by Olena

Healthy White Chicken Chili

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
5 from 97 votes

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Healthy White Chicken Chili recipe is a 30-minute meal with the option of making it 3 different ways! Whether on the stovetop, the Instant Pot, or a slow cooker, this flavourful thick and creamy soup is amazing. Made with tender chicken breasts, buttery white beans, corn, cumin, and yogurt, this healthy comfort food is easy to make and extremely popular for a reason! Serve white bean chicken chili with tortilla chips, avocado slices, and your favourite cheese!

A true crowd pleaser just like shrimp tacos, Instant Pot turkey chili or fish tacos.

Healthy White Chicken Chili

The Best Healthy White Chicken Chili

Soup, no matter where you’re from, will always be comfort food, especially when there’s a chill in the air. I did not grow up in Ukraine eating any kind of chili, especially white chili. We warmed up every single day with a bowls of borscht, beef stew, or chicken noodle soup.

So, chili, in general, is something I’ve learned to love over the years and healthy white chicken chili is a welcome change to the traditional beef chili or turkey chili that I was first introduced to. Both are hearty, wholesome, and delicious, but the creamy, slightly salty, flavorful white bean chicken chili is a nice way to switch it up! It’s no wonder this different kind of chili is becoming more and more popular. It is so good!

This white chili recipe is family-friendly and not too spicy so the kids will have no problems polishing off their bowls. It’s made with tender beans, juicy kernels of corn, shredded chicken, green chilis, and a tasty broth infused with tons of delicious flavor.

This healthy chicken chili version is much lighter as it doesn’t require any cream cheese or heavy cream. Instead, I use plain Greek yogurt which is high in protein and still gives it that creamy velvety texture. The cooked beans, slightly mashed also give it the body and heartiness that bring this bowl of comfort soup to life! I do the same with healthy broccoli cheese soup and chicken wild rice soup.

The entire white chili recipe comes together in as little as 30 minutes, depending on your cooking method (white chicken chili crockpot will slow cooker longer). My recipe will walk you through 3 different ways. The stovetop, the crockpot, and my favorite, the Instant Pot! Depending on what you’ve got going on, whether it’s a quick weeknight meal or a leisurely weekend dinner, I’ve got you covered.

Need more help meal planning? Check out iFOODreal healthy meal plans.

Why This White Chili Recipe Works?

  • It’s a healthier version of a very popular dish that everyone loves but doesn’t skimp on flavour!
  • Delicious. Like I said, this white chili recipe is full on flavor and texture that rivals any gourmet restaurant soup recipe.
  • So creamy, hearty, and loaded with textures that will have everyone asking for seconds!
  • It’s easy to make 3 different ways. The crockpot, the stovetop and the Instant Pot. You decide!
  • Leftovers of white bean chicken chili can be kept in the fridge or frozen, so make a big batch and meal prep lunches for the week!
Healthy White Chicken Chili in a pot with a spoon

Ingredients for White Bean Chicken Chili

  • Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts come with a lot of meat and are easy to shred once cooked and start falling apart.
  • Aromatics: Onion and garlic are needed to impart flavour into the entire soup.
  • Avocado oil: I use avocado oil because of its heat tolerance as well as its health benefits. Olive oil will work just as well.
  • Chicken broth: Look for low sodium if you can. If you’ve got some homemade broth, by all means, use that!
  • Beans and corn: Great northern beans when cooked are buttery and melt in your mouth when cooked. They add to the creamy texture and the juicy corn gives it added texture with a bit of sweetness from the juice.
    Diced green chilis: A can of this will add not only a bit of heat but flavour too! A taste you may find familiar to a lot of Mexican-inspired dishes.
  • Herbs and Spices: Cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper to taste. You can, of course, adjust any of these to your preferences. It’s only slight heat, but add less for an even milder taste. Add more, for a spicier soup. Fresh cilantro is perfect to add some vibrant herbaceous notes.
  • Yogurt: Plain Greek yogurt adds the thick and rich body that the base of the white bean chicken chili needs without the heaviness of processed cream cheese and heavy cream.
  • Lime juice: The acid from the lime juice is exactly what this soup needs to cut through the creaminess and strike the perfect balance to round out this recipe.
  • For serving: Tortilla chips, avocado, yogurt, limes.
healthy white chicken chili ingredients

How to Make Creamy White Chicken Chili Stovetop

  • Saute veggies with spices: Saute onion and garlic for a few minutes. Then add spices for 30 seconds to allow them to release their flavours. You want to stir the chili at this point constantly to prevent burning.
  • Mash about 1 cup of white beans with a fork and a bit of water, if necessary. Bean starch will thicken the chili as it cooks. I find mashing beans before rather than after cooking much easier. Especially, because there is no blender to wash.
  • Cook: Then add chicken, broth, green chiles, corn and simmer for 20 minutes. The tight lid on a heavy bottom pot or even better option Dutch oven cooks chili fast.
  • Shred chicken: You can try to do it inside the pot with forks. I like to use meat claws (also great for chicken salad), so I remove chicken and place it on the cutting board.
  • Combine with seasonings: Return chicken to the pot along with lime juice, cilantro, and yogurt. Make sure the stove is off so the yogurt doesn’t curdle. Your healthy white chicken chili is ready!

How to Make White Chicken Chili Crockpot

There is detailed recipe card below.

The difference between stovetop and crockpot white bean chicken chili is that you have to saute onion, garlic, and spices in the skillet and then transfer them to the slow cooker. And add only 1 cup broth.

  • Cook veggies in a skillet: Saute onion, garlic, and spices in the skillet. Transfer to a large slow cooker.
  • Combine in the slow cooker: Mash 1 cup of beans and add to slow cooker with other whole beans, only 1 cup broth, chicken, and corn.
  • Cook: Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours.
  • Shred meat and season: Shred chicken and return it to the crockpot along with cilantro, lime juice, and yogurt.

If you like to use the Keep Warm setting for your chili, I recommend adding the yogurt to individual bowls once served, to prevent it from scorching.

How to Make White Chicken Chili in Instant Pot

There is detailed recipe card below.

If you know me, you know I am obsessed with Instant Pot recipes. It just makes healthy dinner a reality and so much easier.

I do have an official Instant Pot white chicken chili recipe. However, here is a quick run down:

  • No saute: You don’t have to saute the veggies or spices. Food cooked under pressure comes out more flavourful.
  • Add and cook: Just throw everything in the Instant Pot in the order listed in the recipe (please note only 1 cup of broth). Pressure Cook on High for 20 minutes.
  • Quick release, shred, and season: Quick Release the pressure. Shredding the chicken can be done right in the pot because it’s stainless steel. Add cilantro, lime juice, and yogurt.

Just like with a slow cooker, if you like to keep your chili warm while you wait to serve it, hold off on adding the yogurt until it’s served. That way it won’t scorch in the pot.

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

  • If cream cheese is what you have on hand and you don’t mind using it, make it the classic way with cream cheese instead of Greek yogurt or in addition to it.
  • Use leftover rotisserie chicken either already made from another recipe or store-bought. A great way to reduce waste. (I use Instant Pot shredded chicken frequently!)
  • Top with shredded cheese for additional cheesiness. Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, and even Parmesan would work.
  • Use fresh corn on the cob and scrape off the kernels if you’ve got an abundance of corn from the market.
  • If you like your food even spicier, swap the diced green chilis for diced green jalapenos, or add them both.
  • If you want to keep peppers in your soup but none of the kick, swap for sauteed diced bell peppers. Green for savory and red for a sweeter flavour.
  • Coriander is a nice addition to increasing the flavor profile!

Tips for Best Results

  • For each different cooking method, pay attention to the amount of liquid used. The Instant Pot and slow cooker only require 1 cup whereas the stovetop requires 3 cups. This is because cooking on the stovetop will allow more of the liquid to evaporate.
  • The base is already thick and creamy, and the beans are nice and buttery, but if you like your soup even more blended, pulse it with an immersion blender for a few seconds until desired consistency is reached.
  • If you find using the Greek yogurt doesn’t give you thick enough results you’re after, you can add a cornstarch slurry to thicken it up a bit.

Load it up! This soup is mouthwatering and delicious all on its own but that doesn’t mean you can’t load it up with your favourite toppings! Think extra yogurt or sour cream, slices of avocado, tortilla chips, cilantro, you name it!

FAQs

What can I substitute for green chiles?

Canned diced green chiles are usually not spicy. However, there are mild and spicy versions. My stores in Canada carry very mild green chiles and that is what I am using.

I understand not everyone has access to green chiles in Europe or you may not have them on hand. You can skip diced green chiles altogether and use more cumin and maybe coriander would be nice too. Or add sauteed bell peppers.

Can I use rotisserie chicken?

Yes. My easy and hearty healthy chili calls for boneless and skinless chicken breasts. Only because it makes this recipe a 30 minute healthy dinner and it is hard to beat that.

You can use shredded rotisserie chicken, leftover Instant Pot chicken breast or even Instant Pot frozen chicken (somehow legs and wings always disappear first at the dinner table). Add it in the beginning just like when you would add raw chicken. Super flavourful and even easier!

Can I use dry beans?

Some of our readers have had success using dry beans in the slow cooker by adding an extra 1.5 cup of water at the start to account for the dry beans, which by the time it was ready (4 hours), the chili was nice and thick. Alternatively, you could soak them overnight and use them when cooking on the stovetop for 35-40 minutes.

Why is white chili white?

Unlike traditional chili, there are no tomato products to turn it red! Instead, we’re using white beans, white yogurt, and in some cases, white cream cheese. So, naturally, this would result in a white soup!

Can I add rotel or diced tomatoes?

The awesome thing about this chili is that it’s completely flexible and customizable to your liking. Adding Rotel or diced tomatoes will increase the acidity and tomato flavour, and change the colour of the chili, but the flavour would be great.

Can I make this vegetarian white chili?

Yes! Omit the chicken and bam. Also, use a vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and if you’d like, you can increase the number of beans used.

Healthy White Chicken Chili closeup

Serving Recommendations

Chili Toppings Ideas

When it comes to chili toppings, it is all about personal taste, heat preference and availability:

  • Cilantro: Never too much but I know some people find it soapy.
  • Yogurt: Or sour cream which is creamier.
  • Tortilla chips. Crunchy, crispy, and slightly salty are great for dipping!
  • Avocado: If you have a ripe one, dice it or slice it and serve on top. Grab a bunch the next time you’re at the store because other than this soup you’ll find plenty of uses for them like mashed on avocado toast or top off the best turkey burger recipe!
  • Heat: If you can handle the heat, fresh sliced jalapeno with seeds is amazeballs. I even liked it and I am a wimp.
  • Shredded cheese or Cotija cheese is great too. We always have some on hand to make tostadas last minute.

Chili Meal Ideas

Making Healthy White Bean Chicken Chili in Advance

Freezing: If you’re serving only 1 or 2 people, make the entire batch of chili and freeze any leftovers. Because there is not much dairy, chili will thaw just fine. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. You can also make this recipe as a freezer meal, following my freezer meal instructions.

This white chicken chili recipe serves 6 people. It was enough for our family of 4 for dinner and then Alex and I finished it for lunch, so you may not have any leftovers for long.

Reheating: Thaw on a counter and then reheat on low on the stove, in the slow cooker, or steam in the Instant Pot for 5 minutes. The nice thing about a pressure cooker is that you can thaw chili from frozen.

More Healthy Comfort Food

Healthy White Chicken Chili in a pot
Healthy White Chicken Chili

Healthy White Chicken Chili {Stove, Crockpot, Instant Pot}

Healthy White Chicken Chili recipe is a 30 minute meal with the option of making it 3 different ways! Whether on the stovetop, the Instant Pot, or a slow cooker, this flavourful thick and creamy soup is amazing. Made with tender chicken breasts, buttery white beans, corn, cumin, and yogurt, this healthy comfort food is easy to make and extremely popular for a reason! Serve white bean chicken chili with tortilla chips, avocado slices, and your favourite cheese!
4.97 from 97 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Soup and Stew
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 345kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs 3 medium boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp oil I use avocado oil
  • 3 cups chicken broth low sodium*
  • 2 x 15 oz cans great Northern beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups corn
  • 4 oz can diced green chiles
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Small bunch of cilantro finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup plain or Greek yogurt fat 2%+
  • 1 lime juice of
  • Tortilla chips avocado, more yogurt, limes, for serving

Instructions

Stovetop Healthy White Chicken Chili

  • Preheat large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot on medium-high heat and swirl oil to coat.
  • Add garlic and onion, sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Healthy White Chicken Chili
  • Add cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • In a small bowl, add about 1 cup of beans and mash with a fork. It helps to thicken the chili.
    Healthy White Chicken Chili
  • Add broth, mashed and whole beans, corn, green chiles and chicken breasts. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 20 minutes.
    Healthy White Chicken Chili
  • Turn off the heat. Remove chicken and shred with 2 forks or meat claws.
    Healthy White Chicken Chili
  • Return chicken to the pot along with lime juice, cilantro and yogurt.
    Healthy White Chicken Chili
  • Stir and serve warm with your favorite toppings like tortilla chips, cheese, more cilantro and lime.
    Healthy White Chicken Chili

Slow Cooker Healthy White Chicken Chili

  • Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium-high heat and swirl oil to coat.
  • Add garlic and onion, sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • In a small bowl, add about 1 cup of beans and mash with a fork. It helps to thicken the chili.
  • Transfer to slow cooker along with 1 cup broth, mashed and whole beans, corn, green chiles and chicken breasts.
  • Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours.
  • Remove chicken and shred with 2 forks or meat claws.
  • Return chicken to the crockpot along with lime juice, cilantro and yogurt.
  • Stir and serve warm with your favorite toppings like tortilla chips, cheese, more cilantro and lime.

Instant Pot Healthy White Chicken Chili

  • In a small bowl, add about 1 cup of beans and mash with a fork. It helps to thicken the chili.
  • To 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot, add ingredients in the following order: garlic, onion, corn, whole and mashed beans, chicken breasts, green chiles, cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and 1 cup broth. Do not stir.
  • Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 20 minutes.
  • Release pressure using Quick Release method by turning pressure valve to Venting position immediately after cooking.
  • Open the lid, remove chicken and shred with 2 forks or meat claws.
  • Return chicken to the Instant Pot along with lime juice, cilantro and yogurt. Stir immediately, so yogurt doesn't curdle.
  • Serve warm with your favorite toppings like tortilla chips, cheese, more cilantro and lime.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

    Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on a stovetop covered on low.

      Video

      Notes

      • *Instant Pot and slow cooker: Add only 1 cup broth instead of 3 cups like with stove top. It is because liquid doesn’t evaporate much in these appliances.
      • Diced green chiles substitute: Canned diced green chiles are usually not spicy. You can skip diced green chiles all together and use more cumin and maybe coriander would be nice too. Or add sauteed bell pepper.
      • Rotisserie chicken: Yes, you can use shredded rotisserie chicken. Add it in the beginning just like when you would add raw chicken – more flavor.
      • Cream cheese: Add 2-3 oz with yogurt/or in place of it, if you wish. I do add it to my Instant Pot white chicken chili.
      See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 664mg | Potassium: 282mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 294IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg
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