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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
So that’s the bait.
Here’s the switch: 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 roast my own. Your choice.
If you do decide to roast your own chilis, here’s an easy method: preheat 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 in a covered container for 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 White Chicken Chili recipe too.
White Chicken Chili Recipe Video
White Chicken Chili
- 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 Chilis roasted and diced - see recipe below (or 1 cup chopped canned green chilis, 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 chilis. 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 chilis:
- Preheat 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. 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.
- 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.
- Add desired toppings to taste.