White Bean and Chicken Chili

White Bean and Chicken Chili Recipe

There’s something really satisfying about cooking a nice pot of chili. As much as I love traditional red chili with tomatoes and chili powder, I also love a good white one with white beans and lots of cumin. Mine is full of vegetables and has a nice smoky flavor from the bacon. I love having my boys gather at the counter and help measure out all of the vegetables. Enjoy with skillet corn bread or cheesy garlic toast and a simple green salad.–Jenny Flake

LC Chili Fixin’s Note

A squeeze of lime. A flurry of diced avocado. A dollop of sour cream. A handful of tortilla chips. Whatever your usual chili fixin’s, they’re welcome here, too, though this is hardly a traditional chili. It’s quite a lot soupier, a little smokier, and, in some ways, subtler than most chilis. It’s sorta a soupy Tex-Mex stew, actually, though we daren’t call it such because we can’t recall ever seeing bacon in a recipe for any Mexican soup. But you get the idea.

White Bean and Chicken Chili Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 35 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 6


  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 6 ounces pearl onions, peeled, or 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup peeled, shredded carrots (optional)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery (optional)
  • 1 Anaheim, poblano, or jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and finely diced, or more to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 15-ounce cans white beans (any kind), drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 1. Fry the bacon in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat, turning once or twice, until browned and crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve 3 tablespoons drippings in the pot. When the bacon has cooled enough to handle, crumble it into pretty small pieces.
  • 2. Heat the reserved bacon drippings over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, if using, and chile pepper and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • 3. Add the crumbled bacon, stock or broth, chicken, beans, cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper to the pot and stir to combine. (If you fancy a thicker, more chili-like chili than chili-like stew, mash some of the beans with the back of a fork prior to adding them to the pot.) Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes before serving.
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