Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Where do you store your slow cooker?

Vertical image of two bowls filled with a thick stew with assorted colorful toppings on a wooden platter next to charred tortilla wraps.

Since I usually have mine hiding in the basement, the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality is the main reason why I don’t use it as often as I could.

But now that I’ve been stockpiling more and more slow cooker recipes, like this homemade white chicken chili, I’ll need to find a more accessible spot to keep it!

Having a slow cooker really can be a time-saving lifesaver for my family – and I’m sure you would probably agree when you have a busy week ahead of you and you can’t spend too much time in the kitchen cooking a made-from-scratch meal for your loved ones.

Vertical image of a large bowl of a thick stew with various fresh garnishes on a wooden board.

Keep this quick-to-prepare recipe in mind the next time you want to make a comforting and casual stew for the whole family.

It’s a fun deviation from the popular and mighty chili con carne. Instead of a deep red and bold mix of beef, tomatoes, and kidney beans, this recipe plays with shredded chicken, white beans, and canned green chilies instead for a lighter color palate and more delicate flavors.

A little cream cheese added at the end of the cooking process helps to thicken the stew, and provides a smooth texture with a subtly tangy finish.

Vertical top-down image of a thick pale stew with shredded meat, corn, and beans in a white bowl on a wooden board next to assorted produce and tortilla wraps.

And for another quick tactic to thicken the chili even more, use an immersion blender to puree about one third of the chili base after mixing in the cream cheese – when pureed in the liquid, the beans effortlessly blend into a rich and silky mixture.

I recommend presenting an assortment of garnishes and sides when you’re ready to eat, and letting everyone assemble their own bowls.

I love an entertaining variety of colors, flavors, and textures for my selections, like sliced avocados, crunchy pumpkin seeds, warmed flour tortillas, fresh cilantro leaves, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, bright lime wedges, and fluffy jalapeno cornbread.

Vertical top-down image of two bowls filled with a thick stew with various garnishes.

Customizable garnishes and serving ideas will please everyone’s individual taste preferences, and a new combination of toppings for Dinner Round #2 will keep this dish exciting when you eat it for the second (or third!) night in a row.

Didn’t think it could actually be possible for the whole family to enjoy and use up all of your leftovers? This white chicken chili keeps the surprises coming!

Vertical close-up image of a spoon holding up a thick stew with beans and corn among fresh garnishes.

Dust off your slow cooker if it’s stored in the basement like mine, and keep it out – maybe it’s my full and happy belly talking, but I have a funny feeling that you’ll be making multiple batches of this recipe…

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Horizontal top-down image of two bowls filled with a thick pale stew topped with various garnishes on a wooden platter next to tortilla wraps.

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Want a new spin on your usual chili con carne recipe? Don’t have a lot of time to be in the kitchen? Make our slow cooker white chicken chili.


  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 3 15-ounce cans white beans (cannellini, navy, or great northern), drained and rinsed
  • 2 4.5-ounce cans diced green chilis, mild or spicy
  • 2 cups sweet white corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 medium jalapeno, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black peppercorns
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 4 ounces full-fat room temperature cream cheese, cubed
  • Your choice of toppings and sides, for serving


  1. Place all of the ingredients except the chicken and cream cheese into the slow cooker insert. Stir to combine. Submerge the chicken breasts in the base.
  2. Cover and cook undisturbed on low heat for 7 hours or on high heat for 4 hours.
  3. Leave the slow cooker on warm. Remove the chicken breasts from the slow cooker and place them on a large cutting board. Shred the chicken with two forks and set aside.
  4. Add the cubed cream cheese into the chili base. Whisk until completely melted and combined.
  5. Use an immersion blender to puree 1/3 of the base for about 30 seconds.
  6. Transfer the shredded chicken back into the base. Stir to combine.
  7. Divide the chili among dinner bowls. Serve hot with your preferred garnishes and sides.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Category: Chili
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Stew

Keywords: slow, cooker, chicken, chili

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep

Set out your slow cooker. If you haven’t used it in a while, you may need to clean the insert and lid.

Horizontal image of assorted ingredients in piles in a black ceramic insert.

Measure out the chicken stock, corn, salt, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and black pepper – freshly cracked is best!

Place a colander in your sink. Open the three cans of white beans and drain them in the colander. Using cold water, thoroughly rinse them. Shake off any excess water.

Open the two cans of diced green chilis. Depending on your personal spice level preference, you can use a mild or spicy version.

Using a sharp knife and sturdy cutting board, dice the white onion, mince the garlic or use a garlic press, and chop the jalapeno. If you prefer a milder chili, remove and dispose of the membrane and seeds from the jalapeno.

Place all of these ingredients directly into the slow cooker insert. Stir the ingredients with a spoon or spatula to combine them.

Submerge the chicken breasts into this mixture. If you prefer dark meat, you can use 1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead.

Horizontal image of a mix of beans, corn, onions, and aromatics in a ceramic insert.

While you will not need the cream cheese until the cooking process is nearly over, you can dice the cream cheese now, cover it, and store it in your refrigerator.

This is also the right time to decide on the toppings and sides you want to serve with your chili.

Suggested serving options include:

  • Cilantro leaves
  • Cornbread
  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Lime wedges
  • Salsa
  • Scallions
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced jalapeno
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla chips
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds

You may even want to make some of these from scratch! Bake homemade cornbread skillet biscuits, make a spicy batch of salsa verde, or fry your own tortilla chips.

Step 2 – Cook

Cover and secure the slow cooker with the lid.

Horizontal image of a stew and two poultry breasts in a black ceramic insert.

The length of the cooking time depends on your own schedule:

If you have the time to allow the mixture to slowly simmer away all day, cook it on the low heat setting for seven hours..

However, if you need to get dinner on the table faster than that, choose the high heat setting and cook the chili for four hours.

As long as the onions are softened and the chicken breasts are cooked to at least 165°F (or at least 175°F for thighs) when you insert a thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, your chili is ready to eat. However, the more you let your chili cook, the ingredients will become more tender and the flavors will continue to develop.

When you are about an hour away from the end of your cooking time, remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator and let it sit out at room temperature.

A softer, room temperature cream cheese will melt and mix more readily into the chili base.

Step 3 – Shred the Chicken

After the cooking time is complete, leave the slow cooker on. You’re not done just yet!

Horizontal image of shredded poultry on a cutting board.

Carefully remove the chicken breasts from the insert using heatproof tongs and place them on a large, clean, heatproof cutting board.

Using two forks, shred the chicken. I like a mix of larger and smaller pieces, but you can choose to shred them more evenly.

Set the chicken aside on the cutting board as you move on to the next step.

Step 4 – Mix in the Cream Cheese

Horizontal image of a stew in a black ceramic insert topped with cubes of cream cheese.

Add the cream cheese to the hot chili base.

Use a whisk to mix until it is completely melted and incorporated into the liquid.

Step 5 – Puree Some of the Base

With an immersion blender, blend about one third of the base for 30 seconds to puree some of the beans. This will help to naturally thicken the base without the addition of any thickening agents.

Horizontal image of an immersion blender in a creamy stew in a black ceramic insert.

If you don’t own an immersion blender, you can use a handheld potato masher instead to achieve a similar result, though the base won’t be as creamy.

Or you can skip this step entirely to keep the base as chunky as possible – it’s your choice here!

Step 6 – Mix in the Shredded Chicken

Horizontal top-down image of a thick pale stew with shredded meat, corn, and beans in a white bowl on a wooden board next to assorted produce and tortilla wraps.

Place the shredded chicken back into the base and stir everything together.

Horizontal top-down image of two bowls filled with a thick pale stew topped with various garnishes on a wooden platter next to tortilla wraps.
Divide the chili among dinner bowls and serve with your preferred garnishes and sides. Enjoy!

Can I Leave out the Cream Cheese?

Looking for a lighter version of this recipe? Don’t consume any dairy products?

The cream cheese can be an optional ingredient!

Horizontal close-up image of two bowls filled with a thick stew with avocado, pepper, tomato, and lime garnishes.

You’ll get a decent level of thickness and creaminess simply by pureeing some of the base with the immersion blender, without the addition of cream cheese.

However, if you still crave a richer texture, there are some easy substitutions you can make.

You can use an equal amount of dairy-free cream cheese. Check your grocery store for available products, as many retailers carry an option or two.

You can also use an equal amount – 1/2 cup – of full-fat or light canned coconut milk. This is another dairy-free option that will still provide a smooth, silky finish.

Will you leave the recipe as is, or will you make your own substitutions? What toppings and sides are you excited to serve with this entree? Leave your comments below!

There’s something so fresh and exciting about making tasty alternatives to popular dishes. Be inspired to cook a new recipe outside of your typical comfort zone by checking out a few more of our other homemade chili recipes:

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on September 4, 2014. Last updated on August 14, 2023.

About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

26 thoughts on “Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili”

  1. Yum! I love that there isn’t a laundry list of ingredients, but very important and flavor-packed ingredients. I can just imagine how delicious this tastes!

      • Isn’t that the truth? With grocery prices getting higher and higher, it is so great to find a recipe that is actually affordable and delicious.

        • Grocery prices are crazy! Nothing can stay the same price and sales aren’t even “sales” anymore. I’m always looking for recipes that I can make with cost-effective items. This is perfect.

  2. I just received a slow cooker as a housewarming gift last month. I can’t believe I never had one before then! It has made my life much easier and now I’m always on the hunt for new recipes. I’ve got all of the ingredients for this chili on hand so I ‘m going to try it out tonight. It looks yummy and I’ve always preferred the flavor of chili made with chicken over beef. I like the tortilla idea too. Do you have any suggestions for adding a little spice? A minced pepper or just some chili powder?

  3. I love a good crock pot recipe! A nice crock pot is a must have in the kitchen; it is an absolute life saver. I’ve never made chili with chicken, so this is going to be fun to try. This recipe sounds delicious to make on a cold winter day. It is comfort food at its very best.

  4. When the weather starts to cool down, I will definitely be pulling out my crock pot to try this. It sounds so simple and delicious. Often it seems like white chili doesn’t have enough flavor, but the ingredients and seasonings sound like it would be quite tasty.

  5. Hmmm…i ‘ll be heaping bowls upon bowls of this amazing dish…gladly the recipe is easy to remember…i can see an upcoming weekend to remember :)…can’t wait!

  6. I have a slow cooker and it is my favorite item the kitchen. That being said, I sometimes get sick of making the same things with it. I’ve never actually tried Chicken Chili. My family never made it, and when I thought of chili it was “beef, beef, and beef”.

    I’ll be printing this recipe out so I can try it. It looks easy enough and I won’t have to search high and low stuff to go into the recipe.

  7. We eat a lot of beef chili in my house and like you said it’s a big source of indigestion for us. I didn’t even know you could make chicken chili! I tried it once and it just ended terribly. The ease of the instructions for this one makes me want to try it out, though! I also just love having recipes available for my beloved Crock Pot.


  8. I’ve eaten this recipe before at functions, but never found it posted anywhere. I’m so glad you posted it, I’m definitely going to make it. We recently cut way down on red meat to cut calories and fat in our diet. This will be a very nice alternative to ground turkey – which has taken the place of beef in our lives.

  9. White pepper is one of those spices that don’t get used very often, but can make a big difference in dishes. Here is my easy to remember rule when using white pepper: white pepper in white dishes. It adds a mild pepper flavor without having black flecks in your food. Not that having black flecks is a bad thing, but it just has a nicer appearance and a slightly smoother pepper flavor. Black pepper is a little more bold in flavor, so for white cream sauces, or white bean chili, white pepper is better in my opinion.

  10. This looks and sounds amazing! Lately, I’ve been looking for tasty crock pot recipes. Since I spend my days chasing after my 11 month old I’ve been having a tough time setting aside time to cook. So, I thought I’d try some slow cook recipes. I’m usually awake before my son, that would be a great time to throw everything in the pot!

  11. I totally agree, a crockpot is amazing and a big time saver. Chicken Chili sounds amazing on a cold winter night like tonight. Thanks for the recipe!

  12. Oh wow, thank you! I’ve had chicken Chilli. I loved it and wanted to make it again. But every recipe I find has something just a little different than what I had that time. The little differences are enough to change the entire taste of it. Bieve me, I have tried them all. This one looks good, though. I’ll definitely have to give it a wtry and see how it works out!

  13. I love chili, and I’ve created my own recipe using pork and mixing chickpeas and white navy beans, but your chicken variety sounds delicious, as well. I’m always looking for new low cost meals that will be a hit, so I’m going to make this, and I know it will go over well. I love your serving suggestions of warm tortillas, jalapeno cornbread and shredded cheese.

  14. I was never satisfied with the chili I used to eat at restaurants, it was always missing something. I started doing some research and basically do my own recipe, and every person who ate it loved it! I love cooking white chicken with my chili recipe, is delicious!

  15. I have had white chicken chili in a can last winter. Usually the canned food is never as good as something made from scratch. Then it makes me want to go looking in the kitchen to see what I can come up with. Who can blame a person when throwing everything in a slow cooker is so much easier than standing on your feet in the kitchen all day? Besides, it allows you to multi task and get other things done.

  16. I’ve been thinking about getting a slow cooker for a while. From the other comments, it seems like it’s the perfect cooking tool for a college student like me! Just throw some relatively simple ingredients into a pot then forget about it for a while? Heck yes!

    This recipe also seems delicious and quite cheap. I’ll definitely give it a try.

  17. Mmmm! This dish looks simply delish! I can’t belief how easy the recipe appears to be, and how affordable the ingredients are. We are total chili lovers in my household, and this recipe will certainly come in handy for these cold upcoming months. Thanks alot!

  18. What a nice easy and yummy looking recipe for these cold days ahead. I’ve made white chili in the past, but there are a couple of ingredients in this that I haven’ tried. I’m going to try it with the cloves and diced green chilies. I’ll bet those give it an extra kick.

  19. This recipe looks delicious! I just recently tried chili for the first time and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would but this just looks soo good. I cant wait to get my slow cooker out and make it. I will be making this for dinner sometime this week for sure, I cant wait to see how it turns out.

  20. This recipe seems fairly economical. I love soup, stews, and the like all year round. My only objection to making them in the summer is that it sometimes gets too hot to stand over the stove for a lengthy period of time. However, this crock pot recipe solves that problem entirely. I love using my crock pot in the summer because mine literally puts off no heat in my kitchen at all. Plus, I can run around outside and do fun summertime things while my white chicken chili is cooking!

  21. This is really the time of year where my crock pot because my best friend, and this sounds like a great thing to make in it. The colder weather really brings out my desire to have soup on hand all of the time, and I like the things that are more rare and uncommon, which I would say this is.


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