White Chicken Chili

September 6, 2016 By Cathy — 13 Comments
Creamy, tangy and with just the right amount of heat, this white chicken chili will become your tailgating staple.

White Chicken Chili

And just like that I’ve switched from peaches to chili.

The kids are back in school, all the lifeguards have packed it in and football season is about to officially kick off.  It’s time to tailgate.

White Chicken Chili

Fall in my house is all about entertaining. No big fancy affairs, but casual Sunday afternoons heavy on football and all of the comfort food that goes along with it. Now, full disclosure, I don’t think I’ve ever watched more than a minute of whatever game elicits hoots and hollers from the living room. Instead you’ll find me in the kitchen, wooden spoon in hand, stirring up a pot of something that will stick to your ribs and pair well with a cold brew.

I am a chili girl through and through. This chili con carne is in heavy rotation in the colder months, but since we’re still technically in summer, a lighter, tangier chili fits the bill to help ease us into the fall season.

White Chicken Chili

I’ve been making white chicken chili for years. It’s what eased our champagne hangovers on New Year’s day, fed the masses at our Superbowl parties and warmed us from the inside out after shoveling the driveway after a winter storm. For years I made the richest, creamiest version thickened with cream. And it is seriously delicious. However, since I’m still sporting my summer shorts and tanks, I thought is was only appropriate to lighten things up a bit.

White Chicken Chili

I omitted the cream entirely and replaced it with yogurt. And no lie, I don’t think I’ll ever go back. The yogurt makes the chili rich and creamy, but also lends a tanginess that pairs so well with the roasted poblano peppers and spritz of lime.

This chili is the perfect way to welcome fall. It has the bright flavors of summer balanced by the rich, creaminess that satisfies when the weather gets cooler. It’s an easy dish to make before your guests arrive on football Sunday and keep warm on the stove for them to self-serve when hunger strikes. And don’t forget to finish off with this grilled apple crisp. Like this chili, it teeters between fall and summer. Crisp fall apples are cooked on the grill that was so much in play over the summer season. So go ahead and make a big pot this over the weekend. As much as I love summer, a bowl of this chili is definitely getting me ready for flannel and fires.

White Chicken Chili

5 from 2 votes
White Chicken Chili
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
Creamy, tangy and with just the right amount of heat, this white chicken chili will become your tailgating staple.
Course: Dinner
Author: Cathy Roma | whatshouldimakefor.com
  • Chili
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 cloves cloves garlic minced
  • 1 medium jalapeño seeded and minced
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder or more to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 tsp kosher salt divided
  • Cayenne pepper pinch
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 lb about 3 poblano peppers, roasted, seeded and diced (or 2-3 (4oz) cans diced mild green chilies)*
  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded (lightly poach and let cool before shredding)**
  • 2 - 19 oz cans cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro minced
  • 1 cup Mexican cheese blend or mild cheddar cheese grated

  • Toppings
  • Grated Mexican cheese blend or mild cheddar
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro minced
  • Salsa verde
  • Diced roasted poblano peppers
  • Tortilla chips
  1. Heat a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil.
  2. Once the butter has melted, add the onion and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5-8 mins.
  3. Add the garlic and jalapeño and continue to cook until soft and fragrant, about 4 mins.
  4. Sprinkle the onion mixture with flour, chili powder, cumin, oregano, 1 tsp salt and dash of cayenne. Stir and cook until spices are fragrant and toasted, 2-3 mins.
  5. Whisk in the stock and bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened.
  6. Stir in the yogurt, peppers, chicken, beans, lime juice, cilantro and cheese and cook mixture over low heat, about 15-20 minutes. Season with remaining salt to taste.
  7. Serve chili with toppings and tortilla chips.
  8. *To roast the poblano peppers: Place the peppers directly over a gas flame on your stove or grill. Roast, rotating, until the skin is charred on all sides. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for at least 10 mins and then remove the charred skin, seeds and stem.
  9. **To poach chicken: place chicken in a large pot with aromatics (sliced onion, garlic cloves or herbs - use whatever is handy and in keeping with the flavor profile of the dish you're going to make), cover and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Let stand about 15 minutes or until cooked through). Remove chicken and discard the rest. Allow chicken to cool slightly and shred. I keep mine for a few days in a large ziploc bag in the frig.
White Chicken Chili


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Filed Under: Main Dishes, Recipe, Soup/Stew


13 responses to “White Chicken Chili”

  1. Great dish and I’m so ready for heartier meals like this! The cooler weather just needs to get here (can’t believe I’m wishing for that! 😉

  2. Funny, I just made chili this weekend too! I love the Fall season and all the comfort food that it brings….my absolute fave! I’m a chill girl too, Cathy! I’d much rather a casual get together than something more fancy. It’s just so much more enjoyable! Comfy clothes, good food and just a good laugh with friends and family is the BEST!

    I’ve made beef chili lots of times before and turkey chili, but never white chicken chili. This is something I would love to try and love that you have lightened it up with the yogurt. Pinning and trying soon…. after hubby and I get through the ginormous batch I just made this weekend, lol 😀 I think I may have to freeze some!

    Have a great week 🙂

  3. Fall is all about entertaining at our house too! But come to think of it most seasons are! Lol! We are all about college football during the fall and all the delicious food that goes along with it Cathy! This chili will definitely be added to our menu! Tom and I are HUGE chili fans, so I can’t wait to try your recipe. I love that you added yogurt instead of cream! I’ll have to see if Tom notices. Your photos today have me drooling! Hope your week is off to a fabulous start! XO

    • Cathy says:

      Ha! So right Mary Ann. Every season brings a new reason to entertain. And wait till Tom tries it to tell him it’s yogurt. (Steve had no clue!)

  4. I did a ton of fall cooking today. I still have peaches in my fruit bowl but I went to town with spaghetti squash and sweet potatoes. This soup looks so delicious. Loving all the heat in from the poblanos.

  5. This sounds so delicious! I’m so ready for soups and sweaters!! xoxo

  6. Hahah I’m the same – except our version of Autumn footy is the rugby games in winter evenings – but I’m still the one in the kitchen making a decadent dessert! It’s still pretty wintery here in Melbourne so I’m loving all the autumn recipes starting up from you guys 🙂 x

  7. JAMI says:


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