White Bean Chicken Chili

The past two weeks I’ve shared recipes using black beans: Black Bean Dip and Black Bean Hummus. I’m switching over to the great northern bean, for use in this White Bean Chicken Chili recipe. You could certainly substitute cannellini or navy beans.This chili has become a family favorite over the past year. Hearty and full of flavor, it’s a nice change from the regular tomato based chilis. It was inspired by Paula Dean’s White Bean Chili recipe but since first making it, I’ve deviated a bit and have come up with my own plan of attack.

white bean chicken chili recipe

That’s the beauty with chilis, soups or stews – you can use what you have, add to or take away, to make it your own. So don’t get hung up on exacts. If you only have 3 cans of beans, go for it. Is a half a pound of chicken the only thing you can scrounge up? Make it work! It’s not like baking. As I see it, it’s similar to that old saying “as long as you have gas in the tank you’re not lost.” So as far as cooking goes, as long as the pot’s hot, keep going until you get what you like. You can always find a way to rescue it or head in another direction if it’s not to your liking. Who knows, you may invent a new favorite recipe along the way.

Ahem. Excuse me for my little soap box… back to this recipe.

A few notes… other than starting with the chicken stock and beans, all other ingredients can be added in whatever order. If your chicken isn’t thawed, proceed with the onion, garlic and so on. Also, I’ve made this chili with and without the cilantro. My daughter isn’t a big cilantro fan… yet! It’s yummy both ways. To me the cilantro gives it more umph but I do like cilantro.

White Bean Chicken Chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A delicious soup made with white beans, chicken and a tasty blend of seasonings.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 8
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • 4 – 15.8 ounce cans of Bush's Beans great northern beans (cannellini or navy beans could be substituted)
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (or ground cayenne pepper)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1¼ pound chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeno, chopped (about one jalapeno)
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, packed
  1. In a large stock pot bring chicken broth and beans to a boil.
  2. Add all seasonings (parsley, cumin, oregano, paprika, red pepper, black pepper, salt). Reduce heat to medium and let simmer.
  3. In a saute pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and saute about 3-5 minutes then add to pot.
  4. In saute pan heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeno and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Rough chop ½ cup of cilantro and add to onion, garlic and jalapeno mixture. Saute for a few seconds then add all to pot.
  6. Let chili simmer at least another 30 minutes, but the longer, the better. To thicken up chili a little use a potato masher to mash some of the beans up. A few mashes should do the trick. You could do this before adding the chicken if the beans are nice and soft.
  7. Before serving, add the rest of cilantro.
  8. (Don’t forget the cornbread!)
Adapted from Paula Dean’s White Bean Chili.
white chili recipe