This flavor-FULL, healthy, and easy Chicken Chili combines lean protein, hearty beans, and a vibrant blend of spices to thrill your taste buds. Whether you’re hunkering down on a chilly evening or serving up a family feast, this Healthy White Chicken Chili Recipe is a crowd-pleaser that won’t derail your wellness goals.
This simple chili gets made on a regular basis year-round, from January to December. It freezes beautifully, making it a perfect dinner when we need something quick.
So, grab your favorite pot and some fresh ingredients, and let’s whip up a batch of this Healthy White Chicken Chili that’s bound to become a regular in your culinary repertoire.
Why This White Chicken Chili Will Become a Staple in Your Meal Plan
Versatility: Whether you’re team chicken breast, thigh, or rotisserie, this recipe can accommodate. Veggie lover? Toss in more of your garden’s bounty.
Health Factor: Lean chicken, nutrient-rich beans, and a whole lot of flavor without guilt. Your taste buds and waistline will thank you.
Comfort Food Vibes: Who says comfort food can’t be healthy? This chili brings warmth and coziness without heavy creams or fats.
Make-Ahead Magic: Meal prep champion right here! Cook it on Sunday, and voila, lunch is ready for the week.
Adjustable Heat: Got kids or a spice-sensitive partner? Dial down the heat and look for Mild Green Chiles. Craving a fiery kick? Crank it up! It’s your chili, your rules.
Dollar-Savvy Deliciousness: Quality ingredients without breaking the bank. Your wallet will be doing a happy dance.
Endless Topping Opportunities: Sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, sliced black olives, sliced scallions, grated cheese, avocado, cilantro, lime wedges… every bowl can be a new adventure. Consider Monterey Jack, Cheddar Jack or Cotija as cheese options.
Knit While It Simmers: Or any other of your favorite hobbies! Think of the multitasking opportunities!
It’s Just Plain Yummy: Need I say more?
About the Ingredients
Oh, you’ve got the makings of a tasty, cozy meal here!
Chicken (breasts, thighs, cooked, or rotisserie): The main protein! Pick your poultry based on texture or convenience. Breasts are lean, thighs add richness, and pre-cooked or rotisserie chicken can make life easy-peasy. I used previously grilled chicken, and the recipe shares details for using cooked or raw chicken.
Onion: A classic base ingredient that’ll bring sweetness and depth to your chili.
Fresh Jalapeño: Spice alert! This little firecracker brings heat and flavor. Dicing it finely helps distribute the heat and flavor.
Garlic The aroma champion. Adds a robust kick that’ll make your kitchen smell like a gourmet haven.
Canned Diced Green Chiles: A tangy little treat to add southwestern flair. Canned chiles are available in varying temperatures to dial in your desired heat!
Oil: The smooth operator that makes everything mingle nicely in the pot.
White Beans: These are the comfort-makers, adding creaminess without the cream! Combined with the chicken, broth, and the lack of tomato products, they make this a ‘White’ Bean Chicken Chili.
Low Sodium Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth: Your Liquid Gold! Chicken or vegetable, your choice; just keep it low-sodium to control the salt levels yourself. Add a cup or two extra broth if you want more of a soup consistency.
Chili Powder: The “chili” in your chili! Warming and flavorful. Interesting in making your own? Check out my recipe for Homemade Chili Seasoning that you can tailor to your taste buds.
Ground Cumin: Earthy and aromatic, it’s like a warm hug in spice form.
Cayenne Pepper: Turn up the heat! (Or turn it down by using less.)
Cornmeal: The secret thickener that’ll make your chili the ideal consistency without being a gloopy mess.
Milk: A splash of creaminess without weighing things down. Feel free to go dairy-free if that’s your jam.
Salt and Pepper to taste
Now, get that pot bubbling, and enjoy a hearty, healthy white chicken chili that would make anyone want to pull up a spoon!
You’ve got questions; I have answers!
Can I make this chili vegetarian?
Absolutely! Swap the chicken for more beans or a meat substitute, and use vegetable broth. It’ll be a plant lover’s dream!
Is this chili freezer-friendly?
You bet! Just let it cool, portion it into freezer-safe containers, and it’ll be ready for a chili emergency. I LOVE my freezer pods for meals like this Chicken Chili. I use the 1-cup size.
Food Storage Favorite
I’ve been using Freezer Storage Cubes for years! We use the 1 cup, the 1/2 cup, and the 2 tablespoon trays.
The 1 cup is perfect for lunch portions of soup and chili, as well as beans for meals.
The 1/2 cup size is great for freezing buttermilk and cream. We also portion out 1/2 cup portions of our seasoned meat for our weekly nachos.
The 2-tablespoon trays are a great size for tomato paste and chipotle in adobo.
Can I use a different type of bean?
Of course! Feel free to experiment!
It’s too spicy! What do I do?
No sweat! (Well, maybe a little. 🤣) Add more broth milk or a dollop of sour cream to tame the flames.
Can I make this in a slow cooker?
Slow and steady Slow Cooker Chicken Chili wins the race! Brown the chicken, garlic, fresh jalapeño, and onions first, then toss everything but the beans and milk into the slow cooker or crock pot on low for 6 hours. Add the beans and milk at the end. If you are using already cooked chicken, at that, towards the end of cooking, add that at the end too, just long enough to warm it up. With some simple adjustments to the recipe, you’ve got a delicious and healthy crockpot chicken white chili waiting for you when you get home!
What’s the deal with the cornmeal?
It’s the secret handshake for this Healthy White Chicken Chili! The cornmeal helps thicken the chili without becoming gloopy.
How can I make this dairy-free?
Swap out the milk for a plant-based alternative. Almond, oat, soy—choose your dairy-free champion!
Can I double the recipe for a party?
Absolutely! Double the fun! Just make sure your pot can handle all that chili goodness, and you’re good to go.
What are some recommended substitutions or additions for this Healthy Chicken Chili Recipe?
Chicken: Ground turkey works great; in fact, we probably make this with ground turkey as often as with chicken. If meat’s not on the menu, tofu or a meat substitute can jump right in. Or throw in extra beans!
Jalapeño: Too hot to handle? Swap with bell pepper or leave it out altogether for a milder take.
Canned Green Chiles: Fresh green chilies or a dash of green chili sauce will keep that southwestern flair alive.
Corn: For a veggie boost, add fresh or frozen corn kernels at the end when you add the chicken.
White Beans: Kidney beans, black beans, or pinto beans are like your chili’s new BFFs. Pick your favorite!
Low-Sodium Chicken Broth: Vegetable broth or bone broth are welcome to this flavor party. Just make sure to adjust the salt accordingly.
Milk: Dairy-free? Almond, oat, or coconut milk can make that chili creamy without a cow in sight.
Cornmeal: No cornmeal? Flour or Masa Harina can come off the bench here. Bear in mind that while cornmeal and masa harina may be gluten-free, wheat flour will not be.
Plain Greek Yogurt: You can skip the milk/cornmeal combo altogether by using 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt in place of both of those ingredients.
Chili Powder, Ground Cumin, Cayenne Pepper: If you’re missing one, just adjust the others or sprinkle in some paprika, oregano, or your favorite chili seasoning blend.
Oil: Butter, lard, or your favorite cooking oil can sauté those ingredients like a pro.
Looking for another Chili Recipe?
If you prefer red over white chili recipes, check out my Turkey Chili Recipe. It’s low-fat, healthy, and gets a flavor boost from… a can of beer! Trust me, it works. I am NOT a beer person at all. But I love it in this chili recipe.
- 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 4.5 ounces of canned diced green chiles
- Olive oil
- 28 ounces white beans, drained
- 3.5 to 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add chicken to a medium pot with two cups of broth if using raw chicken. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes until cooked and tender.
- Remove chicken from the broth to cool, then shred or dice it. Reserve broth. If you are using already cooked or grilled chicken, go ahead and dice or shred it.
- Saute onions, jalapeño, and garlic in a tablespoon of oil over low heat until the onion is translucent.
- While onion, jalapeño, and garlic are sauteing, mix cornmeal and milk and set aside.
- Add broth, beans, diced or shredded chicken, canned chiles, and spices to the onion mix. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for thirty minutes.
- Add cornmeal/milk mixture and simmer for another 10 minutes over medium heat, occasionally stirring to prevent sticking and burning on the bottom of the pot.
- Adjust seasonings and serve with tortilla chips and preferred toppings:
Some Topping Options:
- Finely chopped cilantro
- Finely sliced scallions
- Tortilla chips
- Grated cheese (Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Queso Fresco)
- Diced black olives
- Fresh limes
- Sour cream
- Diced Avocado
- Fresh chopped jalepeño peppers
How to Make Slow Cooker Chili: Brown the chicken, garlic, fresh jalapeno, and onions first, then toss everything but the beans and milk into the slow cooker or crock pot on low for 6 hours. Add the beans and milk at the end. If you are using already cooked chicken, add that towards the end of cooking, too, just long enough to warm it up. With some simple adjustments to the recipe, you've got a delicious and healthy crockpot chicken white chili waiting for you when you get home!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1.5 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 770Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 518mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 14gSugar: 5gProtein: 83g
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