Slow cooker white chicken chili is creamy and delicious. This creamy crock pot white chicken chili is easy to make and so full of flavor.
Slow cooker white chicken chili is one of those comfort food recipes that fills you up and satisfies your tastebuds. This creamy crock pot white chicken chili is full of chicken, corn, beans, and so much more. It’s the perfect set and forget weeknight meal.
White Bean Chicken Chili in Slow Cooker
I don’t know about you, but I love crock pot chili recipes. Chili is all about slow cooking ingredients to let them meld together, forming a delicious flavor profile that’s always so satisfying.
I feel like crock pots were made for slow simmering the perfect chili.
One of my favorite chilis to make in a crock pot is white chicken chili because I love the southwestern flavor profile.
Also, I can’t get enough of fork-tender crockpot shredded chicken, stewed in aromatic spices with delicious melted cream cheese to add body and complexity to this unique dish.
The Origins of White Chili
Where did white chili come from? The invention of chili is not totally known, but we know that the word chili is derived from chile and the dish is a variation on chili con carne which literally translated into English means pepper with meat.
When you think about it, that is the essence of chili and that is true of white chili today. One belief about chili’s American origins is that the recipe was brought to San Antonio, Texas by settlers from the Canary Islands.
This would have been in the early 1700s. It would then be nearly 300 years before the first known white chicken chili was made in the American West… kind of.
However, traditional Texas chili as we know it didn’t take the world stage until the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.
White Chili was presented as a new type of Southwestern dish when it became popular in the late 1980s. However, it has french origins and its first prototype appears to have come from a chef in Los Angeles of all places.
This new type of chill used duck instead of chicken, but before long, the chicken took over as the choice ingredient.
Since then the whole Southland, even Texas, embraces white chicken chili and there are regional variations to the dish, although, white chicken chili remains predominantly a Southwestern style dish often incorporating ingredients like jalapeno, avocado, black beans, and corn.
Wherever it came from and whoever invented it, one thing is for sure: white chili is absolutely delicious and a nice change of pace from traditional chili.
When you make a white chili recipe as easy as this slow cooker white chicken chili, the entire experience is even better. After all, who doesn’t love easy and delicious?
What’s the Difference Between White and Red Chili?
Actually, there’s chili and there’s white chili. The only time anybody says red chili is in comparison to white chili. White chili totally changed the game when it came around.
Yet it was a natural step in the evolution of chili that everybody should have expected. Essentially, it all starts with chicken. Red chili (or just chili) uses red meat or no meat.
There are exceptions with turkey and pork which always follow traditional chili guidelines. For some reason chicken is different. It’s white because generally speaking chicken usually gets prepared with creamy white components.
The absence of tomatoes in chicken chili also lends to the absence of red color. White chili tends to use green peppers for flavor and white beans instead of red beans.
White chicken chili is a different type of chili from the ground up. it’s still meaty and spicy, but it comes from a different place at each level.
The creaminess of white chicken chili and how it gets its signature whiteness comes from adding melted cream cheese to the mixture of beans, peppers, chicken, and other flavorful seasonings.
Both types of chili are absolutely delicious. It’s great to have several recipes of both types in your recipe library so that you can make a variety of chilis throughout the year. That being said, today, the star of the show is white chili.
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili Recipe
This creamy crock pot white chicken chili is so easy, but it’s full of enough flavor to fool anyone into thinking you spent hours at the stove to make it instead of setting your slow cooker to several hours and letting it do all the heavy lifting.
There are several ingredients to this delicious chicken chili recipe, and I’ll show you what they are soon, but first and foremost, we need to talk about what makes a really good chili. The spices.
Spicing Things Up
The spice rack is an underutilized asset in many kitchens. Used properly you can endow your foods with complexity, nuance, depth of flavor, even sweetness. It isn’t always about heat, but even different types of heat come from different bottles on the spice rack.
If you don’t embrace these flavorings your food will come out flat. It might taste okay, but you will be missing out on all kinds of lively sensations and bursts of flavor that come from just simple seasoning.
You might think that chili is immune to this issue, but sadly it isn’t. All the spicy flavor from chili comes from the spices themselves. So if you leave them out, you can make bland chili. I just don’t recommend it.
For all of its essential ingredients, the backbone of this white chicken chili is its spices. Spice blends are so important to chili, you can buy them premade and practically anything into a passable chili.
The spices in this recipe are specially chosen and balanced to maximize the flavor in the chili and bring out all of the zest, smokiness– and yes, pepperiness– to this heartwarming and irresistible meal.
White Chicken Chili Recipe Slow Cooker Ingredients
Like most chilis, the ingredient list for this creamy crock pot white chicken chili is extensive, but don’t let that deter you. More than likely, you already have most if not all of these ingredients in your kitchen already.
- boneless, skinless chicken thighs ( or boneless, skinless chicken breasts will work in place of the thighs)
- canned great Northern white beans, great northern beans or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- canned corn kernels, drained and rinsed
- olive or another vegetable oil
- chicken stock or broth
- canned fire roasted green chilis
- chili powder
- ground cumin powder
- smoked paprika
- cream cheese
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- ground coriander
Creamy Chicken Chili Crock Pot Toppings
- fresh cilantro
- avocados, pitted, chopped into 1/2 – 3/4 inch pieces
- jarred pickled jalapeños, drained, minced or 1-2 fresh jalapenos, seeded, thinly sliced
- Tortilla chips
- shredded Monterey Jack cheese
So, there are several ingredients here, but the most you’ll do is a bit of slicing and then setting your slow cooker, so the easy level is still off the charts.
Making the Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
While the ingredient list for this creamy crock pot white chicken chili might look involved, the recipe most certainly is not.
The specifics of the recipe are in the recipe card at the end of this post, but you’ll see from the highlights just how easy this creamy white chicken chili recipe is. You’ll basically just be putting all the ingredients in your slow cooker and letting it go all day.
- Put skillet over medium heat, add the vegetable oil and fry the chopped onions until transparent. Add the minced garlic and continue cooking for 30 seconds. Take off heat.
- Place chicken meat in the bottom of a crockpot, and pour the beans, corn, and chilis on top.
- Add onions and garlic to slow cooker.
- Add remaining ingredients to a large bowl except for cream cheese.
- Stir well and pour into slow cooker.
- Do not stir and place the lid on the pot.
- Cook on high for 4 hours, or you can cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
- Before serving, add the cream cheese and stir until melted and mixed in. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with your favorite toppings, cilantro, jalapeno and avocado, tortilla chips, shredded cheese and fresh cornbread.
Serving Creamy Crock pot White Chicken Chili
One combination that just works is chili and cornbread. That doesn’t just change because you change the meat or the color of the chili.
Although you can serve this white chicken chili in a number of different ways, including as is, cornbread makes a tasty and desirable component that rounds out the whole dish.
Cornbread may not be as inspired by the Southwest but it is the better option when you compare it to other traditional Tex-Mex alternatives. The dry bready texture is the perfect complement to the stew-like composition of chili.
In addition to cornbread, you can top the chili with corn chips or tortilla chips, as well. Both make an excellent crunchy addition to the chili.
You can also sprinkle shredded cheese over the chili when you serve it up. Although this is a white chili, cheddar cheese works very well with it. You can try any cheese you like on it, though. Cheese and chili are always a match made in tasty, Tex-Mex heaven.
Finally, while you might associate them with fish, hush puppies are an incredibly tasty pairing with this white chicken chili, too.
Storing the Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili Recipe
You can store this slow cooker white chicken chili in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to 4 days.
For longer storage or meal prep situations, you can freeze this chili for up to three months. Simply store it in an air-tight, freezer-safe container.
While this slow cooker white chicken chili is a fairly straightforward affair, there are a couple of things to remember about the recipe that I’ll be touching on here. As always, read the highlights before diving into the recipe. There are just a few things to read through here.
Q: What’s the difference between red and white chili?
A: Red chili is tomato based, while white chili is broth based.
Q: Do I have to do any stovetop cooking for this recipe?
A: Not at all! Everything is cooked in the slow cooker, even the chicken.
Q: What pairs well with this chili?
A: I’m a big fan of cornbread served with this chili. That dry, crumbly texture is absolutely perfect with the chili. I also love to serve it with tortilla chips or strips.
You can also sprinkle shredded cheese over the top of the chili after serving it up in a bowl. Try garnishing it with some avocado slices, chopped cilantro, or sliced jalapeno peppers, too!
Q: How long will the chili last?
A: You can store this chili in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an air-tight container. For longer storage, you can freeze it for up to 3 months in an air-tight, freezer-safe container.
Try This Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
This delicious, creamy crockpot white chicken chili is so easy to make, and it packs a big punch of flavor.
All you have to do to enjoy this delicious chili is throw all the ingredients in your slow cooker and let them cook all day. It’s the easiest chili recipe you’ll ever make. With a recipe this tasty and easy to make, there’s no reason not to give it a try.
It’s the perfect weeknight dinner, so fire up your slow cooker, let the chili do its thing all day, and get ready for your family to love each and every bit of this chili. It’s a ton of flavor without a ton of work, and it doesn’t get much better than that.
Crockpot White Chicken Chili
- large slow cooker
- 3/4 - 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (usually 6) ( or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts will work in place of the thighs), fat trimmed , and cut into small pieces·
- 3 cans (15 or 16 oz) great Northern white beans, great northern beans or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (15 or 16 oz) corn kernels, drained and rinsed
- 2 medium - large onions, chopped fine
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans (4 oz) fire roasted green chilis
- 3 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin powder (or 1 ½ tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 brick (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- cooking spray
- 1/4 cup cilantro, fresh, minced
- 2 avocados, pitted, chopped into 1/2 - 3/4 inch pieces
- 4 jalapeños, seeded and chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons jarred pickled jalapeños, drained, minced
- 2-3 tablespoons olive or another vegetable oil
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- tortilla chips
- Get out and measure all of your ingredients.
- Prepare your slow cooker with cooking spray.
- Place skillet over medium heat, add the vegetable oil and wait until it shimmers or a drop of water flicked in it dances. Add chopped onions and cook until transparent, stirring frequently. Add the minced garlic and continue cooking for 30 seconds. Take off heat and set aside.
- Place chicken meat on the bottom of a large crock pot, pour the drained beans, corn and chilis on top.
- Add onions and garlic on top of chilis and corn in slow cooker.
- Add remaining ingredients to a large bowl except for cream cheese. Stir well and pour into slow cooker. Do not stir and place the lid on the pot.
- Cook on high for 4 hours, or you can cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
- Remove cooked chicken from slow cooker and allow it to cool slightly on cutting board. Either shred or chop into bite sized chunks, chicken will fall right apart.
- Return chicken to chili and stir until blended.
- Before serving, add the cream cheese and stir until melted and mixed in.
- Adjust chili consistency with extra broth or stock as needed.
- Serve with your favorite toppings, cilantro, jalapeno and avocado, tortilla chips, shredded cheese and fresh cornbread. Serve and enjoy every bite.