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White Chicken Chili – Once Upon a Chef

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Made with a rotisserie chicken, this hearty white chicken chili is a one-pot meal that you can have on the table in under an hour.

When chili is made with chicken or turkey, white beans, and broth (rather than tomatoes), it is called “white chili” because it appears light in color rather than a deep red. It’s a bit lighter and brothier than ground beef chili or Texas-style chili, but it’s still 100% comfort food. I have tried countless recipes for white chicken chili over the years, from super-easy crockpot recipes to more authentic, time-consuming versions made from a wide array of chili peppers and hominy. My favorite recipe, and the one my family loves best, falls somewhere in the middle effort-wise. Modestly adapted from Food Network, this hearty white chicken chili is a one-pot meal that you can have on the dinner table in under an hour.

What you’ll need to make white chicken chili

ingredients for white chicken chili

Before we get to the step-by-step photos, a few notes about the ingredients:

  • The recipe calls for a store-bought rotisserie chicken. I typically shred the chicken as soon as I get home from the grocery store; it’s easier to do while the chicken is still warm, eliminates a step at dinnertime, and also takes up less room in the fridge.
  • The larger peppers you see in photo are mild poblanos. The small chili pepper is a spicy jalapeño. As always, when working with jalapeños, wear gloves or wash your hands very well afterwards (and always avoid touching your eyes). The seeds and ribs in the pepper hold all of the heat. I remove and discard them to keep the chili mild and family-friendly, but if you like a spicy chili, save them and stir some in at the end.
  • I use low-sodium chicken broth for the chili; the canned beans are fairly high in sodium, so using a low-sodium variety broth helps to keep the flavor of the chili from being overly salty.
  • I use frozen corn as it’s available year-round (there’s no need to defrost the corn before incorporating it into the recipe). If fresh corn is in season and you’d prefer to use that, you’ll need kernels from 1 ear of corn.

How to make white chicken chili

Begin by combining half of the white beans in a food processor with one cup of the chicken broth.

beans and broth in food processor

Process until you have a smooth purée. This is what will thicken the broth. Set aside.

puréed beans and broth

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and add the the onions and peppers.

oil, onion, and peppers in pot Cook until soft, about 4 minutes, then add the garlic.

soft onions and peppers with garlic added

Cook a minute more, then add the spices.

adding the spices

Continue cooking for another minute to toast the spices.

toasting the spices

Add the chicken broth, salt and puréed bean mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

adding the broth and puréed beans

Stir in the shredded chicken, beans, corn, and lime and simmer until everything is warmed through.

adding the chicken, beans, corn and lime

You will notice that the chili is quite soupy. This is intentional. It thickens as it sits — in fact, if you make it ahead of time, you will likely need to add some broth or water to thin it out. Plus, I find that if the broth is too thick, the chili gets gloppy and unappealing. A soupy broth is good!

finishing the chili with cilantro

Serve with sour cream, lime wedges, shredded cheese and crushed tortilla chips.

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VIDEO TUTORIAL

White Chicken Chili

Made with a rotisserie chicken, this hearty white chicken chili is a one-pot meal that you can have on the table in under an hour.

Ingredients

  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (see note)
  • 2 medium poblano peppers, seeded and diced (see note)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • Salt
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and shredded (about 4 cups)
  • ¾ cup frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from one lime, plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro

Optional For Serving

  • Sour cream
  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Shredded cheddar or Pepper Jack cheese
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, blend ½ of the beans (1 can) with 1 cup of the chicken broth. Set aside both the puréed beans and the remaining whole beans.
  2. Add the oil to a large pot or Dutch oven and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the onion, jalapeño pepper and poblano peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Add the cumin, coriander and ancho chili powder and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for one minute more to toast the spices. Add the chicken broth, puréed beans and ½ teaspoon of salt; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the shredded rotisserie chicken, reserved whole beans, corn, and lime juice; bring back to a simmer and cook until everything is heated through, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and lime juice, if necessary. Stir in the cilantro. (Note that the broth will be somewhat soupy — that’s how it is supposed to be. It thickens the longer it sits; see note below.) Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, and lime wedges.
  4. Note: The seeds and ribs in the peppers hold all of the heat. I don’t use them to keep the chili mild and family-friendly, but if you like a spicy chili, save them and stir some in at the end. (If you do touch the seeds, be sure to wash your hands well and avoid touching your eyes.)
  5. Note: The chili thickens as it sits. If you make it ahead of time, you will probably need to add more broth or water to thin it out.
  6. Note: Nutrition info does not include optional toppings.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The chili can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat it on the stovetop over medium-low heat until hot. (The chili will thicken up some when frozen, so you’ll likely need to add some broth when reheating.)

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Serving size: about 2 cups
  • Calories: 465
  • Fat: 20 g
  • Saturated fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 40 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 32 g
  • Sodium: 913 mg
  • Cholesterol: 70 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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