White Chicken Chili

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Tender, juicy, smoked chicken and smoky poblanos in a creamy white chili sauce, my White Chicken Chili has something for everyone. Scoop up a bowl to keep you warm this winter.

White chicken chili in bowl next to blue pot.

White Chicken Chili

Do you ever get the craving for a rich, homemade chili, but you don’t want to eat anything too heavy? Same here. That’s what I love about my White Chicken Chili. It’s got all the best parts of chili: the hearty beans, the spicy peppers, that unmistakable comfort food feeling. The big difference is this recipe uses tender smoked chicken and a super rich and creamy broth.

Getting that perfectly creamy, smoky flavor is easy, and I’m going to teach you everything you need to make it happen. From picking and preparing the best ingredients, to adjusting your flavor levels, you’ll learn to become a chili expert. I’m going to give you everything you need to know step-by-step to make delicious, flavorful chili, including some awesome sides to serve it with. Let’s get started.

Chicken for Chili

This recipe calls for skinned and boned chicken thighs. Generally, these are available either fresh or frozen at most grocery stores. You can get it with the skin and bones still on, or with them removed already for not much more. You can even get them already cooked at some deli counters. It’s totally up to you, just keep in mind you’ll want to prepare your chicken ahead of time because you don’t want bony soup.

Shredded chicken being added to blue pot.

The Best Beans for Chili

When it comes to making chili, you can’t go wrong with kidney beans. For this particular chili I like to use cannellini beans, which are a white kidney bean. You can use great northern beans or navy beans as well, but the bean flavor might be a bit overpowering. Cannellini beans are creamier and heartier, and will enhance rather than overpower your chili. You could even substitute the beans altogether for corn if you wanted to, but I like to stick with cannellini beans because of the creamy taste and smooth finish they add.

Food Safety Note: Whichever beans you choose, be sure to drain and rinse them before adding them to your chili.

Tips for Making Chili

All of my recipes are made to inspire you to try different things, and this chili recipe is no exception. Here are a few tips for customizing your chili once you get comfortable making it:

  • Chicken. Personally, I think using tender, juicy, smoky chicken thighs is the secret to making this chili rich and delicious. Because of that, I like to prepare a whole chicken when making this chili. I’ve got a lot of recipes in the Hey Grill Hey app where you can use the rest of the chicken, and you also have the option to use the lean chicken if you want a more healthy chili. Here are a few of my whole chicken recipes:
  • Creaminess. The key to the creaminess/thickness of my white chicken chili is mashing some of the beans into a paste before adding them to the chili. I’ll typically add 2 cans of the beans whole and mash 1 of the cans. You can adjust how many beans you mash if you want it more or less creamy.
  • Heat. This recipe calls for 3 poblano peppers and 3 jalapeños peppers. If you don’t want as much heat, you can substitute out the jalapeños for more poblanos or a bell pepper. Obviously, if you don’t want the heat at all, just use 2 bell peppers.

Wooden spoon stirring chili in blue pot.

How to Store Chili

Make sure your chili is cooled completely, and then place it in an airtight container. It will keep for up to 5 days stored in your refrigerator this way, and you have it on hand whenever the craving for some hearty chili hits. To reheat, simply warm the leftover chili in a pot over medium heat until it reaches your desired temperature, add more of your favorite toppings, and you’re good to go.

Easy Steps to Make Chili

  1. Preheat. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add your butter to the pan and melt it. You don’t want to go to high on the heat or you’ll end up burning your butter.
  2. Vegetables. Add your diced onion and peppers and cook for 5-7 minutes. Once everything is fragrant and your onions are translucent, go ahead and and your garlic. Same thing here, you’re mainly looking for the garlic to become fragrant. It should be 1-2 minutes.
  3. Broth. Sprinkle the flour over the cooked vegetables and stir until the onions and peppers are coated. Cook, while stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Pour the warm chicken stock into the pan slowly, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits and stirring frequently. Add in the cream cheese and stir to melt. Turn the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  4. Beans. Drain and rinse all your beans. Add two of the drained cans of beans to the chili pot. Mash the third can of beans until a paste is formed and add that to the pot as well. The mashed beans will act as an additional thickener to the soup.
  5. Chicken and cream. Allow the soup to simmer for 5-7 minutes before adding the shredded chicken, heavy cream, and a generous helping of my Hey Grill Hey Fiesta Rub. Lastly, turn off the heat and serve the chili with your favorite toppings, like cilantro, chopped onion, shredded cheese, lime wedges, and crispy tortilla strips.

Chili with toppings in white bowl.

Toppings for Chili

Because this white bean chili is lighter than a typical chili, I tend to lean pretty fresh when it comes to toppings. Now you can obviously add whatever toppings you like most, but these are some of my favorites for this chicken chili:

  • cilantro
  • chopped onion
  • shredded cheese
  • lime wedges
  • crispy tortilla strips

With these toppings, this chili is really all you need for a killer meal, but adding my Homemade Rolls on the Grill or my Skillet Cornbread will take this thing over the top.

More Great Chili Recipes

Whenever the craving strikes you, a delicious chili makes for a hearty treat. It’s a must-have at any summer BBQ, and there’s nothing quite like wam bowl of rich chili on a cold winter day. Be sure to try even more of my yummy chili recipes:

Seasoning sprinkling into blue pot of chili.

White Chicken Chili Recipe

Here at Hey Grill Hey, we’re all about making feeding the people you love even easier. Be sure to check out the Hey Grill Hey app to find amazing appetizers and sides to serve with your delicious chili, different chili options, and over 500 more recipes to help you become a backyard BBQ hero.

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White Chicken Chili

By: Susie Bulloch
0 from 0 votes
Tender, juicy smoked chicken, smoky poblanos, all in a creamy white chili sauce, my White Chicken Chili has something for every preference.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings8 people



  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 3 poblano peppers seeded and diced
  • 3 jalapeños peppers seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken stock heated
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 14 ounce cans cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups smoked chicken
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Fiesta Rub


  • 1 bunch cilantro chopped
  • 1 white onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 limes for wedging
  • crispy tortilla strips


  • Preheat. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add butter to pan and melt.
    1/4 cup butter
  • Vegetables. Add diced onion and peppers and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook additional 1-2 minutes.
    1 yellow onion, 3 poblano peppers, 3 jalapeños peppers, 3 cloves garlic
  • Broth. Sprinkle vegetables with flour until evenly coated. Cook 1-2 minutes while stirring. Add chicken stock slowly while scraping bottom of pan for sticking bits. Add cream cheese while stirring and bring to boil for 2-3 minutes before reducing to simmer.
    1/4 cup flour, 6 cups chicken stock, 4 ounces cream cheese
  • Beans. Add two cans beans to the chili pot. Mash third can of beans into paste and add to pot. The mashed beans will act as a thickener to the soup. Simmer 5-7 minutes.
    3 14 ounce cans cannellini beans
  • Chicken and cream. Add Hey Grill Hey Fiesta rub, and then shredded chicken and heavy cream. Turn off heat and serve with your favorite toppings.
    2 cups smoked chicken, 1 cup heavy cream, 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Fiesta Rub, 1 bunch cilantro, 1 white onion, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 2 limes, crispy tortilla strips


Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 132mg | Sodium: 459mg | Potassium: 550mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1194IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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