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White Chicken Chili | Mackin' Cheese

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

Back to school… back to school…

Today is the first day of my last quarter at Northwestern. While the very thought of this sounds like it should provoke deep philosophical insight about the brevity of college or profound resolutions to “live it up!,” I just find myself feeling tired of classes, exams, the inconsistent scheduling, the piles of homework preventing free time on weekends.

I’ve been in school for 18 of my 21 years of life. I’m ready for something else. While I’m going to miss the many easygoing aspects of my life right now, I know I’m fortunate that I feel ready for the next chapter of my life. It was the same way with leaving high school; I was never homesick or lonesome during my first quarter because I spent the 6 months leading up to college knowing that I was ready to be there. Now, I’m spending the 6 months leading up to graduation knowing I’m ready to be in the real world. I’m waiting for it. Anticipating it. Getting excited and even more ready for it. I’m very fortunate for my capacity to change.

White Chicken Chili

This white chicken chili is also something different; a change from the normal conception of consider chili. At least my conception of chili. Growing up, chili was dark, meaty, heavy, with cheese on top. To be honest, my mom made it while I was a picky eater, so I ate macaroni and cheese for dinner instead.

But this chili is light, creamy, chicken-y, and loaded with flavor. I love that it’s thickened up with a cornmeal and milk mixture; it adds a rustic texture and flavor. I thought we had cornmeal on hand, but it turned out to be cornbread mix. It worked fine, and simply tasted like the side of cornbread was mixed right into the dish! The white chicken chili was quick to make and stores great in the freezer, so give it a shot. Whether you’re a college student or out in the “real world,” a quick, yummy meal is something we can all agree on.

Ready? Here we go…

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

Serves: 5 - 6

White Chicken Chili


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
olive oil
2 green bell peppers, finely chopped
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, minced
1 can diced green chilis (optional)
2 15-oz cans white beans (I used great northern beans)
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup cornmeal (I had cornbread mix)
1/4 cup milk
sour cream, for topping
cilantro, for garnish


Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add chicken breasts and cook for 15-20 minutes, until no pink remains in the center. Drain and set chicken aside to cool. When cool, shred with two forks and set aside. Combine the cornmeal and milk together in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers, onion, and jalapeño and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Add the shredded chicken, green chilis, beans, chicken broth, and spices into the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add the cornmeal and milk to the pot and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove and let stand for 10 minutes to thicken. Top with sour cream and cilantro. Enjoy!

Got leftovers? Freeze them!


Adapted from Pinch of Yum


2 Thoughts on “White Chicken Chili

  1. linda Baxter on January 7, 2013 at 10:37 am said:

    The mom who makes the dark chili likes this one too. I have a few portions waiting in the freezer, ready for a cold night when I don’t feel like cooking. Mom

  2. Looks tasty! I think you could make the chicken even better if you avoided boiling it. Have you tried poaching? Instead of using a full pot of boiling water, add enough just to cover, bring to a boil, cover the pot and drop to a very slow simmer. You’ll end up with a juicier shredded chicken, and you can even poach in a broth or add herbs to the poaching liquid. Don’t worry if it’s not FDA safe cooked all the way through when you stop poaching, because you’re going to bring it back to temp when you add everything to the chili.

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