This White Chicken Chili recipe is a healthy and lighter alternative to the traditional beef and red bean chili. It’s an easy one pot meal made with chicken breasts, white beans, and topped with a cilantro cumin sauce. Ready and on the table in less than 40 minutes!
White Chicken Chili recipe for a PERFECT winter meal
White chicken chili recipe is definitely one of my favorite recipes. It’s easy, quick, healthy, and makes a ton of leftovers! While living in Florida, I probably ate chili only a couple times a year because it’s really not the type of food you want to eat and then go lay out at the beach. Now I live in New England, I make chili all the time, especially during the winter months.
Types of beans to use in white chili
There are three type of white beans for the best chili:
- Navy – A small bean that cooks up quickly, becoming soft and creamy. They are mild in flavor and work well in all kinds of soups, chills, and stews. It was my Grandmother’s favorite bean to cook with and it’s my favorite too! My bean of choice for this white chicken chili recipe and I love making them homemade from dried in 30 minutes with my Instant Pot White Beans recipe.
- Great Northern – Medium sized beans with a mild, nutty flavor. A bean with a firm skin that holds up well to longer cooking periods without breaking up. Sometimes I like to substitute great northerns for the pinto beans in my beef chili recipe.
- Cannellini – A larger kidney shaped bean that has a meatier nutty flavor with a tender skin. Most commonly used in the Italian soup Minestrone. I like to saute them with spices and herbs for a quick Italian side dish or add them to a pasta dish.
TIP!!! To make a thicker chili, purée some of the beans with an immersion blender or in a stand up blender.
Cilantro sauce for one of the most flavorful chili toppings
The idea of topping the chili with a cilantro sauce stared with having some leftover Indian cilantro relish in the refrigerator. Indian cilantro relish is made simply with cilantro, lemon juice, jalapeños, cumin, and salt and is used as an accompaniment to my tandoori chicken.
Figured since the cilantro relish was similar to Mexican flavors, I’d adjust it and use it to top the chili. I added more cilantro, ground cumin, and fresh lime juice, blended it up and stirred it into a bowl of chili. DELISH!
Can try it as a cilantro lime dressing too!
For another variation of the cilantro sauce, add it to sour cream and use it to top the chili. You can even use the sour cream cilantro lime dressing to top a fajita salad, nachos, or tacos. Yum!
Try this White Chicken Chili recipe with Cilantro Sauce next time when you want a hearty, yet light and healthy chili. Looking for more chili recipes? Try my Beef and Chorizo Chili (homemade chorizo recipe included!) and my Vegetarian Chili Frito Pie.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh or jarred jalapeño peppers , minced
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 8 cups good quality chicken broth (use 6 cups if you want it thicker and less soupy)
- 2 cooked chicken breasts (boneless and skinless), chopped or shredded (To cook chicken breasts: cover chicken with water and simmer until done, about 20 minutes)
- 1 recipe of homemade white beans or subsitute 4 (15.5 oz) cans of white beans, drained and rinised
- salt to taste
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice or water
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- pinch of salt
In a large dutch oven or soup to over medium-high heat, sauté onions and garlic for 3-4 minutes. Add the minced jalapeños, oregano, cumin, and white pepper and cook together with the onion/garlic mixture for another minute.
Add chicken broth, chicken, and beans to the pot. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes.
Place all ingredients in a small food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add more lime juice or water if need to thin out.
To serve: place chili in bowls and top with cilantro sauce, shredded cheese, and/or extra minced jalapeños.
Can freeze chili by placing in a freezer proof container for up to 6 months. Thaw chili in the refrigerator when ready to use.