Creamy White Chili

*Update 1/2011: After nearly 2 1/2 years, this recipe continues to be a house favorite. It is creamy, perfectly spicy, and just absolutely phenomenal. Feel free to read through the comments to get a glimpse of many other variations that enhance this chili even more. One way that I’ve started making this is in the slow cooker. It makes it even easier (which is pretty hard because it is a quick recipe to begin with!). I’ve included the slow cooker option below the recipe. Rest assured this chili will win you friends and fame and fortune. Ok, maybe just friends, but I’ll take that.

Creamy White Chili

Yield: Serves 6

Creamy White Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder or 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies (if you like less kick, add just one can)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder (or fresh garlic, if using) in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and cream. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately. This is especially good served with tortilla chips.
  2. Slow Cooker Option: In a medium round slow cooker, place 1 pound chicken breasts (fresh or frozen) without cubing them. Add the chopped onion, garlic powder, beans, green chiles and all of the spices. Do not add the sour cream or whipping cream yet! Reduce the chicken broth to 12 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) and pour in over the other ingredients. Stir the mixture around a bit to incorporate the dry spices. Cook on low for 5-7 hours (if using frozen chicken you’ll cook on the longer end of that spectrum, fresh chicken will cook in less time). Remove the chicken to a cutting board and shred in bite-size pieces. Stir back into the slow cooker. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the sour cream and whipping cream until smooth. Whisk the cream mixture into the crockpot with the other ingredients. Let the soup cook until heated through. Serve.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/creamy-white-chili/

Recipe Source: from my wonderful friend, Tori M.

189 Responses to Creamy White Chili

  1. Kimiko says:

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, I didn’t even add the sour cream because I didn’t have any, and it still tasted great! I did add some shredded monterey jack cheese…because I like my chili cheesy. :)

  2. Ashlee says:

    So I’m currently in a situation where I have to cook for a 2 year old up to a 98 year old, both of whom are VERY picky, plus it has to pass the 4 month old breastfeeding test (as in not too spicy), and this was a hit!! Thanks for another great, easy soup!

  3. Jennifer says:

    Made this today and the whole family loved it! I wanted to let other readers know that this worked great in my crockpot. My husband is a minister and so Sunday after church lunches are usually late and we’re all starving. So, I put all of the ingredients except the sour cream and heavy cream in the crockpot the night before (2 whole large chicken breasts that were even still frozen) and put it in the fridge. Sunday mornings my husband gets up at 5am, so he pulled it out and turned the crockpot on low. We got home about 12:45, I took the chicken out, shredded it, and added the creams. Cranked it up to high and let it cook some more while the cornbread was baking in the oven. The soup was magnificent! I was so happy it turned out good even though I didn’t do the first steps of cooking the chicken on the stovetop. Thanks for sharing your tasty recipes with us!

  4. juliann says:

    THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!
    By far the best white chicken chili I have ever cooked…..or eaten. I made it a little soupier with more broth and served it over slow cooked white rice. I did also use one can of chiles to see how hot it was and that gave it the slightest kick but just enough to be happy. I ended up using scoops to scoop it all out and it was SO YUM! I am hoping for some leftovers. This will be making a repeat again and again this winter. Time to stock up on white beans and green chilis. Recipe #3 in my Decembermealathon was a HUGE thumbs up! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

  5. Angela says:

    Another winner! Very tasty. It was fantastic comfort food during our winter storm.

    A couple ideas for readers… We use plain yogurt instead of sour cream in recipes — tastes about the same but has a couple extra health benefits. Tastes like low fat sour cream does, so we use it in cooking or on whatever we’d use sour cream for. One less item to keep on hand. And it works great in this recipe too! Also subbed in half-and-half because we didn’t have whipping cream, but worked great.

    We made the batch spicy enough for adults, but added some extra yogurt/”sour cream” in the kids’ bowls, and they loved it. Still plenty of flavor without the kick. It was a hit all around! Thanks Mel!

  6. KarenC says:

    I made this for dinner tonight. It was so good. Loved the flavor of the sour cream, green chilies and cumin.

    I had cannellini beans in the pantry, so used those in place of the great northern beans. I also made some corn cakes to go with the chili. I put one in the bottom of my bowl, poured a ladle of chili over it and sprinkled a little grated monteray jack cheese on top. It was delicious.

    I will definitely be making this again!

    • Mel says:

      KarenC – I am loving all of your comments lately. Thanks for taking the time to leave them! I love the idea of pouring this soup over a corn cake – delicious!

  7. KarenC says:

    Hey… I’m loving your blog. I’m so glad I found it. You’ve got so many recipes on here that I am itching to try. I’ve got a grocery list as long as my arm. LOL

  8. [...] for years and refer back to time and time again.  Its position, however, is in peril.  I tried this recipe on a whim last night after randomly clicking on a picture on the sidebar at Mel’s Kitchen [...]

  9. Amanda L. says:

    I have been looking for a good white chili recipe forever. For a potluck years ago, a friend brought a white chili she said was from Taos, NM. It was divine! I am lucky enough to have family in NM (we live in WI) that ships me 100lbs of fresh Hatch green chili late every summer that we spend two days roasting in the backyard and freezing. So when I came across this recipe I just had to try it. I am thrilled to report that this chili is EVEN better than my friends! ♥

    • Mel says:

      Amanda – I wish I had family in NM that would send me chiles like that! So lucky! I’m glad that this chili met up to your other expectations…thanks for letting me know.

  10. Jenny says:

    I’ve made this recipe more times then I can count, I love it! I have made a couple modifications to make it low-fat (neither of which change the flavor). The first was to use broth to saute the chicken and onions instead of oil. The other is in place of the cream, I combine equal parts nonfat plain yogurt and low-fat or fat free cottage cheese in a blender until smooth. I’ve served my lowfat version to friends who have also made this chili and they couldn’t tell a difference!

  11. Hilary says:

    I made this chili and entered it in a chili cookoff today. I won 3rd place and it was a huge hit with the crowd. It was the first chili that was all gone. I was the only non beef chili and most of the cooks were guys. So it was fun to place! Thanks for the great recipe! !! Now you know your chili is award winning!

  12. Amy G says:

    This soup has made me a rock star at church. I took it for a soup potluck and now everybody wants the recipe. I literally had people hounding me at home the next day so they could make it for dinner that night. My kids are also crazy for this. We actually argue over who gets the leftovers the next day (although we rarely ever have leftovers from this). Thank you for this recipe!

  13. Pat says:

    Hi Melanie, just wanted you to know how much my family and I enjoyed the chili, it was so creamy! What was Green Bay like the week of Super Bowl? Lots of Packers fans in my family!

  14. Laura says:

    We have had this twice in the last few weeks, and I’m still craving it! I seriously might have to make it again this week! :) I’m a sissy, so one can of chilies was perfect for me. Thanks!

  15. Daktari says:

    I made this last night, blogged about it this morning. I made it with leftover turkey and added a sweet red pepper and a generous helping of jalapenos and it started to approach the heat that I like. LOL This is a great recipe. Thanks for this!

  16. Mandi says:

    Melanie– I’ve just recently discovered your website and I’ve tried 2 recipes so far. I made this chili tonight and I LOVE IT! My kids are all eating it (that is saying a lot since they are picky) and mine was gone before the kids finished. I gave the kids corn chips to eat with it and they loved it. Aside from the beans, my husband loves it too (he’s not a fan of beans). Thank you for taking the time to make and post these recipes. I am feeling inspired to get out of my cooking rut finally and that is HUGE! :)

  17. Annalisa says:

    I have a recipe very similar to this and LOVE it! It’s one of my kids favorites! The only couple of things I do differently is to add a can of garbanzo beans and either frozen corn or canned corn. I’ve also used a package of softened cream cheese, whisked in, instead of the sour cream and cream. Either way, very yummy!

  18. Jennifer M. says:

    I had never had white chili before I tried this recipe, and I love it! Thank you for all your great recipes. This one makes an appearance at my table frequently.

  19. Brianne Seamons says:

    We are going camping next week and we usually try to make everything in advance and freeze. We are having a chili cook off one night and I really want to make this. Could it be frozen? Maybe do everything except mix in the sour and whipping cream and do that there? What are your thoughts? Mel have you done this before or anyone else? I want to win the chili cook off and I think with this recipe I could!! =) Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Brianne – I’ve never frozen this chili before so I’m not sure how it would work. Do you have time to do a trial run? I definitely would try to avoid freezing the sour cream and cream and add that in after it has been defrosted. The chicken broth/bean base should freeze ok. The beans may get a little bit mushy but that may not be a bad thing. Good luck!

  20. Cat Steele says:

    Great chile. I doubled the recipe but didn’t double the cayenne pepper. Just the right amount of heat for my family. I also added seasoned black beans to make it a “black and white” chile. Very pretty and delicious. The whole family loved it. Like many others, I am going to have a go with it at our church chili cook off.

  21. Cat Steele says:

    I forgot to mention I also cut the green chiles in half!

  22. Sissy says:

    Doubled this and it still turned out great! The liquid was a little loose for me, so I added one tablespoon of masa harina which really kicked up the TexMex taste. So easy and had everything I needed in the pantry…

  23. Jenn E. says:

    I know that this is an overused comment for this particular recipe, but I sure did just win a chili cook-off with it last night! Thanks for this and all the wonderful recipes!

  24. Lindsay says:

    I made this tonight, and it was so good! Vest chili I’ve ever had! Thanks for all the great recipes!

  25. Krista says:

    I made this chili for my Cookie Exchange Party with my girl friends this year along with the Romain Salad with spiced pecans, apples, red onion, cheddar, and cranberries and the Oreo Cheesecake Bites for dessert. All recipes were a huge hit. This chili recipe was such a hit that 3 of the ladies made it in there homes less than a week after the party and 2 more have the ingredients to make it next week! I’ll need to make it again soon because there wasn’t any left over for my husband to try any! Thank you for this recipe and the many others I have gotten from you.

  26. Pam says:

    I was searching Pinterest to find “my” white chili and here it is. I have been making this for years and everybody loves it. Now I can pin it and direct everyone here insteady of always giving out recipes. It’s the best chili around….thanks again

  27. Alex says:

    Just made this for a chili cook-off and won 1st place! Thanks Mel!

  28. Michelle Barber says:

    I’m back. Again. To tell you how awesome this is. I crave it more often than I’d like to admit.

    Do you ever use dry beans to cook with? It’s one of my New Year’s resolutions to save some $ so I’m wondering if you have any tips. I’ve you haven’t dived into that world yet I”ll pass any your way I come across.

    Thanks again for feeding my family!

  29. Megan says:

    Just made this for myself for dinner (kids had spaghetti- AGAIN) and WOW. So good on snowy WI evening with a glass red of wine and the kids in bed…. bliss! I used leftover roast chicken and 1 cup of monterey jack cheese instead of the cream. Again…bliss!

  30. Tracey says:

    Delicious and easy to make! I used 1 less can of beans and about 2 oz of green chilis due to my kids pickiness . Made this with your cornbread with honey butter! It was a huge hit! Thank you for the recipes!

  31. Chalene says:

    This was really good! I didn’t have 2 cans of white beans, so I had to modify with pinto. It tasted fine, but wasn’t “white”. So, I have a recipe for you to create…a soup based on spinach artichoke dip. Sounds like you have knack for soup and a love of experimentation! Can you do it??

  32. Kim says:

    I love this chili!! I added a can of corn and substituted plain yogurt for the sour cream to save some calories!! Loved it!!!

  33. Amy says:

    This recipe is simply delish!!!! After the first bite I was a in HEAVEN. What a wonderful recipe to whip up during the week and the leftovers the next day were amazing ! Thanks again for another wonderful recipe to add to my collection =)

  34. Teresa says:

    Love this recipe so much! We made this for the first time for our cub scouts’ chili cook-off last night, and it was a huge hit. All the moms wanted the recipe. I made the crockpot version, and it worked perfectly. I was sure that most people would bring traditional chili so I wanted something new. I’ll definitely be making this again in the very near future! Thanks for the great recipe.

  35. Amy says:

    Rachel- I can’t wait to try this, however i was wondering if lowfat Sour cream and 2% milk will work as substitues for cutting down on the calories and fat content from the sour cream and whipping cream. I try to cut down on little things in all recipes…makes a difference throughout the day.

  36. Mel says:

    Amy, you can definitely try your substitutions and see how they go. If you read through the comments, I think there are several people who have commented on the variations they use to lighten it up.

  37. Leslie says:

    Love your site! I took this to our church’s annual chili cook-off and won 1st place in the white chili category and won 1st place overall out of about 40 chilis!! Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  38. [...] recipe I have is by and far one of our all-time favorite meals. So when I clicked on her “Creamy White Chili” link and saw the exact same recipe, I knew it was a good [...]

  39. Meredith says:

    We LOVED this! A real keeper. It’s got the perfect amount of spice, and so yummy. I didn’t change a thing, it was amazing. Thank you!

  40. Alli O. says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. As soon as my husband and I tasted this, we both looked at each other and said, “Holy crap!” Thank you for our new favorite dish!

  41. Deb says:

    Yum, yum, yum. Made this for a church hayride last night. It could not have been a worse night for a hayride – cold and rainy – but it made the perfect night for a warm crockpot full of chili. I loved the flavor of this, especially the cumin. Like some other reviewers said, I added a can of white corn which was a good call. I wanted the end product to be a little thicker, so I’d probably cut back a bit on the sour cream and whipping cream, but the flavor was AMAZING.

  42. Terri says:

    I made this last week and my boys declared it the BEST chili EVER”!! I’ve been making a red chili for years, my moms recipe, and it’s always been a family favorite…even during the summer! Yea, I KNOW, who makes chili in July…I do!! LOL!

    So the fellas are asking me to make the “awesome chili” again this weekend for a chili contest at our church…they’re sure it’s a winner!
    Will let you know how it goes, Mel! Thanks for ANOTHER great recipe!!

  43. Terri says:

    And…..we have a winner!! Mel, I won first place yesterday in the chili cook off! Had soooo many people ask me for the recipe, it was amazing! My youngest son told me I’m the best cook in Tennessee…isn’t that sweet? :D
    Thanks again for another great recipe!

  44. Taylor says:

    Thanks for this awesome recipe! I tried substituting nonfat Greek yogurt for the sour cream and loved it. I also happened to have garbanzo beans already soaking so I used those in place of the northern white beans! Loved the flavor and simplicity of your recipe, THANK YOU!!

  45. Betsy says:

    Hi Mel! I won 3rd place in my work chili cook off yesterday! I was pleasantly surprised because I think I bungled something in the recipe. It was EXTREMELY thin, much more soup like. However, people raved about the flavor. It really is great. I didn’t have any cayenne pepper so I added smoked paprika instead. Thanks for being my go-to recipe spot! I had so many requests for the recipe. I sent them this way!

    Next, I told a coworker we are going to have an enchilada cooking contest. Those honey lime enchiladas are without a doubt the best I’ve ever had in the history of all mankind forever and ever times infinity Amen! (I may be just slightly prone to hyperbole. Just a bit.)

    Thank you!

  46. Jules says:

    What a fantastic recipe! Thanks for sharing, I did serve it to some friends who wouldn’t believe me White Chili existed and they were blown away by the flavors.

  47. Lana says:

    Mel, as always, you save the day again with a great recipe. I’ve made this one several times before, but I needed a soup I could crockpot overnight. It’s supposed to be for my 1st grader’s class party today, and I have to be there at 9. So, I saw that you had conveniently provided me with the crock pot version, and I threw it together at midnight last night. SO AWESOME. Thanks for making my morning so much smoother! Now if I just didn’t have to navigate the giant school parking lot with a toddler, camera bag and a crockpot of soup! :)

  48. Ray says:

    I just found your site. Thanks for this recipe! I made this with pulled pork I cooked in a crock pot and my company ate every last drop of it! And, I tripled the recipe that should have given me a LOT of leftovers. There were several other dishes that took longer to prepare and they ate very little of those!

  49. Amanda R says:

    LOVE this soup. Thank you for simple and delicious food!

  50. Katie says:

    You are not lying about this soup winning you friends and fame! I had never made it, but knew I couldn’t go wrong with something from your site, so I took it to a chili cook-off and it won! I was so excited! Everyone loved it! The credit goes to you for posting this deliciously awesome recipe! Thanks Mel! It is hands down my favorite chili!

  51. [...] I was planning on making this week for white chicken chili. Then I stopped by Melanie’s blog, Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. Melanie has never led me astray. I have always been pleased with any recipe that I have tried from [...]

  52. Athena says:

    This recipe is delicious with ham! I used leftover ham I had from the holidays, chopped it up… divine! One of our family favorites!

  53. Jana says:

    We loved this – even my skeptical husband who usually doesn’t like “creamy” soups loved this (he also loves your chicken corn chowder which was my first sign that his distaste of creamy soups was not rational and thus I could find exceptions). Anyway, I stumbled across a recipe that is identical to yours except it uses Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and whipping cream. Have you ever experimented with Greek yogurt as a substitute for any of your recipes? One of the brand websites offers a conversion chart for using greek yogurt in place of sour cream, mayo, oil, cream, etc, but I’m hesitant to try myself. But you, I trust! So any thoughts on this?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jana – I use plain yogurt (sometimes Greek sometimes regular) to sub for sour cream so yes, I definitely think you could sub it in here but I wouldn’t sub it for all of the sour cream AND milk. I’d only sub it in for the sour cream and still use some type of milk/cream for the liquid. That’s just a personal recommendation since the tang of the yogurt sometimes overpowers the taste for me.

  54. [...] been on a chili kick this winter. I’ve tried various versions, from meatless with quinoa to white chicken chili, to chicken barley chili, even to a slow cooker mole chicken chili (from America’s Test [...]

  55. Tammy says:

    Do you think this would freeze well?

  56. Mel says:

    Tammy – the texture may change a bit upon reheating but it should freeze OK. I think a few other commenters have left feedback about that up in the comment thread.

  57. Melissa C says:

    I added 1/3 of frozen corn at the end…the sweetness with the spiciness was out of this world! I can’t go wrong with your recipes, Mel. My family thanks you!

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  59. Robin says:

    This is really good! I didn’t have chili powder or cayenne, so I rubbed taco seasoning on the chicken. Came out great! Thanks for a great recipe :-)

  60. Nicole says:

    didn’t have any white beans on hand, so I used hominy– it was such a good mix of posole and chili — loved it!

  61. Marquita says:

    I made this recipe for our Ward Chili Cookoff. I won “the best white chili” award. This was so yummy. Thank you!

  62. Kim S. says:

    Mel–the recipe says serve immediately (after adding the sour cream and heavy cream). Is this ok to make ahead, and/or to have leftovers and store in the fridge to reheat the next day or so? Or does the sour cream and heavy cream in the chili make it weird or funky? Thanks! Kim

    • Mel says:

      Kim – yes, I should probably edit the recipe because this keeps well warm (like in the slow cooker) for several hours and the leftovers are great.

  63. Jenna says:

    I was looking for a recipe for white chili for a long time. This was AMAZING. I make it multiple times per month.
    I just throw everything in a slow cooker and let it sit all day long.
    The only thing I did differently was puree one can of beans to make it a little thicker.
    Next time, I will add some hot sauce.

  64. […] from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe Serves […]

  65. […] This chili is great in the winter. In Japan, beans can be hard to find, but you can buy them at import stores, or online. This recipe is adapted from here. […]

  66. Christina says:

    Wow! Thanks for this recipe! I made it for my church’s chili cook off tonight and won 2nd place-only 2nd to a local restaurants’ chili that someone brought and entered! :) so yummy!!! I doubled it, made it in my slow cooker, used rotel chilies with tomatoes (couldn’t find just chilies), and added an additional cup of sour cream. The flavor is amazing! Spices are perfect! Thanks again!!!

  67. Mel…..Good gracious this was good! I am on a stupid diet challenge thing so I scooped my helping out before the creamy goodness was added and I still loved it like that. Served it with your cornbread (my favorite thing ever!). Took every bit of self control to not eat the entire pan like I normally do. Once again thank you for your recipes and also your new videos. So fun!

  68. Sarah says:

    Thanks, Mel, for ANOTHER winner recipe! I made this a few weeks ago and my husband seemed to have died and gone to heaven. When he saw me putting the ingredients together in the crockpot this morning, he grinned big and asked if I was making chicken chili again. While I’m a fair cook, your blog and recipes make me seem like a superstar!

  69. Anissa says:

    This was delicious. I did it in the crockpot and wish I had cut the broth back to about 1/2 cup instead of 1 1/2 cups. Mine turned out more like a soup than a chili. But still very tasty!

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