In this one-pot creamy White Chicken Chili recipe, chicken is poached in broth with spices, garlic and onions before being shredded and added back in with great northern beans and dice green chiles. Sour cream and heavy cream lends delicious flavor and creaminess to this chili. Serve topped with shredded cheese, cilantro and with tortilla chips. This recipe will yield 6 to 8 servings (depending on the serving size).
This white chicken chili is one of my all time favorite chili recipes.
In this one-pot dream, chicken is poached in broth with spices and sautéed onions and garlic before being shredded and added back in to the pot with great northern beans, diced green chiles. This recipe is adapted from a recipe my dear friend Heidi gave me a decade ago. Not much has changed over the years, as it’s still a favorite in our home.
In this post I share how to make the recipe, what to top it and serve it with and also the best way to store and freeze this white chicken chili!
To Make This Creamy White Chicken Chili You Will Need:
- olive oil – Lends fat for sautéing.
- yellow onion – Adds a subtle sweet onion flavor.
- garlic – Adds distinct punchy flavor.
- kosher salt – This will draw out flavor and season the dish.
- cumin – Lends earthiness and warmth, with an edge of citrus.
- oregano – I use mexican oregano, however regular will work just fine. Lends earthy and slightly bitter flavor.
- cayenne pepper – Lends some flavor and heat.
- white pepper – Brighter, a little sharper and more herbaceous notes than regular black pepper.
- boneless skinless chicken – I like to use both breast and thigh meat, but you can use all of one or the other.
- low-sodium chicken broth – Lends flavor and liquid for the chili.
- great northern beans – I use canned (rinsed and drained) for ease, however you can soak and cook your own.
- chopped green chiles (canned) – I use 1 (4-ounce) each mild and hot.
- sour cream – Full fat sour cream works best in this recipe.
- heavy cream – Lends creaminess to this chili recipe.
Make The Chili:
In a dutch oven or heavy bottom soup pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 diced medium yellow onion and 3 cloves of minced garlic with a pinch of kosher salt.
Stir and cook over medium to medium-low heat until soft and translucent with golden edges. About 8 to 10 minutes.
Once cooked, measure and add in 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon oregano (mexican oregano if you have it), 1/2 teaspoon white pepper and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Stir and cook 1 minute.
Next, add in 1-1/4 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken and 1-3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth. I like to use a combination of chicken breasts and thighs. However, you can do all chicken breasts or all thighs.
Cover, with the lid askew and bring to a boil over high heat.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low to low and poach the chicken for 30 minutes.
When the chicken is fully cooked, us tongs to remove the chicken and transfer to a cutting board. Use two forks to shred the chicken.
Add the shredded chicken back into the the pot along with 2 (15-ounce) cans of drained and rinsed great northern beans and 2 (4-ounce) cans of diced green chiles.
Give that a stir.
Next, remove off the heat and add in 3/4 cup sour cream.
Stir again while pouring in 1/2 cup heavy cream.
Move the pot back onto the burner. With the heat on low, cover the soup leaving the lid askew and heat through until thickened. Stirring occasionally.
Ladle chili into bowls and top with desired toppings.
What toppings to use on White Chicken Chili?
- cheese – Monterey Jack, sharp white cheddar, pepper jack or jalapeno jack.
- sour cream
- green onions
- lime wedges
- hot sauce
- tortilla strips
What to serve with white chicken chili:
How To Freeze Chili And Reheat Later:
- COOL: make sure the chili is completely cool before freezing. Never place hot or very warm items in the freezer (or fridge!) as it can thaw and negatively affect the nearby food.
- PORTION: when cool, divide chili into portions. Whether it’s a single serving, two or four, portion the cooled chili into either freezer safe bags or air-tight containers. I prefer using freezer safe bags and removing as much air as possible, this helps with storing.
- FLATTEN: once portioned, lay flat on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze for a few hours. Like in this post.
- STORE: stack the flat frozen chili portions vertically or horizontally saving so much freezer space. Store chili in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- REHEAT: I prefer to thaw frozen chili overnight in the fridge. However you can soak in a sink of lukewarm water for 20 to 30 minutes – flip every so often and change out the water at least once or twice. You can also defrost in the microwave until thawed. Lastly, add thawed chili to saucepan or dutch oven and heat until thoroughly heated throughout.
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Creamy White Chicken Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano, mexican oregano if you can find it
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1¼ pounds boneless skinless chicken, breast, thighs or a combination of both
- 14½ ounces low-sodium chicken broth, (about 1¾ cups)
- 30 ounces (canned) great northern beans, or you could use soak and cook dried beans
- 8 ounces chopped green chiles
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- In a 5-quart dutch oven or heavy bottom soup pot, add olive oil, yellow onion and garlic with a pinch of kosher salt. Stir and cook over medium to medium-low heat until soft and translucent with golden edges. About 8 to 10 minutes.
- Once cooked, measure and add in cumin, oregano, white pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir and cook 1 minute.
- Next, add in chicken and low-sodium chicken broth. I like to use a combination of chicken breasts and thighs. However, you can do all chicken breasts or all thighs.
- Cover, with the lid askew and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low to low and poach the chicken for 30 minutes.
- When the chicken is fully cooked, us tongs to remove the chicken and transfer to a cutting board. Use two forks to shred the chicken.
- Add the shredded chicken back into the the pot along with the (drained and rinsed) great northern beans and the diced green chiles. Stir to combine.
- Next, remove off the heat and add in the sour cream and heavy cream. With the heat on low, cover the soup leaving the lid askew and heat through until thickened. Stirring occasionally.
- Ladle soup into bowls and serve topped with toppings of choice
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