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Chicken and White Bean Chili Recipe

An easy and comforting chicken and white bean chili recipe (or substitute leftover turkey) that’s just right for these cozy months.

Chicken and White Bean Chili | Umami Girl 690

I know it’s the day before Thanksgiving, and maybe you’re not really cooking even the simplest of dinners tonight. In our family we have two goals for a Thanksgiving Eve dinner: a bit of stomach stretching (think of it as warm-up calisthenics for your belly) and minimal time in the kitchen. Often that means takeout sushi, which, like some kind of ironic cannibalistic goldfish, I could pretty much eat until it kills me at the table. (I’m overriding my better judgment, which tells me to delete that sentence, because part of me feels like you need to know who you’re dealing with here.) But tonight we have special guests, so I’m making this instead.

Anyway, if you ARE cooking tonight, this cozy meal of chicken and white bean chili offers a good ratio of happiness to time and effort spent in the kitchen. And if you’re simply saving this recipe for later, note that it would be equally delicious and even easier to make with leftover Thanksgiving turkey shredded up and used in place of the chicken.

Chicken and White Bean Chili | Umami Girl 690In case a few of you are currently thinking, “WHAT-ken and White Bean Chili, Umami Girl?” In the past few months I’ve been playing with incorporating some meat back into my diet, because I feel like it. It’s been fun. I’m still super pro-plant. Just letting you know, in case it matters to any of you.

What may matter more is that this super-easy, good for ya meal is really delicious and happy-making. I’ll be serving it to a “mixed crowd” tonight comprising some vegetarians and some staunch non-vegetarians, so before adding the chicken I’ll divide it into two separate pots and substitute a few cups of defrosted corn kernels for the chicken in one batch. What could be easier?

Chicken and White Bean Chili | Umami Girl 690Okay, let’s be honest: that’s all the time either of us have today, right? I’m thankful for your readership and support, whether you’ve been here since the beginning or we’re just getting to know each other now.

A wonderful Thanksgiving to you and yours. See you on the other side.

Carolyn xx

P.S. Affiliate links follow.

P.P.S. Umami Girl no longer supports post comments, but I’d love to hear from you and am always happy to answer reader questions. Please feel free to contact me!

Chicken and White Bean Chili Recipe

Preparation 00:10 Cook Time 00:20 Total Time 0:30
Serves 6     adjust servings

A quick and easy chicken and white bean chili recipe that's good for your body and your soul in equal measure. This meal is equally at home as a weeknight family dinner, toted along in your lunchbox, or doubled for a dinner party. If you're long on leftover turkey after Thanksgiving, you could shred up a pound of cooked turkey meat and add it to the chili in place of chicken. (Or, as I've started to do, buy and shred a whole small rotisserie chicken.)


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about one pound total or a little more)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling on chicken before roasting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, divided**
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, diced small
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour*
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups good vegetable or chicken broth
  • 8 ounces canned diced mild green chilis
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (cut the other half into wedges for serving)
  • Shredded sharp cheddar or jack cheese, optional
  • Sour cream, optional


Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the center. Place chicken breasts in a small roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and some salt and pepper. Turn with tongs to coat evenly. Bake until cooked through, 20 minutes give or take. Set aside to cool.

While the chicken bakes, warm the remaining two tablespoons olive oil in a medium Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and pepper along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and a little bit browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until very fragrant, about a minute. Add flour, remaining 1 teaspoon chili powder and the cumin and stir to coat vegetables. Cook, stirring, for one minute.

Pour in the broth and diced chilis and raise heat to high. Stir a few times to incorporate flour, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about five minutes.

Using two forks, shred chicken. Add chicken and beans to pot along with any accumulated juices from the chicken roasting pan, and simmer for a few minutes more to warm through.

Off the heat, stir in cilantro, red onion and lime juice. To serve, ladle into bowls and pass cheese, sour cream and lime wedges at the table if you like.


Recipe Notes

* Substitute a good gluten-free flour blend such as this one to make this meal gluten-free.

** I learned the hard way a few years ago to specify for a global audience that chili powder refers to the American-style spice blend, not pure ground red pepper.

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Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.

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