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It took several failed attempts to come up with a go-to recipe for 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.

White Chicken Chili served in a white bowl

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 White Chicken Chili is just a slight bait and switch.

White Bean Chicken Chili ready to go

How to Make White Chicken Chili

Step 1: Soak cannellini beans overnight in a slow cooker in salted water; drain and rinse. (If you’re under the impression that soaking beans in salt water makes them tough, it’s a myth – I pinky promise. See what Cook’s Illustrated has to say about it if you’re interested.)

beans soaked overnight

Step 2: Stir minced garlic, onion, jalapeños, spices 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. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook on high 4 hours.

assembling white chicken chili in slow cooker

Step 3: Remove, shred and chop chicken; continue to cook beans until tender. Stir chicken and chopped, roasted chiles into the chili. Voilà! You’ll have some of the best chili you’ve ever tasted. Especially when topped with shredded cheese, sour cream and fresh cilantro.

combining white chicken chili ingredients

So that’s the bait.

Here’s the switch: If you don’t mind the flavor of canned green chiles, then you can make this chili entirely in the slow cooker. I’m not a fan of the flavor or texture of canned green chiles so I roast my own. Your choice.

If you do decide to roast your own chiles, here’s an easy method: preheat your broiler, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and arrange 8 Anaheim chiles in a single layer. Broil chiles for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping them half-way through. After resting in a covered container for about 15 minutes, it’s a cinch to remove their skin, stems and seeds.

Anaheim Chilis
Roasted Anaheim Chilis

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 White Chicken Chili recipe too.

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White Chicken Chili Recipe Video


White Chicken Chili

5 from 9 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 6 hours
Total: 6 hours 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Calories: 193
Servings: 6 people
A healthy, creamy White Chicken Chili recipe that you make in your slow cooker!


  • 8 ounces dry cannellini beans
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
  • 2 jalapeños stems and seeds removed, finely chopped (see recipe note #1)
  • 2 large bone-in, skin-on chicken half-breasts about 2 pounds
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 Anaheim Chiles roasted and diced – see recipe below (or 1 cup chopped canned green chiles, drained)


  • shredded cheddar or jack cheese
  • sour cream
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • chopped green onions


  • The night before you plan to cook the chili, add dry cannelini beans, salt and 6 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 4 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.
  • Meanwhile, 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; cover and refrigerate.
  • When beans are tender, stir in chicken and roasted green chiles. Let stand 5 minutes in slow cooker to reheat chicken and chiles. 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 chiles:

  • Preheat broiler.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and arrange 8 Anaheim chiles in a single layer. Broil chiles for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping them half-way through. Transfer blackened chiles 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 chiles, stacking them one on the other. When the chiles are in an 8-high stack, use a sharp knife to dice them into bite-size pieces.


  1. Please note that handling raw chiles that have been cut up can severely irritate your skin. I always recommend wearing gloves when working with raw chiles.
  2. Add desired toppings to taste.


Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1420mg | Potassium: 606mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 19.6mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Ben|Havocinthekitchen says:

    5 stars
    I haven’t made Chili for many years, and I don’t recall I’ve ever had white Chili. This looks and sounds delicious – perfect for this weather. With some extra cheese and sour cream, this is the perfect dish for a cold and dark season.

    1. Marissa says:

      Thanks so much, Ben! I hope you give it a try… 🙂

  2. Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says:

    5 stars
    LOL! I love your reference to Goldilocks, Marissa! Too funny! White chicken chili is definitely my favorite over the tomato and beef based chilis and yours looks absolutely perfect!!!! I love that you used jalapeños and anaheim chilis in here! I could definitely tuck into a few bowls of this right about now! The perfect meal to cozy up to during all this cold weather! Pinned! Cheers!

    1. Marissa says:

      aww, thanks so much, Cheyanne!

  3. Katherine | Love In My Oven says:

    I often feel like Goldilocks when I try recipes too! I”m glad you got this one perfected! Such a cozy meal for this time of year 🙂

    1. Marissa says:

      Glad I’m not alone! 😉 Thank you, Katherine!

  4. Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen says:

    5 stars
    Such a cozy winter meal Marissa! I bet your recipe does not disappoint! Looks awesome!

    1. Marissa says:

      Thank you so much, Mary Ann!