Using leftover marinated, grilled chicken is the secret to this Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili that is packed with flavor. This easy crockpot chicken chili will tempt you with its fantastic aroma as it simmers all day.
⏲️ Time needed
Once your chicken is grilled, this recipe is “dump and go” and only takes about 10 minutes to prep. Cooking time is 4-½ to 5-½ hours. We recommend keeping grilled chicken in your freezer at all times.
- marinated, grilled chicken
- great northern beans
- chopped yellow onion
- minced garlic
- canned or frozen yellow corn
- ground cumin
- garlic salt
- smoked paprika
- Tabasco sauce
- fresh cilantro
- vegetable or chicken broth
- sliced avocado (for garnish)
🌾 Adaptations for dietary restrictions
Vegetarian. For a vegetarian version, add a second variety of beans in place of the chicken and use vegetable broth. Add a dash of liquid smoke to add some of the grilled flavor lost. You could also marinate and grill vegetables in place of the chicken.
Gluten-free. As long as tamari is used in the chicken marinade instead of soy sauce, this recipe is gluten-free as written.
I love to switch things up when cooking. Here are some ways I would consider adapting this recipe based on what I have on hand:
- add a (drained) can of drained diced green chilis
- add a (drained) can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- serve over tortilla chips
- add chili powder
- use leftover rotisserie chicken instead of grilled chicken
- garnish with sour cream and salsa
- spice it up with cayenne pepper
- add a can of green enchilada sauce
- substitute a different kind of white bean (navy or cannellini)
- use homemade chicken stock
📋 How to make Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
Place the chicken, beans, onion, garlic, corn, cumin, garlic salt, oregano, smoked paprika, Tabasco sauce, and 2 tablespoons of cilantro into a slow cooker.
Pour broth over ingredients and stir gently.
Cover and cook on low for 4-½ to 5-½ hours (this may vary depending on how hot your slow cooker cooks). If necessary, add water or more broth as the chili cooks.
Serve garnished with remaining chopped cilantro and sliced avocado if desired.
What kind of beans should I use in White Chicken Chili?
I like to use great northern beans, but you can switch it up if you prefer. Navy beans and cannellini beans are good alternatives.
How do I thicken Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili?
This recipe is a broth base with lots of onion, corn, chicken, and beans. If you prefer a thicker base, you can add a slurry of cornstarch and water to the simmering chili.
Mix 1-2 tablespoons of corn starch with an equal amount of cool water until there are no lumps. Add to simmering chili and mix well. Continue stirring until broth begins to thicken.
You could also thicken with a roux. Mix equal amounts oil and flour (I suggest 1-2 tablespoons) in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until well blended, then continue heating while stirring frequently for about one more minute.
Add ¼ to ½ cup water and stir until well blended (I prefer to use a whisk for this). Add mixture to chili and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until broth thickens.
Can I make it on the stovetop?
Using cooked chicken means I can easily adapt it to the stovetop. To cook on the stovetop, sauté the onion in a little oil before adding the other ingredients.
In the slow cooker, the raw onion has time to slowly cook and soften. Cooking it on the stovetop without sautéing first would result in different texture and flavor. Everything else is already cooked and just needs to heat up.
What spices go in white chicken chili?
I use oregano, cumin, garlic salt, and smoked paprika. I do not recommend substituting regular paprika for smoked paprika as it has a distinctive flavor that adds to the chili.
Do you drain the beans?
Draining and rinsing the beans helps to reduce sodium as well as hard-to-digest sugars in the recipe. It is a personal preference, however, and it will not hurt to cook them in the liquid.
Is white chicken chili gluten-free?
As long as you use tamari in the chicken marinade, this recipe is gluten-free.
Can I freeze white chicken chili?
Absolutely! See our freezer recommendations below.
How long does White Chicken Chili need to cook in a crockpot?
It depends. Crockpot models and sizes cook at varying rates, so it is important to know how your slow cooker cooks. This recipe was tested in a 6-quart Rival model at 5 hours on low.
Is Crockpot White Chicken Chili low carb?
If you are following a keto or low carb diet, you’ll want to find a better alternative. You would need to reduce or omit the beans and corn to make this dish low carb. Since those make up a significant portion of the bulk, this isn’t a great option for low carb diets.
❄️ Freezer instructions
Soups, stews, and chili are great options for building your freezer stock of meals. Slow Cooker Chicken Chili is no exception. You can put this meal together for the freezer before or after cooking.
To freeze before cooking
Combine all ingredients except broth, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and avocado in a freezer-safe container and label as follows:
Thaw and place in crockpot. Add 32 ounces chicken or vegetable broth and cook on low for 4-½ to 5-½ hours. Serve with chopped cilantro and avocado slices for garnish.
To freeze after cooking
Place chili in a freezer-safe container and label as follows:
Thaw and heat. Serve with chopped cilantro and avocado slices for garnish.
I prefer to freeze chili in either reusable silicone storage bags (affiliate link) or in canning jars with straight sides. Silicone bags for freezing have the advantage of storing flat and therefore taking up less space. Stasher is my favorite brand of reusable silicone freezer bags; they can be found at Amazon and at Target.
Canning jars fit well on the freezer door if you have an upright deep freezer. To freeze in jars:
- Use canning/freezing jars with tempered glass (regular glass jars can break easily at low temperatures)
- Leave at least 1″ headspace at the top
- If your jar has shoulders—curves inward just below the threads for the lid—leave 1″ headspace from below the shoulders
- Do not make drastic temperature changes over a short period of time—when freezing, cool the contents first, then freeze; when thawing, thaw slowly in the refrigerator or in cool water before heating contents
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
- 4 cups marinated, grilled chicken, chopped
- 3 cans great northern beans (15.5 ounces each), drained and rinsed
- 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 2 cups canned or frozen yellow corn, thawed and drained
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
- 32 ounces vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 avocado, sliced (for garnish)
- Place the chicken, beans, onion, garlic, corn, cumin, garlic salt, oregano, smoked paprika, Tabasco sauce, and 2 tablespoons of cilantro in slow cooker.
- Pour broth over ingredients and stir gently.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 ½ to 5 ½ hours (this may vary depending on how hot your slow cooker cooks). If necessary, add water.
- Serve garnished with remaining chopped cilantro and sliced avocado if desired.
- You could use any cooked chicken in this recipe, but the marinated, grilled chicken is what gives this crockpot white chicken chili its distinct flavor. It's worth the extra effort, and planned leftovers are always a good addition to a meal plan. You can save lots of time by doing prep work like this in bulk and freezing the prepared ingredients. You can find out more about this way of cooking by reading the our meal plan primer.
- Vegetarian. For a vegetarian version, add a second variety of beans in place of the chicken and use vegetable broth. A dash of liquid smoke will help add some of the flavor lost from not using the grilled chicken, or you could marinate and grill vegetables in place of the chicken.
- Gluten-free. As long as tamari is used in the chicken marinade instead of soy sauce, this recipe is gluten-free as written.
🍞 What to serve with Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
Hot, buttered cornbread is the perfect addition to this chili, and a green salad makes a nice first course.
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