Slow Cooker Jalapeno Popper Chili

There is nothing quite like a warm bowl of chili on a cold/frozen/icy/wintery/subzero/I’mbarelysurviving kind of day. While I love chili in all its forms, if you twisted my arm and forced me to choose, I would have to say I’m partial to white bean chilis and this white bean jalapeno popper chili fits right in there with my favorites.

Do you mind if I detail its merits for you?

First, it’s simple. Like, throw it in the slow cooker simple.

Second, it’s relatively healthy, especially if you cut down/omit the bacon (I’ll weep for you) or use turkey bacon and light cream cheese.

Third, if I said it’s freakishly delicious would that frighten you or entice you to make it? I’m using freakish in the best of all ways here, because this chili is so good it hurts. It’s flavorful without being spicy (see the recipe notes to add a little heat if that’s your thing) and is so hearty and satisfying.

I don’t often repost a recipe that’s around the internet in several places since you can easily find it elsewhere, but this chili is too good not to share. I kind of wish I had this waiting for me right about now! Good thing tomorrow will come dawning a bright new day full of slow cooker jalapeno popper white bean chili resolutions.

Slow Cooker Jalapeno Popper Chili

What To ServeTortilla chips (for crushing over the soup or just for dipping)
Fresh, seasonal fruit or this fruit salad
Simple green salad (or something more fancy like this Asiago Crisped Spinach and Raspberry Salad)

One Year Ago: DIY Homemade Yogurt  
Two Years Ago: Homemade Taco Seasoning
Three Years Ago: Classic Blueberry Cobbler

Slow Cooker Jalapeno Popper White Bean Chili

Yield: Serves 6-8

Slow Cooker Jalapeno Popper White Bean Chili

I have made this a time or two and never soaked the beans the night before (I use Great Northern dry beans) and they soften perfectly during the cooking time; however, without actually trying it, I'm guessing if you did soak the beans overnight, you might be able to get away with a shorter cooking time (or maybe 5 hours on high or something like that). Also, before adding the chicken back in and before stirring in the cream cheese and corn, you can blend a couple cups of the soup to a smooth consistency and stir it back into the pot for a thicker variation. I've done it both ways...and love it both ways. The flavor is ultimately the winning factor. Finally, this soup is not spicy. If you'd like to make it with more heat, you can leave the seeds in the jalapenos or add a touch or more of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.


  • 1 cup chopped yellow or white onion
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup red or yellow bell pepper, small diced
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, trimmed of fat (about 2 chicken breasts)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 12 ounces dry white beans, rinsed and picked through to remove any stones or bad beans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces light cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled or chopped


  1. Add all the ingredients except the cream cheese, corn and bacon to a 5-quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-9 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken and chop into pieces or shred into bite-sized pieces. See the note above about thickening part of the soup. Make your decision. Then return the chicken to the slow cooker.
  3. Stir in the cubed cream cheese and the corn. Cover the slow cooker to let the cream cheese soften and the corn heat through, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Stir to combine. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with the crumbled bacon.

Recipe Source: adapted from Everyday Reading by way of Sweet, Treats and More by way of Cinnamon Spice (basically, I altered the amount of dry beans just slightly, used chicken breasts instead of thighs and adapted the method ever so slightly)

81 Responses to Slow Cooker Jalapeno Popper White Bean Chili

  1. Teresa says:

    Oh gosh Mel, this was so delicious. I almost didn’t even add the cream cheese and bacon, but glad I did. I will confess I did not do it in a crock pot as I did not have morning time to do the prep. But I chopped everything in the afternoon and did it on the stovetop. I used rotisserie chicken because I had some in the freezer and used two boxes of unsalted cannellini beans. So yummy, we all loved it, thank you so much!

  2. Megan says:

    First off, we love this chili! So yummy. I have made it lots of times exactly by the recipe and it is great. Thanks Mel! If anyone is wondering about substitutions like I was, I thought I would share a couple I tried today. First, I subbed jarred jalapeños for fresh since I forgot to buy fresh. This definitely made the chili spicier as I usually remove all the seeds from the fresh ones. Second, to save on cooking time I used canned beans today. It turned out way thinner and less chili-like than usual. If I ever use canned beans again, I will definitely decrease the chicken broth since the beans won’t be soaking any up. Just thought I would put this here in case it is helpful to anyone else. And yes, I made chili during the middle of summer because my little girl requested it as she loves all things winter. 🙂

  3. Angie says:

    I just made this tonight in my electric pressure cooker. I cooked it for 30 minutes on high pressure with a natural release (& I didn’t soak the beans & the chicken was frozen). Some beans were better cooked than others but it was great (& so fast)! I love the flavor & the texture of the chicken so much better in the pressure cooker than the slow cooker.

    • Mel says:

      I so totally agree, Angie – pressure cooker all the way for chicken.

    • Soonhee says:

      I’m so glad that I read through all of the comments. Thank you for this great idea of cooking it in a pressure cooker. I made it tonight with a regular stovetop pressure cooker, and it turned out so well! I used thawed chicken and canned beans and only cooked it for 10 minutes. The chicken was so tender. I added the cream cheese and corn after. The pressure cooker may become my new best friend in the kitchen.

  4. Brittany C says:

    Sorry, got ahead of myself and skipped over the comments that mention canned beans. Dinner is saved!

  5. Brittany C says:

    So, lets say you wait till noon do decide to make this. Could one just sub out canned beans for the dry beans? Or boil the beans for 15 minutes before adding them to the crock pot? I really want to eat this tonight! haha

  6. Amie says:

    I have made this chili twice and can not get the beans to cook through. The second time, I soaked the beans all night and let the cook for 8 hours on low. So disappointed because everything else is just perfect. What am I doing wrong??

    • Mel says:

      Sorry you are having this issue, Amie. I don’t think you are doing anything wrong but it is strange to me the beans aren’t cooking through especially after soaking. What brand of dry beans are you using?

      • Amie says:

        Oh man…not sure. I am giving this recipe a third “go” this week (it is that good) and will likely use canned beans. 🙁

  7. Nikki says:

    Would it be okay to use canned beans instead of dry?

  8. Summer says:

    Made this last night and my husband declared it his favorite chili AND my kids loved it, too. A rare combination. Thanks for a fabulous, easy recipe.

  9. Mamalala says:

    I made this for my bunco dinner and it was a hit. I think I will add the jalapeno towards the end of cooking time since it had no spiciness to the soup. I want a more defined kick. I also topped with bacon (a must), chives, and cilantro. It was so good. going to make it again for sure.

  10. Haley says:

    We loved this recipe!!! I don’t love chunks of onion, peppers, or tomatoes, so I puréed all that in my food processor. Flavor was fantastic and I loved the stew consistency! My picky kids even scarfed it down! Thanks for such a fantastic recipe! 🙂

  11. Amanda says:

    I really, really love the idea of using dry beans instead of canned, but after 8 hours on low, they were still crunchy. Any suggestions for how to improve the beans? I really don’t want to switch to canned ones, but will need to solve the bean problem. (Otherwise, this is absolutely delicious!!!!).

    • Mel says:

      Hi Amanda – several others have mentioned that, too, although whenever I make this, my beans are completely soft by the end of cooking time, so I’m not sure why there is a variance – my guess is that all of our slow cookers are cooking at slightly different temps and perhaps you need to tack on some time to the chili. What type of beans did you use? If they are larger white beans, that can also be a factor – I always use pretty small dry Great Northern beans.

  12. Jana says:

    I feel so much better about my life after having this chili today. Thank you for another incredible dish!

  13. Loretta Hay says:

    This chili is delicious…and the house smelled heavenly while it was cooking. Thanks for such a wonderful recipe.

  14. Katie says:

    Could you freeze this?

  15. Emily says:

    I cheated on making this. I added 2 cans of beans, and baked the chicken then shredded it and put it in, in the end with the cream cheese, I added the corn in the beginning and let everything cook for about 30 minutes and an extra 15 with the chicken and cream cheese!

  16. Amy Falco says:

    This was delicious! I would have licked the crockpot had it not still been hot when I was cleaning up. I halved the recipe, used 2 cans of white beans instead of dry beans, rotisserie chicken, and did opt to smash some to thicken. I think I’d add a third can of bean next time. Great recipe. I will absolutely make this again!

  17. […] Or this Jalapeno Popper Bean Chili from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  18. Stephanie says:

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was so easy and tasty! I love that it uses dried beans instead of canned. I lightened it up a bit by using only 4oz of cream cheese and also omitting the bacon. I used my immersion blender and pulsed a few times and I found that it lent enough creaminess to the soup that 4oz of cream cheese was just fine. I was planning to use the bacon, but I found the soup to be so flavorful on its own that I went ahead and skipped the bacon. Shhh… don’t tell my husband! I’m sure it would have been delicious with the full amount of cream cheese and bacon (of course, because really, when is adding bacon not a good thing?!), but I’m trying to cut calories where I can. Just wanted to let people know that it was tasty the way I made it as well 🙂

    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  19. Heather says:

    Awesome! Thanks!!

  20. Heather says:

    I was also going to ask about using frozen chicken. However, my original question was wondering if I could use canned great northern beans? I’m excited to try this!

    • Mel says:

      Heather – Frozen chicken breasts will work fine. Canned beans will work as well, just make sure they are rinsed and drained, and you could probably cut down the cooking time by an hour.

  21. Adriennne says:

    Do you think it would work with frozen chicken breast?

  22. Tracey says:

    This looks awesome….do you think it would work out well without the chicken?

  23. fmandds says:

    I made this for dinner tonight and it smelled delicious cooking. I soaked my beans overnight and cooked on high. At 5 hours the beans were crunchy. At 6 hours it was better but still could’ve used another hour. I also roasted some additional jalapeños and diced them up for an additional topping. That added some great spice and my family controlled there own bowls. Great recipe!!

  24. Soonhee says:

    Made this tonight for a church chili cook-off and won! Thank you for sharing a fabulous recipe. I didn’t soak the beans and cooked it on high for 6 hours, then low for about an hour. The beans were nice and tender. The bacon flavor was a lot stronger than I thought it would be, but it was delicious. Can’t wait to make it again!

  25. Jane says:

    I don’t usually comment when there are already so many who have come before me, but I just have to say thanks, once again – this is a homerun. I had to make a couple of substitutions (bone in chicken thighs and tomato sauce instead of tomatoes) and I completely forgot about the bacon (bummer!). I had suspected that beans could be cooked from dry in a crock pot – thanks for experimenting for me.

  26. Amanda Z says:

    This was a delicious soup! I love coming home to a slow cooker meal, thanks for another great one!

  27. Jenn says:

    As I live at 7000 feet it always takes longer for beans to soften. I cooked mine on High for 7 hours and low for the last hour. They were perfect. Thanks for a great recipe.

  28. Shanna says:

    I made this last night and the flavor was great!! Unfortunately my beans were crunchy. I cooked them for an extra 2 hours but they did not soften up. I would make this again but I would also probably just add canned beans.

  29. Kay says:

    Made this last night and it was delish! The chicken was super moist and fall-apart tender. I put the beans in dry and they were definitely ready after 8 hours on low and another 4 on warm (I’m not home for most of the day and have a programmable slow cooker). I’ve had other recipes where the meat has dried out from such a long cook time, but this one turned out awesome. I blended a portion with an immersion blender, and was worried that my extra jalapeno and extra cayenne were going to make it too spicy, but once I added the cream cheese it was really nicely balanced. I love being able to make such a flavorful meal with so little effort. Thank you Mel for another big winner!!

  30. Deb says:

    What a delight it was to come home from work today and smell this delicious concoction bubbling away in my slow cooker! It was easy to put together and really delivered on flavor. I doubled the recipe and it just barely fit in my 6 qt slow cooker. It was my first time using dried beans and I thought they were way better than canned – creamier and less gritty. I used 3 giant jalapenos and just like you said, it didn’t end up being spicy AT ALL. They added great flavor and color. This was delicious, thanks so much Mel!

  31. meghan says:

    **whoops, not barely…

  32. meghan says:

    hi mel. love your cooking style – a big thanks from snowy NYC for keeping your soup/slowcooker catalog so well tended to – can’t get enough of those hearty, bone-thawing stews! wanted to leave some feedback for your vegetarian followers (i love bacon, but my other half barely is strictly veg). we made this recipe without the chicken and went about a half cup shorter on the (veggie) broth. it was phenomenal, of course! no other tweaks needed. with a little bacon crumbled on top of my bowl(s), i never missed the chicken for a minute. and i love the subtle heat that the jalapenos give without being blatantly spicy. thanks again!

  33. Rachel says:

    Made this and it was amazing!! My husband especially has been raving for days about it. I love your site, my husband and I joke as I tell him you are on a first name basis. Such as he asks where the recipe is from and I say of course it’s Mel’s! Love your site, it’s my go to for dinner almost daily, thank you!

  34. Lisa says:

    Mel, I have been following your blog for a few years now but this is the first time I have posted a comment. I have made numerous of your recipes and loved all of them. This one, however, is my absolute favorite. (and I love the sweet potato burritos) My children and husband devoured it. Thanks for your time to have this wonderful blog. I love it and share it with tons of people.

  35. Erin says:

    I liked this but I think it works better if you think of it as a dip, rather than a chili. I might serve it as a dip with chips at our Super Bowl party. Also, I might cut down on the cream cheese. I love cream cheese but 8 oz almost overpowered the flavors of the soup.

  36. Mike says:

    Indeed, Mel. Figured as much. But corn? I’m gonna let it survive the *6* hours on low, because I’m definitely gonna soak those beans. Too many hits and misses listed as to success with dry ones. And, I have a real hunch it’ll be a bit too “flavorful” (as in “only”) without those jalapeno seeds. They’re all goin’ in! :-)=

  37. Julie says:

    Okay, totally hacked this, but Mel is right, it is freakishly good! As I was late coming home from work I sauteed veggies, 2 cans of white beans, stock and here is the kicker, I happen to have about 1 1/2 cups of Mel’s Kansas City Sue’s shredded chicken in the fridge and added that in. Simmered for about 20 to 30 mins and then added the cream cheese. As usual, another great recipe from Mel!!!!

  38. Carrie says:

    We made this tonight for dinner. I soaked the beans overnight and had it on low for ~7 hours today and the beans were still pretty crunchy. But the flavor was great. Next time I think I’ll just throw in a can of beans.

  39. TRacy says:

    I made this recipe for the first time today and it was OMG amazing. So delish and the whole family just loved it. I’m one happy mom 🙂

  40. Gilliane says:

    I made this tonight and it was so easy and delicious! My dry beans cooked perfectly in 8 hours on low. Thanks for the great recipe!

  41. stephanie says:

    My family loved this last night! I love crock pot dinners, easy prep and less mess! We ate it with tortilla chips. Thanks, Mel, I can always count on you with something yummy for dinner!

  42. Leigh Anne says:

    I had no plan for dinner yesterday until I came across your recipe. I had all the ingredients except bacon…! (Because I know it would have been delish). It turned out sooo yummy! I even added my chicken breasts while frozen and the beans dry. Doesn’t get much easier than that!! I did cook it on high for about 7 hrs to make sure the beans got done. Thanks for another winner!!

  43. Shannon says:

    It looks like we are having this for dinner tomorrow. You are my menu planning salvation!

  44. Mike says:

    Mel: Why are the cream cheese and corn added at the last minute?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Mike – thanks for adding your comment here! They are added at the end to avoid overcooking both of those ingredients (and the cream cheese doesn’t “break” quite as easily if it’s added at the end).

  45. Helen says:

    This was amazing!!!!! I’ve always loved white chicken chili…. But this was unbelievably delicious !!! I didn’t soak the beans and it worked out perfectly … Cooked in about 7 1/2 hours on low I blended about 1 1/2 cups before adding the low fat cream cheese & super sweet white frozen corn… The bacon topping and a few tortilla chips …. Wow !!! Heavenly! Thanks for another perfect addition to our meals :-). Love you

  46. Carrie says:

    I too tried this today and sadly after 9 hours in low plus 2 more in high the beans are no where near done. The broth tastes good tho. 🙁

  47. Cammee says:

    I pinned this while browsing Pinterest today while waiting at the hair salon I didn’t even realize it was from you Mel! This is right up our alley, I will be making it soon. Just a little tip my grandma taught me…if it’s getting to be dinner time and the beans aren’t quite done, add a little baking soda. I haven’t looked it up to see why it works, but it does and has never affected the flavor.

  48. Emily F says:

    Okay, so I have made this without soaking the beans and after nine hours, with the first one and last one and a half on high, the beans were just barely edible, but really could have used another hour or two. I would definitely soak them in the future. I think the key is to “know thy slow cooker.” I have a new one that is very slow so I always plan on a little more time.

  49. Jaclyn says:

    This looks amazing Mel! I’ve got to try this!

  50. Okay, so….YUM. I’m completely partial to white bean chilis…this will make an appearance at our table next week!

  51. Jen says:

    Hi Mel – How full is your crockpot when you make this? I want to double it and use my 6 quart crockpot. Will it work? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Jen – when I make this, my 4/5 quart slow cooker is pretty full. You might be able to get away doubling it in the 6 quart but a 7/8 quart would be a safer bet. You could 1 1/2 the recipe, though, for your 6 quart.

  52. In all my life of cooking soups I have never tried using cream cheese inside one! I guess that is why they say “never say never”

  53. Sandra says:

    I had to stop at the cream cheese and bacon…but like you said you will weep for me lol. Try using Laughing cow cheese instead – at 25 calories per wedge I would think you could massively cut the calories in this recipe. I am going to try it out this weekend and get back to you about the taste. Thanks for sharing such great recipes!

  54. AJ says:

    Ooh. Thus looks fantastic. I took your creamy chilli to a cook off just last weekend and the judges really liked it, but it didn’t win. They chose a tomato chilli that had bacon in it even though in my opinion, the flavor wasn’t as good as some others. If I’d had this recipe, the extra jalapeno and bacon might have pushed it to the top. 🙂 I’m excited to try this out!

  55. Jenny says:

    Can’t wait to try this! I made your slow cooker tomato basil soup over the weekend to rave reviews from family! That one also thickened up after a few quick turns with the immersion blender. Thanks again for another wonderful recipe.

  56. Pam says:

    Do you think this would come out good without the cream cheese?

    • Mel says:

      Pam – it’s definitely worth a try to leave out the cream cheese but if you want my honest opinion, no I don’t think it will be quite as good. Less creamy for sure. However, I’m all about experimenting and if you don’t like the taste or want to cut calories, it’s always worth a try!

  57. Rachel says:

    I had your other White Bean Chili on the menu for tonight, but now I think I have to make this. Good thing I always have bacon in the freezer.

  58. Dalila G. says:

    Who can say “no” to chili?! Especially one made in a crockpot!
    Cooking doesn’t get any easier than that, I happen to really like my crockpot.
    And YES, everything is better with bacon….definitely!
    Have a nice day!

  59. Stefani says:

    Thank you! This has me written all over it! I’ve been searching for great crockpot recipes I can use on Sundays. Making dinner is a thorn in my side with one o’clock church. Not a fan. Not a fan.

  60. So glad you posted this recipe; even if it has been posted else where, it is new to me! It looks absolutely amazing and is a flavor combo we love!

  61. Teresa R. says:

    I don’t know how this could be better than your creamy white bean chili which I make at least three times a month. I love almost all chili’s so I’ll be making this soon. Thanks!

  62. I’m so addicted to soups right now in this cold weather. This one sounds delish! I think I’ll be throwing this in the slow cooker this week!

  63. Any chili that has bacon on top is a winner in my book 🙂

  64. Wow, Mel. You’ve done it again—I’m switching up my meal plan this week to include this!

  65. Kim in MD says:

    Yum- I love white chili! I really like the addition of the cream cheese and corn in this recipe!

  66. Sheila says:

    Thank you, Mel! We love your other white chili but this crock pot one is particularly valuable to an outside the home working gal. I get frustrated with crock pot recipes that call for 5 hours on low. There is nobody home to either plug it in at noon or unplug the pot after 5 hours. This is a great crockpot recipe for 7 to 9 hours of cooking so when my work day ends, I will walk into a yummy smelling home with a supper perfectly done that isn’t mushy and really overcooked. And a lightened up chili recipe that you, the expert claims, is an added plus!

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