White Bean Chicken Chili is the ultimate comfort food. Hearty beans, savory chicken, rich creamy broth, and the perfect kick of spice make this chili ideal in the colder months, but delicious all year round. It’s quick and easy to make and makes great leftovers (if there is any leftover).
Comfort Food is the Best Food
It gives me great pleasure to fill empty bellies with delicious food made with lots of love. I love cooking year-round, but I especially enjoy cooking in fall and winter. Comfort food is my favorite food to prepare and eat. The richness of the flavors in fall and winter make my heart and my stomach very happy.
Love at First Taste
The first time I tried White Bean Chicken Chili was in California. A friend made it for a Halloween potluck party. It was love at first taste for me. Although her recipe was great, over the years, I have spent some time elevating the flavors with fresh herbs and jalapenos from our garden among a few other things.
I grew up eating red chili, with ground beef, a tomato base, pinto, and red kidney beans. I still enjoy red chili, but since trying White Bean Chicken Chili for the first time, it has become my favorite and preferred chili recipe. Satisfying, easy, healthy, and delicious… What’s not to love?!
What’s in White Bean Chicken Chili
- Rotisserie chicken – My favorite “cheat” for any recipe calling for chicken. Grocery store rotisserie chicken is a healthy, quick, and delicious alternative to roasting chicken at home. I use it in my Mexican Chicken Soup recipe and my Easy Chicken Pot Pie recipe.
- Onion and garlic – The flavor makers. Sauteed onion and garlic add a subtle sweetness and incredible flavor to the chili.
- Chicken broth – Combined with the Cannellini beans, the chicken broth makes a rich and creamy broth for the chili.
- Cannellini beans – The largest of the “white bean” family, Cannellini beans are meaty beans with a similar shape to a red kidney bean. They have a nutty, earthy flavor and tender skins. Cannellini beans are used in many Italian dishes. They retain their shape well making them perfect for salads, soups, stews, and chilis.
- Diced chilis and jalapeños – The perfect kick of spiciness for white bean chicken chili are chilis and jalapeños. Add as little or as much of each as you like depending on your tolerance for heat in food.
- Warm spices – Oregano, cumin, chili powder, cloves, red pepper flakes, salt, and fresh ground black pepper all add warmth, heat, and depth to the flavor of the chili. So comforting!
How to Make White Bean Chicken Chili
The beauty of chili is that you can make it in the morning before heading out the door and keep it warm on the stove all day until you are ready to eat. It’s also super easy to throw the chili together quickly and have it ready to serve within 45 minutes.
In a large pot or dutch oven saute the onions in olive oil for a few minutes until they’re tender. Once they are translucent, add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the shredded chicken to the onions and garlic and saute for a minute to incorporate the flavors. Next, add the chicken broth and Cannellini beans, chilis, and jalapeño. Finally, add the spices and let the chili simmer on medium-low for about 30 minutes.
Keep it Simple or Dress it up
Don’t forget the accouterments! White Bean Chicken Chili is delicious on its own, but if you want to jazz it up a bit there are plenty of ways to do it:
- Chopped fresh Cilantro
- Sour Cream (or Mexican Crema)
- Crushed tortilla chips (or Fritos)
- Chopped crisp bacon
- Shredded Jack or Sharp Cheddar cheese
- Chopped green onions
A Quick and Easy or Make-Ahead Meal
Life on the farm has given me a new appreciation for make-ahead meals. I love planning ahead and making a meal after the kids leave for school in the morning. Then, when I head out the door for the day to do chores on the farm or run errands, I have peace of mind knowing there is one less thing to worry about later in the day. I love knowing I am already ahead of the game with dinner on the stove! Also, making dinner ahead of time means I can spend more time with the family once everyone gets home in the evening. Sitting down with the family for dinner after a long day to a hot bowl of White Bean Chicken Chili with homemade cornbread is a little slice of heaven on the farm. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.