Living with multiple sclerosis, Learning to make the world accessible, Loving life with all of its challenges

This White Bean Chicken chili is the perfect dish when winter days turn cold and you’re looking for warmth from the inside out.

This healthy twist on the classic favorite offers up the same hearty goodness of its origins without weighing you down. Blending poblanos and cilantro with a white bean base, the delectable mix of southern flavors stays true to its roots. Just like the trailblazers that enjoyed the original bowls of chili, you’ll find comfort, warmth, fuel, and a tasty dish that will have people begging for another bowl.

White Bean Chicken Chili
Simmering White Bean Chicken Chili


Ingredients for White Bean Chicken Chili

This is a simple dish that is ingredient light and flavor heavy. The staples for white bean chicken chili are in the title – you’ll need white beans and chicken. The southwestern flavor comes from poblano peppers, garlic, onion, chili powder, and cumin.

We use a basic chicken stock for the broth and you’ll also need a little olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. That’s it! You may have everything you need for white bean chicken chili in your kitchen right now.

Putting Together the Chili

The beauty of this dish is that all of this rich, spicy flavor comes together in just about 45 minutes, which includes the cooking time on your chicken. If you’re looking for a great spicy flavor that doesn’t require the plan ahead of a crock pot, this is definitely your chili.

First, you’ll need to prep your ingredients. Fill a sauce pan with water and put your chicken breast in. Bring to a soft boil and cook until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Depending on the thickness and size of the chicken you are looking at 30-45 minutes. The skin will be white and firm, but easily pull apart with a fork. There shouldn’t be any pink in the chicken. You want to boil it until it is tender, but not overcook it to where it’s too firm.

If you don’t want to worry about the cooking of the chicken or don’t have time to boil the chicken, you can also pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store.

Dicing Poblanos

While your chicken is cooking, dice your poblanos, onions, and garlic. Drain and then rinse your beans to remove all liquid from the can.

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat and saute the onion, garlic, and poblano until they have softened some and have a glossy texture – about 4-5 minutes. Your kitchen will have a lovely spicy smell at this point!

White Bean Chicken Chili Simmering in Pot

Add the chicken stock, cumin, and chili powder. Stir to combine and put on medium heat.

While the mixture is heating, combine 1 can’s worth of beans and 1 cup of the soup mix that is heating in the pot to a blender or food processor. Blend into a puree that will have the consistency of tomato soup from a can. This paste will be added to your soup mix and thicken the broth so your chili has a richer consistency than a chicken stock broth.

Mixing Puree Into Chicken

Pull your chicken from the pot and shred it into bite sized pieces.

Add the puree, remaining beans, and chicken to the soup mix and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a slow simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Pull off the heat, ladle it into a bowl and top with your favorite choice of toppings. That’s it! That simple and you are done!

Legumes and MS

This is an interesting recipe for us, as there are some conflicting studies on the effects of legumes on MS. Many articles, such as this one from Medical News Today, tout the high antioxidant and fiber components of the beans as positive factors for an MS diet.

Other articles such as this one from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition warn against including legumes in an MS diet.

That being said, we also want to make sure people have some of the different information we have read and make decisions based on their own personal choices and health.

In doing our research, we have opted to move forward with incorporating the white beans and legumes into our diet, as we feel the benefits offered by the beans are significant. We felt that the research we found restricting legumes from the diet is not conclusive enough to warrant pulling the beans from our diet.

The Origins of Chili

An American classic, the origins of chili stem back to the 18th century along the area of the Southern Texas border. Early settlements are credited with mixing beans, beef and the area peppers to stretch their food for as many people as possible. The dish really took off as fuel sustaining the cowboys and miners following the gold trails west. Blocks of meat, salt and beans were pounded together for easy travel and then immersed into boiling water at meal time. Guess you could call it the early version of the trail bar!

The ease, low cost, and scrumptious taste of this meal took hold in the Southwest, and soon had a steadfast following. It became so popular in the local prisons inmates would write for the recipe after they’d been released! Interested in reading more about this historical American dish? Click here.

Please visit our Resources page if you are interested in finding some of the tools and gadgets Dre uses to make cooking accessible while cooking with MS.

Difficulty: Intermediate Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 40 min Total Time 50 mins Servings: 3 Best Season: Fall



  1. Fill a sauce pan with water. Add your chicken breasts and bring to a soft boil. Boil until thoroughly cooked - roughly  30-45 minutes, depending on the thickness and size of the chicken breasts. When the chicken is done shred into bite size chunks.

    Shredded Chicken
    Chicken will be white and firm to the touch when finished. You will be able to pull apart the chicken without too much difficulty and there should not be any pink in the center. While your chicken is cooking you can prepare the rest of your chili.
  2. Rinse and drain your beans. Dice the garlic, poblano, and onion.

  3. Put oil into a large stock pan. Add poblano and onion and stir until shiny and starting to soften, about four minutes. Add the garlic for the last 30 seconds. 

    Vegetables in Pot
  4. Add chicken stock, cumin and chili powder to vegetables. Stir to combine.

    White Bean Chicken Chili Stock
    You can use the drained off water from your boiled chicken instead of chicken stock.
  5. While the mixture is heating, combine 1 can’s worth of beans and 1 cup of soup mix into a blender. Blend to a puree.

    White Bean Puree
    You will pull the soup mix from the mixture in the pan.
  6. Add the puree, remaining beans, and the chicken into the soup mix. Stir to combine.

  7. Reduce to a slow simmer, salt/pepper to taste and simmer 10-15 minutes.

    White Bean Chicken Chili in Pot
    The chili is ready to serve once all of the ingredients are mixed in. The additional simmer time is to allow the flavors to seep into the chicken. While you are simmering the chili you can slice and prepare condiments for the toppings.
  8. Serve warm topped with your favorite garnishes. Our favorites include sliced avocado, grated cheese, cilantro, tortilla strips, sour cream, and lime!

    Toppings For White Bean Chicken Chili
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