It is an easy and healthy version of crock pot chicken chili with cream cheese. Perfect for 4 servings and any leftovers can be refrigerated, it tastes better on the next day too!
Your favorite new comfort food recipe!
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Why It's Yummy
- This chili is definitely a crowd pleaser that is made in a slow cooker with minimal effort.
- I love this chili so much because it is not heavy as other chilis may taste and I can eat it with plenty of my favorite chili toppings! I also used low-fat cream cheese here which works beautifully for achieving a perfect creamy texture.
- Blanched flavors and moderately spicy. You can decide how much spicy you want it to be.
Next time, try my Healthy White Bean Chicken Chili made on the stove, and with delicious salsa!
My few comments on the ingredients + don't forget to read the Tips section!
The full recipe and ingredients can be found in the recipe card below this post.
- Seasonings - It is easier and ‘’quicker’’ crock pot chicken chili because it's made with ground spices and canned chiles. A combination of various spices is what gives the chili its authentic flavor, especially chiles which are very popular in Mexican dishes. Alternatively, a packet of taco seasoning or burrito seasoning should work here as well, however, I haven’t tried this version yet.
- Chicken - for easier and quicker chicken chili, use boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts. I prefer chicken thighs as they are juicier and smoother than chicken breast. Feel free to use any chicken pieces on bone, this is what will give even more flavor, although will require more prep work on your side. You can cook it up and remove it from the chili later to shred or dice into cubes and return to the pot later.
- Alternatively, ground beef and ground turkey are fine too!
- Broth - I suggest using low sodium chicken or vegetable broth or making your own from prepacked soup veggies! Don’t add too much salt in the beginning, taste for seasoning towards the end when adding cream cheese.
- Beans - large white beans (Cannellini beans) or butter beans are my go-to here. They are large-sized beans, with ‘’meaty’’ texture, and nutty flavor they are often best to use in soups, chilis, and some sauces. My next up would be Great Northern Beans, Navy beans, Garbanzo beans aka chickpeas, Pinto beans, and Red Kidney beans. But as we are here going for more of a healthy white chicken chili look, white beans are favored.
This is the easiest way to make this creamy white chicken chili. Crock pot and air fryer recipes are our family's favorite things!
Prep the Chicken. Wash and pat dry chicken thighs (or whatever boneless skinless chicken part you are using) and trim removing any excess fat.
Place in a slow cooker (I used 4.5 quart Crock Pot) and top with spices and the rest ingredients.
Cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 3 hours. Remove chicken and shred it with a fork or handheld mixer (faster).
Return the shredded chicken back to the crock pot. In a small bowl mix cream cheese with a couple of spoonfuls of chili liquid. Stir this mixture in the chili and close the lid.
Cook on HIGH for 15 -30 minutes and until chili starts to thicken.
Add juice from half of a lime to the soup (to taste). This can also be done when serving individually.
After that taste for seasoning and add more salt/pepper if necessary.
Ladle into serving bowls and add your favorite toppings: Dorito chips, avocado slices, cilantro, and sour cream.
- To thicken chili - you have two options. First is to make a cornstarch slurry by mixing 2 tablespoons of cornstarch plus 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Carefully stir in the mixture after you have added cream cheese. Cook on high for 15 minutes until thickened.
- Or second is to puree the white beans (not all of them just enough for chili to thicken). After you have taken out the chicken to shred, take out some beans or blend the chili with an immersion blender right in the pot (be careful not to scratch the surface of the slow cooker). After that, cook on HIGH for 15 minutes as mentioned in the instructions. This may result in not being as thick as you’d like and there's a risk of ''over-blending'' will lose the ‘’chunky’’ feel to it. Chili will thicken on its own after a while anyway. Cornstarch is naturally gluten-free, however, it can be made in manufacturing facilities together with gluten-free products. To be on the safe side, always double-check the label and ingredients.
- Spicy or mild - Chili itself is supposed to be spicy and you can balance the flavors off by serving it with sour cream, yogurt, guacamole, tortilla chips, or rice. A good rule of thumb in making any spicy food is to add spicy ingredients gradually, less is more and if anything, extra heat can be added later to the pot or to individual serving bowls. Also, chili will become more flavorful and possibly spicier after day 1. If it's your first time making chili, you can only add ¼ cup of green chiles.
- Rinse and drain the beans - despite the fact that some chefs prefer to use cooking that thick liquid from the can the beans came from, it is not the best idea in my opinion. It has a lot of starch and is usually full of sodium. When purchasing beans, look for a low sodium label.
- Looking for more gluten-free chili recipes or craving more bean recipes? Try these next: Beans and Cornbread, Beef Enchilada Casserole, Vegetarian Enchiladas, Easy Vegan Chili.
- A trio of beans. Mix things up a little! You can use just white beans in this recipe or mix things up a little by adding different beans: black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans (the same amount though or a little more is fine). Bigger beans will not become mushy so easily and chili will look ‘’fresh’’ for longer. If you don't have enough beans, you can easily substitute the rest with green, black or red lentils. These can be cooked separately, except red lentils which will cook very fast and therefore can be added to the pot towards the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time (before adding cream cheese).
- Chipotle powder - if you have fresh or dried chipotle peppers, even better! This is a quick version of chili, so I used organic chipotle powder as it adds unbelievable depth of flavor, and smokiness to any chili, stew, or Mexican dish. If you can't find it, cayenne or chili powder are great options but they are simply not the same still.
What to serve with white chicken chili? Chili is quite fulfilling on it's own BUT no one said you can't have any side dishes with it!
And you are in luck, there are a ton of great choices!
Besides the various toppings you can add you have an array of side dishes that will make this a wholesome meal.
Here's my favorite things to serve with chili:
And hey, why not start your dinner with a flavorful Skinny Watermelon Margaritas ? 🙂
What else could you add to this healthy white bean chicken chili?
- Chunky Vegetables - carrots, celery, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, meaty mushrooms.
- Add more bulk to your chicken chili - lentils or extra type of beans such as red kidney beans or chickpeas will make your chicken chili ultra thick.
- If you have dry ranch dressing mix you can add 1 teaspoon to this chili for more flavor.
Freezing And Storing Instructions
The white chili recipe is the type of dish that is loaded with protein and hearty ingredients without being too heavy.
A hearty crock pot chicken chili you'll want to make again and again.
To Store. Store leftover chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
How long does chicken chili last in the fridge? Although I am not a fan of freezing food, but this chili is a great freezer meal too!
I found this chili freezes beautifully and holds up the great flavor after thawing. True comfort food at its finest!
Place the chili in an airtight freezer-safe storage container and freeze for up to 2 months.
Don't use glass as the chili will thicken and may rupture the glass when frozen. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
To reheat add a little bit of warm broth or water.
The best way to thicken a white chili is to add a cornstarch or flour slurry towards the end of the cooking process. Potato starch and arrowroot are rarer but will also work as thickening agents. These ingredients need to be mixed with water prior until creamy and should have no lumps when added to chili.
Chili is delicious on its own but not as good without the toppings! Think large dollops of sour cream, creme fraiche, yogurt, jalapenos, fresh cilantro, lime, avocado or guacamole, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes, sweet corn, cotija cheese, tortilla chips. Also, try adding a pinch or two of cocoa powder which helps spices to open more which will result in a richer flavor.
Chilis usually thicken as they simmer, and even more, after they have been refrigerated. However, if your chili is extremely runny, you can add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed prior with 2 tablespoons of water and stir it right into the pot, continuously whisking. The thickening should happen in about 5 minutes of simmering on low heat.
The best beans to use in chili will depend on the method of preparation of your chili. For a quick chili, any beans will work, especially the white ones and chickpeas. For more complex chili recipes and slow cooker chili, I’d recommend using dark red kidney beans as they hold up their texture really well during long simmering.
Easy Chili Recipes
Easy Mexican Dinner Recipes
ALL DINNER recipes.
- Beef Enchilada Casserole
- Mango Salsa
- Cajun Corn On The Cob
- Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada
- Chicken Enchiladas With White Sauce
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Thank you for reading,
Crock Pot Chicken Chili With Cream Cheese
- 10 oz chicken thighs boneless skinless, or chicken breast, see notes
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic medium, minced
- ¾ cup canned corn frozen, freshly cooked, or canned
- 2 cups chicken broth low sodium
- 1 can (15 oz) can of white beans see notes
- ½ cup green chilies canned or use 2 fresh, 1 mild 1 hot
- 8 oz cream cheese low fat
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder or chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cilantro coriander, or sub with coriander powder
- salt to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Prep the Chicken. Wash and pat dry chicken thighs (or whatever boneless skinless chicken part you are using) and trim removing any excess fat.
- Place in a slow cooker (Iused 4.5 quart Crock Pot) and top with spices and the rest ingredients.
- Cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 3 hours. Remove chicken and shred it with a fork or handheld mixer (faster). Return the shredded chicken to the crock pot.
- In a small bowl mix cream cheese with a couple of spoonfuls of chili liquid. Stir this mixture in the chili and close the lid.
- Cook on HIGH for 15 -30 minutes and until chili starts to thicken. Add juice from half of a lime to the soup (to taste). This can also be done when serving individually.
- After that taste for seasoning and add more salt/pepper if necessary.
- Ladle into serving bowls and add your favorite toppings: Dorito chips, avocado slices, cilantro, and sour cream.
- Chicken - 10 oz is perfectly fine for 4 people but if you want meatier and thicker chili you can add up to 1 lb of boneless skinless chicken.
- Beans - You can use just white beans (Butter beans, Cannelini beans) in this recipe or mix things up a little by adding different beans: black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans (the same amount though or a little more is fine). Bigger beans will not become mushy so easily and chili will look ‘’fresh’’ for longer. If you have only a little bit of beans, you can easily substitute the rest with green, black, or red lentils. These can be cooked separately, except red lentils which will cook very fast and therefore can be added to the pot towards the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time, before adding cream cheese.