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Creamy White Chicken Chili with Salsa Verde (3 ways)

Make an epic white chicken chili with salsa verde recipe for dinner tonight. Salsa verde infuses flavor. Cream cheese adds a velvety texture. Gimme seconds, please.

bowl of white chicken chili with salsa verde

I’m a bit of a lazy cook. Not lazy, lazy. More like an “I don’t have that much time today to whip up a fabulous meal, so what can I throw together that will be delicious?” type of lazy. 

You know what I’m talking about. You want something easy and worry-free that will feed the whole family. 

But you have that 9 o’clock meeting to plan for, kids to pick up after school, errands to run. All the while trying to figure out the dreaded question: “What’s for dinner?”

Kids, spouses, pets, you name it. We all have priorities in life, and sometimes our meal planning falls to the wayside. For me, it’s more than sometimes.

I once gave a 5-ingredient crockpot meal recipe to a co-worker who told me it was too much work. Only 5 ingredients! 

I told you I was lazy, but 5 ingredients thrown together in a crockpot is not that hard to do. Which brings me to this recipe. It is more than 5 ingredients but definitely not more time added.

To be completely honest, at first, I wasn’t a big fan of white chicken chili. It always seemed boring – a one-note flavored dish.

But not this recipe. That salsa verde kicks it up to the next level, and the fresh lime juice gives it the pop it needs!

2 bowls of white chicken chili with salsa verde

3 Reasons You Will Love This Recipe

  • Minimal prep. This recipe was a cinch to prep. Even if you don’t know what to do with the other half of that onion, chopping everything was pretty painless.
  • Easy peasy. Once you cut up all your veggies, measure out the rest of the ingredients, and add everything to the crockpot, you can forget about it.

    Well, make sure you set a timer. But beyond that, go pick up your kids. Take the dog for a walk. Get out that laser pointer and give your kitty some exercise. Let the crockpot do its job.
  • Cleanup is a breeze. I only dirtied a chopping knife, a few measuring dishes, a mixing bowl, a cutting board, and the slow cooker.

    Not too bad, especially since I’m not on dish duty. Nothing says I love you more than a minimal dish cleanup.

Tips and Tricks

  • Pre-chop the veggies. If you’re good at meal planning, you can chop up the onion, garlic, and jalapeno ahead of time. Especially if those ingredients are going to be used later in the week.

    If you have watched Food Network, you may have seen this trick to peeling your garlic. Throw it in a Tupperware container and shake it around.

    To be honest, I haven’t done that yet but let me know in the comments if you have and if it’s something worth doing!
  • Go with precooked chicken. If you can, buy a rotisserie chicken. Doesn’t take too long to debone, and the dog gets some scraps.

    If not, no worries. No need to precook this chicken before it goes into the slow cooker. Just throw it in with the rest of the ingredients.

    You do need precooked chicken for the stovetop directions though.
  • Try homemade salsa verde (if you have time). Making your own salsa verde is so easy. It is something I prefer to do, especially now that I’ve made it on my own a few times! 

    But when tomatillos are out of season, or you’re short on time, pick up some premade salsa verde from the store. I found a 7 oz. can of Herdes salsa verde, which is just about right for this recipe.

    You can always buy the bigger jar of salsa verde. But this time around, I picked out something perfect for this meal.
  • The slow cooker may just be the best way to cook chicken chili. I’m a low and slow type of gal. I love to get everything in the crockpot before my day begins.

    But sometimes life happens, and you can’t wait 8 to 10 hours for the crockpot to slow cook.

    That’s why the “high” button was invented. And today was one of those days where I needed to cook on high. 
  • Bring the cream cheese AND half and half to room temperature. When both are at room temperature, the cream cheese mixture will not take as long to warm in the chili.
  • Do NOT skip the lime juice. It adds such a great flavor everyone will be begging for more.
  • Add some spice if the chili is too mild. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to heat level. I didn’t add any other spices to my bowl. But my husband added some hot sauce to his. He said it gave him exactly what he needed to spice up the dish.
  • Don’t forget to garnish. If you can find some flavored tortilla strips, grab them. Definitely makes a difference.

Ingredients for White Chicken Chili with Salsa Verde Recipe

Combine these easy ingredients together into a big batch of chili. This isn’t a spicy soup, but it is flavorful.

ingredients for white chicken chili with salsa verde recipe
  • Chicken: Leftover chicken (like rotisserie) is perfect in chicken chili. Cut the leftover rotisserie chicken into small pieces before adding it to the pot.

    Or open a can of Costco shredded chicken. Delicious.

    If you start with raw chicken and don’t want to precook it, make this recipe in the slow cooker. It’s the perfect way to cook the chicken and the chili simultaneously.
  • White Beans: Use your favorite beans. Cannellini beans or great northern beans are the best for this recipe. But you might like pinto beans instead. Find precooked beans in the canned bean section of the grocery store.

    If you prefer to start with dry beans from scratch, cook them before making the white chicken chili recipe. If you cook the beans and the chili together, the chili will end up too thick.
  • Salsa Verde: Salsa verde is the secret ingredient that kicks up the flavor. The tomatillos in the salsa are the best part, adding a touch of sweetness.
  • Fresh Aromatic Flavors: The combination of onion, garlic, and chili pepper adds a depth of flavor. Add two or more jalapeno peppers if you like spicier chili.
  • Creamy broth: Part chicken stock and part half and half makes up the broth. The broth is both flavorful and smooth.
  • Cream Cheese: Rich and velvety. That is what cream cheese offers. But there are plenty of healthy substitutes if you want to go lighter.
  • Seasonings: Cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Simple seasonings. But bloom them in the olive oil with the onions and peppers, and their flavor will explode.
  • Lime Juice: Squeeze a fresh lime and brighten the chili’s taste. Don’t forget it. You will be able to tell it’s missing.

Slow Cooker Recipe Directions

This is an easy recipe to cook in a slow cooker (crockpot).

split picture with chicken breasts in crockpot and rest of salsa verde chicken chili ingredients in crockpot
  1. Peel and dice the onion. Wash, remove seeds, and dice the jalapeno pepper. Peel and crush the garlic cloves.
  2. Place all the chili ingredients into the bowl of your slow cooker except the half and half, cream cheese, and lime juice.
  3. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
  4. Bring the cream cheese and half and half to room temperature.
  5. Blend the half and half with softened cream cheese and lime juice.
  6. Turn the slow cooker off and pour in the cream cheese mixture. Give it a thorough stir.
  7. Place the lid back on the slow cooker for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cream cheese is heated through.
  8. Garnish with diced red onion, fresh cilantro, and sour cream. Serve with a side of cornbread or a biscuit.

Note: You can cook raw chicken in the slow cooker with the rest of the chili ingredients. Use boneless skinless chicken breasts.

shredded chicken on a cutting board with two forks
  • Spray the crockpot bowl with cooking spray. Place chicken breasts at the bottom of slow cooker. Then sprinkle salt, black pepper, and garlic powder on the chicken.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients (except half and half, cream cheese, and lime juice).
  • Before serving, remove the cooked chicken and shred it. Return the shredded breast to the chili and stir before serving.

Stove Top Directions

all the steps to make white chicken chili with salsa verde recipe
  1. Bring the cream cheese and half and half to room temperature.
  2. Peel and dice the onion. Wash, remove seeds, and dice the jalapeno pepper. Peel and crush the garlic cloves.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot.
  4. Add the diced onion and jalapeño peppers. Cook for 5 minutes or until they soften.
  5. Sprinkle in the cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and crushed garlic. Stir and cook for two minutes. The spices should be fragrant.
  6. Pour in the chicken broth, ½ cup of the half and half, the salsa verde, green chilies, shredded chicken (cooked), white beans, and corn (optional). Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. As the chili cooks, whisk the cream cheese into the remaining 1 cup of half and half until smooth. Juice the lime.
  8. Turn the heat off the chili. Then pour in the cream cheese mixture and fresh lime juice. Finally, give it a thorough stir. Replace the lid and let it warm for 3 to 5 minutes.
  9. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. I often add ½ teaspoon more salt and occasionally more lime juice.
  10. Garnish with fresh cilantro, crushed tortilla chips, and green onions.

Can You Make Chicken Chili in an Instant Pot?

I was disappointed the first time I tried making chicken chili in the Instant Pot. This is one of those chili recipes that doesn’t work as well in a pressure cooker. Why?

  • It took just as long as cooking it on the stove. But I couldn’t check on it when it was pressurized.
  • Dairy products break down in a pressure cooker. Don’t add half and half or cream cheese until it is finished cooking.
bowl of white chicken chili with salsa verde

But if the Instant Pot is your thing, here are the directions.

  1. Bring the cream cheese and half and half to room temperature.
  2. Peel and dice the onion. Wash, remove seeds, and dice the jalapeno pepper. Peel and crush the garlic cloves.
  3. Turn the Instant Pot to the sauté setting and heat oil.
  4. Add the diced onion and jalapeño peppers. Cook for 5 minutes or until they soften.
  5. Sprinkle in the cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and crushed garlic. Stir and cook for two minutes. The spices should be fragrant.
  6. Pour the chicken broth, salsa verde, green chilies, cooked chicken, white beans, and corn into the Instant Pot container.
  7. Pressure cook for 5 minutes. It will take 10 to 15 minutes to reach pressure.
  8. As the chili cooks, whisk the softened cream cheese into the half and half until smooth. Juice the lime.
  9. When the chili is finished cooking, do a quick release to depressurize the pot.
  10. Pour in the cream cheese mixture and stir well. Add the fresh lime juice and give it a thorough stir. Then replace the lid and let it warm for 3 to 5 minutes. If the cream cheese and half and half are room temperature, they will heat quickly.
  11. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. I often add ½ teaspoon more salt and occasionally more lime juice.
  12. Garnish with seasoned tortilla strips, diced green pepper, and cotija cheese.

Favorite Toppings

  • Fresh cilantro
  • Diced bell pepper
  • Sour cream or optional Greek yogurt
  • Diced red onion or green onions
  • Green salsa
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Hot sauce if you need a little spice
  • Pickled jalapeño peppers or roasted serrano chiles
  • Cayenne pepper (this is for my dad, who puts cayenne pepper on everything)

How to Store White Bean Chicken Chili

Store leftover salsa verde chicken chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It tastes the best when eaten in two or three days.

The only thing to be aware of is that the chicken chili will thicken as it cools.

Can You Freeze Chicken Chili Verde?

leftover chicken chili with salsa verde recipe in a freezer bag

This white chicken chili with salsa verde recipe has dairy (cream cheese and half and half). Dairy does not freeze well. It breaks down, resulting in a broth that is more soft chunky than smooth.

However, this does not affect the taste. Only the texture. If you have lots of chili leftover, it will still be edible if frozen.

If you want to freeze the whole batch together, place it in an airtight freezer container or a freezer bag.

Better yet, freeze individual portions in 1-cup containers. Then you can pull out serving-size leftovers.

How to Reheat Salsa Verde White Chicken Chili

bowl of white chicken chili with salsa verde recipe and tortilla chips

To reheat a single portion of chicken chili, pour a serving into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Stir and test the temperature. Reheat in 20-second intervals until it is hot enough.

To reheat a large amount of chili, warm the soup in a pot on the stove. Reheat over medium heat until it is warm enough. To preserve the consistency, do not boil.

Add either chicken broth or half and half if the chili is too thick. Stir, taste, and add more seasoning if you need to. Sometimes a few tablespoons of salsa verde and a pinch of salt is all the seasoning you need.

When it is chili night, look beyond regular chili and give white chili a try. This chicken chili with salsa verde recipe might become your new family favorite.

What to Serve with Creamy White Chicken Chili

There are dozens of delicious side dishes to serve with chicken chili. Here are just a few.

bowl of cheddar biscuits
  • Cornbread. You can never go wrong when serving cornbread with homemade chili. It is one of those sides you crave with a bowl of hot chili.
  • Cheddar biscuits with pancake mix. Who knew you could make biscuits so easily with pancake mix. Throw in some cheddar and seasonings and you have a delicious, savory biscuit.
  • Tortilla chips. Who can say no to chips? I had some extra Tostitos Hint of Lime chips that went fabulously with this dish.

    Or… some fritos!  Frito pie anyone?                         

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Yield: 8-10 servings

Creamy White Chicken Chili with Salsa Verde

bowl of white chicken chili with salsa verde recipe and tortilla chips

Make an epic white chicken chili with salsa verde recipe for dinner tonight. Salsa verde infuses flavor. Cream cheese adds a velvety texture. Gimme seconds, please.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (stove top preparation only)
  • ½ cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • 1½ cups half and half, divided
  • 1 cup of salsa verde salsa
  • 4 oz. can of green chilies
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast OR 2 raw chicken breasts (for slow cooker directions only)
  • 1 (15 oz. can) of white beans, like cannellini beans (or 1½ cups cooked beans)
  • 1 (15 oz. can) of sweet corn (optional)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh lime juice (about ½ freshly juiced lime)

Instructions

Slow Cooker Directions

  1. PEEL and DICE the onion. Wash, remove seeds, and dice the jalapeno pepper. Peel and crush the garlic cloves.
  2. SPRAY the crockpot bowl with cooking spray. Place the raw chicken breasts at the bottom of slow cooker. Then sprinkle salt, black pepper, and garlic powder on the chicken.
  3. PLACE the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker except the half and half, cream cheese, and lime juice.
  4. COOK on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
  5. REMOVE the cooked chicken and shred it. Return the shredded breast to the chili and stir.
  6. BRING the cream cheese and half and half to room temperature. Blend the half and half with softened cream cheese and lime juice.
  7. TURN the slow cooker off and stir in the cream cheese mixture.
  8. REPLACE the lid onto the slow cooker for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cream cheese is heated through.
  9. GARNISH and serve.

Note: If you add cooked chicken instead of raw chicken, cook on low 4 to 5 hours.

Stovetop Directions

  1. BRING the cream cheese and half and half to room temperature.
  2. PEEL and DICE the onion. Wash, remove seeds, and dice the jalapeno pepper. Peel and crush the garlic cloves.
  3. HEAT the olive oil in a large soup pot.
  4. ADD the diced onion and jalapeno peppers. Cook for 5 minutes, or until they soften.
  5. SPRINKLE in the cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and crushed garlic. Stir and cook for two minutes. The spices should be fragrant.
  6. POUR in the chicken broth, ½ cup of the half and half, the salsa verde, green chilies, shredded chicken, white beans, and corn. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. As the chili cooks, WHISK the cream cheese into the remaining 1 cup of half and half until smooth. Juice the lime.
  8. TURN OFF the heat. Pour the cream cheese mixture and lime juice into the chili. Stir. Then replace the lid and let it warm for 3 to 5 minutes.
  9. TASTE and adjust seasonings, if needed. I often add ½ teaspoon more salt and occasionally more lime juice.
  10. GARNISH with fresh cilantro, crushed tortilla chips, and green onions.

Instant Pot Directions

  1. BRING the cream cheese and half and half to room temperature.
  2. PEEL and DICE the onion. Wash, remove seeds, and dice the jalapeno pepper. Peel and crush the garlic cloves.
  3. TURN the Instant Pot to the sauté setting and heat the oil.
  4. ADD the diced onion and jalapeño peppers. Cook for 5 minutes or until they soften.
  5. SPRINKLE in the cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and crushed garlic. Stir and cook for two minutes. The spices should be fragrant.
  6. POUR the chicken broth, salsa verde, green chilies, cooked chicken, white beans, and corn into the Instant Pot container. Pressure cook for 5 minutes. It will take 10 to 15 minutes to reach pressure.
  7. As the chili cooks, WHISK the softened cream cheese into the half and half until smooth. Juice the lime.
  8. Do a QUICK RELEASE when the chili is finished cooking to depressurize the pot.
  9. POUR in the cream cheese mixture and stir well. Add the fresh lime juice and give it a thorough stir. Then replace the lid and let it warm for 3 to 5 minutes. If the cream cheese and half and half are room temperature, they will heat quickly.
  10. TASTE and adjust seasonings if needed. I often add ½ teaspoon more salt and occasionally more lime juice.
  11. GARNISH with seasoned tortilla strips, diced green pepper, and cotija cheese.

Note: This salsa verde chicken chili has a lot of broth. If you prefer a thicker chili, reduce the chicken broth and half and half to 1 cup each. You can also add a second can of white beans.









Notes

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Nutrition Information

Yield

10

Serving Size

½ cup

Amount Per Serving Calories 321Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 84mgSodium 549mgCarbohydrates 19gFiber 3gSugar 5gProtein 23g

Nutrition information is an estimate only and may vary based on individual ingredients added and cooking methods used.


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