White Chicken Chili

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If there is one kitchen tool I love a little extra during the winter it is my crock pot. Well, crock pots because most people that have them know you usually end up needing more than one at some point. There are all different sizes of crock pots and they come in handy for different things. One of the more recent versions that they came out with is a casserole crock pot which I have stashed away. I also have two “standard” size crock pots. I keep one nice and one for everyday use. My favorite thing to make in them is soup and stew. It’s so easy to throw it in and walk away. This winter I decided to try a white chicken chili recipe and I’m excited to share because it’s my first crock pot recipe on the blog!

Slow Cooker

It’s worth noting here that when I say crock pot I mean slow cooker. Regardless of brand they were always called a crock pot in our home. It’s honestly been so long since I’ve shopped for one I didn’t even realize that there could be another name. A quick glance at their website let me know that the brand name of Crock Pot actually could mean slow cooker or pressure cooker. Who knew! For this recipe, I’m referring to their slow cooker. 

Ya’ll know I’m an instant pot person. I’ve shared tons of recipes for the instant pot and I fully believe that everyone should have one in their kitchen. One thing to note here is that there is a slow cooker function on the instant pot. If you only want to have one piece of equipment in your kitchen there is another way to make this. Using the instant pot you can also make white chicken chili with the slow cooker function. I guess I’m partial to the crock pot because I’ve had it forever and I know exactly how it’s going to cook the soup or stew that I’m making. Plus, if I’m making some sort of dip to take somewhere I’d rather bring my crock pot. 

I should also note you can make this the old fashioned way and make it in a pot on your stove.

Crock Pot Liners

If you haven’t used crock pots much or you aren’t familiar with them at all there is one thing I want to recommend. Disclaimer: it’s not non-toxic. I know, I know. Most of the time I preach about keeping toxins out of your home so why would I bring them in now? Generally, I am also preaching about sustainability efforts and making sure we are doing what we can to reuse, recycle, and repurpose just about everything in our home. This tip is about to contradict that. 

Whenever I cook in my crock pot I use a liner. It’s a big plastic bag looking thing that fits perfectly in your crock pot. Clean up at the end is super simple. Just throw the liner away! If you’ve dealt with crock-pots very long you know that food likes to cook right onto the sides of the stoneware bowl. If it is something that you have cooked all day it cooks on even more! Dips are notorious for getting really stuck to the side for some reason. The liners eliminate all of that. Simply put, the reason that I’m using a crock pot is to make my life easier. The crock pot stops being easy when I have to scrub the sides multiple times or leave it in the sink to soak to clean it.

This is one of those balance things for me. I’m balancing the possible toxin output to make my life a little bit easier. To each their own here. You do not have to use them but I’m mentioning them because I use them. If you’re ready to give up on your crock pot it’s worth trying the liners.

Original White Chicken Chili Recipe

The original recipe is from a cookbook called Our Best Home Cooking. This book was put together by the Saint Monica’s Guild and Saint Stanislaus parish from Dorr, MI. I’ve mentioned my grandma Marta before and this is one of the books that I got from here. It is my personal opinion that the best recipe books are the ones that a bunch of random people contribute to because it gives some tried and true favorites. This one was submitted by Laurie Schwartz. If you know Laurie (or you are Laurie), we want to thank her for submitting this recipe to the book! It’s a keeper. 

The original white chicken chili recipe.
The original white chicken chili recipe.


  • 1 lb. cooked shredded chicken
  • 48 oz jar Northern beans
  • 16 oz jar salsa
  • 8 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Jalapenos (optional)

Directions for White Chicken Chili

  • Simmer 2 hours on stove or in crock pot until it’s hot. 
  • It’s thick and good with nachos.

That’s it- that is literally the recipe in the book! Don’t you love a simple recipe?! Two steps is easy enough that anyone can do it.

A fresh bowl of white chicken chili.
A fresh bowl of white chicken chili.

Tips & Tricks

As always, I tweaked the recipe. I certainly hope no one is surprised here!

First, I used navy beans in my recipe. Northern beans are slightly larger than what I used but I didn’t have any on hand. The only thing I had on hand that would work was navy beans. I only keep dry beans on hand so I made some instant pot beans which, once cooked, are the same as canned.

Second, my jar of salsa was 18 oz. It was homemade zucchini salsa from this past summer. It was either open two pint jars to use 1 ½ of them or just use the 18oz. In the end I figured an extra 2 oz wouldn’t hurt the recipe. As it turns out, I was definitely correct and it worked out just fine.

Used a jar of my zucchini salsa for this recipe.

Third, I didn’t use pre-cooked chicken, I used frozen. Honestly, one easy way to get the chicken for this recipe would be to just buy a rotisserie chicken from the store. That’s a hack I always love to share because it makes life so much easier. You could also just cook some chicken in the instant pot too (told you, I love that thing). I chose to just put some frozen chicken breasts right in the crockpot. I cooked mine for more like 3-4 hours. After a couple hours the chicken was ready to be shredded. I removed chicken to shred and then put it back in for a little longer. The chicken was cooked to perfection. I like to have multiple options based on what I have on hand so that is, essentially, why I’m sharing this with you.

Fourth, I did not use shredded cheese. I chunked mine up and threw it in. It worked perfect. We only buy block cheese from Azure so it saved me from having to shred it. I also didn’t use Monterey jack because we only use raw milk cheddar from Azure in this house. (If you do want to start shopping at Azure please use the referral code BriannaHart1.)

Add the cheese and it doesn’t need to be shredded.

This white chicken chili was perfect for a cold winter day. I put it in my crockpot and that meant we had an easy Sunday dinner with very minimal effort from me. We have a lot of snowy Sundays in Michigan and you know what that calls for? It calls for a hot meal and a relaxing book by the fire.

Do you enjoy crock pot meals? Are you a crock pot or instant pot person? Or both?!

White Chicken Chili

An easy crock pot meal.
Course Soup
Cuisine American


  • 1 lb cooked shredded chicken
  • 48 oz jar northern beans
  • 16 oz jar salsa
  • 8 oz shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • jalapenos optional


  • Simmer 2 hours on the stove or in the crock pot.
Keyword Chicken, Crock Pot, Slow Cooker

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