The secret ingredient in this easy white chicken chili? Fresh tomatillos! They add a nice hint of tartness that pairs perfectly with the creaminess in this chicken chili recipe.
In this easy white chicken chili recipe, I combine tomatillos, jalapeños, canned hot chili peppers, and lots of spices to create a comforting bowl of chili.
For this chicken chili, I used ¾ pound of dry white beans, though you can use two cans of your favorite white beans, such as great northern, cannellini, or navy beans.
It’s such an easy and tasty weeknight dinner recipe!
I’ve always preferred red chili over white chili, but that’s likely because many white chili recipes call for cream cheese or lots of heavy cream. I find adding too much cream or cream cheese to the soup makes it unbearably rich for my tastes.
In this chili recipe, I finish it with just ⅓ cup heavy cream for the entire pot. The result is beautiful golden-hued chili that is rich without being overly decadent.
How to make this easy white chicken chili recipe:
If you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner recipe, look no further than this one. A bit of slicing and dicing and sautéing, but after that, it’s all simmering.
If using dry beans, start by soaking them overnight. If you’re short on time, you can cover them with water, bring them to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour before draining and rinsing. Alternatively, you can use canned beans instead.
First, prep all your ingredients. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and jalapeño. Next, rinse and dice the tomatillos. If you’ve never cooked with tomatillos, you’ll want to remove the papery skin first and then rinse the tomatillo under warm water to remove the sticky residue. From there, simply dice it up as you would a tomato. Lastly, chop up the chicken thighs and season them with salt and pepper.
Next, fry the chicken in a dutch oven or soup pot first until browned all over and transfer to a bowl. Add the onion and jalapeño and cook until just softened. Then add the garlic and then the tomatillos and cook for another few minutes. Add the spices and then return the chicken to the pot along with the canned chili peppers and toss to coat with the spices.
From there, simply add water or chicken stock and the soaked beans. Simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
To finish this chili, first, mash some of the beans against the side of the pot to create an even more luxurious chili. Add the heavy cream and that’s it!
Garnish the chili however you like! I added cilantro, jalapeño, avocado, and a sprinkle of cheese. Try it with sour cream, minced red onion, or crushed tortilla chips.
Looking for more chicken recipes? Check my archives!
If you made this recipe, please rate the recipe below and leave a comment to tell me how you liked it! If you take a picture of it, please tag me on Instagram so I can feature you in my feed!
Easy White Chicken Chili
- ¾ pound dry great northern beans or 2 15-ounce cans of white beans*
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs cubed
- 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
- 3 tomatillos husked, rinsed, and small-diced
- 1 jalapeño trimmed and minced
- 6 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
- 2 4- ounce cans diced hot green chiles
- 5 cups water or chicken stock
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Diced avocado
- Cilantro leaves
- Shredded cheese
Soak the beans:
- Place the dry beans in a large pot and cover with water. Soak overnight. Alternatively, place on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Drain and set aside. Wipe out the pot and return it to the stovetop.
Sauté the chicken:
- Pat the chicken dry and season all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in an even layer and cook for 5 minutes per side until mostly cooked through and beginning to brown all over. Remove from the pot and transfer to a bowl.
Cook the aromatics:
- Add the onion, tomatillos, and jalapeño to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Bloom the spices:
- Melt the butter into the aromatics. Once bubbly, add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, smoked paprika, and cayenne powder. Cook for 45 seconds until fragrant.
Simmer the chili:
- Return the chicken to the pot along with the canned diced green chiles. Pour in the water or stock and add the soaked beans. Ensure you have just enough liquid to cover everything in the pot, so if needed, add a bit more water. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes or until thickened and the beans are very tender.
Finish the chili:
- Using a spoon, mash some of the beans against the side of the pot to thicken the chili. Taste it and season to your preferences. Add the heavy cream and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Ladle the chili into bowls and garnish with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!