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.
Can you roast the poblano peppers before putting them in the chili? Would it change the flavor of the dish too much?
I’m sure roasted poblano would be great. Then it would be more similar to the canned chiles, which are roasted. Also, roasting helps you remove the waxy skin off the poblanos which is nice.
Oh, this sounds exactly like something I need right now! Thank you! I am craving chicken also….but I don’t have the added delight of being pregnant, lol!
(some big ol’ CONGRATULATIONS to you on that, by the way- I hope your pregnancy is smooth, healthy, and delightful!!!!! )
What can I used instead of poblano? Not sure if I can get one over here but we get jalapeno. This looks very comforting. :)
You could add two 4-ounce cans of diced green chiles instead, if you can’t find poblanos. :)
This was really good! I used diced canned chilies in place of the poblanos and used half the amount of cumin and it had just the right amount of heat. Next time I will use one more can of beans. It was a bit soupier than I expected so might also thicken it next time. But overall this was so easy and so good! Will definitely be making this again.
Just made this chili this morning and it is so hearty and warm. I used fresh poblano peppers in recipe. Before eating, I added fresh avocado, Cabot habanero cheese (shredded) and sour cream. This is the BEST white chili I’ve ever had and I make a lot. (I puréed about 1/2 can of beans with broth and let it cook down for an hour making it thick and rich.
Looks great!! Quick question…where do you find fresh poblano peppers in Barcelona? I only find canned ones unfortunately.
I order them from Jalapeños tu Gitana or sometimes find them at the tortilla store up in Gracia. :)
I was so excited to try this recipe as I don’t eat dairy but love creamy things. I am always looking for inventive ways to cook dairy free. Thanks for the great idea of blending a can of beans to thicken the soup! I made this last week and my family and I all enjoyed it. I think next time I would add one more can of beans to make it really chunky.
This is verrrrrrry tasty. I started with a homemade broth I use for tortilla soup, and I topped it off with sour cream, green onions, and cabbage-lime slaw…YUM. But it’s much more like a soup than a chili IMO — and it makes A LOT. I happened to have a can-and-a-half of pinto beans leftover from dinner, so I made just half a recipe, and it came close to filling 2 quart jars (for a total of about 7 cups of soup). To make it more chili-like, I will reduce the liquid by half next time, plus maybe try the masa harina tip. Thanks for this delicious ingredient combo & congrats on your pregnancy!
Amazing soup! Thanks for sharing! Just made it last night for my parents and everyone loved it. Perfect for fall!
Made this tonight and it turned out great! Thankfully I snagged the last 2 poblano peppers at the store. I used hominy, pinto beans, & kidney beans (because that’s what was in my pantry), and for toppings I did chopped reddish, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, & green onions. I cooked my chicken in the soup, but I overcooked it a bit. ?♀️ Next time I will try using precooked or rotisserie chicken. Thanks for the recipe!
Would this recipe work in the slow cooker?
This was fantastic!!!
Had this with cornbread, was great. I cooked my chicken breast together with the veggies. The veggies I used were kale, tomato, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, corn, spinach, green bean, carrot. The ground beans served to thicken the soup. I added one can of pinto beans to the soup and blended one can canneilli beans. A good recipe, though I prefer my chicken soup using chicken parts with bone. This used 3 chicken breasts. I also added celery and parsley to the soup. My toppings were red onion, sour cream, bandania and feta cheese. I added some Cajun seasoning as well.
Made this last night, it was a big hit with the whole family! I left the unblended beans out and added some frozen corn to bulk it up. Thanks for sharing!
This was delicious. I roasted my poblanos and added a jalapeño. Also added 2T masa to thicken up. Definitely remained soupy.