White Chicken Chili Recipe

I am an east coast girl at heart and nothing makes me feel cozier on a cold day than white chicken chili! This dish has always been one of my favorites although until moving to the west coast, I never made it on my own. Maybe it’s because every single restaurant back home had it on the menu and now where I live not one place I have been to has offered it on the menu. 

My cousin sent me this recipe after making it and making a few adjustments of her own. Since then I have made this dish at least once a month and have made a few changes as well. 

Funny story though – the first time I made this – it turned out vegetarian. So I know that with a little tweaking you can make this a delicious vegetarian white chili as well. I thought I pulled out chicken thighs from the freezer for this and it ended up being chicken wings which do not shred well if at all so I made the soup anyway because all the veggies were done cooking down in the pot. 

But it was still delicious. 

The main ingredient that we left out of the first couple of recipes was coriander because neither I nor my cousin owned that spice. Now that I have it I find that the taste is good with or without it. If you forgo the coriander spice, I would not leave out the cilantro at the end to finish the soup with. If you use the coriander spice you can get away without the cilantro on top at the end if it’s not available to you at the time. But both are delicious if you have both to add to the recipe. 

I made this recipe in the Instant Pot but will leave directions for a slow cooker version as well if you don’t have an Instant Pot. The bonus of the Instant Pot is the one-pot curation and the quickness of the meal.


2 tbsp olive oil

4 cloves of garlic minced (or 2 tbsp minced jarred garlic)

1 large green pepper diced

2 jalapenos (leave the seeds if you want it spicy – take the seeds off for a mild to medium heat)

3 stalks of celery

1 large sweet yellow onion diced

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

¼ tsp cayenne pepper (option for spicier chili)

2 tsp Himalayan salt

2 (15oz) cans of cannellini beans or white northern beans (rinse and drain the liquid)

1 ½ lb of boneless chicken or thighs

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup sour cream

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro


6 qt or larger pressure cooker (I used the Instant Pot)


  1. Select the sauté setting on your Instant Pot and add in the olive oil. Add in the garlic, onions, celery, bell pepper, and jalapeno and sauté until the onions are clear and the veggies are softened. 
  2. Add in all of the spices and salt and sauté for 1 more minute. 
  3. Pour in the beans and place the chicken on top of everything. Do not stir. Then pour over the broth. 
  4. Cancel the sauté function and place the lid on the pressure cooker. Then select the manual setting for 15 minutes on high pressure. The pressure cooker will take some time to get up to pressure and then it will cook for 15 minutes. 
  5. Once the timer beeps after cooking let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Then carefully quick-release the remaining pressure. 
  6. Using tongs, remove the chicken and shred with two forks. 
  7. If you want a thicker soup you can whisk 1 tsp of cornstarch into a quarter cup of the soup broth in a separate bowl and then add it back into the main soup. 
  8. Add in the sour cream to the soup.
  9. Add the shredded chicken back into the soup. Serve and top with fresh cilantro or hot sauce of your choosing.

For the Crock-Pot you’ll want to sauté all the vegetables in a saucepan. Then add all of the ingredients into the Crock-Pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature 165F. Once chicken is fully cooked, shred chicken and add in sour cream.