This recipe for spicy white chicken chili is packed with spicy peppers, tender shredded chicken, and topped with cool cilantro and sour cream.
Spicy white chicken chili ingredients
- Bone-on, skin-on chicken thighs. The skin allows you to brown them and keep the meat tender, which flavors the whole dish. It’s an extra step but totally worth it.
- Olive oil
- Pickled jalapeños. You can use fresh, but they tend to be hotter.
- Canned white beans, such as great northern.
- Chicken broth
- Chili powder
- For topping the chili you’ll want sour cream, cheese, avocado, and cilantro.
Chicken thighs with the bone and skin on are more flavorful and tender than their boneless, skinless counterparts and they are much less expensive! They regularly go on sale for less than a dollar per pound.
Chicken broth cartons at Aldi and Lidl are a great price. Or, to save even more, save your chicken bones and make your own!
?? Let’s make it together!
Browning the chicken and veggies
We start by browning the chicken. This is a one pot meal, so big a nice big pot to get started. It’s the only pot you’ll need! Look for one with a tight-fitting lid.
Pat the chicken thighs with a paper towel and season them with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil until its nice and hot. We need the chicken to brown to add flavor to the chili.
Brown the chicken four minutes per side, then remove it to a clean plate. It won’t be cooked through, not yet. We’ll get there.
Then, in the same pot, add the minced onion, garlic, and jalapenos. Turn down the heat a little, to medium low. Saute until they are softened, translucent, and starting to brown.
Now add the 4 cups of chicken broth (this is the same as a full 32 ounce carton), and nestle the chicken thighs right inside. Cover the pot, turn up the heat to medium, and the chili cook for 20 minutes to cook the chicken through. (Chicken needs to be fully cooked for safety. You can always check the internal temperature using these guidelines.)
Remove the chicken, turn off the heat to the chili, and let the thighs cool a little.
Putting it all together
We’re almost done. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone using either forks or your hands. You won’t need the skin or the bones, so either discard them or save them for another use (like homemade chicken stock!).
Pour the white beans into the chili, add the chicken back in, add the salt, pepper, and chili powder, and simmer until the beans are tender and the chili is heated through.
Check for seasonings and add more if desired. Ladle it into bowls and top with all the toppings your heart desires. Our favorites are sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, chopped fresh cilantro, and shredded Mexican cheese.
For the leftovers
Many soups and chilis are better the next day, and this is no exception. It does get spicier as time goes on, however!
This spicy chili freezes great, as long as you freeze it before adding any of the toppings.
To defrost, either microwave or simply dump the frozen block into a pot and reheat on the stovetop.
And what should I serve on the side?
- Cornbread, of course! A sweet cornbread recipe balances out the spiciness perfectly.
- Fresh fruit makes a great side for something hot.
- Finish off this cozy meal with some soft chocolate chip cookies.
Here’s the recipe
Spicy White Chicken Chili
- 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups diced onion about 2 small
- 1/4 cup diced pickled jalapeno
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- 2 15 oz cans white beans, rinsed (great Northern or cannellini)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- fresh cilantro
- sour cream
- shredded cheddar cheese
- diced avocado
- crushed tortilla chips
- Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch Oven and brown the chicken on medium high heat, about 4 minutes per side. Once it is browned, remove to a plate. It will not be cooked through.
- Saute the onion, peppers, and garlic in the same pot on medium low, until the vegetables are translucent and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the chicken broth into the pot and place the chicken thighs back in. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes on medium, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken thighs again and allow to cool slightly. Remove the meat from the bone and shred with two forks. Discard the skin and bone, or save for another use.
- Add the meat back into the pot, along with the beans, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Simmer for 10 minutes until the beans are tender. Check for seasoning.
- To serve, ladle into bowls and top with desired toppings. Eat immediately.