Creamy White Chicken Chili

This creamy white chicken chili is just the thing to warm you up on a chilly day. Serve with white cheddar, tortilla chips and torn cilantro leaves.

For years you guys, YEARS I wasn’t so sure how I felt about white chicken chili. Crazy, right?

Creamy White Chicken Chili #recipe #fromscratch #chili

The name alone hasn’t ever won me over, but on New Year’s Eve everything changed. Pat and I were at our good friends for dinner and celebrating, on the menu was white chicken chili. The last time I made it was YEARS ago and it turned out more as a dip then a chili, needless to say I’ve never had it since. However my friend Heidi is a great cook so I knew I’d be in good hands and plus I think I’ve always wanted to love it, I just hadn’t found the right recipe yet.

If it wasn’t for the fact we were sitting among 6 other people, I think we would have licked our bowls. This chicken chili is deliciously creamy with chunks of shredded chicken, great northern beans and the green chiles and cayenne give it a subtle spice. Plus you can top it with cheddar and crushed tortilla chips… what’s not to love?

white chicken chili ingredients

Heidi found her recipe by Google searching, so I borrowed her recipe and decided to do my very own bean soaking and a few other minor changed to be a little more scratchier without compromising the amazing flavor of the chili.


If you leaning toward the soaked bean method, start by soaking 1 heaping cup of dried great northern beans in cold water overnight or at least 8 hours.


In the morning you’ll notice that the beans have plumped and the skins have softened.


Rinse your beans under water…

warm water

Cover with three cups of fresh warm water, cover and bring to a simmer. Leave the lid cracked so steam can escape and cook the beans for one to one and a half hours or until the beans are tender.


Mean while I threw two chicken breasts into a pot and covered them with water.


I poached the chicken for about twenty minutes or so, until the chicken was fully cooked.

rest and cool

Remove the chicken breasts and let them cool until they are safe to touch and then shred them.

onion collage

Peel, halve, slice and chop up one medium yellow onion.

minced garlic

Then smash, peel and mince up two large cloves of fresh garlic.


Heat a 5 quart pot over medium heat and pour in a tablespoon of olive oil. Throw in the chopped onion and cook it until soft and translucent… about 6-8 minutes.

add in minced garlic

Next, add in the mince garlic and cook for a minute or two until fragrant.

add in spices

Measure and add in the cumin, oregano and cayenne…

stir for a few

Stir and cook for one minute.

chicken in

Now you can start building the chili by adding in the shredded, cooked chicken.

beans in

The cooked great northern beans…

broth in

Pour in 1-3/4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth.

chopped green chiles

And 8 ounces of chopped green chiles.

salt and pepper

Season with a teaspoon  {more or less to taste} of kosher salt and a half teaspoon of black pepper.

stir and simmer for 30

Give it a good stir and let it simmer for 30 minutes. During this time the liquids will reduce a tad.

sour cream

After the soup has simmered, reduce the heat to low and stir in a cup of sour cream.

heavy cream

…and pour in a half cup of heavy whipping cream.


Heat the soup until warm and ready to serve and then ladle them into bowls.

White Chicken Chili

What I love about white chicken chili is that you really don’t need any toppings in order to devour it because it’s utterly scrumptious. I kept my bowl of white chicken chili pretty simple with torn cilantro because I wanted you to see how thick, creamy and dreamy this chili truly is.

White Chicken Chili l

And then when you weren’t looking I added lots of white cheddar, crushed white corn tortilla chips and a small dollop of sour cream, ya know… to keep it in that whole “white chili” theme.


Enjoy! And if you give this White Chicken Chili recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!


Creamy White Chicken Chili

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

Yield: 6-8 servings

Creamy White Chicken Chili

Creamy White Chicken Chili
Shredded chicken, white beans and tons of flavor. This chili is just the thing to warm you up on a chilly day.
Prep Time 1 days 2 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 days 2 hours 45 minutes


  • 1 heaping cup of dry great northern beans (or you could just use 2 (15 ounce) cans of great northern beans)
  • water
  • 2 whole chicken breasts
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1-3/4 cups of chicken broth
  • 8 ounces (or two 4 ounce cans) of chopped green chiles
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  • fresh cilantro
  • white cheddar cheese
  • white corn tortilla chips



  1. Place a cup of dried northern beans into a bowl and cover with at least 3 cups of cold water. Let the beans soak overnight or for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse the beans in cool water. Add the beans to a pot and cover with three cups of warm water. Bring to a simmer, crack the lid so steam can escape and cook the beans for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until the beans are tender.


  1. Place two chicken breasts into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and poach the chicken for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.
  2. In a 5 quart pot heat over medium and add in the tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the chopped onion into the pot, stir and cook until soft and translucent. Next add in the chopped garlic, stir and cook for one minute.
  3. Measure and add in a teaspoon of both cumin and oregano and then a 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Stir and cook for one minute.
  4. Add in the cooked and shredded chicken, the green chiles and 1-3/4 cups of chicken broth and beans. Stir and simmer with the lid off, for 30 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat down to a low and add in the cup of sour cream and a 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
  6. Stir and keep warm on low heat.
  7. Serve with chopped cilantro, crushed white corn tortillas and lots of white cheddar.


If you decide to use canned beans to save time, simply omit the dry bean soaking and cooking instructions.

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38 Responses to “Creamy White Chicken Chili”

  1. #
    Kathryn — January 13, 2014 at 4:22 am

    I’m not sure I’ve ever had a white chicken chilli but I love the sound of this – you’ve definitely convinced me to give it a go!

  2. #
    Steph (Poupetteinthekitchen) — January 13, 2014 at 6:28 am

    ooooh! beautiful!! and how convenient 🙂 I still have some frozen from my december batch 😉 love me a good white chicken chilli!

  3. #
    Sheila — January 13, 2014 at 9:08 am

    My kids love chicken chili…husband not so much ;( Yours looks marvOOlous!

    • simplyscratch replied: — January 13th, 2014 @ 1:15 pm

      Those darn husbands! 😉 I thought for sure mine wouldn’t like it either… but luckily he did!

  4. #
    Christy — January 13, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I’ve been making this recipe for years (“Creamy White Chili” from Laura Brewer, as published in Taste of Home) and it’s always a huge hit with my family! My husband and even my picky eater kids devour it. I love your idea of enhancing it with some white cheddar; I’m going to try that with my next batch. If I get myself organized enough to plan ahead, I may even try using dried beans instead of canned!

    • simplyscratch replied: — January 13th, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

      My husband tends to be picky too, although lately he’s been a lot better. Let me know how it turns out for you Christy! 🙂

  5. #
    Haley @ The Girly Girl Cooks — January 13, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I can’t believe I have never had White Chicken Chili before! This is definitely on my to-make list. It sounds divine! 🙂 Love your “scratchier” version!

    • simplyscratch replied: — January 13th, 2014 @ 1:13 pm

      WHAT? 😉 Now you must! Thanks Haley!

  6. #
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain — January 13, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Friend, I love your pictures!! Now I want a big bowl of this white chicken chili!!

  7. #
    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe — January 13, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    I just made white chicken chili this past weekend and followed an almost identical recipe. It was SO good!

  8. #
    BoLynK — January 13, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    I wanted something different for dinner this evening, and lo & behold, this recipe was in my inbox! Absolutely the BEST white chili I’ve ever had, and even better with a wedge of dressed lettuce and buttermilk corn bread!! Thank you for taking so much time and care to create an incredible website with fantastic recipes!!!

    • simplyscratch replied: — January 13th, 2014 @ 9:28 pm

      Thank YOU! I’m so happy to hear you liked it! And I LOVE cornbread with chili too! 🙂

  9. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — January 13, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    White chicken chili is my favorite. I love how creamy this is!

  10. #
    Lizziee — January 13, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Come on weekend! This is getting made for Saturday Slug Day.

    Been on the go so much last few weeks we declared a slug day of nothing. This will be perfect.

    Thank you for the menu idea. Can not wait.

  11. #
    Alexandria — January 14, 2014 at 5:24 am

    My husband is a big fan of chicken chili. I’m sure he would like your recipe. It looks absolutely delicious!

  12. #
    Rachel Cooks — January 14, 2014 at 7:08 am

    White chili is one of my absolute favorites and this version looks amazing. The one I make is slightly less “scratchier.” 😉

  13. #
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — January 14, 2014 at 7:43 am

    This looks so good! I love white chicken chili–but I’ve never thought of stirring in sour cream at the end. It looks so creamy. Would love a big bowl of this for lunch today!

    Sometimes friends and family are the best inspiration for recipes 🙂

  14. #
    Megan {Country Cleaver} — January 14, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Don’t know how you “FEEL” about white chicken chili? I think this has me questioning our entire friendship…. KIDDING!! Well, I’m glad you’re finally on the right side of things now! This looks incredible!

  15. #
    Heather — January 18, 2014 at 9:07 am

    This looks fantastic! 🙂
    I did have a question, though: would half-n-half be an acceptable substitute for heavy cream? (My stomach is really sensitive to heavy cream)

    • simplyscratch replied: — January 19th, 2014 @ 5:28 pm

      I don’t see why not Heather… go for it! 🙂

  16. #
    The Food Hound — January 21, 2014 at 8:38 am

    I am a self-proclaimed white chicken chili hater, and you have convinced me to try it again!! I always find it so BLAND, but with the cream, the spices, and let’s be honest- the toppings, I think this will be awesome. Printing!!

  17. #
    Marisa — January 26, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious! The boyfriend had three bowls. It was exactly what I needed on a bitter cold evening 🙂 Thinking of adding some corn next time. Thanks for a great recipe!

    • simplyscratch replied: — January 27th, 2014 @ 12:01 am

      Yay! I’m so glad Marisa!

  18. #
    Lauren — January 29, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    I made this tonight! We loved it, and we will definitely make it again:)

  19. #
    Sally — March 8, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Wow, this was awesome. Hit it with a little balsamic just because and ate two bowls. Just discovered Simply Scratch and have tried 4 recipes already. This is definitely my favorite blog right now! The pictures are lovely and I really dig the step-by-step instructions. Thank you!

  20. #
    Kim — May 24, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Made this tonight, it was very good ! I stopped at one (big) bowl to save some for everyone else. I will make this every time I have left over chicken .

  21. #
    Laurizzle — July 30, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    The beans are left out of the written instructions! I just realized it after simmering for 30 min.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — July 30th, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

      Gah! Thanks for pointing that out! I’ll add that crucial step into the written instructions! Sorry for the inconvenience.

  22. #
    Nicole — October 9, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Question… when you reheat the chili, does the sour cream curdle? I am thinking of using this recipe for a chili cookoff, but we need to make the chili ahead (i.e. it will need to be reheated). Thanks!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — October 15th, 2014 @ 5:52 pm

      Hi Nicole! Great question! No it won’t curdle. But to play it safe alert reheat over a low temp.

  23. #
    Ariana — October 15, 2014 at 5:44 pm


    No it doesn’t curdle. I do a low calories one (using Greek Yogurt instead of Sour cream) and that one curdles. Sour cream will make an amazing creamy sauce. Even better the next day! 🙂

  24. #
    Patty — November 1, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Couldn’t find fresh garlic at the store tonight, so I went with a jar of minced garlic at the last minute. I’m not sure how much I should use though.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — November 1st, 2014 @ 9:52 pm

      Hi Patty! I think it suggests it on the jar. I want to say that maybe a teaspoon equals a clove? I’m not 100% positive but I think it’s a safe assumption.

  25. #
    danielle — January 10, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    finally made this. it was a hit all around, even among the five and under crowd. (and considering there were three of them, that is significant!)

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — January 10th, 2015 @ 8:17 pm

      I’m so glad Danielle!

  26. #
    Jennifer — October 29, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    Just won a chili Cookoff with this recipe!! Thank you for it. And it was all gone by the end, so sadly there were no leftovers. I guess I’ll just have to make it again!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — November 2nd, 2017 @ 12:52 pm

      That’s so great, Jennifer! Congratulations!


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