Shortcut White Bean and Chicken Chili This popular chicken stew has several aliases: White Chili, White Bean Chicken Chilli, Chicken Chilli. This quick and easy version will put "whatever you wanna call it" on the table for dinner quickly.

Shortcut White Bean and Chicken Chili

Can you believe with Shortcut White Bean and Chicken Chili, you don’t have to soak the beans. You don’t even have to use a pressure cooker or slow cooker to make it. Read on to find the shortcut recipe.

Shortcut White Bean Chicken Chili has all the flavor of slow cooked beans and chicken but uses canned beans so you can get dinner on the table quicker! A lime squeezed over the top and sprinkled with Monterey Jack Cheese is over the top good

I’ll come back to the chili in a minute but first I have to share some “soup scoop”! On my Facebook page this week, I asked you to tell me your favorite soup. I figured I’d get a few potato, a few beef stew, maybe tomato and gumbo. After 30 years of developing recipes and 20 of those working in a professional test kitchen, I thought I’d pretty much heard of everything.

BOY howdy did y’all surprise me and in a good way!


Along with the tomato, potato, butternut squash, Posole, chicken enchilada, Zuppa, Southwest chicken, 15 bean, egg drop, broccoli and Cheddar, vegetable, and beef stew were three recipes (or ingredients) that were new to me. (I get excited about food, ingredients, or names of food that I have heard of before-can you tell?)

Swamp Soup, Dill Pickle Soup and the ingredient that I’ve heard of but not cooked with to thicken chicken soup is Yuca-and I certainly didn’t know you could buy it in the frozen section of Walmart! Thanks to Jean for the tip! Swamp Soup is just a fun name, I don’t care who you are. Connie said Fish River Grill in Gulf Shores serves it but she makes her own version of the turnip greens, white beans, and black beans concoction.

Putting that restaurant on my bucket list, now! It sounds similar to a soup my sweet friends Deanna and Martha used to make at our church potlucks called Turnip Green Soup. It is literally 3 ingredients (my kind of soup)- one 28-oz can of seasoned turnip greens, one can of Rotel tomatoes and chiles, one can of navy beans, and “some chopped ham” and heat it up. I didn’t think I would like canned turnip greens because I love the fresh ones but it surprised me.

Ok. The Dill Pickle Soup is a totally new concept for me. I’m still trying to decide how I feel about it. I mean, I love dill pickles but ground beef and potatoes AND dill pickles in stew?  I must try it! Charity, when you make a pot of this curious creation, text me and I’ll send Grayson by to bring me a sample. I’ll barter and send you a dessert!

Now, back to the chicken chili recipe.

Here’s the shortcut

Shortcut White Bean Chicken Chili is in my Top 3 go-to soups/stews/chilis. This soup fits the bill whether it’s Winter and I am nesting with a cup of hot soup on the couch or it’s Summertime and I need to make something quickly that serves a crowd for a church potluck. (You know the weather here in Alabama is pretty much the same both seasons-just different degrees of warm!)

Using canned Navy or Great Northern beans is a big shortcut but here’s one more. Instead of simmering chicken on the bone in water (which could be a long time if it’s a whole bird) I like to use rotisserie chicken or bake chicken breasts while I’m prepping the soup.

How to make the soup

5 chicken breasts cooked on foil lined pan

Just bake small breasts at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until they reach 165 degrees. (the green legs sticking out of from under the pan are my favorite silicone trivets-they fold up and store in the drawer!

My favorite way to check any meat or poultry for doneness is an infrared thermometer. You literally just point and “shoot” and it tells you the internal temperature of the meat. I don’t have to wash the thermometer or worry if I’ve sterilized it well enough.

Baked chicken breasts shred best when they are warm right out of the oven.

Baked chicken breasts shred best when they are warm right out of the oven. Use two forks to pull the chicken apart and cut into bite-size pieces, if necessary. Another tip is to place a kitchen towel under your cutting board so it doesn’t slide around.

Simmer all the ingredients on the stovetop for 15 minutes.

Simmering White Bean Chicken Chili. If you prefer a creamier, less brothy soup, partially mash the beans with a potato masher right in the soup pot.

Tip: If you would like a creamier, less brothy soup, mash half of the beans before adding or just partially mash them in the soup pot with a potato masher.

Shortcut White Bean Chicken Chili with Monterey Jack Cheese and lime are just two of my favorite toppings. Add sour cream, cilantro, and salsa if you like.

Monterey Jack Cheese and lime juice are just two of my favorite toppings for this soup. Add sour cream, cilantro, and salsa if you like.

Cornbread is the perfect bread for this soup. Try my Broccoli Cheese Cornbread or Vidalia Onion Cornbread. Tortilla chips is a possibility, too!

For more Southern shortcut recipes be sure to follow me on FacebookInstagramPinterest and Twitter . Don’t leave before you send me your email address here so you don’t miss a single post!

Shortcut White Bean and Chicken Chili
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Shortcut White Bean Chicken Chili has all the flavor of slow cooked beans and chicken but uses canned beans so you can get dinner on the table quicker!
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: broth, chicken, chile, easy, great northern beans, navy beans, shortcut, soup
Servings: 8 servings
  • 5 small chicken breast halves or 4 cups shredded cooked
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper optional
  • 1 small onion, chopped 1 cup
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 32 oz carton chicken broth or stock 4 cups
  • 3 15.8 oz cans Great Northern or Navy beans drained
  • 1 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Lime wedges
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

  2. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean up) and place the chicken on the foiled coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt (and pepper), if desired. Bake for 25 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees with an instant read thermometer.

  3. Meanwhile, chop the onion and garlic. Cook the onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon oil in an 8 quart pot over medium heat, stirring often until onion is almost tender.

  4. Add chicken broth to deglaze the pan then add the green chiles, cumin, oregano, and salt. 

  5. When the chicken is done, place the breasts on a cutting board and shred by pulling it apart with two forks. You may have to cut some of the pieces into bite size pieces. Add the chicken to the soup mixture. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer 15 minutes.

    If you prefer a more creamy texture, partially mash the beans with a potato masher right in the pot.

  6. Serve in bowls and top with cheese and a squeeze of fresh lime.

Author: gritsandgouda

Hi! I’m Kathleen. I’m a food stylist, recipe developer, cookbook author, and event planner loving life in a charming town called Gardendale, Alabama, with my husband and two teenage children. I love to cook and laugh…not necessarily in that order.

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