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White Bean Chicken Chili

5 from 1 vote

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White bean and chicken chili flavor-boosted with bold, smoky spice, chipotle chili and sharp cheddar cheese.

White Bean Chicken Chili with Chorizo Spice

Hearty, creamy white-bean chili (or any kind of chili, really) always makes me think of unstructured fall Sunday afternoons.

It’s what I love most about the seasons changing — that the food we’re hungry for transitions along with them, each day bringing new cravings and things to cook.

Like any great soup or stew, chili is a one-pot wonder.

You can make it a day or two ahead (it only tastes better!), it’s deliciously satisfying and everyone is happy to have a warm bowl of it in front of them.

White Bean Chicken Chili with Chorizo Spice

I like chili on the thicker side, with lots of beans and really bold spices.

So with this recipe, I took a cue from the smoky flavors of Mexican chorizo sausage, which I sometimes crumble and cook with the chili.

Traditionally, Mexican-style chorizo is a raw sausage (as opposed to cured, dried Spanish-style chorizo) made with pork and lots of seasoning.

White bean chicken chili flavor-boosted with bold, smoky spices, chipotle chili and sharp tangy cheddar cheese.

Next to the chorizo, chicken makes a good neutral canvas for the colorful blend of spices.

Two kinds of paprika — sweet and smoked —  plus the heat of smoked chipotle peppers make this deep-red chili super flavorful.

Make a pot on a leisurely weekend, and double the recipe if you have a hungry family or want leftovers for another meal.

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white bean chicken chili with chorizo spices and cheddar

White Bean Chicken Chili

Karen Tedesco
A hearty chicken and white bean chili flavor-boosted with bold, smoky spices, chipotle chili and sharp tangy cheddar cheese.
Print Pin
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Soup and Stew
Cuisine soup/stew
Servings 6 servings


  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium to large red bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (45 g) EACH: ground cumin, ground coriander and paprika
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Black peppercorns in a peppermill
  • 1 pound (800 g) ground chicken thigh
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 g) tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle chili with adobo sauce, chopped or pureed
  • 3 15-ounce cans white navy or Great Northern beans, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) creme fraiche or plain yogurt
  • Thinly sliced jalapeno, optional for serving


  • Heat the oil in a wide pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper and jalapeno and cook 3-5 minutes over medium heat, until the onion is softened.
  • Stir in the ground spices, cayenne and 8 – 10 grinds of black pepper. Let the spices cook in the oil for about a minute to bloom their flavor. 
  • Add the chicken to the pot. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, stirring frequently to break the meat into pieces.
  • Stir in the salt, tomato paste, chipotle, beans and water. Bring to a simmer. Drop the bay leaf into the pot and partially cover. Turn down the heat to a gentle bubble and cook 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
  • Serve the chili in bowls topped with a spoonful of creme fraiche, some cheddar and jalapeno slices, if you like.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 820mg | Potassium: 453mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1855IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 326mg | Iron: 2mg
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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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  1. OK, so I just made this tonight and my son declared it the best chili he has ever eaten! The complex flavors are fantastic; no further hot sauce required. I did need to add twice as much water as was called for but otherwise it was perfect.

    1. Taina, that’s amazing! I know when my kids say they love a dish it’s a keeper.

      And thank you for pointing out that you needed to add more water – there was a typo in the recipe and I’ve corrected it – should have been 1 1/2 cups, not 3/4 cup water.

  2. this looks amaaaaazing! fabulous photography, too.