This white bean turkey (or chicken) chili is a perfect way to use up those Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. This chili is a snap to throw together and is packed full of flavor.

First posted nearly six years ago, this white bean chicken chili so delicious (as in, it’s one of my favorite soups), I decided not only did it need updated pictures and a few added notes but it deserved a moment in the spotlight again.

Poor little thing. Tragically buried and forgotten in the dusty, dark archives that is eight years of blogging.

A white bowl full of white bean chicken chili with a tray of lettuce and tomatoes in the background.

The recipe, originally from my Aunt Marilyn, is a snap to throw together (we are talking less than 30 minutes, start to finish).

I absolutely love this soup. And it has been known to win a chili cook-off or two, just in case you are wondering.

While it is unadorned in the pictures, we usually load our servings (yes, plural, because seconds are not optional) with all sorts of goodness: crushed tortilla chips, avocados, tomatoes, olives, cheese, sour cream.

A white bowl full of white bean chicken chili with a spoon in it.

It’s delicious plain Jane or loaded to the max.

I’m so happy to reintroduce this soup to the world. If you’ve made it before, check out the notes in the recipe as I’ve made a few little changes over the years to make it creamier, easier and if possible, even more tasty.

And if you haven’t made it, well, you should. Don’t forget to check out all the comments below from others who have made it and reported back (so helpful!).

A bowl full of white bean chicken chili.

One Year Ago: Classic Slow Cooker Chili
Two Years Ago: White Texas Sheet Cake
Three Years Ago: Cheesecake Rice Pudding {Plus a Chocolate Version!}


White Bean Chicken Chili

4.55 stars (59 ratings)


  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 cans (14.5-ounces each) Great Northern Beans, or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups cooked diced chicken (see note)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup salsa (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 – 1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese (see note)
  • Optional toppings, cilantro, olives, tomatoes, sour cream, avocados


  • In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the remainder of the ingredients, except the cheese. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the soup comes to a simmer. Reduce the heat so the soup is simmering but not vigorously boiling and add the cheese one small handful at a time, stirring to let each addition melt before adding the next.
  • Give the soup a good stir making sure all the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Serve with additional toppings (optional): crushed tortilla chips, olives, sour cream, avocados, cilantro, tomatoes.


Chicken: here is a skillet method for quick, cooked and shredded chicken.
Doubling: a single recipe of this soup doesn’t make a whole lot – I always double it for our family of seven (five kids, two adults). Of course, it goes a bit further if adding on toppings so keep that in mind.
Cheese: originally the recipe was posted with mozzarella cheese. It’s very yummy that way and occasionally I still use it but for the most part, I’ve changed to using Monterey Jack for a much creamier and smoother texture. Incidentally cheddar doesn’t seem to work well here – it is a bit to greasy and doesn’t melt well.
Salsa: also, the salsa in this recipe is quite important – use a salsa that has great flavor as it is a key component to the soup. A salsa with a lot of heat is obviously going to make the soup spicy. I like to use a mild or medium salsa (Trader Joe’s chunky sals or fire-roasted salsa are two of my favorites). And if you want to change it up a bit, using a green salsa is a wonderful variation. You can probably tell this soup is endlessly adaptable.
Turkey: don’t forget that leftover, cooked turkey is delicious in this soup.
Celery Seed/Salt: I often sub celery seed (just 1/4 teaspoon) for the celery salt and then just add additional salt to taste if needed.
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 672kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 55g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 115mg, Sodium: 1106mg, Fiber: 15g, Sugar: 3g

Recipe Source: adapted from Aunt Marilyn