This white bean chicken chili recipe is hearty, full of flavor, and a nice change from the regular tomato-based chilis. It’s a delicious soup made with white beans, chicken, and a tasty blend of seasonings that is sure to please.

white bean chicken chili recipe

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. 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.

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 three 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 an exact science 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.

How To Make This White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe

  1. Add the chicken broth and beans to a large pot and bring them to a boil.
  2. Add all the seasonings, lower the heat to medium and let everything simmer. 
  3. In a separate saute pan heat olive oil and add the chicken. Sauté chicken for 3-5 minutes then transfer the chicken to the pot.
  4. In the same saute pan, add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Sauté until everything has softened, about 5 minutes. Add fresh chopped cilantro and saute for a few seconds. Add everything to the large pot.
  5. Simmer the chili for at least 30 more minutes or until ready to serve. To thicken the mixture mash some of the beans using a potato masher. 

A few White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe 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. When chicken is thawed, saute it and add to the pot of chili to finish simmering.
  • 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. If you’re not a fan of cilantro, leave it out.

White Chicken Chili Recipe |

Looking for more delicious soup and chili recipes? Be sure to check these out:

White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe

white bean chicken chili in a pot

White Bean Chicken Chili

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Additional Time: 1 hour 39 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

A delicious soup made with white beans, chicken and a tasty blend of seasonings.


  • 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
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (or ground cayenne pepper)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 1/4 pound chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeno, chopped (about one jalapeno)
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, packed


In a large stock pot bring chicken broth and beans to a boil.

Add all seasonings (parsley, cumin, oregano, paprika, red pepper, black pepper, salt). Reduce heat to medium and let simmer.

In a saute pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and saute about 3-5 minutes then add chicken to the large pot.

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.

Rough chop 1/2 cup of cilantro and add to pan with the onion, garlic and jalapeno mixture. Saute for a few seconds then add all to pot.

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.

Before serving, add the rest of cilantro.

(Don’t forget the cornbread!)


Adapted from Paula Dean’s White Bean Chili.

Did you make this recipe?

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Originally published September 15, 2009.