White Chicken Chili

This recipe for white chicken chili is a nice lighter alternative to the traditional beef chili. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy.

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Two blue rimmed white bowls with white chicken chili, grated cheese and Jalapeño pepper on top, all in front of a hammered stainless steel stock pot.

Why is white chili white?

White chili is basically chili that has no tomatoes. While you can certainly make a white chili with red meat, why not keep it all white and use ground chicken instead of beef? White chicken chili is also a little lighter than traditional beef chili – lighter in color, lighter in calories, lighter in fat, but still a great source of protein and just as tasty.

A soup pot of chili base with a wooden spoon sticking out of it next to a strainer of canned beans and a bowl of browned ground chicken.

Making White Chicken Chili

You’ll start white chicken chili the same way you would make a regular beef chili. Start by browning the ground chicken in a large stockpot and then add the chili powder and salt. Remove the chicken and add onion and Jalapeño pepper and cook until they start to become tender. Hands adding beans to a soup pot full of white chicken chili.

How to thicken white chicken chili

Then the chili-making process starts to differ from the traditional. There are two ways we thicken white chicken chili a little. First of all, add a little flour and then chicken stock to the pot, bringing it all to a simmer to thicken the chili a little. Return the chicken, add the beans and green chilis, and then stir in a little evaporated milk. The evaporated milk gives the chili some body, creaminess and depth without separating over gentle heat. Both of these little tricks give the chili a satisfying consistency.

Looking down into a soup pot with white chicken chili and canned Jalapeños on top.

Best Chicken Chili Toppings

When it comes to topping chili, I can’t resist sour cream, but there are a lot of options for you. You could top with a little Cheddar cheese and some sliced fresh Jalapeño. You could even put a dollop of salsa on top, adding a splash of red to your white chili.

A ladle of white chicken chili being served into a small blue-rimmed white bowl.

What to serve with chicken chili

Then, spoon the chili into bowls and have a handful of tortilla chips to go alongside. If you’re turning this chili into a full blown fiesta, add some guacamole and salsa to the table too.  A nice big piece of cornbread would be lovely too. 

Two small bowls of white chicken chili next to a large stockpot of chili, some small bowls of jalapeño slices and grated cheese.

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White Chicken Chili

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 1 h
  • Total Time: 1 h 15 m
  • Servings:


  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 4-ounce cans green chilis
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • salt and coarsely ground black pepper
For Serving:
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • diced avocados
  • sliced Jalapeño peppers
  • corn tortilla chips


  1. Heat a 5-qt stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the ground chicken and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the chili powder and salt and cook until the chicken is no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the pan with a slotted spoon and pour off and discard the grease.

  2. Add the olive oil to the pot, along with the onions and Jalapeño peppers and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the onions start to soften. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 more minute. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Return the cooked ground chicken to the pot, and add the evaporated milk, red kidney beans, white kidney beans, and green chilis. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.

  3. Add the corn kernels and cook for another 15 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Serve the chili hot in bowls. Top with fresh chopped cilantro, add your favorite chili toppings and enjoy!
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