It took several failed attempts to come up with a go-to recipe for Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili, but I do believe I’ve done it. I felt like Goldilocks the first few tries: too watery, too many beans, boring. But it’s more than the flavor of this chili that I’m excited to share with you, it’s the method.
Bait and switch slow cooker recipes can be frustrating – where you end up with a bunch of dirty pans because you have to sear this and sauté that before you load up the slow cooker (though sometimes it’s worth dirtying an extra pan, like with this Slow Cooker Jambalaya). This Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili is just a slight bait and switch.
How to Make Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
- Salt-soak cannelini beans overnight; drain and rinse them in the morning. (If you’re under the impression that soaking beans in salt water makes them tough, it’s a myth – I pinky promise.)
- Stir minced garlic, onion, jalapeños and olive oil into the beans then cover with water and arrange uncooked, bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts in a single layer on top.
- Cook on high for 6-8 hours or on low for 8-10.
- You’ll chop the roasted chilis, shred and chop the chicken, then stir them both into the chili. Voilà! You’ll have some of the best chili you’ve ever tasted.
So that’s the bait.
Here’s where the switch comes in: If you don’t mind the flavor of canned green chilis, then you can make this chili entirely in the slow cooker. I’m not a fan of the flavor or texture of canned green chilis so I roasted my own. Your choice.
If you do decide to roast your own chilis, here’s an easy method: pre-heat your broiler, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and arrange 8 Anaheim chilis in a single layer. Broil chilis for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping them half-way through. After resting about 15 minutes, it’s a cinch to remove their skin, stems and seeds.
I can’t wait for you try this, the texture of the chicken will knock you out! It comes out ultra tender, flavorful and moist. Combine that with how all of the flavors dance and meld as they cook together and I predict that this will become your go-to Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili recipe too.
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
- 12 ounces dry cannelini beans
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 8 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
- 2 jalapeños stems and seeds removed, finely chopped
- 3 large bone-in, skin-on chicken half-breasts (about 3 pounds)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 Anaheim Chilis roasted and diced - see recipe below (or 1 cup chopped canned green chilis, drained)
- shredded cheddar or jack cheese
- sour cream
- chopped green onions
The night before you plan to cook the chili, add dry cannelini beans, salt and 8 cups water to the bowl of a slow cooker. Stir to combine; let soak overnight. In the morning, drain and rinse beans and return to slow cooker.
Add next 8 ingredients (olive oil through jalapeños) and stir to combine. Add 3 cups of water, just enough to cover beans. Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer on the beans skin side up (the chicken breasts will be above the water line). Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 hours. The chicken breasts should be tender, but the beans may need to cook for up to 2 hours longer - check beans for doneness every 30 minutes or so until they are tender.
Transfer chicken breasts to a cutting board; let rest until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Remove and discard skin and bones. Shred and coarsely chop chicken; set aside.
When beans are tender, stir in chicken and roasted green chilis. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle chili into serving bowls and top with cheese, sour cream, cilantro and green onions as desired. Serve.
To roast Anaheim chilis:
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and arrange 8 Anaheim chilis in a single layer. Broil chilis for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping them half-way through. Transfer blackened chilis to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap to allow them to steam.
After about 15 minutes, transfer one chili to a cutting board. With your hands, remove skin, stem and seeds and discard. Lay chili flat on cutting board and repeat with remaining chilis, stacking them one on the other. When the chilis are in an 8-high stack, use a sharp knife to dice them into bite-size pieces.