Here's an easy and comforting chicken and white bean chili recipe that’s just right for cozy months. You can make it from scratch with boneless, skinless chicken breasts or start with leftover chicken or turkey (or even a rotisserie chicken). It's equally great either way.
Why we love this recipe
This cozy meal of white bean chicken chili offers a good ratio of happiness to time and effort spent in the kitchen. It's good for your body and your soul, if you're into that sort of thing. And more pragmatically, it's good for:
- A couple of family dinners
- A party (game day, let's say)
- Meal prep/make ahead happiness
What you'll need
Here's what you'll need to make this chili recipe. The list looks a little bit long, but all the ingredients and recipe steps are super-accessible.
- Either two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound total) OR a pound of cooked chicken or turkey.
- Olive oil
- Green pepper
- Salt and pepper
- Chili powder
- Canned diced green chilis
- Canned white beans
- Frozen corn
- Red onion
- Lime juice
- For serving, optional: Shredded cheese, sour cream, and lime wedges
How to make it
Here's a step-by-step breakdown of what you'll do to make this chili. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post.
- If you're starting with raw chicken breasts, preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the center. Coat the chicken breasts with a little bit of olive oil, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Then bake them until just done, about 20 minutes, and shred them while they're still warm. If you're starting with leftover chicken or turkey, you can skip this step and just add the full amount of chili powder to the pot while cooking the chili.
- Heat some olive oil in a big, heavy pot.
- Add the onion and green pepper and sauté until softened and a little bit browned.
- Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
- Stir in the flour, chili powder, and cumin and cook for a minute more.
- Pour in the broth and diced green chilis and simmer for about five minutes.
- Add in the shredded chicken along with beans and corn. Simmer for a few minutes to warm everything through.
- Off the heat, stir in diced red onion, chopped cilantro, and lime juice.
- Serve the chili with shredded cheese, sour cream, and lime wedges.
Protip: You can make this chili half vegetarian
This super-easy, good for ya meal is really delicious and happy-making. And as a bonus, you can easily serve it to a “mixed crowd” comprising both vegetarians and staunch non-vegetarians. Before adding the chicken you can divide the chili into two separate pots and let the veg-heads enjoy their white bean corn chili while the meat-eaters get double-chicken chili. What could be easier?
Make this chili ahead
As with many stews and soups, this chili recipe only improves in flavor over time. It's great right away, but you can make it ahead with impunity as well. It will keep in a very cold fridge for up to a week.
If you plan in advance to make it ahead of time, you can hold off on stirring in the red onion, cilantro and lime juice until just before serving. (But if you have leftovers with those ingredients already mixed in, it's all good, too.)
What to serve with chicken and bean chili
This is a great one-bowl meal. But if you'd like to bulk it up a bit, we love:
Similar recipes we think you'll love too
You might want to try some of our other favorites:
- 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 ½ teaspoons chili powder, divided**
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
- 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
- 10 ounces frozen corn
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup minced red onion
- Juice of ½ lime (cut the other half into wedges for serving)
- Shredded sharp cheddar or jack cheese, optional
- Sour cream, optional
- If you are starting with raw chicken breasts: 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 ½ teaspoon chili powder, a bit of the salt, and pepper. Turn with tongs to coat evenly. Bake until cooked through, 20 minutes give or take. Set aside to cool. (If you are starting with cooked chicken or turkey, skip this step and simply add the full amount of chili powder to the pot in step 2 below.)
- 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 remaining 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, beans, and corn 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.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 358Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 691mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 9gSugar: 11gProtein: 24g