Creamy White Chili

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
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Rich and full-flavored, this Creamy White Chili might just become your new favorite chili! A touch of cinnamon sets it apart from the rest, while the easy one-pot prep makes it an easy weeknight dinner.

A Warm, Cozy Chicken Chili Recipe

Chili is a meal that is always in style, especially in the colder months of the year. Beef chili is great, of course, but don’t forget white chili! Also called white chicken chili, this is a robust, hearty chicken dinner that will give your house all of those cozy vibes. Plus, it’s healthy! Beans, chicken breast, chilies, corn, and all kinds of warm and wonderful spices make it a family favorite, as well as a nourishing meal that will stick to your ribs.

Want more options? This classic Creamy White Chicken Chili doesn’t include cinnamon and is super convenient to make with a rotisserie chicken. If you prefer to slow-cook your chili, try my Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili instead. Okay, on to the recipe!

White chili ingredients arranged on a work surface.

What Is White Chili Made Of?

This stovetop white chili is made with all of your favorite chicken chili ingredients, plus a few special extras – including cinnamon. Yes, cinnamon! It adds a special depth to the chili that everyone is guaranteed to love.

  • Butter and Olive Oil: For sauteing.
  • Onion: I like to dice up a yellow onion, but you could also use red, white, or sweet onions.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic, minced or pressed with a garlic press.
  • Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are my go-to. Chicken thighs would also be fine!
  • Broth: You need some extra liquid to allow the chili to cook down. I prefer chicken broth, but vegetable broth or a combination of beer and broth would also work.
  • Spices: Chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon. Yum!
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Corn: Frozen corn kernels. Canned or fresh can be substituted, if you prefer.
  • White Beans: Canned or homemade, but not dried.
  • Evaporated Milk: Make sure to use evaporated milk, not sweetened condensed milk! Evaporated milk is creamy, but not sweetened.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour is what I use to thicken the chili. For a gluten-free version, use cornstarch, or arrowroot. You will only need half the amount if you use one of these instead of flour.
  • Optional Toppings: Sour cream, cilantro, tortilla chips, red onion, avocado, shredded cheese, and jalapeños are some of our favorite toppings for chili!
A bowl of chicken chili resting on a cloth napkin next to a lime wedge.

How to Make White Chili on the Stove

This cooking method really couldn’t be simpler to do, and it’s all in one pot – easy cleanup, baby! Here’s how to make this classic white chili.

  • Cook the Onion and Garlic. Add the butter and olive oil to a heavy bottomed pot and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add Chicken, Broth, and Seasonings. Add the chicken, broth, spices, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked. 
  • Shred the Chicken. Take the chicken breasts out of the pot, and shred them. Place the shredded chicken back into the pot. Stir the corn and beans into the pot.
  • Thicken: In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and evaporated milk until smooth. Pour into the chili, stirring well. Bring the chili to a simmer again and let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until it has thickened up. 
  • Finish the Dish. Reduce the heat to low, and taste the chili. Adjust the seasonings as needed. It will likely need more salt, but everyone’s tastes are different!
  • Enjoy! Serve immediately with any desired toppings.
Thick chicken chili in a pot.

How Can I Make My White Chicken Chili Less Spicy?

The most important thing to do when you’re spicing up a pot of chili is to go slowly! You can always add more jalapeno (or cayenne or whatever you use to add heat). But once it’s in there, there’s not much you can do. However, if you find that your chili is just too spicy for your taste, try one of these tricks to dial down the heat a bit.

  • Add More Ingredients: If you can, add a bit more of your other ingredients – more beans and stock, for example – to increase the amount of chili and “dilute” the spiciness.
  • Add Dairy: Milk and cream are great for cutting through spiciness, so splashing in some dairy is worth a try.
  • Add Sugar: Some cooks say that throwing a little something sweet, like brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup, helps make a spicy dish taste less spicy.
A bowl of chicken chili with shredded cheese and other toppings.

Tips and Tricks

Want to know more about making this earthy, spicy dinner in your own kitchen? Here’s the skinny on all things white chicken chili. Enjoy!

  • Beans: Any light-colored beans will work here, from cannellini and Great Northern to chickpeas or even pintos. Want to add some color to the recipe? Throw in a can of black beans, or maybe some dark red kidney beans. Whatever you like or have on hand will work!
  • Veggies: This recipe is light on veggies, so feel free to sneak some in if you like. Yellow squash, green bell pepper, sliced leeks, celery…everything’s up for grabs.
  • Evaporated Milk: I like the convenience and creaminess of evaporated milk, which is simply milk with much of the water removed to make a thicker version. You could use heavy cream instead if you like, but keep in mind that fresh dairy has a tendency to split. Use medium heat and turn the heat down after the chili thickens.
  • Spices: If you want to make this chili with different spices, feel free! Make your own homemade chili seasoning spice blend, or use a store-bought chili seasoning packet.
  • Browning the Onions: It’s fine, taste-wise, if the onions brown, but if they do, the chili will not look as white. On the other hand, browning the garlic may cause it to become bitter, so definitely avoid that!
  • Salt: If you find that the flavors aren’t coming through as much as you’d like, try adding a bit of additional salt. That is often all that’s needed!

Easy Serving Suggestions

Wondering what to serve with white chili? I usually just set out bowls of toppings and call it a day, but you can totally add some side dishes in there. These recipes would be perfect:

  • Cornbread: A big pan of my Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread will knock the socks off of anyone who sees it! Plus, it makes your house smell like heaven. Best of all, it’s super tasty, especially with chili.
  • Sweet Potatoes: We love serving baked sweet potatoes with chili, but if you’d rather do something a little more kid-friendly, these Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries couldn’t be more perfect.
  • Salad: A fresh, crunchy salad is great with chili. This Green Bean Salad is a different spin on ordinary garden salads, and a great way to use up fresh green beans when they’re in season.

Storing, Freezing, and Reheating

Storing this white chili recipe is super easy. Just cool it down and pack it into your favorite airtight food storage containers, whether that’s plastic lidded boxes or Mason jars or whatever. Then stick it in the fridge until the next chili craving hits! It will keep for about 5 days. You can also freeze it for up to three months.

To reheat, place the desired amount in a saucepan over low to medium heat, and reheat slowly wile stirring. Do not heat on high heat, and do not bring to a boil, or the creamy texture of the chili may turn grainy.

Close-up shot of chili with colorful toppings.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 4 Servings

Creamy White Chili

Rich and full-flavored, this Creamy White Chili might just become your new favorite chili! A touch of cinnamon sets it apart from the rest, while the easy one-pot prep makes it an easy weeknight dinner.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes

Ingredients

For the Chili

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 15.5 oz cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour

Instructions 

  • Place a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven over the medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil to melt. Stir in the onion and cook until translucent. (You don't want to brown the onion because you want the chili to stay as "white" as possible. It's fine if the onions brown, just know that the sauce will not be as white.) Add in the garlic and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute or until fragrant.
  • Add in the chicken, chicken broth, spices, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken from pot and shred. Add the chicken back into the pot.
  • Stir in corn and beans. In a separate bowl, or liquid measuring cup, whisk to combine the flour and evaporated milk until smooth. Pour mixture into the pot, stirring to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, till thickened. Reduce heat to low. Taste and adjust seasonings. It will likely need more salt, but everyone’s tastes are different!
  • Serve immediately with desired toppings.

Notes

  • Beans: Any light-colored beans will work here, from cannellini and Great Northern to chickpeas or even pintos. Want to add some color to the recipe? Throw in a can of black beans, or maybe some dark red kidney beans. Whatever you like or have on hand will work!
  • Veggies: This recipe is light on veggies, so feel free to sneak some in if you like. Yellow squash, green bell pepper, sliced leeks, celery…everything’s up for grabs.
  • Evaporated Milk: I like the convenience and creaminess of evaporated milk, which is simply milk with much of the water removed to make a thicker version. You could use heavy cream instead if you like, but keep in mind that fresh dairy has a tendency to split. Use medium heat and turn the heat down after the chili thickens.
  • Spices: If you want to make this chili with different spices, feel free! Make your own spice blend, or use a store-bought chili seasoning packet.
  • Browning the Onions: It's fine, taste-wise, if the onions brown, but if they do, the chili will not look as white. On the other hand, browning the garlic may cause it to become bitter, so definitely avoid that!
  • Salt: If you find that the flavors aren’t coming through as much as you’d like, try adding a bit of additional salt. That is often all that’s needed!
  • Storage: Store any leftover white chili in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It will keep for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: Freeze white chicken chili in freezer bags or airtight containers for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating on low heat.
  • Reheating: Reheat leftover chili over low heat until it's piping hot, but not simmering or boiling. Simmering and boiling can cause the milk to become grainy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 596kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 48g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 126mg, Sodium: 976mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 8g

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.