Try this delicious recipe for Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili. It’s easy, creamy and flavorful plus it’s freezer-friendly, and always a family favorite! Try topping it with cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, and a dollop of lime crema for extra zest!
Great honor and prestige have been awarded to people all across the country for having the best chili recipes – which are often different versions of ground beef and kidney bean chili.
And they are SO GOOD! Because you can’t beat a delicious warming bowl of traditional chili!
MY slow cooker white chicken chili doesn’t have ingredients like ground beef or kidney beans… and it doesn’t even remotely look close to a traditional bowl of chili.
Sometimes a break from tradition can be good, because THIS recipe for white chicken chili is hands down -THE BEST chili I’ve ever had IN MY ENTIRE LIFE – and it will beat the pants off of traditional chili any day of the week!
I know that’s a lot of smack talk about chili, especially coming from someone who has never entered a chili cook off LET ALONE ever been to one.
But when you go to bed and wake up dreaming of a chili you made for dinner the other night, you know you’ve got something worth sharing.
This recipe has been evolving in my head over time. The first version was from Bread and Wine and was a simple and tasty white chicken chili recipe calling for 4 ingredients: white beans, chicken stock, diced chicken and salsa.
I modified it one more time with onions and garlic, before it became a slow cooker recipe with the addition of corn and green chilies! YUM!
That version was SO good, and I didn’t think I could top it. Shoot, I didn’t think I needed to! But Mr. Crumbs suggested adding more vegetables.
When your husband – the former picky eater who lived on hot pockets, Coke and Doritos in college – suggests to add more vegetables, you listen…
And what resulted will forever be labeled, in my book, as the best chili on the planet!
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
My favorite parts about this White Chicken Chili are the vegetables – corn, zucchini, celery and carrots which add flavor, texture and yummy nutrition! Some other stand-outs about this white chili are:
- It’s Hearty enough to be considered a ‘comfort food,’ yet it’s oh-so-healthy!
- And Convenient. Just toss all of the ingredients together and GO. The Crock Pot (I like this one) does the cooking for you.
- It’s a Crowd-Pleaser! Your family and friends will be amazed at the delicious difference that the vegetables make, combined with the beans, chicken, a squeeze of lime, and perhaps even a sprinkle of Monterey Jack cheese. YUM!
Ingredients for Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili:
- Chicken. I used the leftover meat from my Whole Roasted Oven Chicken. Both chicken thigh meat and boneless skinless breast are perfect for this chili! You can also cook raw chicken breast inside from the beginning, then shred.
- Onions, Garlic
- Cumin, Oregano, Crushed Red Pepper(optional)
- Carrots, Celery, Zucchini, Corn. This white chicken chili is packed full of nutritious veggies!
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Beans. All good chilis must have beans in my book, and this recipe uses great northern beans.
- Salsa Verde (green salsa) and Diced Green Chilis. If you can’t find salsa verde locally, you can make your own.
- Cream Cheese. It makes the sauce SO creamy and it’s what puts this chili over the top in my book!
- Tortilla Chips, Sour Cream, Cheese, Avocado, and Cilantro. These ingredients are optional, unless you too are addicted to tortilla chips and in that case, it’s a must.
And if you’re using tortilla chips to bribe your kids to eat beans too, your secret is safe with me.
How to Make White Chicken Chili
Once you’ve cooked your beans, this easy recipe comes together quickly. You can always prep the beans a day ahead as well to save time!
- Mash cooked beans inside slow cooker.
- Add onions, garlic, chicken broth and salsa verde, stir.
- Add all remaining ingredients.
- Cover and cook chili on low for 4-6 hours (or cook on high 2-4 hours).
- Add shredded chicken about 1 hour before serving.
Serve with all of the optional toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese, diced avocado, chopped cilantro and tortilla chips as desired. YUM!
What Beans Can I Use for White Chicken Chili?
You could use any white bean, but I already buy these for my Northern Beans and Ham Soup and I like the mild, smooth flavor. The Harvard Medical School says that consuming beans are a cheap and nutritious way to stay healthy!
How Do you Thicken White Chicken Chili?
Rather than adding starch to thicken, this chili is thickened with smashed bean! Yes, you heard me right! Half the beans are whole, the other half are used to thicken the chili!
They can be pureed (or squished really good if you’re like me and don’t have a kitchen appliance that will puree). The pureed/squished beans provide that thicker sauce so it will stand up against tortilla chips for scooping.
You don’t have to puree/squish half the beans if you don’t want to, but you’ll end up with more of a soup instead.
Squish the beans. You won’t regret it.
What is the Difference Between Regular Salsa and Salsa Verde?
Salsa verde is green, rather than red and uses tomatillo, garlic, onion, jalapeno and cilantro. It’s delicious and tangy (often fire roasted) and it gives this chili it’s oomph! If you can’t find salsa verde locally, you can make your own.
Alternatively, you could also add additional spices with the diced green chilis – maybe some cumin with oregano and cilantro or a hefty dose of taco seasoning which has chili powder.
I didn’t try that method, so proceed at your own risk and let us know in the comments if you come up with something amazing.
Can White Chicken Chili Be Frozen?
Yes. But since this White Chicken Chili has cream cheese in it, you can freeze for 2-3 months. Any longer and the texture may not be the same since there is a dairy ingredient. But the taste will still be amazing!
Why Does This White Chicken Chili Recipe Have Cream Cheese?
I’m sure I’m breaking some sort of rule in the chili cook-off rule book by adding cream cheese to this white chicken chili, but it’s a game changer and what puts it over the top in my book. It makes the thicker sauce just SO creamy!
And before you think chili shouldn’t be creamy, make this recipe. It’ll change your mind forever.
More Easy Slow Cooker Recipes
- Slow Cooker Carnitas
- Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili
- Thai Pineapple Curry
- Blueberry Cobbler
- Slow Cooker Meal Plan
- 3 cups cooked great northern beans, divided
- ½ onion, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 cups chicken stock, homemade preferably
- 1 cup salsa verde
- ½ tsp oregano
- 1 4oz can diced green chilis
- 1 tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
- 8 oz cream cheese, cubed
- 1-2 carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 celery rib, diced (about ½ cup)
- 1 zucchini, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 2 cups cooked shredded chicken (I used leftover chicken, but you can use raw at the beginning)
- Optional toppings for serving: tortilla chips, sour cream, cheddar cheese, avocado, cilantro, lime
- Measure 1½ cups cooked beans into the slow cooker and mash until they mostly resemble a puree. You can use a blender or a food processor to do this if you'd like.
- Add onions, garlic, 1 cup of chicken stock and salsa verde and stir well.
- Add all the remaining ingredients except chicken.
- Note: Add the crushed red pepper at this time if you're using. I'd suggest omitting if your family is sensitive to spicy foods, as the chilies and salsa provide enough kick on their own.
- Cook chili on low for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally and adding chicken about 1 hour before serving to warm through.
- If the chili is too thick for your liking, add up to 1 cup of chicken stock. Note that the chili will thicken as it cools and will be noticeably thicker the next day.
- Serve with optional tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, diced avocado and chopped cilantro as desired.