This easy white chicken chili recipe is a home cook’s answer to fast food. With canned beans, it can be on the table in no time. It will take a bit longer to cook using dry beans, but that’s my preference if time allows.
If you’re hankering for another budget-friendly fast meal, try my lentil sausage soup.
It’s been one of those months. Lots to do, not enough hours in the day. Several weeks ago on my way home from a long day of errands and meetings and plate spinning, I ran through all of the options in my fridge for a fast dinner. Short of setting a plate full of random fruits and vegetables on the table, I was coming up with zero. I’d had it, I was spent, I gave up.
I stopped at the local grocery store intending to grab something – anything – that could hit the table in a hurry. A fast idea for dinner. I scanned the shelves and the frozen food section for something that would pass for real food, ready to go. If you’re a label reader or at all concerned about excessive packaging—as I am—you know the impossibility of this task.
I came home with canned white beans, thinking I’d make up a white bean chicken chili recipe.
Using canned beans instead of dry beans was my foray into “fast food.” (If you use canned beans, look for the Eden Organic brand. Their cans are BPA free.)
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We had a good laugh about me and my fast dinner ideas. We also had an excellent dinner.
This chicken chili came together from nothing and while it hit the table a little bit later than I’d intended, it was worth the wait. The family, they raved.
Making this white chicken chili recipe
Start by sautéing the onions and green chile peppers until they’re soft. If you don’t like your meals spicy, go with mild peppers. If you like a little spice, by all means choose a hotter pepper. I used yellow onions, but again — use what you have and it will be just fine.
Once the veggies are soft, add the chicken to the pot. The first time I made this white bean chicken chili recipe I used chicken legs, since these were the least expensive organic option. You could use thighs, chicken breasts, or even a whole chicken, depending upon your preference.
Cook the chicken until it’s done, then remove the chicken from the pot and shred it. Return the shredded chicken to the pot along with the canned (or cooked) beans.
Hot tip: Double the amount of chicken, holding the extra out once it’s shredded. Voila! Chicken for lunches.
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- In a stock pot, saute onions and peppers on medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
- Add chicken parts and cover the pot. Cook for about 20-30 minutes, turning chicken occasionally. Remove chicken from pot and shred with two forks.
- Return shredded chicken to pot along with beans (undrained), salt, and pepper. Continue to cook over low heat for another 10 to 30 minutes (or an hour, if you've got time or you're trying to squeeze in chores).
*My peppers were from the garden, a plant given to me by a friend; I don't know the variety. We call them Jeannie peppers. They're pretty mild; I put seeds and all in the pot. Hotter peppers? Remove the seeds and use fewer or go for broke. Your call.
You can use cannellini beans instead of the great Northern beans; they're a bit heartier.
Hot tip: Double the amount of chicken, holding the extra out once it's shredded. Voila! Chicken for lunches.
*If you use canned beans, look for the Eden Organic brand. Their cans are BPA free.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 706Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 425mgCarbohydrates: 85gFiber: 20gSugar: 6gProtein: 46g
Originally published in August 2013; this post has been updated.