White Chicken Chili


The Family Kitchen

Published by Clarkson Potter

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

As I am sure is true of many families, chicken is a staple in our house and so I am always on the lookout for new ways to serve it. Chicken chili has lighter flavors than beef chili and the kids love it. This recipe takes a little time, although I don’t soak the beans before cooking them (there’s no need to), but it’s not difficult and is well worth the wait.

NotesCall the kids:

• Measure the stock

• Shred the cooled cooked chicken

• Mix the beans and spices in the saucepan

• Tear the leaves off the herbs

Serves6 to 8

Cooking Methodpoaching, sauteeing



Total Timeunder 2 hours

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionFamily Get-together, game day

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturecreamy, herby, hot & spicy, meaty, spiced

Type of Dishhot soup, soup


  • 4 bone-in chicken breasts (about 3 pounds)
  • 8 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 medium jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups grated white Cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. In a large saucepan, bring the chicken pieces and stock to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium and poach the chicken, skimming off any fat that accumulates on the surface, for 18 to 20 minutes, or until just done. Remove the chicken from the stock and set aside until cool enough to handle. Reserve the stock in the pan.

  2. Remove and discard the skin and bones from the chicken. Shred the chicken meat, set aside on a plate or in a shallow bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.

  3. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions, celery, garlic, and jalapenos, if using, and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened but not colored. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  4. In the saucepan holding the reserved poaching liquid, mix together the white beans, cumin, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for about 1½ hours, or until the beans are tender but not mushy. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick.

  5. Stir in the shredded chicken and the sautéed vegetables and season with salt and pepper.

  6. Just before serving, stir in the cheese, parsley, and cilantro.


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