White Bean Chili

This white bean chili is incredibly comforting, warm, hearty, and filling! This recipe is great for meal prep and leftovers. The flavors are savory and cozy. This chili recipe is loaded with flavor!
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This white bean chili is an incredibly flavorful and creamy soup!  This one-pan soup is perfect for a chilly day.  It is warming, cozy, and comforting.  This soup is made with real food healthy ingredients.  Great for family dinners, meal prep, and leftovers! You will also love this Dutch Oven Chili.

White bean chili.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • White bean chili is a delicious and flavorful soup that is perfect for a cold winter day.
  • This recipe is made with simple ingredients that you probably have on hand.
  • It is easy to make in one pot.
  • This soup is versatile and can be customized to your liking.
  • It is a budget-friendly meal that is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.
  • This is a great way to use up leftover beans.
  • It can be made ahead of time and frozen for later.  Great for meal prep.
  • This healthy soup is high in protein and fiber.
  • This recipe is naturally gluten-free and made with wholesome ingredients.
  • Great way to eat more veggies!
  • Check out this Ground Beef Chili and this Beanless Chili for another delicious family dinner recipe.

Ingredients & Substitutes

These are the ingredients and substitutions for white bean chili.  Scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe.

Olive oil helps cook the onion and garlic.  Use avocado oil if needed.

The onion adds flavor and a natural sweetness.

Garlic adds a classic garlicky flavor!

The optional jalapeño adds heat and spice.  Omit for a milder flavor.

Cube the chicken breasts.  Use boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Cut into 1-inch cubes.

Cumin, oregano, and chili powder add spice and flavor.

Chicken broth adds a hearty and creamy texture.  Feel free to use vegetable broth if needed.

Drain and rinse the white beans before adding to the pot.

Diced green chilies add a kick of spice.

Use frozen or fresh corn kernels.

Stir in heavy cream or sour cream to make this soup extra creamy!

Add in salt and pepper to taste.  Taste as you cook and adjust as needed.

Lastly, garnish with fresh cilantro!

Ingredients for white bean chili.

Taste & Texture

White bean chili has a hearty and flavorful taste with a smooth and creamy texture.

The white beans add a touch of sweetness and creaminess to the chili.  The chili powder and spices give it a delicious flavor.

The jalapeño adds a kick of heat!  Omit for a milder taste.

How to Make

Step 1

First, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the diced onion, minced garlic, and minced jalapeño. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.

Chopped onions and garlic in skillet.

Step 2

Add in the cubed chicken breasts. Cook until they are browned on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Step 3

Sprinkle in the cumin, oregano, and chili powder over the chicken and onion mixture. Stir until well incorporated.

Seasoned chicken bites in pan.

Step 4

Pour the chicken broth into the pan. Bring it to a simmer. Add in the drained and rinsed white beans, diced green chiles, and corn. Stir together.

Broth and chiles in pan.

Step 5

Allow the chili to simmer uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 6

Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the heavy cream or sour cream. Season the chili with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Step 7

Remove the pan from the heat. Allow the chili to rest for a few minutes to deepen the flavors.

Step 8

Finally, ladle the white bean chili into bowls. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

Expert Tips for Success

Here are a few expert tips and tricks for making the best white bean chili:

Use good quality white beans. This will make a big difference in the taste of the chili.

Do not overcook the beans.  They should be tender, but not mushy.

Continue simmering until the beans are tender.

Add your favorite toppings to customize the flavor of the chili. Some popular toppings include shredded cheese, sour cream, and avocado.

Healthy chili with avocado.

Flavor Variations & Add-Ins

White bean chili can be customized to your liking. Here are a few ideas for flavor variations.

Add different types of beans, such as black beans, kidney beans, or pinto beans.

Add different vegetables, such as peppers, tomatoes, or spinach.

Use different types of chili powder, such as mild chili powder or hot chili powder.

Add in different amounts of spices, such as more cumin, garlic powder, or onion powder.

Use another meat. Try turkey, steak, or ground beef.

Crockpot Method

To make slow cooker white bean chili, first pan sear the onion and garlic in olive oil.

Then, add that into a slow cooker with all other ingredients except the heavy cream.

Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours.

About 20 minutes before serving, stir in the heavy cream.

How to Serve & Store

White bean chili is great served hot and fresh or as leftovers.  Top with fresh herbs, sour cream, or cheese.

This soup can be served alone or with whole wheat bread.  Serve with whole wheat dinner rolls, homemade cornbread, a side salad, or as an appetizer.

Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.

To reheat, simply thaw the chili overnight in the refrigerator and then heat it in a saucepan over medium heat until warmed through.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I make this chili without beans?

Yes, you can make this chili without beans.  Add in more chicken or veggies to make up for the beans.

Can I make this chili ahead of time?

Yes, you can make this chili ahead of time. Simply cook the chili and then let it cool completely. Store the chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.

What can I serve with white bean chili?

White bean chili can be served with a variety of sides, such as brown rice rice, homemade cornbread, or whole wheat rolls.  For a healthy option, try Paleo Bread.

Can I omit the chicken?

Sure! Omit the chicken to make vegetarian white bean chili. Or, check out this Meatless Chili.

What are the best beans for chili?

The best beans for chili are pinto beans, kidney beans, and black beans. These beans are all hearty and flavorful, and they hold up well to the long cooking time required for chili. Pinto beans are a good all-purpose bean for chili. They have a mild flavor and a creamy texture. Kidney beans are another popular choice for chili. They have a slightly earthy flavor and a firm texture. Black beans are a good option for those who want a chili with a richer flavor. They have a slightly sweet flavor and a soft texture.

Are small white beans the same as navy beans?

Yes, small white beans and navy beans are the same thing. They are both small, oval-shaped beans that are white in color. Navy beans are a variety of white bean that is known for its quick cooking time and mild flavor. They are a popular ingredient in soups, stews, and chili.

How do you thicken it?

There are a few ways to thicken chili. First, continue to simmer the chili. The longer it cooks, the thicker it will become. Next, purée some of the beans. Then, add this purée back into the soup. Lastly, make a cornstarch slurry. Take some of the soup liquid and mix it in a small bowl with a tablespoon of cornstarch. Return this slurry back to the soup and stir.

Bowl of white bean chicken chili.

Equipment Needed

Nonstick Skillet: This is a large enough skillet for this white bean chicken chili.

Meat Thermometer: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is fully cooked through. Chicken is considered safe to eat at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

You May Also Enjoy

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Enjoy this creamy white bean chili recipe!

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