Sailboat Galley – White Chicken Chili

White chicken chili is made with white beans, chicken (sometimes pork), and mild green chiles. (That said, if you must, must have scorching heat in your chili, there are ways to do that while still keeping the chili white.

White chicken chili can be healthier and leaner without all the calories! Chicken chili is always the cleaner option for protein when it comes to chili. Sometimes people think that chili should be made with beef or pork because the fat brings more flavor.

White chicken chili peppers reduce the damaging effects of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is your bad cholesterol. And capsaicin helps fight inflammation, which has been proven as a risk factor for heart issues.

You must use White Chicken Chili


Prep Time

15 mins

Cook Time

45 mins

Total Time

1 hr


8 sailors


How to prepare it:

  • Sauté garlic and onion in oil. 
  • Add peppers and spices, and cook for 2 minutes. 
  • Add stock, beans, chicken, and half the cheese. (If desired, can be made ahead to this point; I then start it simmering as the game begins.) Simmer for 45 minutes or longer, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve in bowls or mugs and garnish with the rest of the cheese and sour cream


  • Use 2 7-ounce cans of mild or medium chilies instead of fresh
  • Chicken stock may be made from bouillon
  • Use any other type of white beans for the cannellini beans; can use other colors of beans but then it will not be a white chili
  • Use 24 ounces of canned pre-cooked chicken instead of the chicken breasts; can use other cuts of chicken
  • Use other cheese that will melt in place of the Monterey Jack. 4 cups is about two pounds of cheese.
  • Can also garnish with strips or rings of peppers and a few slices of green onion tops.

Milder Variation: Use sweet peppers and/or decrease amount and decrease or omit the cayenne pepper.

Dairy-Free Variation: Cheese and sour cream can be omitted for those who can’t eat it. To make, separate one or more servings before adding the cheese to the chili, and simmer in a second pan.

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