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Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

Creamy and rich, with fall apart tender chicken and southwestern spices that will warm you up to the tips of your toes, this Instant Pot white chicken chili is simple to prep and reheats great!


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The Instant Pot is a great way to ‘set it and forget it’ when it comes to soups, stews and chili. From Instant Pot cauliflower cheese soup to Tuscan chicken stew to this white chicken chili, you don’t have to worry about stirring, and it cooks through quickly!

white chicken chili on spoon

A nice departure from classic chili, white chicken chili is flavored with cumin, ground coriander, green chiles, sweet corn and tangy cream cheese. It’s a bit mellower than the classic version, and can up the spice levels if you’d like with fresh jalapeño peppers.

Don’t forget to load it up with your favorite toppings!






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Reasons you’ll ♡ this recipe

  • the Instant Pot makes it hands off to cook- no stirring!
  • it’s creamy and packed with flavor
  • the combination of cumin, ground coriander, jalapeños, sweet corn and tangy cream cheese is delicious and comforting
  • it stores great in the fridge or freezer and tastes even better on day 2

Recipe video

Watch the video below to see how simple it is to prep Instant Pot cauliflower cheese soup. It’s so easy! You can find more of my recipe videos on my YouTube channel.

Ingredient notes

labeled ingredients required to make white chicken chili
  • chicken- boneless skinless chicken thighs are perfect in this recipe because they stay nice and juicy and shred easily. You may swap for boneless chicken breasts, but will need to reduce the cook time to 8 minutes high pressure with a 10 minute natural pressure release.
  • white beans- sometimes called cannelini beans, white kidney beans or great northern beans. They are creamy and soft, and are found with the other canned beans in the grocery store.
  • green chiles- I’ve used Old El Paso brand, and they are not terribly spicy (in other countries, they may come with different spice levels- choose accordingly!). Avoid using canned jalapeños, or use them with caution as they are *quite* spicy.
  • cream cheese- adds creaminess and a deliciously tangy flavor to the soup that compliments the corn and spices. Do not skip. You may use full fat or reduced fat.

Step by step directions

overhead view of white chicken chili in instant pot before cooking

1. Combine- Place all ingredients except for the cream cheese in the stainless steel insert of your Instant Pot. Stir to combine and place the lid on the pot.

instant pot with 10 minutes on the timer

2. Cook- Set the steam release handle to the ‘sealing’ position, then set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. When the pot finishes cooking, allow it to naturally depressurize (aka: just let it sit) for 10 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure.

3. Shred chicken- Use tongs to transfer chicken thighs to a clean bowl. Use the tongs or an electric hand mixer to shred the chicken.

4. Thicken chili- Before adding the chicken back to the Instant Pot, transfer 3 ladles of soup to a blender. Add the cream cheese cubes and lime juice to the blender, then blend until fully pureed.

5. Add it all back- Return the shredded chicken and the blended chili back into the Instant Pot and stir to combine. Taste and add salt if needed.

Recipe tips

Slow cooker

This recipe works great in the slow cooker as well. Check out our slow cooker white chicken chili recipe (it also works great as a crockpot freezer meal as detailed below).

electric hand mixer over a bowl of shredded chicken

Blender

To cut down on dishes, instead of using a stand blender, give the chili a few pulses with an immersion blender to thicken it up.


scoop of white chicken chili in a ladel

Toppings

Like classic chili, this white chicken chili is all about the toppings! Here are some of our favorites:

  • lime wedges
  • fresh jalapeño slices
  • avocado cubes
  • shredded cheese (monterey jack or jalapeño cheddar)
  • fresh cilantro
  • sour cream
  • tortilla strips or chips
  • salsa verde

FAQ

Is white chicken chili spicy?

As written, this recipe is mildly spicy. You can cut down on the spice levels by omitting the jalapeño pepper or the green chiles. You can increase the spice level by choosing spicy green chiles or adding extra chopped fresh jalapeños.

Can I add frozen chicken thighs?

Yes, if your frozen chicken thighs are separated, you can still cook them in this Instant Pot white chicken chili. Increase the cook time to 12 minutes. If your thighs are stuck together, I recommend thawing partially and prying apart before adding to the chili.

Should I use the Instant Pot ‘chili’ button to cook white chicken chili?

No. This defaults to 30 minutes at high pressure, which is way too long for chicken thighs. Use the ‘pressure cook’ button (or ‘manual’ on older models) and set to 10 minutes with a 10 minute natural pressure release.

Shouldn’t we sauté the onions?

I tested with and without sautéing the onions and did not detect any added flavor benefit from sautéing them. This recipe uses less prep steps for just as much flavor!

overhead shot of three bowls filled with white chicken chili with cilantro and half avocado next to bowls

Storage + meal prep

White chicken chili can be cooked ahead OR assembled ahead as freezer packs (no cooking).

Cooking ahead

  • fridge- cool completely, and portion out into one large or several small meal prep containers. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • freezer- cool completely, and portion out into a glass or plastic freezer jar. Leave lids ajar until fully frozen. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • thaw- overnight in the fridge, or leave on the counter for 2 hours to accelerate thawing.
  • reheat- heat individual portions in the microwave until steaming hot. Reheat larger portions on the stove over medium heat; stir occasionally until steaming hot.
ingredients for white chicken chili in a freezer bag

Freezer packs

To assemble freezer packs for meal prep, you will:

  1. Assemble- Combine all ingredients *except for the cream cheese and lime juice in a 3 quart meal prep container or a sturdy gallon-sized freezer bag. Squeeze as much air out as possible.
  2. Freeze- Store in the freezer for up to 6 months.

3. Thaw- Thaw for 48 hours in the fridge, accelerate the process by leaving on the counter for a few hours or immersing the bag in room temperature water (make sure your bag does not leak).

4. Cook- Dump the contents of the bag into the stainless steel insert of your Instant Pot and cook as directed. No chopping or measuring required!

*you can also leave out the stock until cook day if your bag is getting full


More Instant Pot soups

☆ Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear how it turned out! Leave me a review and star rating in the comments below. Your reviews help so much!

close up shot of white chicken chili in a blue bowl

Print Recipe

Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

Course: Dinner

Cuisine: Mexican

Calories: 255kcal

Servings: 8

Creamy and rich, with fall apart tender chicken and flavor that will warm you up to the tips of your toes, this Instant Pot white chicken chili is simple to prep and reheats great!

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time10 mins

Time to come to pressure + depressurize30 mins

Total Time55 mins

Notes

1- boneless skinless chicken breasts may be used in place; reduce cook time to 8 minutes high pressure with 10 minute natural pressure release
2- use beans labelled ‘cannellini’, ‘great northern’, ‘white kidney’ or simply ‘white beans’.
3- the fresh jalapeño adds some spice to the chili; it’s medium spicy as written. Omit for less spice, double or triple for extra spice
4- full fat or light cream cheese both work well
5- I forgot to add the lime juice when shooting the video; the chili was still delicious without it!
6- serving size is strictly an estimate; nutritional information reflects 1/8 of the recipe
Storage
Cool chili, and store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheating
Heat individual portions in the microwave until steaming hot; heat larger portions in a pot over medium heat for 15-20 minutes (stirring occasionally), until heated through.
Freezer packs
You may assemble chili ingredients ahead (excluding the cream cheese, lime juice, and if you’d prefer, the stock) and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw completely, then cook as directed above.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup; see note 6 | Calories: 255kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 526mg | Potassium: 755mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 225IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 4mg












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