White Chicken Chili

by Lana Stuart on December 6, 2011 · 49 comments

White Chicken Chili from @NevrEnoughThyme

I hope everyone’s Christmas preparations are going well. I’ve started decorating a little but still have a long way to go. The tree is up and the lights are on. And, uh…that’s it so far. I’ve also started shopping a little but still have a long way to go with that, too. The menu planning? Well, I haven’t even started on that yet, but it will be the easiest part!

Christmas is always a very stressful time of year for me. There’s just too much to get done in too short a space of time! One of the things I do to try to make things run more smoothly is to make recipes that are familiar and comforting. Things that don’t require a lot of time standing at the stove. And ones that make large batches that can stretch for several meals. This White Chicken Chili fits all of those descriptions. It starts out with a purchased rotisserie chicken which saves a huge amount of cooking time. The remaining prep time is minimal and it cooks at a low temperature while you’re free to do other things. And, it makes a large pot full of chili! Good for two, if not three, meals for me and BeeBop.

I’ve posted several chili recipes here in the past for various types of chili – Black Bean Chili, Vegetable Chili, a White Bean Turkey Chili, and even my shortcut Chili-My Way. All those chilies have one thing in common – they’re tomato based. But in this White Chicken Chili, there’s not a tomato in sight. It’s a creamy, buttery, smooth base full of delicious, tender chicken and white beans. And just may be our new favorite chili around here.

Shredded chicken for White Chicken Chili

Start with a purchased rotisserie chicken. Remove all the meat and shred or chop it and set it to the side. Those little rotisserie chickens really have a lot of meat once you disassemble them, don’t they? Discard the skin and bones. Or nibble on a little bit of the crunchy bits if you’re like me :-)

Then, in a large pot cook the chopped onion in butter until the onions are nice and softened. Remove them from the pot and set them aside for now. In the same pot, melt the remaining butter and whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly, for three minutes. Add the onions back to the pot. Gradually add the broth and the half and half, whisking all the while. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until thickened.

Thickened sauce for White Chicken Chili

The mixture will be nicely and obviously thickened. See how it clings to the spoon?

Final mixture for White Chicken Chili

Then stir in the Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Add the drained beans, chilies, chicken, cheese and milk. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Stir in the sour cream.

This chili may be served immediately but it so much better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to combine. Serve with the usual chili garnishes – cilantro, cheese, jalapenos, etc.


White Chicken Chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A rich, creamy white chili packed with tender pieces of chicken and white beans.
Serves: 8-10 servings
  • 1 whole rotisserie chicken
  • 1 stick butter, divided
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 tsp Tabasco
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 16 oz can white beans (great northern or cannellini)
  • 2 four-oz cans chopped mild green chilies, drained
  • 1 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  1. Remove all the skin and bones from the rotisserie chicken and discard. Shred or chop the meat and set aside.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook the onion in 2 tblsp of butter until softened. Remove from the pot and set aside.
  3. In the same pot, melt remaining 6 tblsp of butter over moderately low heat and whisk in the flour.
  4. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, for three minutes.
  5. Stir in the onion.
  6. Gradually add the broth then the half and half, whisking the whole time.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened. (It will be nicely and obviously thick.)
  8. Stir in Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.
  9. Add beans, chilies, chicken, cheese and milk.
  10. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
  11. Add sour cream.
  12. May be served immediately but is best served the next day.
  13. Serve with the usual chili garnishes--cilantro, cheese, jalapenos, etc.
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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbara | Creative Culinary December 6, 2011 at 5:10 pm

This just sounds perfectly warm and comforting Lana and so different too; I think a must try for me. Wish I had some now for lunch.


2 Lana December 7, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Wish you had some, too, Barbara. Too bad we’re not neighbors – I’d run a bowl of this right over to you.


3 Miss P December 6, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Break out the Fritos!!

Miss P


4 Katrina December 6, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Yummy. Perfect food this time of year!


5 Lana December 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm

This one is a real crowd pleaser, Katrina, and will warm you right up on a cold day like today.


6 Mari @ Mari's Cakes December 6, 2011 at 9:36 pm

It looks delicious! I have save the recipe, I am sure we will love it at home. Thanks!


7 Lana December 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Thanks, Mari. I’d love to know how you liked it.


8 Zesty Cook December 6, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Yes! I have been looking for a good white chicken chili recipe after a somewhat disastrous experience last winter with a watery white mess. This looks like a straightforward recipe that I could’t possibly mess up. Wish me luck, and thanks for sharing!


9 Lana December 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Good luck! But you won’t need it – this recipe is really easy. Hope you enjoy it!


10 Jo December 7, 2011 at 5:51 am

Looks delicious. Would love for you to share this with us over at foodepix.com.


11 Suzanne December 7, 2011 at 11:19 am

YUM, yum, yum, yum, YUM!!!!!


12 Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet December 7, 2011 at 11:45 am

Looks great Lana. Comfort food at its best.


13 Maria December 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Perfect for a cold day!


14 Drick December 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Dag-blast-it… Lana, I sometimes just don’t know… I just finished a post last night on White Chicken Chili and here you go beating me to it… another time I might add… my whole reasoning was to share a recipe of a truly white chili, unlike so many out there that say white but are loaded with tomatoes or lots of red chili powder… yours is truly white and mouth-watering I might add…


15 Lana December 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm

So funny, Drick! How many times now is that where we’ve both planned to post the same thing? I swear, there’s some kind of psychic bond going on between here and there. Go ahead and post yours! I’d love to see it.


16 Lora @cakeduchess December 7, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Lana-This is a comforting chili with a kick! I have to check out all your other chilis. I agree that it is a stressful time and it helps to prepare comforting and familiar recipes. :)


17 Rachel @ Bakerita December 8, 2011 at 8:10 pm

This looks wonderful, so comforting, filling and delicious. Gorgeous pictures and great recipe!


18 Alison @ ingredients, Inc. December 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm

looks amazing!


19 Nancy@acommunaltable December 8, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Oh my…. I know I could put away a couple of bowls of this .. no problem!! Definitely a terrific dish for this time of year – fast and fabulous .. what more could we ask for??


20 Lana December 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Using the rotisserie chicken really does cut down on the prep time quite a lot. And I have no problem taking that bit of help from the grocery store :-)


21 Priscilla - She's Cookin' December 9, 2011 at 12:52 am

I have never made a white chili, but I think I need to change that! Plus, it’s a perfect candidate for the crock pot – like the beef stew I made today – so we can tend to the our “To Do” List!


22 Lana December 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I haven’t made this chili in the crock pot, Priscilla, but I feel quite sure it would work very well. Do let me know if you try it.


23 Delishhh December 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Looks fabulous!!!


24 Jenny December 26, 2011 at 7:58 pm

This soup sounds amazing! How would it do if I freezed some of it? Has anyone tried that with this soup?


25 Lana December 28, 2011 at 9:38 am

Jenny – I have not tried freezing this chili. Not sure how the beans would hold up.


26 Steve December 31, 2011 at 10:56 am

This was the bomb. I loved it and it was a hit last night when I made it for the fights. This is the recipe I have been looking for in the White Chili world. Per a previous recipe I caught one thing I added and I believe it gave this a wonderful earthy note (1/4 t ground clove).

Really, this was great. I was a little scared of all the dairy and warming / rewarming but it responded well to low heat over a long period of time.

Thanks. I will be back.


27 Brittany January 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm

I’ve made this chili about 4 times since I first discovered the recipe, it’s soo good!


28 Katie July 16, 2012 at 5:31 pm

i made this for my fiance, and he loved it! i was very happy with myself. i’m actually making it again tonight for dinner!


29 Christina October 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Hi Lana,
I made the chili last night and it was delicious. It is a pleasant change from the traditional beef chili. I found that the flavors matured overnight making the chili even better on day two. Thank you for introducing me to a new meal and the detailed instructions.

I look forward to trying your other recipes.



30 Lana October 15, 2012 at 9:50 am

I’m so glad you enjoyed the chili, Christina. It’s one of our favorite recipes. Especially when the weather starts to turn cooler.


31 Michelle October 19, 2012 at 8:25 am

This is by far the best chili I have even eaten! My kids thought it was the best! Thank you so much for this recipe!


32 Lana October 19, 2012 at 7:35 pm

So glad your family liked it! It’s our favorite white chili recipe, too.


33 Angie December 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm

This recipe looks great! One question…. We do not eat flour… Could it be thickened with corn starch?


34 Lana December 30, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I would think that it could, Angie, although I’ve never tried that. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.


35 Betsy January 31, 2013 at 7:58 am

I’ve been looking all over for White Chili recipe’s that aren’t soupy but thick like real chili. I’m sort of new into this cooking business and have fallen in love with using a lot of fresh ingrediens and cooking meat with my own concotion of spices has been fun. I would like to make this recipe but use fresh chicken instead of already cooked meat so is there a spice rub or a something you would suggest for me to use for my meat before adding it to all this awesome you have going?


36 Lana January 31, 2013 at 9:07 am

Betsy – you can just roast a chicken, let it cool and start from there. You’re going to discard the skin anyway and that’s where most of the seasoning would be. I’d just do a simple roast chicken rubbed with butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.


37 Cara February 2, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Lana, I made this today for our Super Bowl party tomorrow. It tasted absolutely AMAZING today, so I can’t even imagine how good it will taste tomorrow. Just a quick question about re-heating for tomorrow: how long do you recommend? As you can imagine, I am trying to time a lot of dishes, and any estimation would be a great help! :)

Thank you again for the recipe! I’m sure it will be a huge hit tomorrow!


38 Lana February 2, 2013 at 7:27 pm

I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed it, Cara! It’s a favorite of ours, too. About re-heating it…it depends on how much of it you’re heating, but just do it over quite low heat. It will keep for quite a few hours over low heat or even in a crock-pot. Just be sure to stir it every once in a while and don’t put the heat up very high because it will scorch.


39 BV February 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm

WOW! Do yourself a favor and make this. I’ve been searching for a true, rich white chicken chili for a while and this one hits the mark!!!!


40 Lana February 21, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Thank you so much, Betsy! This is one of our favorite recipes and I’ve never served it anyone who didn’t rave about it.


41 Gina May 29, 2013 at 5:13 pm

I just made this and it was absolutely delicious. I’m going to serve it tomorrow like you recommend. My husband is the head chef of a restaurant so I’m always looking to wow him with my cooking..I think this chili will impress him!


42 Lana Stuart May 29, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I’d love to know how your husband likes the recipe!


43 William September 24, 2013 at 1:12 am

Do you eat this as is or would it be a good idea to eat it over rice or egg noodles?


44 Lana Stuart September 24, 2013 at 6:59 am

William – you eat it as is with crackers or cornbread on the side just like you do a red beef chili.


45 Breahnna November 20, 2013 at 6:51 pm

I added a can of corn to this, it is absolutely a wonderful receipe!


46 Elizabeth January 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Have made this recipe a couple times and love it! It is by far my favorite Chili. Will be making more tonight! Thanks for sharing!!!


47 Rainah Ness March 28, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Oh, Lana! This is wonderful. My men especially loved it! And it is so simple and easy! I’ll probably only make this version of what I think of as Chili Blanco for company, because it is soooo wonderfully rich, but this recipe is a keeper. And the leftover bones make for great ‘boiled bones’ as I call ‘em – so that results in a whole new meal base for another day. — When I finally tried this a few weeks ago, I didn’t get around to adding this to my cookbook – – – Until now, that is. But I couldn’t forget to add this one! First things, first though: I had to make sure I wrote and said, “Thanks so much!” And now, since this is going into my cookbook belatedly, and since that usually means, as with most recipes that make it into my cookbook belatedly, that it’s time to make it again, I’m slipping the ingredients onto my shopping list again! Yum! Wish I could invite you over with our company and let them meet you and hear your stories, but they’ll hear about you anyway….., and maybe they’ll find their way to your lovely blog! Thanks again!


48 Lana Stuart March 28, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Rainah, thanks for your sweet comment! This is one of our favorite recipes and you’ve reminded me that I haven’t made it in quite a while. Hope your company enjoys it!


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