Chicken Chili is the ultimate cozy comfort food and a recipe you’ll have on repeat in Fall. Tender shredded chicken simmered in a creamy and hearty base is so inviting, especially topped with cheese that melts into the hot chili. It also reheats well so it’s a great make-ahead recipe for meal prep. 

We love Chicken chili and we’ve made every variation from Crockpot Chicken Chili to Instant Pot Chicken Chili which produces the most tender chicken. Whichever is your favorite cooking method, this recipe is a crowd-pleaser. 

Chicken chili served with cheese, avocado and tortilla chips

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Chicken Chili Video Tutorial

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Ingredients for Chicken Chili

  • Chicken – we use 2 large chicken breasts, but you can sub with leftover roast chicken or storebought rotisserie
  • Onion – yellow or sweet onion work great
  • Chicken broth – use any kind of chicken stock or bone broth or make your own with water and bouillon
  • White beans – try any kind of white beans such as cannelloni, Great Northern, or Navy beans (avoid garbanzo beans). Canned is so easy, but you can also use home-cooked beans
  • Corn – drained can of whole kernel corn
  • Rotel tomatoes – use a 10 oz can with the juice
  • Spices – chili powder and cumin make this mildly smoky and spicy.
  • Ranch mix – this is the secret ingredient to add a ton of flavor. Ranch dip or dressing mix packets range from 0.4 oz to 1.5 oz, depending on the brand, but it should be enough powder to make 2 cups of ranch.
  • Cream cheese – regular full-fat will give the chili a creamy consistency
  • Lime juice – squeezing fresh lime adds a zesty twist
Ingredients to make the best chicken chili

Pro Tip: To save time, use leftover cooked chicken breast or use a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Chili is the best way to repurpose leftover chicken and it never tastes like leftovers. 

How to Make Chicken Chili

  1. Saute onion – heat oil in a dutch oven pot and sautee onion 5 minutes.
  2. Make chili base – add broth, rinsed beans, drained corn, Rotel tomatoes with their juice, chili powder, cumin, salt and the ranch packet.
  3. Add chicken – submerge chicken breasts in liquid, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes until chicken is tender.
  4. Shred chicken – transfer chicken to a plate and shred with forks into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Finish chili – add cream cheese pieces, and lime juice and simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken back to the pot, bring to a simmer and season to taste.
Step by step how to make white chicken chili

Common Questions

Can I substitute chicken breast?

You can easily substitute with a cooked rotisserie chicken, just shred the chicken and add it to the pot when you would normally add the shredded chicken back into the chili. Chicken tenders would also work well. 

Can I make the chili thicker?

If you prefer a thicker chili, you can leave the lid uncovered during the 20 minute cook time to allow more of the steam to escape. 

Is Chicken Chili spicy?

This chili is very mild. To make it spicier, you can add more chili powder. 

Can I cook this in a crockpot? 

You can slow cook chili, letting it putter away in a crockpot for several hours. We have print-friendly instructions for Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Can I make chili in an Instant Pot? 

Lucky for you, we’ve already tested this and posted a tutorial for Instant Pot Chicken Chili. It’s super fast and the chicken becomes super tender. 

White chicken chili cooked in a pot on the stovetop

Serve with

We love to serve this as a main course paired with:

Chicken chili recipe in a bowl served with a tortilla chip and toppings

There are so many ways to dress up a bowl of White Chicken Chili. Let me know about your favorite toppings in the comments below.

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Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Easy White Chicken Chili (Stovetop Recipe)

4.98 from 145 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Chicken Chili served with tortilla chips
It's so comforting to curl up with a bowl of Chicken Chili. This chili is great served with tortilla chips or baked potatoes. The combination of tender shredded chicken simmered in a creamy and hearty base is so inviting. Add your favorite toppings like diced avocado, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, and chopped cilantro.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 6 people
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth , or stock
  • 30 oz canned white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can corn, drained
  • 10 oz can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilis, with juice
  • 1 tsp chili powder, (use 1/2 for mild chili)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1.5 oz packet ranch dip mix, *
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 8 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Instructions

  • Heat a 6 quart enamel coated dutch oven pot over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add onion and sauté 5 minutes until softened.
  • Add chicken broth, drained white beans, drained corn, Rotel tomatoes with juice. Season with chili powder, cumin, 1 tsp salt and ranch packet. Stir to combine.
  • Add 2 chicken breasts and submerge in liquid. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is tender and easy to shred.
  • Remove chicken to a bowl and shred with forks into bite-sized pieces.
  • Add diced cream cheese, lime juice and stir to combine. Continue simmering for 5 minutes or until cream cheese is incorporated. Add more lime juice to taste, and season with another 1/2 tsp salt or add salt to taste. Simmer another 3 minutes or until chili reaches your desired thickness. It will thicken more as it cools.

Notes

*Dry ranch packets come in 0.4 to 1.5 oz packages depending on the brand. Use enough powder to normally make 2 cups ranch. 

Nutrition Per Serving

467kcal Calories43g Carbs29g Protein19g Fat8g Saturated Fat2g Polyunsaturated Fat6g Monounsaturated Fat1g Trans Fat90mg Cholesterol1286mg Sodium1255mg Potassium8g Fiber4g Sugar690IU Vitamin A9mg Vitamin C173mg Calcium4mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Easy White Chicken Chili (Stovetop Recipe)
Amount per Serving
Calories
467
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
19
g
29
%
Saturated Fat
 
8
g
50
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
6
g
Cholesterol
 
90
mg
30
%
Sodium
 
1286
mg
56
%
Potassium
 
1255
mg
36
%
Carbohydrates
 
43
g
14
%
Fiber
 
8
g
33
%
Sugar
 
4
g
4
%
Protein
 
29
g
58
%
Vitamin A
 
690
IU
14
%
Vitamin C
 
9
mg
11
%
Calcium
 
173
mg
17
%
Iron
 
4
mg
22
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Tex Mex
Keyword: chicken chili, White Chicken Chili
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $$
Calories: 467

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Alyson B.
    February 28, 2024

    Wow. This is good! I made the recipe exactly as written except that I omitted the 1 tsp salt and used rotisserie chicken to save time. Maybe use low sodium chicken broth to have more control over the salt level? I only had LS broth on hand and, with all of the salt from the store-bought chicken, ranch seasoning packets, creamed cheese and canned goods, the chili was perfect without any additional seasoning necessary. Definitely a keeper!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 28, 2024

      Sure, feel free to do that. Great to hear that you enjoyed our Easy Chicken Chili recipe!

      Reply

  • Liz
    February 26, 2024

    As all your recipes this is a crowd pleaser. I made this yesterday and my family love it!! I bought your cookbook before Christmas. Thank-you Natasha.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 26, 2024

      Thank you! I’m so happy to hear that.

      Reply

  • Drenda Owens
    February 11, 2024

    Have made this a coupl times very very good. Last time I made i cut the chicken into small bite size pieces before cooking then didn’t have to take it out and shreds. Cooked quicker too.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 11, 2024

      Sounds great! Nice to know that you liked our Easy Chicken Chilli recipe!

      Reply

  • Regina
    January 7, 2024

    Would whipped cream cheese be better to use? I find it hard to desolve.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 8, 2024

      I haven’t tested using whipped, feel free to experiment.

      Reply

  • Rhonda Hill
    December 19, 2023

    This chili recipe is my favorite! EVERY time I’ve made it for guests or potlucks, I’ve gotten requests for the recipe. It’s that good! I’ve also made the crockpot version of this recipe and it is excellent as well!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 19, 2023

      That’s great to hear, Rhonda! Thank you for the feedback.

      Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 19, 2023

      That’s wonderful to hear! Thank you for your great comments and feedback.

      Reply

  • Regina Beckham
    November 30, 2023

    I have made this same recipe but I have never used ranch or cream cheese in it. Can you tell me what this does to the recipe and does it change the taste, if so in what way.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 30, 2023

      Hi Regina! The ranch is the secret ingredient to add a ton of flavor. The cream cheese will give the chili a creamy consistency.

      Reply

  • Wanda L. JHA
    September 28, 2023

    Absolutely delicious. Nice and spicy. I used ground chicken instead. Delicious.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      September 28, 2023

      Hi Wanda! I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you for the feedback.

      Reply

  • Linda Ezzat
    September 17, 2023

    Is there something I can use other than powdered Ranch. I hate the stuff.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 17, 2023

      Hi Linda, I wish I had an answer for you on a substitute. Of course, you can try ranch out of the bottle, but I haven’t tried it myself to advise.

      Reply

      • Linda Ezzat
        September 18, 2023

        Thank you, I’m your biggest fan and have been for a very long time. Just waiting for my cookbook.
        Best Regards to you and your sweet family.

        Reply

    • Dione Densmore
      December 28, 2023

      Hi Linda! I use Liptons Onion Soup mix and it turns out great))

      Reply

  • Cindy C
    May 19, 2023

    Pretty close to Tortilla soup. Didn’t use hardly any salt but was really salty. I added some heavy cream. Better. Prefer the tortilla version.
    Love everything from you.
    Less salt here for sure

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 20, 2023

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Cindy!

      Reply

  • Colleen Tucker
    December 28, 2022

    This is absolutely delicious- and easy! I’ve made it twice already. Thanks!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 28, 2022

      Thank you for sharing! I’m glad to hear that.

      Reply

  • Susan
    December 22, 2022

    Can chicken thighs be used instead of chicken breasts? Do you think the flavor would be the same?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 22, 2022

      Hi Susan, we prefer it with chicken breast, but one of my readers mentioned successfully trying it with 1.5 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs since that is all they had on hand. I hope you love this recipe!

      Reply

  • Kathleen
    November 1, 2022

    Made this yesterday and it was fabulous. Will definitely make this again.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 1, 2022

      Good to know that you loved this recipe, Kathleen!

      Reply

  • Dee
    October 23, 2022

    First time I made this recipe, and it was soo yummy! Definitely saving it. Except I didn’t have chicken breast, I browned three skin-on bone-in thighs and followed rest of the recipe with 1 tblsp chili and 4oz cream cheese.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 24, 2022

      Good to hear that you love this recipe, Dee!

      Reply

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