers and will have leftovers for me. I will sear the chicken lightly for extra flavor. Using black beans and canning beans.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, chicken thighs will work as well. Just make sure to check for doneness as they may cook quicker since thighs are smaller in size.

  9. Dallas Calhoun says

    I tried this and absolutely fell in love. I might have made it a little too spicy, but will definitely make it again. I also loved how easy it was to cook, being that I’m in my early twenties and don’t know the first thing about cooking. <3 Thanks for the recipe!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You’re amazing Dallas! You can definitely cut down in the chilies next time if needed to reduce the spices.

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