Quick White Chicken Chili + Riesling

White Chicken Chili | Entree Recipes | Soup Recipes | Healthy Recipes

It’s January 9 and I’m about 90% done with writing down my goals. When I’m ready I’ll do a quick writeup of my method here, both for anyone who’s interested and for me for next time. Because this is my space, I’m going to take a second to whine that the process is bending my brain.

My most complicated goal is working on this blog, which is going to involve improving photography, learning CSS, studying food styling, writing a business plan, and about a zillion things that I haven’t even thought of yet. After I think of them all, I have to learn them, schedule them, and then make them happen (this, by the way, is the one keeping me at 90%). Clearly it’s also going to make me a project management expert. I will be SO marketable by the time I’m done.

But that’s not why you’re here.

You’re here for January healthy-hearty-delicious-feel-good meals, and White Chicken Chili delivers.

I’ve been looking for a white chicken chili recipe for a while, and this is a great one. It’s delicious and it’s easy, and cooking time is less than half an hour, which is a huge bonus when it comes to chili. You do need to chop a bunch of veggies and have the chicken cooked (great way to use leftovers!) But there’s only 25 minutes of cooking time, and most of that is the chili simmering away while you wash the cooking dishes or read a book or do yoga or stream half an episode of “Legends of Tomorrow.”

White Chicken Chili

This dish is January-requisite healthy, loaded with chicken, beans, and veggies. It’s warm enough for cold nights, but fresh and light enough that it can be eaten any day of the year.

I made this at my friends’ house, with Robby acting as sous chef. Some of my friends are working towards eating paleo, so we ate this chili with a really cool paleo “cornbread” with ghee (that last link will take you to Alton Brown’s recipes for ghee and clarified butter. Mmmm). It fed all five of us with just a smidge left over.

And like all the best recipes, you can make it perfect for YOU. Try one of these:

  • As written, this chili is pretty mild, with just a touch of spice. To make spicier, leave the seeds in the jalapeno, add more peppers, or use extra chili powder.
  • To make creamier, stir a half cup of sour cream into the pot at the very end.
  • To make larger, for a big group or for leftovers for DAYS, double!
  • Suggested toppings include shredded Mexican cheese, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, cilantro, and lime.

I HIGHLY recommend the lime, by the way. I’m not usually a big lime fan, but that little squeeze of fresh lime adds a perfect splash of brightness.

Robby Recommends: Riesling!

If you think a little wine is just what chili needs, Robby recommends Reisling. In general, spicier food calls for sweeter wine, so one way to choose an appropriate Reisling is to use one of the German sweetness scales. As written, this chili pairs well with a Kabinett-level Riesling, which is a little drier. If you spice up the soup with extra peppers, try a Spatlese-level Reisling (a little sweeter; Robby likes the quirkily-named Dr Loosen). If you’re curious about what those terms mean, check out this handy guide.

Tell me: What are some of your favorite January meals? I’d love to try them out!

Based on this recipe from The Food Network.


White Chicken Chili

  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Feeds 6


  • 2 cans white beans
  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium jalapeno, deseeded and minced
  • 2 medium poblano peppers, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ancho or chipotle powder
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • Toppings: Sour cream, shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, additional cilantro, lime wedges


  1. Drain and rinse the beans. Mash half the beans and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Saute garlic, peppers, and onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add spices and cook for another minute. Stir in chicken broth and lime juice and bring to a simmer.
  3. Stir in beans and chicken. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Add cilantro; taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve topped with all deliciousness.

The Burroughs

Katie and Robby Burroughs, writers, photographers, and curators of Bear and Bug Eats.

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1 Comment

  1. […] wasn’t a bean fan growing up. I’ll eat them in certain contexts, like Quick White Chicken Chili, but I don’t love them, mostly because of the slightly grainy texture. Except at Cuban […]

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