White Chicken Chili is a staple in our house and has been for years! This white chili has a creamy broth base instead of the traditional tomato base of regular chili. It’s loaded with juicy chicken and hearty white beans—and packed with tons of Tex-Mex flavor!
This chili is loved by everyone in our family, and now it’s made even easier and faster thanks to an Instant Pot (or another electric pressure cooker). This recipe is directly adapted from my family recipe, which has been passed down three generations! Since it’s been cooked by folks in my family thousands of times over the years, you can know it’ll turn out perfect in your own kitchen. Let’s get cooking.
What do I need to make this chili?
To make the Instant Pot version of our white chicken chili, you’ll need:
- Chicken: We like a combo of boneless skinless chicken breasts and boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Canned diced mild green chiles
- Great Nothern Beans: Either from canned or dried beans cooked in the pressure cooker (we’ll teach you how!)
- Ground cumin
- Chili powder
- Canned whole-fat coconut milk
- Chicken broth
- Cream cheese
- Finely ground cornmeal
- Salt and pepper
What kind of beans go in white chili?
We typically opt for Great Northern beans because they are large and hearty, but in a pinch, you could also sub in Navy beans. Just be aware that Navy Beans are smaller and have a more delicate texture—so they may break down more as the soup cooks.
How do I thicken up my white chicken chili?
Easy peasy! We use finely ground cornmeal (like you’d use to make cornbread) whisked into a slurry with chicken broth to not only thicken the chili but also give a slight corn flavor to the soup.
How do I make this chili dairy-free?
We have a dairy allergy in my house and usually make it dairy-free! The only swap you need to make is to use dairy-free/vegan cream cheese in place of the regular cream cheese—we typically use Kite Hill plain almond cream cheese.
Protip: Use the right coconut milk!
Make sure you are using the kind of coconut milk that is shelf-stable and comes in a can, not the refrigerated stuff that comes in a carton! The canned kind is thicker and creamier, giving you a much better final chili.
What toppings work best with white chicken chili?
This chili is honestly super flavorful and delicious on its own, but it also shines when piled high with your favorite chili toppings! We love piling on avocado, minced cilantro, and sour cream. You also have to have a big bowl of tortilla chips to dip.
Can I freeze the leftovers?
Yes—we love to keep some soup or chili in the freezer for sick days or last-minute dinners. Portion some chili into a freezer-safe container, leaving some space at the top (it may expand as it freezes!), and freeze without the lid on. Once the chili is frozen solid, label the lid and seal the container closed. The chili will be best eaten within 4-6 months.