Most of the recipes I write are either a product of much trial and error or being in a mood to do anything other than cooking. Yes, even the biggest foodies sometimes feel like taking a night off. I have fond memories of throwing this recipe together for my Easy One Pot White Chicken Chili many years ago. It is exactly as the name says… EASY. It’s also perfect for those “lazy” nights when you crave something warm and comforting.
I don’t know about you, but I love my chili to be extra tasty but not too spicy. Although if you like an extra kick of heat it can easily be adjusted. That is another thing that I love about this chili. It’s perfect if you have picky eaters or small kids who don’t care for spice.
Need to feed a crowd? Just double it and use a larger soup pot. It also makes great leftovers if you have a busy week. It’s freezer friendly if you need to cook ahead and makes an awesome meal prep to eat throughout the week for a hot lunch.
Top it with chopped Cilantro, shredded Monterey Jack Cheese, and if you like a little something different… try crushed Corn Tortilla Chips. I also love to add a diced avocado to replace the cheese. It adds a bit of creaminess without the dairy and pairs perfectly with chili. No matter which way you serve it, I am sure it will be a favorite for years to come.
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What You’ll Need:
Chicken Thighs- I almost always use boneless skinless chicken thighs in this chili. They have so much more flavor, but if you prefer chicken breast, that will work too.
Pinto Beans- Fresh or canned. I have tested both and fresh is best, but canned works just fine.
For fresh pinto beans: Sort 2 cups of dried beans the day before you need them. Soak in about 8 cups of cool water (add 1 teaspoon of baking powder, optional) for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse. I cook my beans with 6 cups of cold water and 1 bay leaf in my Instant Pot pressure cooker for 15-20 minutes. Natural release for at least 20 minutes.. You can also cook them on the stove top in a Large Stockpot with 8-10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 2 hours). Use about 4 cups of the cooked beans and reserve the rest for another meal or toss them all in.
Onion & Garlic- I like to use a sweet white onion & plenty of garlic for this mild chili. The recipe calls for 2 cloves of minced garlic, but you can add more if you like.
Green Salsa- This is an important ingredient. It is where we have control of the quality of flavors and have control of the heat level. Pick a salsa that you know tastes great on it’s own. Choose mild, medium, or hot and that will start to determine how far the heat goes.
Chicken Broth- For convenience, grab a carton from the grocery store. I have used homemade broth or bouillon powder, all of them work great.
Spices- Salt to taste, cumin to add a little smokiness, and cayenne if you want to turn up the heat.
6 quart Instant Pot or Large Stockpot- Use a large stockpot, especially you make a double batch. I have also used my Instant Pot on the sauté setting. It works great if you need to free up the stove and it’s the perfect solution for potlucks, camping, or traveling.
BONUS: Use the keep warm feature on your Instant Pot if you are having guests for dinner. Just be sure to use a glass lid.
Toppings- Fresh Cilantro, Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese, Crushed Tortilla Chips, Avocado, Limes. Want something other than cornbread on the side? Try my French Bread, Potato Bread or dinner rolls made with my Master Butter Dough.
Garnishes & Sides
- Shredded Cheese: Monterrey Jack, Pepper Jack, Cheddar… take your pick!
- Fresh Chopped Cilantro
- Diced Avocado
- Crushed Tortilla Chips: This one is my favorite. Just place some tortilla chips in a Ziploc bag and break them up. Sprinkle on top with your other garnishes. Great for a party or chili bar!
- Bread: Cornbread, French Bread, Potato Bread, or Dinner Rolls
If you try this Easy One Pot White Chicken Chili or any of my other recipes tag me on Instagram @joymakersandco, I’d love to see what you make!
Looking for more dinner ideas? Check out another favorite of ours, Shredded Beef Chili.
Easy One Pot White Chicken Chili
- 1 Large Stockpot
- 1 tablespoon neutral or olive oil
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, optional or to taste
- 1 cup green salsa
- 4 -15.5 ounce cans pinto beans*, drained, see notes below
- 4 cups chicken broth
- salt & pepper, to taste
- cilantro, chopped
- cheese, shredded
- tortilla chips, crushed
- avocado, diced
- lime wedges
- Heat up the oil in your stockpot over medium heat. Sauté chopped onions for a few minutes (until they start to soften).
- Add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salsa, drained beans, and broth.
- Salt & pepper to taste, if needed. Simmer for 10-15 minutes then serve with the toppings of your choice.