White bean chili is always and forever delicious, but add in the flavorful notes of roasted garlic, and you may not want to eat any other kind of white bean chili again!

Roasted Garlic White Bean Chili

It’s that time of year when even though the temps haven’t really dropped, I’m craving soups and chilis and stews, which means we tend to sweat through dinner in September. Having said that, I hope I don’t sound traitorous, but I’m still kind of apathetic about pumpkin. I’m seeing pumpkin recipes all over and feel kind of blah about the idea. What’s wrong with me?

I’m sure one taste of something deliciously pumpkin will cure me, but I do have a little niggling of fear that this might be the season of Mel Boycotts Pumpkin. It’s strange and very unlike me. Maybe I’m having a mid-life crisis? I always knew that a mid-life crisis would somehow evidence itself in food.

Don’t hate me; I’m sure I’ll recover and post pumpkin recipes all the way through next February. The good news is that I’m fairly certain with the 5,384 pumpkin recipes already floating around this fall, you’re pretty well covered.

While you relish in all the pumpkin recipes, I’m going to dive in head first to this roasted garlic and white bean chili. It’s so good. Amazingly good.

I happen to be a huge fan of white chilis with their white beans; in fact, this Creamy White Chili is one of the most popular recipes on my site for good reason (and I have a lot of other white bean versions like this slow cooker number and another delicious and unique white bean chicken chili).

Roasted Garlic White Bean Chili

But today’s white bean chili is super special because: roasted garlic.

If you haven’t become one with roasted garlic yet, please do. It adds the most amazing depth of flavor to this white bean chili! Roasting the garlic mellows the sharp, pungent flavor, leaving you with milder, sweeter cloves of garlic. And it isn’t hard.

Simply trim the pointy top off the garlic, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes or so. Easy and so worth it (especially since you can roast it while you get the rest of the chili prepped and cooking).

On the spectrum of white chilis to love, this one is a winner. You can pile on toppings (tortilla chips, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, salsa) or leave it plain and humble. A little squeeze of lime juice and a bit of chopped cilantro was perfect for me, and even though I served this in the blazing temps of early September, it was totally worth sweating for.

Roasted Garlic White Bean Chili

What To Serve
Fluffy cornbread
Tortilla chips, other chili toppings (fresh limes, yum!)

One Year Ago: Oatmeal Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two Years Ago: Monster Cookie Bars
Three Years Ago: No-Cream Creamy Basil Spinach Soup

Roasted Garlic and White Bean Chili

Yield: Serves 6

Roasted Garlic and White Bean Chili

I love the fresh taste of the Anaheim or Poblano (which is my way of saying I haven’t made this with canned green chilis), and both are pretty widely available (I can usually find Poblanos a little easier but Anaheim are my favorite and at least where I buy them, tend to be less spicy than the Poblanos in my supermarket). Speaking of spice, I don’t consider this chili to be spicy; it is mild enough for my whole family to enjoy, but if you think your heat tolerance might be lower, consider decreasing the Anaheim or Poblano peppers to just one.

You can speed up the recipe by roasting the garlic earlier in the day (or a couple days in advance).


  • 1 large bulb garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 Anaheim or Poblano peppers, halved, seeded and chopped (see note above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cans (15-ounces each) Great Northern or navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 1-2 limes)
  • Chopped, fresh cilantro and additional lime wedges, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lay out a large square of aluminum foil. Cut off the tip of the garlic bulb and place it cut-side up on the foil. Drizzle the sliced end with a tablespoon of olive oil. Bring the edges of the foil up to wrap completely. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the cloves are very soft and golden (add time as needed).
  2. While the garlic roasts, in a 4-quart saucepan, heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, peppers, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low or medium-low and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 1-2 tablespoons water and cover the pot. Let the vegetables sweat and cook for 8-10 minutes, until very soft. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking (add a teaspoon of water at a time if the pot seems dry).
  3. Increase the heat to medium and add the ground turkey. Cook, breaking the meat into small pieces, until no longer pink, 6-7 minutes. Drain any excess grease if needed.
  4. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, cayenne, and flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  5. Add 4 cups of the broth (reserve 1 cup for the next step!) and stir to combine.
  6. When the garlic is done roasting, carefully peel back the foil and squeeze the softened, roasted garlic cloves out of the skins and into a blender (if it's very hot, let it cool slightly or grab it with a paper towel). Add the remaining 1 cup broth to the blender along with 1/2 of the beans. Puree the mixture.
  7. Pour the garlic/bean mixture into the pot and stir to combine. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Stir in the remaining beans, milk and lime juice and cook until heated through. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve with additional lime wedges and chopped cilantro, if desired (tortillas chips and cheese are also never a bad idea).

Recipe Source: inspired by a recipe in Cuisine at Home October 2016 

21 Responses to Roasted Garlic and White Bean Chili

  1. Shanna says:

    WONDERFUL chili that we loved. Just wondering if this is something that would freeze well.

  2. Lisa says:

    Made this the other day and it was amazing! Your creamy white chili is my husband’s absolute favorite meal and he was not real thrilled to try something else (ha) but we both loved this! We couldn’t really taste the roasted garlic the first night, but as leftovers the roasted garlic flavor became more pronounced and delicious! Thanks for the awesome recipe 🙂

  3. Nita says:

    Just finished making this! It’s delicious! I have tried most of your chili recipes and this is now one of my favorites!

  4. John says:

    I made this last night. The flavor was terrific, but it turned out to be a soup, rather than the thick chili I was expecting. So, is this supposed to be a soup–or did I goof up the recipe?

    • Mel says:

      Hey John, I’m guessing you made it correctly. It’s a thinner chili but definitely thicker than most broth-based soups. You could always thicken it up by decreasing the broth or increasing the flour a bit.

  5. Elisabeth says:

    Made this last night and it was so savory, wonderfully good!! Thank you for another keeper to add to my repetoire!! You are truly the best!!!

  6. Karen says:

    Hi Mel, I’d like to cook dried beans in my Instantpot rather than use canned. Can you give me a measurement in cups of how much cooked white bean I will need? Thanks!

  7. Susan says:

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was very simple to put together and was absolutely delicious, everyone loved it! Even my 7 year old, who immediately complained that she ‘hated chili’ as soon as she saw what we were having, declared that it was 99% great after she tried it, and would be 100% great if it just had bacon in it.

  8. YUM! I am a big fan of garlic. I am going to have to try this recipe as soon as we get below the 90s here in Tennessee:) UGH. I hope you are doing well–Mel!! I am finally getting back on the blogging horse! It is fun to be back to checking my favorite blogs and posting again! xoxo

  9. Liz says:

    I was out and about midday and stopped for chiles – got poblanos. I love both poblanos and anaheims and I know some might consider it blasphemy, but I have had plenty of hatch and I think the northwest anaheims are just as good … sometimes better being local to me.

    At any rate, this soup is in my plan for soon!

  10. Auntiepatch says:

    I’m with you, Mel! I’ve never gotten into pumpkin anything. And there are so many recipes out there now with pumpkin. I carve them for Halloween. and I love peppitas, but that’s it for me

  11. n82 says:

    I made this this afternoon and it is DELICIOUS! Thanks for a winner. Couldn’t really tell there was garlic in the soup (we love garlic!) so next I may add 2 bulbs!

  12. I discovered the heaven that is roasted garlic at a pizza joint in Brooklyn. A whole head of garlic came out, with bread, as an appetizer. You pulled the clove of caramelized garlic out of its sleeve and smeared it on the bread. FABULOUS.
    Here’s another option for roasting garlic that is easier than heating your big oven for one little head: do it on the grill. We are charcoal people and the coals stay hot long after the meat has grilled. Just set a head of garlic over the embers and pick it up after dinner (or even the next day).
    I can’t wait to do this. In winter, we eat soup every Tuesday. Preferably a vegetarian one.

  13. Angela says:

    This looks great. Made Verde Mexican Lasagna last night. My husband loved it. He said, “tell Mel, thanks.”

  14. Heather bell says:

    I’m so excited about this! Usually I make one of your soups and eat it for lunch for a week. Gets me through winter!!

  15. Sam M says:

    This looks delicious! I’ve never tried roasting garlic before, but I think it’s time.

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