This Poblano White Chicken Chili recipe comes together quickly in less than 30 minutes and is so flavorful and comforting.
As soon as the weather begins to cool off each fall, I have a bit of an obsession for making sure that we always have some sort of chili all meal-prepped, stocked in the freezer, and ready to reheat for a quick lunch or dinner whenever those last-minute soup cravings arise. We usually meal-prep some sort of plant-based chili to keep on hand, so that my vegetarian husband can enjoy it too. But this fall, while pregnancy has had me craving so much chicken (lol, if you couldn’t tell by this month’s list of recipes), this poblano white chicken chili has been totally hitting the spot. ♡
It’s loaded up with tons of beans and chicken for protein, plus lots of zesty poblano peppers to add some extra flavor and a touch of heat. And when piled high with all of my favorite toppings (you know me and chili, the more the merrier!), this white chicken chili is so cozy and flavorful and hits the spot every single time.
I’m also extra-partial to this recipe because it comes together very quickly in less than 30 minutes. And instead of adding any extra flours or cornstarch as a thickener, I just puréed a can of beans in the blender and added it to the soup, which adds some nice extra protein and works like a charm. (And also keeps this chili gluten-free!) Oh, and if you can’t find poblano peppers at your grocery store, I’ve included an option below to just use canned diced green chiles instead.
Let’s make some white chicken chili!
Poblano White Chicken Chili Ingredients:
Before we get to the full recipe below, here are a few brief notes on the ingredients you will need to make this poblano white chicken chili recipe:
Veggies: A simple blend of onion, poblano peppers (of course!) and garlic. If you would like to make the soup even spicier, you are welcome to add in a diced jalapeño or serrano pepper to the veggie sauté as well.
Chicken stock: Because the ingredient list here is so short, I recommend investing in a good-quality brand of chicken (or vegetable) stock for this soup.
Seasonings: Ground cumin and chili powder.
Beans: I used Great Northern white beans for my chili, but pinto beans would be a delicious option too. We will purée one can of beans with a ladle-full of soup, in order to thicken the broth a bit. Then the remaining cans will be added to the chili.
Chicken: We will need about 1 pound of diced or shredded cooked chicken for the soup. I just used some leftover baked chicken breasts that I shredded, but a rotisserie chicken would make prep for this soup a breeze. Or alternately, I have also included an option below for how to cook your chicken breasts directly in the soup itself.
Toppings: As I always say with any chili, toppings are key here! I recommend piling your white chicken chili high with as many toppings as possible, plus a lime wedge or two. Some great options would include chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado, diced red or green onions, grated or crumbled cheese, sliced jalapeños, sour cream, and/or tortilla strips.
Possible Recipe Variations:
This recipe is incredibly flexible, so please feel free to tinker around with the ingredients and add in whatever you love best! For example, feel free to…
Cook the chicken in the soup: Instead of adding pre-cooked diced or shredded chicken to the soup, feel free to just simmer raw boneless chicken breasts or thighs (about 1 pound) in the broth for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Then transfer the chicken to a clean plate, dice or shred it with two forks, and return it to the soup.
Thicken the soup with masa harina: If you would like to thicken the broth even more, feel free to sauté a tablespoon or two of masa harina with the veggies (after adding the garlic) before adding in the broth.
Add diced tomatoes, hominy or corn: Feel free to also add in a can of diced tomatoes, a can of (drained) hominy, or a 1/2 cup of whole-kernel corn if you would like as well.
Use canned green chiles: If you can’t find fresh poblano peppers at your grocery store, feel free to sub in 2 (4-ounce) cans of diced green chiles instead.
Make it less spicy: Poblano peppers are quite mild, but still do pack a bit of heat. So if you would like to make this soup less spicy, I recommend using just 1 instead of 2 poblanos.
More Favorite Chili Recipes:
Looking for more chili recipes to try this winter? Here are a few of my all-time favorite chili recipes:
Ultimate Chili: My go-to recipe for classic, cozy, red chili. Stovetop, Instant Pot, or Crock-Pot friendly.
Vegetarian Chili:One of my favorite recipes for vegetarian chili made with lentils, beans, and a variety of veggies.
3 (15-ounce) cans white or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups (about 1 pound) diced or shredded cooked chicken*
fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
toppings: chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado, diced red or green onions, fresh lime wedges, grated or crumbled cheese, sliced jalapeños, sour cream, tortilla strips
Sauté the veggies. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and poblano peppers and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 more minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant.
Add the next round of ingredients. Add the chicken stock, ground cumin, chili powder and stir to combine.
Blend the beans. While the soup is heating, ladle out about 1 cup of the soup and transfer it to a blender.* Add one (rinsed and drained) can of beans to the blender too, then purée until smooth.
Add the remaining ingredients. Add the purée, chicken, and the remaining 2 cans of beans to the soup and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain the simmer and cook for 5 more minutes.
Season. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Serve. Serve warm, garnished with lots (and lots!) of your favorite toppings.
Blending options: Alternately, you could add the beans to the soup and use an immersion blender to purée part of the soup directly in the stockpot, instead of using a traditional blender. Or you could just skip the puréeing step altogether.
Storage instructions: Leftover chili can be transferred (once it has cooled to room temperature) to food storage containers and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.