Instant Pot White Bean and Chicken Chili
Can a soup recipe get much easier than dump and start? Why, yes. Yes it can! This White Bean and Chicken Chili is made in the Instant Pot and uses dried beans and frozen chicken breasts! No soaking the dried beans. No thawing and cooking the chicken ahead of time. Dump in the ingredients and Start the pressure cooker.
I’ve made White Bean and Chicken Chili for over 20 years with canned beans and leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken and love it! Get the recipe here. But recently, I wanted to make it from some dried navy beans I had in my cabinet and I didn’t have any leftover chicken-only frozen chicken breasts and didn’t have time to thaw them.
I looked all over Pinterest and found a couple using dried beans in the Instant Pot but not one using dried beans AND frozen chicken. So, I created one and I’m sharing it with you!
Why use dried beans?
- First, they are a pantry staple. They keep a long time in the plastic bag it comes in or transferred to an air tight storage container.
- Secondly, you won’t find any preservatives, additives, or sodium in dried white beans.
- Thirdly, they are CHEAP! Excuse me, inexpensive.
What are white beans?
There are three (maybe four) types of white beans. Ranging from smallest to largest, there are Navy beans, Great Northern beans, and Cannellini beans.
Navy beans got their name because they were used by the U.S. Navy in the early 20th century. They are often used in baked beans and become soft enough when cooked to mash agains the side of the pot.
Great Northern beans are medium-size white beans with firmer texture that hold their shape when cooked. The Mandan tribe grew them (as well as Navy beans) in what is now North Dakota.
Cannellini beans, also called white kidney beans, are the largest variety and are often used in Italian dishes like Minestrone.
A fourth variety of white are Baby Lima beans. In my Southern opinion, limas are a variety of bean all on their own but they are technically “white” beans. Baby limas are more starchy than the other varieties and are known to fall apart when overcooked-which is exactly how many Southerners like them! I do not recommend using them in Instant Pot White Bean Chicken Chili-but that’s just me.
What is IQF Chicken?
Individually Quick Frozen. A thin layer of ice is “glazed” over each piece of chicken when frozen so they move freely about in the package.
If you buy fresh chicken and freeze it yourself (which I love to do when it is on sale) in the package it comes in, it freezes in one solid clump. This is much too large to add to this soup recipe not to mention, you have to thaw it first to remove the absorbent pad under the chicken breast.
The advantage of buying IQF chicken so you can pull out just what you need without thawing the whole package.
Can I use fresh chicken if mine is not frozen?
I don’t recommend it. For this recipe, I used frozen chicken because the time it takes to cook dried beans in the Instant Pot matches the time it takes to cook large, frozen chicken breasts. Fresh chicken cooked 25 minutes in the Instant Pot will be overcooked.
You could bake the chicken separately while the bean mixture cooks in the pressure cooker, then shred it and add it after the beans are done. For directions on how to bake chicken breasts, I show you how with step by step pictures in my Shortcut White Bean and Chicken Chili recipe.
How to make Instant Pot White Bean and Chicken Chili
Don’t forget the garlic! It is MIA in this pic.
There aren’t many steps to this soup.
- Literally add all the ingredients to the inner pot of the Instant Pot, adding the broth last. Stir the ingredients a little to distribute the seasonings.
- Place the lid on the pot and turn to seal, making sure the silicone ring is in place. Turn the steam release handle on the top to “sealing” not “venting”.
- Press the “Pressure Cook” button until the mode says MORE. The other modes are LESS and NORMAL. Press the +/- button until the screen says 25. This sets the timer. Do nothing at this point and in about 10 seconds it will say “ON”. It will display this for about 18 minutes while the inside of the pot comes up to pressure. Then, it will display 25 and start counting down in 1 minute increments.
Tip: If you have cabinets above your pressure cooker, you can divert the steam from going straight up by holding a kitchen towel over it at an angle.
Remove the lid when the float valve has dropped. You can shred the chicken right in the pot or remove it to a cutting board to shred or chop. Ladle the soup into bowls and add the toppings of your choice and enjoy!
Soup is always better the next day and Instant Pot White Bean and Chicken Chili is no exception. Plan ahead and store it in the fridge for your next get together. Here in Alabama, that means football tailgating!
Watch the ABC 33/40 Talk of Alabama segment
Instant Pot White Bean and Chicken Chili: Dump and Start Recipe with Dried Beans
- pressure cooker
- 3 large individually FROZEN chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds) (or 5 small)
- 1 cup dried navy beans
- 1 10-oz can green enchilada sauce or 4.5-oz can chopped green chiles
- 1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 32-oz carton chicken broth or stock (4 cups)
- Sour cream, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, cilantro, chopped avocado, tortilla strips or chips
- Combine all the ingredients except for toppings in the inner pot of a 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot. I have the 6 quart Duo. Stir gently to distribute the beans and spices.
- Place the lid on the pot and turn to seal, making sure the silicone ring is in place. Turn the steam release handle on the top to "sealing" not "venting".
- Press the "Pressure Cook" button until the mode says MORE. The other modes are LESS and NORMAL. Press the +/- button until the screen says 25. This sets the timer. Do nothing at this point and in about 10 seconds it will say "ON". It will display this for about 18 minutes while the inside of the pot comes up to pressure. Then, it will display 25 and start counting down in 1 minute increments.
- After the 25 minutes of cooking time. For very soft beans, do nothing and the pressure will naturally release. This will take about 30 minutes. Or, if you prefer the texture similar to canned beans, naturally release the pressure for 15 minutes, then quick release it by turning the steam release handle from "sealing" to "venting". Be sure to keep hands and face away from steam as it releases.
- Tip: If you have cabinets above your pressure cooker, you can divert the steam from going straight up by holding a kitchen towel over it at an angle.
- Remove the lid when the float valve has dropped. You can shred the chicken right in the pot or remove it to a cutting board to shred or chop.
- If you prefer a creamier texture, mash a few of the beans in the pot with a potato masher or large spoon.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and add the toppings of your choice. Note: It thickens slightly in the fridge overnight.