The ultimate dump-and-go crock pot white chicken chili recipe only needs five ingredients. Only 10 minutes of prep and shredded chicken, white beans, pepper jack cheese, and some salsa will make your new favorite chili. This small crock pot recipe is perfect for a smaller household or adjusts the amount to your needs.
Many readers have won chili contests with this simple recipe for white chicken chili with salsa—it is that good. It is also a pot-luck winner—all your friends will demand the recipe. I have added a stovetop version and a raw chicken option.
There is no "inspired by" recipe here; I have done this one for 40 years. I even remembered the recipe without looking it up. And my memory is going. I believe the original was one of those passed-around recipes at my wife's grade school.
This is the best chili to take to tailgating or parties since, with the cheese, it stays hot for a long time, and most people will want seconds. I always make a double batch.
This chili has always been one of my most requested recipes. Anytime you take it to gatherings, make copies so you don't have to write it down. Please enjoy this great chili.
An absolute 5. No doubt about it.
This recipe needs about 3 cups of pre-cooked shredded chicken. Use rotisserie or any other pre-cooked chicken. You can always use a bit more or less depending on what you have.
I will often toss a couple of skinless chicken breasts in a 350° oven for about 35-40 minutes. Then shred with forks while still warm. One good size breast will make about 1 ½ cups of shredded chicken. Chicken thighs will work well also.
I have included an option to cook the raw chicken in the crock pot in the recipe card.
I recommend Great Northern or Navy beans. I prefer the Great Northern since in like a bit bigger white bean.
This is not a recipe for uncooked beans.
To decrease the sodium, you can drain and rinse the beans. You will need to replace that fluid with low-sodium chicken broth.
Use Pepper Jack cheese unless you need to adjust the heat of the chili some by using Monterey Jack cheese instead. But you need to use one or the other to make this chili correctly.
Use a good quality salsa you like and would use for dipping. I like chunky salsa.
You can adjust the heat of your chili by choosing the heat of your salsa.
Most of the seasoning in this chili depends on the salsa and pepper jack cheese. Cumin adds more flavor.
The spiciness is a 4/10. You can adjust that up and down with your choice of the spiciness of the salsa. You can also use Monterey Jack cheese to adjust the heat down.
If you want even more spiciness, add a bit of cayenne pepper.
Other taste adjustments can be made by adding onion, garlic, green chilis, or other spices. But if you feel you need to do much of this, you have the wrong salsa.
Adjusting the cumin can increase or decrease the spiciness, but I suggest depending on the salsa as the primary adjustment.
👨🍳How to Make Crock Pot White Chicken Chili
- Prepare chicken and cube cheese.
- To a smaller crock pot, add all ingredients.
- Cook on low for 4 hours or 2 hours on high.
- Use chicken broth to thin if you want thinner chili.
♨️Stovetop Version of White Chicken Chili
Cooking on the stovetop will take about only 30 minutes since everything used in this dish is safe to consume before cooking. You only need to heat everything to come together. But some simmering to help the tastes combine is a good idea.
Use a large pan like a full-size Dutch oven. Add everything, mix well, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes more.
It is done when it all mixes, but simmering longer to bring the tastes together is recommended. I suggest an hour.
This recipe is one of my more popular small crockpot recipes. It will fit in a 3 ½ quart crock pot. A double recipe (what I always make) works in a 6 ½ quart or larger slow cooker.
A half recipe will fit in a 2-quart crock pot.
This is a very thick chili as written. It is much easier to cook thick and then thicken later.
The thickness of the chili is entirely based on the chicken broth. Most people will want a moderate thickness, and that is keeping the packing fluid in the beans and 2 cups of broth.
If you want extra thick, skip the broth if you want a little more soup-like than 4 cups of broth.
If you drain the beans, add back 1 ½ to 2 cups of broth.
🍽️Serving and Storage
A big bowl of white chili served with tortilla chips is all I need.
But any typical chili or southwest toppings and sides all work well—like added cheese, sour cream, fresh cilantro, avocado, or guacamole.
This chili stays hot for a long time due to the cheese, so that it will work well at parties.
Good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and reheat on the stovetop or microwave.
You can also freeze sealed in an airtight container or freezer bag for 3-4 months—thaw in the fridge before reheating.
📖Crock Pot Chili
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
A few simple ingredients. Get your chicken any way you want. You will need about 3 cups. I have included several raw chicken options in the notes of the recipe card.
Cube 8 oz of pepper jack cheese.
In a small (3.5 qt minimum) crock pot, pour one 48 oz jar of great northern beans (undrained), 8 oz of salsa, about 3 cups of shredded chicken, 2 teaspoons of cumin, and 8 oz of pepper jack cheese (cubed).
Add a 14 oz can of chicken broth if you want a standard thick chili. Leave it out for extra thick. Stir very well.
Cook on low for 4 hours or 2 hours on high. Try to stir once or twice in the middle of cooking to distribute the cheese, but it can wait until the end if needed.
Easiest Crock Pot White Chicken Chili
- 48 oz white beans - Great Northern or Navy
- 3 cups shredded chicken - See notes for suggestions
- 1 cup medium salsa
- 8 oz pepper jack cheese cubed
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 14 oz chicken broth - optional but suggested
- Get your chicken any way you want. You will need about 3 cups of shredded chicken. Please see the notes below for options.
- Cube 8 oz. of pepper jack cheese.
- In a small (3.5 qt minimum) crock pot, pour one 48 oz jar of great northern beans (undrained), 8 oz of salsa, 3 cups of shredded chicken, 2 teaspoon cumin, and 8 oz of pepper jack cheese (cubed).
- Add a 14 oz can of chicken broth if you want a normal thick chili. Leave it out for extra thick. Stir very well.
- Cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours.
My Private Notes
- Get your chicken anywhere you want. See the raw chicken option below.
- Adjust the heat by the type of salsa, and you can use Monterey Cheese instead of Monterrey Jake Cheese. You can also adjust the cumin to taste.
- As written, a 3.5 qt crock pot should be good but not smaller. Doubles nicely in a large crock pot of 6.5 qt or more. You can use the larger crock pot for the smaller recipe.
- Good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Good in a freezer for 2-3 months.
- Due to all the cheese, this stays hot for a long time, so great for tailgating and parties.
- Take copies of the recipe with you if you're taking it to a gathering.
Raw Chicken Option
- I'm adding a raw chicken option for simplicity.
- An average size chicken breast will make about 1 ½ cups of shredded chicken.
- The easiest way is to add broth, salsa, and cumin to the crockpot with two raw chicken breasts. Cook in high for 1 ½ to 2 hours then remove and shred. Then add back the chicken and other ingredients and finish the cooking time or until the cheese can blend in—about one hour on high or 2 hours on low.
- Or cook a couple of breasts in the oven until done (about 350° for about 40 minutes).
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Publisher note: Originally published March 2, 2010. It was first published in the third month of this blog, and maybe 50 people saw the first post. It was republished in 2013, so time to update again. It was updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.