This white chicken chili recipe has opened my eyes, because even though you’d never be able to tell given the other recipes on this site, I’m apparently a big fan of chicken chili.
Growing up, my mother used to make a killer recipe for good ol’ classic chili – a recipe I still hope to
pilfer from her kindly ask her to share with me one day – but since I moved to Arizona, the only time I get to have chili is when I happen to be in the right place at the right time for a chili cookoff.
And since I left my office job in July 2014, the likelihood of that happening has dropped significantly.
So, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I picked up The Chili Cookbook by Robb Walsh and decided to try my hand at the tastiest one I could find. Which, it so happens, was the best white chicken chili recipe I’ve ever had.
If I’m being honest, at first I was a little leery of tackling this recipe, since it involved two things I had never done before: cooking poblano chiles (a food I’ve only just begun to love) and boiling a whole chicken.
I know now that these are both so simple to do, but at the time, I was giving my new recipe book a very skeptical side-eye when I read it in the instructions.
I had to ask myself: do I love these new poblano peppers enough yet to go through the “trouble” of cooking them?
Or, better yet, do I really have to boil a whole chicken?
When I was shopping for ingredients, I even had a long discussion with the man behind the deli counter about the pros and cons of boiling chicken breasts vs the whole chicken.
And In the end, he convinced me that boiling the whole chicken as directed would be so much better – and even gave me some encouraging words about how the cooked chiles would be a night and day difference over anything canned – and you know what?
He was completely right.
Do you have to make this recipe from scratch?
This particular recipe is designed to be made completely from scratch. I personally recommend doing it this way (the flavor is out of this world) but there are a few substitutions you can make.
Roasted Poblano Peppers – Poblano peppers have a moderately spicy flavor and are fairly easy to roast. However, if it’s too much spice or too much trouble, you can substitute the poblano peppers for cut bell peppers. Just saute them in a skillet with a dash of olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 5-10 minutes.
Homemade Boiled Chicken and Chicken Broth – This recipe also includes instructions on how to make your own boiled chicken and chicken broth, but if you’re pressed for time, you can use pre-cooked chicken (three cups worth) and pre-made chicken broth (8 cups worth).
How do you thicken white chicken chili?
Since this chili uses chicken broth, it will be a little watery by default. If you’d like a thicker chili, try making a slurry.
Step 1 – Add one or two tablespoons of cornstarch (or flour) to a small bowl.
Step 2 – Take about 1/2 cup of the chicken chili broth and add it to the bowl with the cornstarch.
Step 3 – Use a form to vigorously stir the two together, making sure there are no longer any clumps.
Step 4 – Pour the slurry mixture back into the pot with the chili and stir. If needed, return the pot to the heating unit and slowly warm the chili, stirring frequently, until the chili reaches the desired level of thickness.
If the chili still isn’t thick enough, repeat Steps 1-4.
Notes & tips for this chicken chili recipe
- If you’ve never cooked poblano chilies, don’t fret! When I made first made this recipe it was also the first time I worked with poblano chilies. It’s so much easier than it sounds!
- I know it’s been said, but I can’t stress it enough: If you love chili, be sure to pick up The Chili Cookbook by Robb Walsh! This white chicken chili with poblano chilies is just one of the many delicious cooking recipes inside.
- Make sure you have Ziploc bags (gallon sized) and a deep spaghetti pot (like this 12 quart stockpot) on hand before making this recipe.
More great chicken recipes
How to make white chicken chili
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – In a 12 quart stockpot, melt together butter and olive oil. Add white onion and garlic, then cook and stir until fragrant.
Step 2 – Add flour to stockpot, then quickly stir with the veggies until the flour absorbs the butter.
Step 3 – Season with cayenne pepper, dried oregano, cumin, salt, and white pepper, then stir to mix.
Step 4 – Add the green chilies (whether made from scratch or from a jar), shredded chicken, cannellini beans, and chicken broth, then stir well.
Step 5 – Let cook.
Step 6 – Serve with Mexican blend cheese and sour cream.
This post was originally published on March 30, 2016. It was updated with new content on October 27, 2019.
White Chicken Chili
This white bean chicken chili is made with tender chicken, homemade chicken broth, roasted poblano chilis, and white cannellini beans. It’s total comfort food!
For Roasting the Poblano Chilies
- Clean and dry poblano chilies. Arrange the chilies on the prepared baking sheet, then set them in the oven on the topmost rack.
- Let chilies cook until skin is blistered and charred, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to let the chilies brown too much. Flip the chilies and let the other side cook to the same level, about another 3-5 minutes.
Take cooked chilies out of the oven and wrap each one in a damp paper towel. Place the wrapped chilies in the zip lock bag, seal it, and allow the chilis to steam for another 10-15 minutes.
- Remove chilies from the bag and unwrap the paper towels. The chili skins will likely come loose with the paper towel. For any skin that remains, use a butter knife to scrape them off.
Cut the chilies into strips. Place them back in the
Ziploc bag (gallon sized)until ready to use in the chili.
For the White Chicken Poblano Chili
12 quart stockpot, add water and cut whole chicken. Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Remove chicken from the pot and arrange on a plate to cool for 10 minutes. Reserve 8 cups of the chicken broth from the stockpot and discard the rest. If you are short the 8 cups, just add more water.
- Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove it from the bones and shred with a fork. Meat should remove from bones easily. When finished, you should have at least 3 cups of chicken. Set chicken aside for now.
- Clean stockpot, then return to burner. Add butter and olive oil to stockpot and warm over medium heat. Add chopped onion and minced garlic and cook until onion is translucent, about 5-8 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and sprinkle all-purpose flour over veggies, then stir to coat.
- Mix in cayenne pepper, dried oregano, cumin, salt, and white pepper, then stir in cooked & sliced poblano chilies, chicken, cannellini beans, and the 8 cups of reserved chicken broth.
Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Serve chili immediately with Mexican blend cheese and sour cream for garnish.
* Use any weight of chicken that you prefer. For this recipe, you should have at least 3 cups of cooked, shredded chicken, but more is okay.
Recipe adapted from The Chili Cookbook by Robb Walsh.