Did you know white chili is actually a thing? Maybe it's just that I had a deprived childhood, but I didn't even know chili came in any colour other than red until I was in my early twenties.
A friend's mother had sent her home with a big container of white chicken chili (because, like all mothers of twentysomethings, she was pretty sure her daughter was living off ramen and takeout food), and my friend was kind enough to share the bounty with me.
It was totally unlike any chili I'd ever had before - creamy and mild, but still incredibly flavourful thanks to big chunks of chicken, creamy white kidney beans and lots of chopped green chilis in a thick cumin-laced sauce. In other words, totally the opposite of a traditional Texas chili, which is basically nothing but beef and tomatoes and lots of spice.
Despite those differences, it was still a wonderfully satisfying dish for a cold winter's day.
I never got around to asking for my friend's mom's recipe, but I eventually managed to come up with something that's pretty darn close.
And seeing as today is National Chili Day (yes, that's also a thing!), I figured I'd finally get around to sharing it with you guys, because everyone deserves some of this deliciousness in their life.
My version has corn, because chili and corn belong together, and I've made it extra-chunky so that it's a perfectly hearty stick-to-your-ribs meal all on its own, no side dishes needed.
(Though I won't judge if you want to add a generous chunk of fresh-baked cornbread... because chili is always better with cornbread).
And, because chili's not chili without a little heat, I added in some fresh jalapenos to give it just a teensy hint of spice. It won't set your tastebuds on fire or anything... it's just a little hey-howya-doing.
When it gets right down to it, my heart will always belong to an old-school Texas-style bowl of red, but there's plenty of room in there for a milder, cozier kind of chili too. I'm easy like that.
Creamy White Chicken Chili
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
This creamy white chicken chili is chock-full of shredded chicken, white beans, green chiles and corn in a thick, creamy sauce. It's a great change of pace from the usual tomato-based chilis.
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 2 cans (19 oz / 540 ml each) white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cans (4 oz each) chopped green chilies
- 1 can (15 oz / 341 ml) corn niblets, drained
- 1 cup full-fat sour cream
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- Crushed tortilla chips
- Sliced jalapenos
- Sour cream
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat, saute the onions and jalapeno in olive oil until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, salt and pepper, and continue cooking until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken broth, cooked chicken, beans, and canned chilies. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Stir in the corn and sour cream, and simmer for 5 minutes longer to heat through. Serve right away with your toppings of choice.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Category: Mains
- Cuisine: Tex-Mex
It's National Chili Day!
White chili not your thing? I've got 29 delicious recipes to help you celebrate your love of chili, ranging from super-spicy to super-meaty to vegetarian (and even vegan!) versions.
We've got 15 brand-new recipes from the Celebrating Food crew:
- Creamy White Chicken Chili (that's me!)
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili from Ashlee Marie
- Homemade 3 Bean Vegetarian Chili from an Italian in my Kitchen
- Taco Chili from Simply Stacie
- Easy Chicken Enchilada Chili from Creations by Kara
- Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili from Real Mom Kitchen
- Slow Cooker Chili from Pretty Providence
- Instant Pot Chili from Savory Experiments
- Sweet Potato Chili from Namely Marly
- Pork Verde Chili from The Baker Upstairs
- Instant Pot Turkey Lentil Chili from 365 Days of Crockpot
- Slow Cooker Turkey Chili from My Mommy Style
- Instant Pot Lentil and Bean Chili from Supergolden Bakes
- Jalapeno Popper Turkey Chili from Premeditated Leftovers
- Award Winning Crockpot Chili from Heather Likes Food
And 3 more oldies-but-still-goodies from me:
And 11 more tasty chili recipes from some of my favourite blogs:
- Mellow Beantastic Chili from Cravings of a Lunatic
- Chocolate Chip Chili from Simple Bites
- Chili Cheesesteak Stew from the Cozy Apron
- Polano Green Chicken Chili from Whip Smart Kitchen
- Buffalo Chicken Chili from Buns in my Oven
- Vegetarian Chili with Roasted Squash from eat.live.travel.write
- Five Spice Duck Chili from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
- Smoky Turkey Chili from Cookin' Canuck
- Best Beef Chili by A Pretty Life in the Suburbs
- Chipotle Chocolate Turkey Chili from Spices in my DNA
- White Turkey Chili by In Search of Yummy-ness
So when, where & what kind of & how much CORN?
Isabelle Boucher says
Ooops. Good catch, Katherine! You add a whole can of kernel corn in the last 10 minutes of simmering (or 1 cup of frozen corn niblets, if you prefer). I'll fix the recipe ASAP.
Oooooh this looks so good...I love white chili! And thank you so much for the shout out Isabelle!
I don't have a good white chicken chili recipe that I love, I can't wait to try this one!
Stacie Vaughan says
I didn't know about white chili until my 30s! I was missing out all these years. Your recipe looks wonderful.
This looks so good! I don't remember ever having white chili as a child, but I love it as an adult. I'm excited to try this one!
I love white chili and the corn in this one is calling to me! It looks so comforting and delicious! YUM!
Vanessa R says
I do love a comforting bowl of chili! I also had never known white chili existed until more recently. It’s a wonderful way to change things up from the usual! This looks like a fantastic and delicious recipe. ❤️
YUM YUM! It looks so good!
I'm from a small town in podunk Missouri and I'm pretty sure white chili never had it's heyday there. Although it probably should have because all we ever ate were white things, like potatoes and rice. So, I get where you're coming from. I've added your recipe to my pinterest board, recipes I gotta veganize. Oh, and happy National Chili Day!
White chicken chili is a favorite at our house. I love that it's simple enough that my boys can make it!
This is my next Chili recipe I want to make, looks and sounds amazing.