Recipe for White Chicken Chili

It’s been a while since my brother shared one of his ah-maze-ing recipes with us. Back in the fall, he brought a pot of this white chicken chili to Annalyn’s birthday party. You guys? It was SO GOOD. As I told Smitty, “It looks kind of gross, but it is DELICIOUS.” So of course I asked him to write it up for you. You’re welcome!

Is there anything more relaxing than breaking bones with your own hands? It’s not morbid, I promise. Hear me out: I don’t buy refrigerated, whole chickens. They are too expensive, and quite frankly, too much work to butter and stuff with herbs and lemons and onions. I don’t have time for cooking a whole chicken from raw. Nobody I know has time for that!

Well…that’s not true. I knew one person who had time for that, but she was crazy, and we aren’t friends anymore because she was crazy.

Don’t be crazy, just buy whole, rotisserie (re: already cooked!) chickens at the store and enjoy cracking and ripping that little chicken carcass apart, because in the end, all you’re looking for is some tasty chicken meat. And rotisserie chicken meat is DARN tasty.

Editor’s note: I agree, friends. This is gross. Should I ever find myself in need of this chili so badly that I make it for myself (as opposed to waiting for James to make it), I will use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Because, ew.

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

Before starting your big batch of White Chicken Chili, you need to dismember two chickens. You can do this after the chickens have been refrigerated for a bit, or right after you get home from the store. Hot or cold doesn’t really make a difference. I’ve done it both ways; it handled the same.

While you have your cutting board out (and after you’ve cleaned off the chicken jelly, which is a great moisturizer for those dry, winter knuckles) cut up a couple of large onions. I like a fine dice. I’ll explain why later.

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

While you’re cutting, let me tell you about this White Chicken Chili. I got the recipe when I was working at a church, and before some all-church caroling, there was a chili cook-off. Everyone gathered together, brought their Crockpots (which promptly blew a circuit breaker) and enjoyed taking little Dixie cups of chili to taste and judge. This white chicken chili was BY FAR my favorite, but it came in second. I think the voting was rigged!

Editor’s note (yes, again): You may recall that I’ve previously posted a recipe for white chicken chili. It’s good, it is. But this? IS WAY BETTER.

Now that your onion is finely diced, throw it into a skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter. If you’re a first timer with my recipes I’ll make a point just for you: brown the onions. I don’t mean until they are translucent, or wilted, or slightly gummy. I mean brown. Real brown. Super brown. Take them to the brink of burning, then take them off the heat. BROWN!

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

After you’ve browned the onions, start your flour and butter roux in a big, heavy-bottom pot. Once you’ve cooked off the raw flour flavor, add the chicken stock and half and half – because full, heavy cream would just be too much, ya know? Basically, if you’ve made homemade macaroni and cheese, you are quite comfortable up to this point. But wait, there’s more: add the onion to the roux/chicken stock/half and half mixture.

This will look gross, but if you diced your onions finely (like you were supposed to) and browned them an appropriate amount of time, they should dissolve into the liquid and the grossness will disappear quickly. Heat this until it is obviously thicker (a.k.a. can coat the back of a spoon). This might sound sarcastic, but the original recipe actually says, “It will obviously be thicker.” Oh. All right, know-it-all recipe.

Some drained white beans, drained green chilies, the chicken, and Monterrey Jack cheese are tossed in with everything else and stirred. So far, you should have a big, gooey mess. Give it some time. Like any good chili, it looks (and tastes) better after a few minutes – or hours in the Crockpot. If it’s too thick for you, add some more chicken stock, a 1/4 cup at a time.

The cheese is the biggest part of this recipe I changed from the original. I, of course, added more than was called for. Because, you can never have too much cheese. Duh.

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

The next step is my favorite: adding the spices. The spices are what makes this smell SO good! I substitute the chili powder with chipotle chili powder. It’s a bit smokier and gives the chili a lovely, pink hue. However, if you aren’t that fancy, feel free to use plain ole chili powder. There’s also pepper, salt, cumin, and hot sauce.

I’m not a big fan of spice, so I only add the specified amount of hot sauce. If your tongue and family can take the spice, by all means shake that bottle till you get carpal tunnel.

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

This will cook and bubble together for about 20 minutes. After that, you drop in a dollop of sour cream and stir. I have no idea why you have to wait to add the sour cream. If someone has an answer to that, I’d love to know. I’ve added it, THEN simmered and there was no difference in taste, but it sounds cooler to “finish” the chili with sour cream.

Serve immediately, or – like this single person – put it in sealed, plastic containers for the refrigerator or freezer. It makes a lot and reheats super well.

There you have it. Another buttery, onion-y, somewhat violent recipe from your favorite blogger’s brother that will definitely be tasty and please a crowd!

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili


2 rotisserie chickens, skinned, boned, and chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if chili is too thick
2 cups half and half
16 oz can white beans
2 4-oz cans whole, mild green chilies, drained and chopped
2 cup grated Monterey Jack
1 tsp Tabasco
1 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder, or chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup sour cream


  1. In a skillet, cook the onion with 2 Tbsp of butter until browned.
  2. In a heavy pot, large enough to hold all the ingredients, melt remaining 6 tablespoons of butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, for three minutes.
  3. Into the roux, gradually add the broth and half and half, then the browned onion whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until thickened (it will be obviously thicker).
  4. Add beans, chilies, chicken and cheese. Stir in Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
  5. Add sour cream. May be served immediately, or refrigerated for later.

Thanks, James! Feel free to bring one of those sealed, plastic containers over anytime! (Or a whole pot of it. I mean, I can find my own containers.)

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