Creamy White Chicken Chili

I love one pot meals, and not just for the obvious reasons-easy cleanup, less prep, warm deliciousness.  No, I love them because I can sneak in a TON of vegetables, and my family devours it without batting an eye.   Creamy white chicken chili is one of those recipes that sounds decadent, and tastes decadent, but, with a little of my easy tricks, won’t break the calorie bank.   

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The ingredients for my white chicken chili speak for themselves.

creamy white chicken chili

Yes, you could dump all of these ingredients in a crockpot and call it a day.  But what makes this recipe magical is the development and layering of flavor.  Like so-

Chop one green pepper, two carrots, two celery stalks, one onion and three small garlic cloves.  Sprinkle the chicken breast on both sides with seasoned salt.  Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the chicken breast and brown for two minutes per side.  The chicken WILL NOT be cooked through.  You just want to develop a nice, flavorful crust on the outside.

chicken chiliNow that is some flavor!

Add the chopped fresh veggies, except for the garlic, to the same hot pot along with 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons oregano, and a pinch of cayenne.  Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes until the veggies soften.

vegetables for chicken chiliThen add the garlic, and stir for one minute.  If you add the minced garlic too soon, you may burn it.  And that’s really gross.

Now, pour in two cups of chicken stock and two 4 oz cans of diced green chiles.  Return the seared chicken to the pot as well.  Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer stirring occasionally until the chicken almost falls apart, around 30-45 minutes.

Searing and then poaching the chicken gives the chili yummy browned chicken flavor with melt in your mouth chicken meat.  It’s the best of both worlds!

Now, pull the chicken out of the chili, and shred it as finally as you can.

Mashed Great Northern Beans for Chicken ChiliThen open and drain one can of great northern beans, I prefer reduced sodium whenever I can find it, and give them a good rinse.  Put them in a bowl and mash them with the back of a fork until your hand hurts.  This is one of the ingredients that is going to give your chili that thick, silky tongue feel.

Add the beans and chicken to the pot, crank the heat to medium high, and cook for 15-20 minutes until the chili thickens.  Up until this point, the chili had enough liquid in it that you didn’t have to worry about burning anything.  Now with the addition of the mashed beans you do have to worry.  Have you ever eaten scorched beans?  I have at a church pot luck, and I will never forget it.  Double groddy gross.  So, for the next 15-20 minutes, stir baby stir.  Don’t leave the chili alone for more than 3-5 minutes.

Now you may be wondering if its so easy to scorch the chili, why are we cooking the heck out of it at such a high temperature?  Well, good question.  This part of the procedure not only thickens the chili, but the heat and constant stirring breaks the shredded chicken down even more, making the chicken, vegetables, stock and beans one.  So the end result is delicious bites of chili, not delicious chicken bites, and then delicious bean bites, and then delicious vegetable bites.  Just trust me on this.

Now for the grand finale.  Once everything is thickened and broken down to your liking, add the last can of drained and rinsed northern beans, and half an 8-ounce brick of cream cheese.  Stir until the cheese is melted and everything is heated through.  Season with salt and pepper as needed.

chicken chili with cilantro

Ladle into large bowls and serve with greek yogurt (or sour cream), corn chips, and cilantro.  Creamy white chicken chili – a big warm hug in a bowl!


Creamy White Chicken Chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Creamy white chicken chili is one of those recipes that sounds decadent, and tastes decadent, but, with a little of my easy tricks, won't break the calorie bank.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6 large bowls
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 3 small cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, around 1.5 lbs
  • 2 cups chicken stock, reduced sodium preferred
  • 2 4-oz cans diced green chiles
  • 2 cans great northern beans, reduced sodium preferred, drained and rinsed
  • Seasoned salt for chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 oz cream cheese, reduced fat preferred
  • Corn chips, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), and cilantro for serving
  1. Season the chicken breasts with seasoned salt.
  2. Add olive oil to a large pot over medium high heat. Brown the chicken breasts for 2 minutes per side. The chicken will not be cooked through.
  3. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and pepper to the pan along with the cumin, oregano, and cayenne. Season with salt & pepper and sauté for 5 minutes or until softened.
  4. Add the garlic and stir for one minute.
  5. Return the chicken to the pot along with the stock and chiles. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until the chicken is falling apart.
  6. Shred the chicken.
  7. Mash one can of rinsed and drained beans with the back of a fork. Add the chicken and mashed beans back to the pot. Increase the heat to medium high and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring almost constantly, until the chicken is broken down.
  8. Add the last can of beans and the cream cheese to the pot. Stir until the cheese is melted and the beans are heated through.
  9. Serve the chili topped with greek yogurt, corn chips, and cilantro.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bowl Calories: 482 Fat: 13 Saturated fat: 3 Unsaturated fat: 3 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 36 Sugar: 4 Sodium: 656 Fiber: 8 Protein: 51 Cholesterol: 12


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