I’m indecisive when it comes to what I want to eat, especially in the wintertime. I’ve found I tend to crave something warm at night (especially in my chilly New York City apartment), so I usually whip up some version of red chili or soup—until I saw some delicious-looking white chili recipes online. It all sounded so appealing: Some versions were creamy, some cheesy, others had chicken, some had pork, while others were vegetarian and packed with seasonal veggies.
I’m not going to lie, I love red sauce of all types—my Italian mother served most of her dishes in a marinara sauce—but sometimes it’s nice to change things up to avoid getting yourself into a food rut. What I particularly like about a white sauce is that you are often better able to taste the nuances—you're not just comparing a chunky tomato sauce to a slightly creamier one.
We searched high and low to find some of the top white chili recipes out there—from white bean and pumpkin to vegetarian with chickpeas. Get ready for a warm bowl of goodness.
WHITE BEAN AND PUMPKIN PORK CHILI
Just because fall is over doesn’t mean you still can’t infuse your dishes with some pumpkin flavor. This chili with White Great Northern beans, diced sugar pumpkin, onion, chilies, kale, and shredded pork will do just that. And if you can’t find pumpkin near you when you want to make it? Butternut squash makes an awesome substitute.
WHITE CHICKEN CHILI
This white chicken chili is anything but boring. It owes its yumminess to a rich, creamy broth that comes from combining cornmeal and milk (who knew?). And when it comes to spice, there’s no lack of it here: Jalapeño, diced green chilies, chili powder, and cayenne pepper have got you covered.
Chickpea White Bean Chili
You don’t need to add meat to your chili to have it taste great, but we suggest making your own homemade veggie stock as a base. The all-star ingredient here happens to be cloves, which seriously don’t overpower it but instead add the perfect amount of richness. Shredded cheese and heavy cream will make it extra creamy, but we swear that it’s just as good without if you happen to be vegan.
Slow Cooker Creamy White Chicken Chili
So how do you get a rich and creamy broth without the calories that come with the addition of half-and-half or cream? It’s possible when you use a can of creamed corn and add a blended mixture of broth, beans, cilantro, light cream cheese, and cornstarch to your crockpot chili. We strongly suggest garnishing this delectable dish with some crispy tortilla chips.
CROCKPOT CREAMY TACO CHICKEN CHILI
When we saw that this tasty white chili recipe didn’t call for any cutting, we were sold. All you need to do is throw chicken, diced tomatoes, chili peppers, all your favorite beans, corn, some stock, and softened cream cheese into your slow cooker and let it do its thing. Add a few slices of lime at the end for a hint of zestiness.
SPICY WHITE BEAN CHILI WITH SHREDDED CHICKEN
Spice lovers, this is for you: a shredded chicken chili with charred corn kernels (yum). There are three—yes, three!—types of pepper in this dish, including poblano, Anaheim, and jalapeño. The heavier consistency comes from mashed white beans in the broth, which is such a genius idea.
White Chicken Quinoa Chili
For a particularly filling white chili recipe, try this take packed with chicken and quinoa. Cannellini beans, red quinoa, and shredded chicken will all but ensure that you’re leaving your meal without any need for a snack. Of note: Some freshly shaved Monterey Jack cheese is the perfect final fixing.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND TURKEY CHILI
Ground turkey is a great lean option for a protein if you want something other than chicken (it happens). This delicious recipe owes a lot of its flavor to roasted veggies—butternut squash and pasilla peppers, in particular. Onion, garlic, beans, chicken stock, and fresh sage mingle with just a bit of white wine—in fact, pour yourself a glass while it’s cooking.
Do you have any go-to white chili recipes to add to the mix? Share yours with us in the comments, and then read about the absolute best butternut squash soup recipes.