Loaded with veggies, shredded chicken, white creamy beans and warming spices, this hearty Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili is a one-pot meal delight! It will undoubtedly become a favourite staple all year long.
When you don’t have a minute, or the desire, to stand by the stove cooking, it’s time to bust out the slow cooker. Quite frankly, I don’t know if the world needs another chili recipe, let alone a slow cooker chili recipe at that. But this one is crazy-good and checks off a lot of boxes; hearty, feisty, warming and incredibly easy to throw together.
With chunks of tender chicken, fresh and canned green chilis, and lots of creamy white beans, this is a lighter take on the classic chili but just as satisfying. It yields a good amount, perfect for any cold-weather get-together, and leftovers freeze well, too. With good heat and heft, I find this slow cooker chili deeply comforting, and I hope you will, too.
- Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Ingredients And Notes
- How to Make Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
- How To thicken White Chicken Chili
- Should The Aromatics And Protein be Sautéed On The Stovetop Before Being Added To The Slow Cooker?
- Serving Suggestions For Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
- Storage Tips
- Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
- MORE IDEAS
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- FULL OF TANGY, BRIGHT FLAVOURS. This white chicken chili is just as flavourful and comforting as a traditional chili, but feels a little lighter without the tomatoes.
- HEARTY And SATISFYING ANY TIME OF YEAR. Like all chilis, this one is perfect for warming up on a chilly night, but it’s also light enough for a hot day in the summer.
- EASY ONE-POT MEAL. We all know it doesn’t get easier than a complete meal made in a slow cooker. Just chuck everything in and 4-6 hours later you have a fabulous meal. Add your favourite toppings and you’re good to go.
- ECONOMICAL AND FEEDS PLENTY. The addition of beans, corn and chicken makes this a filling dish that is economical and easily feeds a family of 6.
- A FABULOUS GAME-DAY MEAL. Chili seems to be one of the most popular foods to serve on Super Bowl Sunday, particularly in areas that are still snowy and cold. Serve it with these jalapeño cornbread muffins and you will have a very happy crowd.
- GLUTEN-FREE AND DAIRY-FREE. This white chicken chili is naturally gluten-free and delicious without any added dairy. Omit the beans and corn to make it keto-friendly, and perhaps swirl in a bit of cream cheese, if you wish.
Ingredients And Notes
To really achieve a flavourful white chicken chili, make sure you’re generous with your spices. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need and some helpful tips:
- Chicken – I like to use boneless chicken thighs, but boneless skinless chicken breasts will also work great in this recipe. Becasue the chicken cooks for so long with the veggies, it helps flavour the broth and overall dish. That said, if you have leftover cooked chicken, or rotisseries chicken, feel free to use it instead.
- Aromatics – Most dishes that are cooked in a slow cooker will benefit from a generous amount of aromatics. Here we use onions, garlic, jalapeño peppers, & mild canned diced green chiles. The dish will not be very spicy at all if you remove the seeds and membrane from the jalapeños. The canned green chilis are not spicy at all unless you buy the hot variety.
- Beans – For this chili we are using canned white beans. Cannellini are my favourite becasue they are creamy and very meaty but white kidney beans, navy beans, or great Northern beans will also be great here.
- Corn – I love the addition of corn in this chili. Its sweetness enhances the savouriness of the chili and adds another dimension of texture and flavour. You can use fresh, frozen, or canned. If using canned, make sure it is drained.
- Spices – This white chicken chili is seasoned with ground cumin, ground coriander, and dried oregano. I use white pepper to season it but black will work just fine. As always, I like to add bay leaves to my soups and stews but you can leave them out if you don’t have any on hand.
- Low-sodium chicken broth – The liquid will not evaporate, or thicken, very much in a slow cooker so here we only use 2 /12 cups of broth. A half cup of the broth will also be used to blend some of the beans and corn which will help thicken the chili.
- Lime juice – The juice of a lime will add a lovely tanginess and brightness to the chili.
- Fresh chopped cilantro – Chopped cilantro added at the end brings loads of flavour and freshness, but feel to offer it just as a topping, if you prefer.
- Optional toppings – Just as any other chili, this white chicken chili can be served with your favourite toppings. Try it with grated cheese, sliced jalapeños, cilantro, avocado, and/or sour cream. You can also sprinkle each bowl with a few dashes of Tajín – delish!
How to Make Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
It is important to note this chili is not thick like a traditional, tomato-based chili. In fact, it is quite soupy. I don’t recommend reducing the broth because it will thicken considerably as it sits and I find this white chicken chili to be unappealing if it is too thick. So embrace the soupy both — it’s delicious!
That said, if you really want it a bit thicker, there is a section below that offers many easy options on how to thicken it.
Here’s the step-by-step on how to make it:
Place the onions, peppers, and garlic on the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle with cumin, coriander, and oregano.
Arrange the chicken on top of the vegetables in a single layer and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped green chilis, bay leaves, beans and corn.
Pour in the broth, no need to stir. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until the chicken is cooked through and very tender.
Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it using two forks or a small sharp knife and a fork. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker.
Turn the heat to HIGH and return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro and continue heating for an additional 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Taste and adjust seasonings. If it tastes a bit bland, it definitely needs more salt.
Serve in bowls garnished with toppings of your choice. chopped cilantro and lime wedges, if desired.
How can I make this spicier?
This white chicken chili is mildly-spicy but if you want more heat, leave in the jalapeño seeds and membranes. DOn’t forget to pass around the hot sauce at the table!
Can I make this in an instant pot?
I’m sure this slow cooker white chicken chili is great for the Instant Pot as well. Unfortunately, I haven’t tested it yet so I can’t provide specific instructions. If you’re familiar with using an Instant pot, here’s the gist of what I would do: Sauté the veggies with the saute function, then proceed with recipe as written. Seal the lid and cook on high for 15 minutes, then allow to naturally release. Shred the chicken and place back in the pot along with the remaining corn, lime juice and chopped cilantro. Thicken by blending some of the beans and corn (as per recipe); allow to heat through and serve. Again, I have not tested this method so this is just a rough guidance.
Can I make this slow cooker white chicken chili on the stovetop?
Absolutely, and it will be a pretty quick, hands-off method of cooking it. See recipe notes for step-by-step instructions.
Can I use a rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken?
Yes, you can use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken if you already have it on hand. However, the chicken will not be as tender and juicy as when it is cooked from raw in the broth. In addition, if not using raw chicken, I would likely just make this chili on the stovetop since you are basically just heating everything together.
Does white chicken chili have chili powder?
No, this slow cooker white chicken chili does not have chili powder. It is flavoured with similar spices but kept “white” by omitting the tomatoes and red chili powders.
How To thicken White Chicken Chili
People often complain that their white chicken chili is too brothy. As long as it’s flavourful, I don’t mind it at all on the broth-ier side. But if you would like to thicken it, here’s a few fail-proof options:
- Use an immersion blender: Before returning the shredded chicken to the crockpot, immerse an immersion blender in the liquid. Pulse on and off in 2 or 3 sections of the chili. Be careful not to purée the entire soup. Use just a few pulses.
- Mix in some sour cream: When you are adding the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker, swirl in 1/3 cup sour cream which will add some nice tangy flavour and lovely creaminess. Cover, and cook on high until the chili is warmed through again, about 10 minutes.
- Add some cream cheese: When you are adding the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker, stir in 4 ounces of cream cheese. Cover, and cook on high until the cream cheese has melted and the chili is warmed through again, about 15 minutes.
- Make a stovetop slurry: Mix 1 tbsp. of cornstarch and 1 tbsp. cold water together, stirring well to remove any lumps. Then, stir the slurry into your chili and let it cook for another 15 minutes to fully thicken.
- Masa harina slurry: Combine 1/3 cup masa harina with 1/3 cup milk of your choice. Masa harina is finely ground corn flour which is used to make corn tortillas. I haven’t tried it with corn flour but I imagine it would also work. Masa harina will give the chili a bit of a tortilla flavour so make sure you are okay with that if going this route.
Should The Aromatics And Protein be Sautéed On The Stovetop Before Being Added To The Slow Cooker?
Without a doubt, if you take an extra 10 minutes to sauté the aromatics and brown the chicken before adding them into the slow-cooker, the finished dish will have deeper flavour. That said, I find this chili just as delicious when omitting this step and simply throwing everything into the slow cooker. Just be mindful of the order in which the ingredients are added which I think makes a bit of a difference.
Layering the onion, garlic, and chicken on the bottom keeps it close to the heat. This gives the aromatics a little more time to soften and ensures the chicken becomes fall-apart tender.
Serving Suggestions For Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
I like to serve the chili really warm, ladled into bowls and garnished with lots of fun toppings. Here’s some great topping ideas:
- Grated cheese: I like a tasty Monterey Jack cheese, or sharp cheddar.
- Cornbread: This skillet cornbread, or these jalapeño cornbread muffins are SO GOOD alongside your chili. Bonus that they are quick and easy to make.
- Sour cream: Just a dollop to add a touch more creaminess.
- Avocado: Cubed avocado is glorious with any chili.
- Tortilla chips: Great as a fun, crunchy side.
- Sliced or chopped jalapeños: For those that love some heat.
- Cilantro: As mentioned in the recipe, you can add chopped cilantro right into the chili or pass it around the table in case someone really doesn’t like cilantro.
- Lime juice: The chili is finished with some lime juice which I think is lovely here and brightens all the flavours. Serve with extra wedges in case anyone would like to squirt some more.
Leftovers of this slow cooker white chicken chili are delicious and they also freeze well. Note that it is best to freeze if you haven’t added any dairy. The chili will thicken as it sits, so add a little water when reheating.
- To Store: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To Freeze: Transfer cooled chili to an airtight, freezer-safe storage container and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
- To Reheat: Warm the chili on the stovetop over a gentle heat until warmed through.
More Slow Cooker Recipes To Try
- Slow Cooker Chicken Stew
- Salsa Verde Chicken (Slow Cooker and Instant Pot)
- Pulled BBQ Chicken (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)
- Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
If you give this Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili recipe a try, please feel free to leave a comment and/or a star rating below. We appreciate and welcome all your feedback. Thank you!
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
- 1 large yellow or red onion, finely diced
- 1 jalapeño, minced (remove seeds for less spice)
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt and white (or black) pepper
- 2 4-ounce cans mild chopped green chiles
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 14-ounce cans white beans such as cannellini, great Northern, or navy, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 lime juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro optional
- sliced or cubed avocado
- fresh or pickled chopped jalapeño
- grated cheese (such as Monterey Jack or sharp cheddar)
- sour cream
- tortilla chips
- Place the onions, jalapeño, and garlic on the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle with cumin, coriander, and oregano. Arrange the chicken on top of the vegetables in a single layer and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the chopped green chilis, bay leaves, beans and corn. Pour in the broth, no need to stir. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until the chicken is cooked through and very tender.
- Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it using two forks or a small sharp knife and a fork. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker.
- *See recipe notes if you prefer a thicker chili.
- Turn the heat to HIGH and return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro (if using) and continue heating for an additional 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Taste and adjust seasonings; if it tastes a bit bland, it definitely needs more salt.
- Serve in bowls garnished with chopped cilantro and lime wedges, and/or any toppings of your choice.
- STOVETOP DIRECTIONS: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. , Sauté the onion until softened, abut 3 minutes. Add the garlic and peppers and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients as per recipe but hold back on the beans and corn. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and tender. Remove the chicken, shred, then return to the pot along with the beans and corn. Cook for another 5 minutes then finish the recipe as instructed.
- COOKING TIME MAY VARY: Slow cookers can vary a lot in potency which will affect the cooking time. Mine is a little old and does not cook food very quickly. If yours has some good heat, be sure to start checking your chicken one hour earlier than instructed.
- FOR THICKER CHILI: This chili is supposed to be soupy. If you prefer it thicker, here are some options: 1) Mix in some sour cream: When you are adding the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker, swirl in 1/3 cup sour cream which will add some nice tangy flavour and lovely creaminess. Cover, and cook on high until the chili is warmed through again, about 10 minutes. 2) Add some cream cheese: When you are adding the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker, stir in 4 ounces of cream cheese. Cover, and cook on high until the cream cheese has melted and the chili is warmed through again, about 15 minutes. 3) Make a stovetop slurry: Mix 1 tbsp. of cornstarch and 1 tbsp. cold water together, stirring well to remove any lumps. Then, stir the slurry into your chili and let it cook for another 15 minutes to fully thicken. 4) Masa harina slurry: Combine 1/3 cup masa harina with 1/3 cup milk of your choice. Masa harina is finely ground corn flour which is used to make corn tortillas. I haven’t tried it with corn flour but I imagine it would also work. Masa harina will give the chili a bit of a tortilla flavour so make sure you are okay with that if going this route.
- TO STORE: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- TO FREEZE: Transfer cooled chili to an airtight, freezer-safe storage container and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
- TO REHEAT: Warm the chili on the stovetop over a gentle heat until warmed through.