White Chicken Chili
Hold onto your spurs, Cowboys and Cowgirls, I have the most magical Creamy White Chicken Chili recipe to share with you today. It is sooo easy! I say that it’s magical because you literally just stir it together in the crockpot and you’ll end up with utterly delicious chili with tender chicken, white beans in creamy spicy sauce! For those of you who meal prep, I also have an option that allows you to make ahead and freeze the ingredients for a freezer to slow-cooker dinner!
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Trust me you’re going to want to pin this one to save it for later! It is so incredibly handy to have a freezer meal like this one, that is creamy and comforting (and full of spicy flavor) but is so easy to throw together!
What Is White Chicken Chili
You are in for a treat when you try white chicken chili, if you haven’t had it before! Think of it as the creamy cousin to tomato based chilis like my Turkey Chili with Pintos.
- It is made with tender chunks of chicken, onions and garlic (of course!), bell peppers or green chilis (I used fresh) and most versions have corn too.
- The flavor is different from red chili because it is not as acidic. As I mentioned in this post about Chicken and Vegetable Soup, I avoid tomatoes these days, so this kind of no-tomato chili is my cup of tea!!
- White chili is very often creamy, though some versions are dairy free and seem more like a broth based stew, almost like posole.
- White chicken chili is most often made with white beans instead of kidney beans or black beans.
Ingredients for White Chicken Chili
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs: Unlike chicken breast which becomes dry when it is cooked in the slow cooker, chicken thighs become more and more tender!
- Onions: You’ll need two large onions (or three medium) for this recipe. The onion helps to add volume to the chili in addition to great flavor! Look for yellow onions when you’re shopping, but you can also substitute red, white or sweet onion.
- Green or bell pepper or poblano peppers: You can use poblano peppers or bell peppers. The poblanos will give the chili more spice, so if your family doesn’t love spicy food, I’d recommend bell peppers instead. If you don’t like green pepper it is totally fine to use red, orange or yellow bell peppers instead.
- Frozen corn kernels: The corn helps to make the chili more hearty. Measure out your corn while it is still frozen. It can go right into the crockpot (or freezer kit) while it is still frozen!
- Cornmeal: This is the unique ingredient in this White Chicken Chili! It thickens the chili up, just like the texture of classic tomato based chili! Plus it makes it so that when the cream is added at the end it won’t curdle.
- Garlic: The garlic adds tons of flavor to this chili! Use two tablespoons of chopped fresh garlic. It seems like a lot, but with all the other spices it will balance out!
- Cumin, Coriander and Chili Powder: The trio of these three spices will give this Creamy White Chicken Chili classic chili flavor without coloring the chili.
- Salt: Use regular table salt (iodized.) If you want to use coarse salt, read this first.
- Cayenne pepper: You’ll get plenty of heat from 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne. If you don’t like heat, skip it all together.
- Chicken broth: This is the liquid for the recipe (as opposed to tomatoes in classic red chili.)
- Canned White Beans: Choose whichever white beans you like. I prefer Cannellini, which are just like kidney beans, only white. But feel free to use great Northern or Navy beans instead.
- Heavy cream: The heavy cream makes it creamy, and you only need 1/2 cup.
- Optional Garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro and lime wedges. Feel free to doll this chili up as much as you like. I love the way it tastes with cheddar and cilantro. My daughter insists that it is better with the lime. I’ll let you decide.
Why This Creamy White Chicken Chili Is Healthy
- Lots of Vegetables: The bulk of this chili is actually the vegetables. You’re getting two servings of vegetables per serving of chili! So yay, it’s a complete meal in one bowl!
- Only 365 Calories: That’s for a nice big 2 cup serving too!
- High in Protein: This chili has a whopping 32 grams of protein per serving!! Here’s more about why I try to eat enough protein in my post about Chicken Power Salads.
- Gluten Free: Cornmeal is a gluten-free ingredient, so this chili is gluten-free.
- Less Saturated Fat: Many white chicken chilis call for a lot of cream or cream cheese. This version only has 1/2 cup of cream, so it has only 7 grams of saturated fat per serving.
How To Make White Chicken Chili
This recipe is so easy to make. Basically you’ll just stir everything together in the crockpot, turn it on and walk away. Then when the timer goes off, just stir in the beans and heavy cream. And you’re done!!
Cut The Vegetables
- You’ll need to dice the onions. Since they cook for a while, and break down, it’s okay if you aren’t super perfect about the cuts.
- Dice the peppers. I aimed for pieces that were a little smaller than a half inch dice.
- Chop the garlic. Smash the garlic with the side of the knife, peel it and then finely chop it. You’ll need two tablespoons.
Cut The Chicken
I like to cut the chicken after I have cut the vegetables, that way I only have to clean the cutting board one time! Make sure that you wash your hands after handling raw meat or poultry. To read more about handling chicken safely, read this.
Combine the Ingredients in the Crockpot
Now you’re ready to stir everything together. Simply stir the chicken with the cornmeal, onions, peppers, corn, garlic, broth and spices right in the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker. This is the slow cooker I have. Then cover the slow cooker and turn it on for 6 hours on low.
Add White Beans and Cream at the End
- Once the timer goes off, give the chili a good stir. You’ll immediately notice how thick the cornmeal makes it!!
- Then once it is stirred, simply stir the beans and cream into the chili.
- Note: If you are not home and the timer goes off, it’s okay for this chili to stay in “stay warm” mode for an hour or so. Then simply add in the beans and cream.
How To Meal Prep White Chicken Chili for a Freezer Meal
Ever since I shared my Chicken and Wild Rice Soup a couple months ago, you dear readers have been asking for more freezer meals like that so I have also adapted this recipe for a freezer to crockpot option!!
This ingredients for this white chili recipe can be prepped up and frozen up to three months ahead. To do so you want to keep a couple things in mind:
- Toss the chicken, veggies and cornmeal in a bowl first. The cornmeal helps keep the chicken pieces separate so that they won’t freeze into a solid chunk.
- Transfer the chicken and veggie mixture to a 1 gallon ziplock bag.
- Then add in the spices. Since they go on top, they won’t get coated to the bag, and get wasted.
- Take a second to press out any excess air when you seal the bag shut.
- Lay the bag down flat to freeze it.
- When you’re ready to make the chili, no need to thaw the chili kit. Just pull the bag out of the freezer and whack it with a rolling pin or mallet or heavy skillet several times to break the chicken and veggies apart.
- Pour the ingredients into the slow cooker insert and add in the broth. Then just cover and cook the chili, but this time you’ll have to do it for 8 hours on high.
- As with the non-frozen method, you’ll finish it the same way by stirring in beans and heavy cream in at the end.
Can you Freeze This White Chicken Chili
Yes you sure can!
- After it is cold, seal it into portions in glass storage containers.
- Label and freeze for up to three months.
- Thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Then warm gently over medium-low heat on the stovetop.
What To Serve with White Chicken Chili
- We had the chili topped with cilantro and shredded white cheddar and giant hunks of cornbread.
- You could also top it with crispy tortilla strips like the ones I use in my Taco Salad.
- This is the cornbread recipe I use. If you’re gluten-free you can use this gluten-free cornbread recipe instead.
- You could also make cheddar biscuits. These air-fryer biscuits I made for Cabot are awesome!!
- If you’re serving this at a Chili Party, you’ll want to serve some Coleslaw too, and definitely make a batch of guacamole!
More Chili Recipes
This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes is vegan!
This Turkey Picadillo Chili with quinoa is another slightly sweet chili to try.
This Turkey Chili with Pintos is one of my favorites!
For something different this bean free Slow Cooker Paleo Beef Chili is a good one to try.
I know it sounds strange, but adding a little maple syrup to chili is actually amazing. Try it in my recipe for Smoky and Sweet Turkey Chili!
Oh and for a twist, try these Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili Tortilla Bowls.
This White Chicken Chili Recipe is Part of A Meal Prep Plan
This recipe is featured in a Meal Prep Plan which also includes four more make ahead dinners. In this plan, I give you the prep list, shopping list and plan to prep on the weekend, so you can have all your weeknight meals ready to go with 20 minutes (or less) of time in the kitchen!
Here’s the complete menu:
- Monday: Fish with Pineapple Salsa and 10 Minute Coconut Rice with Spinach
- Tuesday: Easy Enchiladas with Mexican Slaw
- Wednesday: Soupe Au Pistou and Baguette
- Thursday: Apple & Ham Quesadillas with Spinach Salad with Mustard Salad Dressing
- Friday: Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili, wholesome cornbread
To get the full details, print your shopping list and get started, head over to the plan for the Meal Prep For The Week to check it out!
Thanks so much for reading! If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. It is very helpful and I appreciate it so much. If you’re new here you may want to join the conversation over on instagram too!Print
You’re going to want to save this slow cooker Creamy White Chicken Chili with corn and white beans. It is so easy- just stir the ingredients into the crockpot and turn it on! It can be meal prepped as a freezer meal too!
1 ¾ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
2 large onions, diced
1 green or bell pepper or 2 poblano peppers, diced
1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 cups chicken broth
1 14-ounce can navy beans or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup heavy cream
Shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro and lime wedges for serving, optional
- Mix Ingredients in Slow Cooker: Stir chicken, onions, peppers, corn, cornmeal, garlic, cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt, cayanne and broth together in the insert of a 6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook for 6 hours on low.
- To Finish and Serve: When timer goes off, stir well. Add in beans and stir in cream. Serve garnished with cilantro, cheese and serve with lime wedges.
Meal Prep/ Freezer Meal Instructions:
- Make Freezer Pack: Combine chicken, onion, peppers, corn and cornmeal in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Transfer to a 1 gallon freezer bag. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt and cayenne. Press out any excess air, and seal shut. Freeze flat up to 3 months.
- Break up and Add To Slow Cooker: Whack the frozen bag of chili ingredients with a rolling pin or heavy skillet several times to break apart. Transfer the frozen ingredients to the insert of a large (6-quart) slow cooker.
- Cook: Add broth, cover and cook for 8 hours on high. When timer goes off, stir in beans and heavy cream. Serve garnished with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.
- Serving Size: 2 cups
- Calories: 365
- Sugar: 5 g
- Fat: 19 g
- Saturated Fat: 7 g
- Carbohydrates: 32 g
- Fiber: 6 g
- Protein: 29 g