Tennessee White Chili Recipe

Jan 30, 2012 4:31 pm

This white chicken chili recipe keeps it light

white chicken chili recipe
Photo: Mary Britton Senseney
Easy white chicken chili is a lighter alternative to ground beef and tomato chili. Ready to expand your chili repertoire?

Contrary to popular opinion, a great chili recipe doesn't have to be a thick, red beef-based cocoction served with shredded cheese and sour cream. Fans of juicy, tender chicken breast, rejoice! Down in Tennessee, "white chili" is more like a hearty chicken stew with the toasty cumin and rich bean flavor you love...served with shredded cheese and sour cream. Plus it doesn't involve three hours of simmering, if you find yourself short on time. Either way, if you want to go all Top Chef at your tailgate and present "Chili Two Ways," learning our classic slow-cooker recipe and Tennessee white chili puts you two steps ahead of the game. 

Servings: 6


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken breast, cut into small cubes
3 15-ounce cans Great Northern or cannellini beans
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
chicken broth, to desired consistency
shredded monterey jack, to garnish
  1. Heat the oil in a 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.
  2. Stir in the chicken, beans, cilantro, cumin, salt, and cayenne and simmer 30 minutes. If you like, you can add chicken broth as you prefer.
  3. Ladle the chili into bowls and garnish each serving with cheese, sour cream and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.
Level of Difficulty: 
Prep Time: 
15 minutes
Cooking Time: 
40 minutes
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