healthier chicken + white bean chili {slow-cooker}

by Amy on 18 September 2012

the weather is starting to cool down here. mornings + evenings are becoming crisper + chillier – fall is in the air! there are many reasons i love autumn, but my favorite thing is the excuse to make soups + stews. while i’m a total soup/stew junkie + enjoy them year ’round, i know that the average person isn’t jonesing for soup in 95-degree weather. now that the temperatures are dropping, i have a reason to make tons of comfort food soups/stews for myself, friends + family again. hooray!

i always associate chili with the fall + football season, so for NFL kickoff weekend, i decided to make chili. this amazingly delicious white chicken chili is a favorite with friends + blog readers, but with 2 cups of half-and-half + almost 2 cups of cheese, it ain’t the healthiest meal. so, i decided to make a healthier chicken chili. how was it? absolutely delicious! the hearty beans, the smoky fire-roasted tomatoes + the fall-apart tender chicken all work perfectly with the savory, slightly-spicy base. and at less than 300 calories per serving, it’s wonderfully figure-friendly. so, if you’re looking for chicken chili that’s as healthy as it is tasty, look no further – this one will definitely be a crowd-pleaser!

healthier chicken + white bean chili

serves about 10, adapted from the gracious pantry


2 medium onions, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1.5 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large chicken breasts)
1 (16 oz.) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
4 (16 oz.) cans Great Northern beans
1 (4 oz.) can fire roasted green chiles
8 teaspoons chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (this will make your chili somewhat spicy – feel free to omit it for a non-spicy version!)
1 ½ cups reduced sodium chicken stock
1 cup 2% cheddar, grated
salt + pepper to taste


sauté the onions + garlic in a pan with the extra virgin olive oil until the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

put the tomatoes, chicken, beans, chiles, chili powder, cumin, crushed red pepper (if using) + 1 1/2 cups chicken stock into the slow cooker. once the onions + garlic are cooked, add them as well. stir everything until well-combined.

cook the chili for 6 hours on LOW, until the chicken is cooked through + fork-tender. remove the 3 chicken breasts from the slow cooker, shred into large pieces with two forks, + return to the slow cooker. add the 1 cup of cheese + salt + pepper to taste.

continue cooking for another 30 minutes or so, until the chili is bubbling lightly around the edges.

note: if you use already-cooked chicken/a rotisserie chicken, you can also make this meal very quickly in a large soup pot on the stovetop.

nutritional information per serving, as provided by the gracious pantry:
servings per recipe: 10 • serving size: 1 cup • calories: 287 • fat: 4 g • protein: 24 g
carb: 39 g • fiber: 9 g • cholesterol: 21 mg • sugar: 2 g • sodium: 125 mg

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathryn September 18, 2012 at 6:30 am

This sounds like it really doesn’t skimp on flavour despite being relatively low in calories. Perfect!

2 danielle September 18, 2012 at 7:15 am

Chili is one of my favorite meals – this looks and sounds wonderful.

3 Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray September 18, 2012 at 8:12 am

What an awesome slow-cooker recipe! This looks like a great chili to try this fall. :)

4 Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious September 18, 2012 at 8:48 am

Chili and football definitely go hand in hand! I can’t wait to serve up this amazingness with some jalapeño cornbread! Yum!

5 amy September 18, 2012 at 9:00 am

this would pair perfect with jalapeño cornbread – excellent idea!

6 Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel September 18, 2012 at 9:02 am

Normally I’m not a big chili fan, but this bowl looks SO delish, Amy! I love that the chicken is shredded (I have problems with chunk chicken–don’t ask) and has green chilis and white beans in there. Looks super hearty!

7 amy September 18, 2012 at 9:48 am

Hayley, I totally hear ya – neither my husband nor I are a fan of cubed/chunk chicken, so pretty much all of the chicken recipes you’ll see here involve shredded chicken. =)

8 Tracey September 18, 2012 at 9:50 am

Mmmmm, football season and chili go so well together! I don’t think I’ve ever made a chicken chili, but this sounds amazing and I love that it’s on the healthier side.

9 Jackie @ The Beeroness September 18, 2012 at 9:54 am

I’ve been making so much soup lately and it’s somewhere around a billion degrees here. AND I still don’t have a slow cooker.

10 Erin @ Texanerin Baking September 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Wait… chicken chili is a thing? Had no idea. But I don’t eat chili so it’s not that shocking. But I love that you tried a healthier version and that is came out well! Yay for healthifying things every now and then. :)

11 amy September 18, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Yes, chicken chili is a thing! I had never eaten it either until a few years ago, + since I tend to prefer chicken over red meat, I’ve been hooked ever since. =)

12 Kiran @ September 18, 2012 at 4:27 pm

I know, I’ve said this before — but I need slow cooker in my life! That looks incredibly delish!

13 alexandra @ sweet betweens [blog] September 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm

another delicious looking recipe from the fearless homemaker! I’m diggin’ this recipe ’cause usually chicken + white bean chili is white, and I’m not a fan of white chili. not sure why..weird quirk of mine I suppose. great post + share!

14 amy September 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm

i like a true white chicken chili, but i do prefer tomato-based versions, so i totally hear ya!

15 Renee September 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm

You sure have been having fun with your new slow cooker! I love mine for meats and soups/stews. I’m adding your recipe to my cold weather cooking list.

16 Ashley@BakerbyNature September 18, 2012 at 6:19 pm

I am so stoked that fall is finally here! And slow cooker recipes seem to be one of the most comforting (and easy!) ways to whip up a crazy good meal – this looks fabulous, Amy!

I wished I lived closer so I could head over for a bowl right now 😉

17 amy September 18, 2012 at 7:53 pm

If you lived closer, I’d be calling you every other day to have you taste-test and to share leftovers with you. How fun would that be?! =)

18 ea-the spicy rd September 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Your chili looks delicious! It has been so hot here lately, that chili has not been on my mind at all. I did plan a super easy BBQ chicken recipe for one night this week using my slow cooker, so I guess I will be using it soon enough. Enjoy your cooler mornings & evenings…Hopefully we’ll get some soon too :-)

19 Julie @ Table for Two September 18, 2012 at 9:01 pm

I love this! The weather definitely is getting cooler and the evenings are starting to feel chilly so I can totally see myself making soups like this very soon. It’d be great to make a huge batch of this on Sunday too for football so then I can have leftovers – I’m sure the longer they sit, the even better they are!

20 amy September 18, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Yes! I found that the flavors got even deeper + more complex after the leftovers were able to sit overnight.

21 Ashley @ Kitchen MeetsGirl September 18, 2012 at 10:23 pm

We are HUGE soup eaters in my house–and now that football season is underway, I’m ready to start making it. Love, love, LOVE any form of chili–and (of course) I love that you added the fire-roasted tomatoes and red pepper to this. Looks awesome!

22 Choc Chip Uru September 19, 2012 at 12:17 am

Another slow cookie recipe gone right – looks delish!

Choc Chip Uru

23 baker street September 19, 2012 at 12:53 am

I love that you tried a healthy version and it came out so well! this is another great slow cooker recipe! :)

24 Top cuisine with Lavi September 19, 2012 at 1:38 am

Great recipe! Love your blog~!

25 Marta@What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today September 19, 2012 at 5:31 am

I find chili bit spicy, but everything is too spicy for me. Maybe I could add a bit less? Do you think it has any sense?

26 amy September 19, 2012 at 7:53 am

hi Marta, You can definitely make remove almost all the spiciness of this dish. Instead of using fire-roasted diced tomatoes + green chiles, just use normal diced tomatoes + green chiles, plus omit the crushed red pepper altogether. Chili powder in itself isn’t spicy, but does have a strong spiced flavor, so you may want to use 4 teaspoons of chili powder + 2-4 teaspoons of sweet paprika instead of the 8 teaspoons chili powder the recipe calls for. Hope this helps!

27 Meghan September 19, 2012 at 8:35 am

Another great slow cooker recipe and this looks packed with flavor!! I bet it gets even better as it sits, can’t wait to try it!

28 Monet September 19, 2012 at 9:28 am

What the perfect fall recipe. I woke up this morning and there was a definite crispness to the air (yay!) We live in Austin, so we’ve been aching for cooler days. This looks just delicious. Thank you for sharing…and for whetting my appetite for a warm cup of soup!

29 angela@spinachtiger September 19, 2012 at 10:31 am

Yum Yum this is so Fall, so matching of our weather and exactly the food on my mind.

30 Jessica@AKitchenAddiction September 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Mmm, chicken chili! I’m getting excited for hot soup and chili on cool evenings!

31 Angela @ AnotherBitePlease September 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm

ooooo….I love the sound of this…with the fire roasted green chilis. YUM.

32 Jed Gray (sportsglutton) September 19, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Is there anything better than fall, football, chili, and beer. Nope. I’ll take three servings. One for each round of games on Sunday. :-)

33 amy September 19, 2012 at 5:53 pm

My husband would definitely answer ‘nope’. =) I would say that that list would be made even better with a little online shopping, too. ha! =)

34 Blond Duck September 19, 2012 at 8:44 pm

I’ve been craving a good, hearty chili. This sounds perfect!

35 Nicole September 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm

This is why I am loving the cooler weather. Its an excuse to eat chili and wrap yourself in a cozy blanket.

36 Jennie @themessybakerblog September 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Soups and stews are my go-to meals when the weather becomes cooler. I make extra and freeze it for busy weekdays. This chili looks amazing. Pinned!

37 luv what you do September 24, 2012 at 9:09 am

I love anything that can go in my crockpot…especially when it is loaded with fresh and healthy ingredients. I am saving this recipe to make soon!

38 Lisa September 25, 2012 at 11:19 am

This is so delicious! I made a big pot on Sunday and have been enjoying for lunch at work!

39 Dawn October 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Made this yesterday with a rotisserie and my dutch oven… easy and so good! And just watched your segment on TV…so impressive!

40 amy October 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm

So glad to hear it, Dawn! And thanks for your super kind words about my tv segment – you rock!

41 Callie January 17, 2013 at 8:05 pm

If I use rotisserie chicken but would still like to use the crock pot, should I reduce the cooking time?

42 amy January 18, 2013 at 9:49 am

Hi Callie, if you use a rotisserie chicken, you can skip the crock-pot altogether. Follow the first step of sauteeing the onions/garlic in a large soup pot, then add the tomatoes, chicken, beans, chiles, chili powder, cumin, crushed red pepper (if using) + 1 1/2 cups chicken stock. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, the reduce to a simmer + cook for about 30 minutes. That’s it! =)

43 Snk November 5, 2014 at 12:16 am

Delish! My entire family ate it and no one complained. My 10 yr old actually said that we can have this again! (that’s a compliment from her ;o)

44 amy November 5, 2014 at 9:40 am

I am thrilled to hear it! I know that kiddos can be picky about their foods, so that is definitely a compliment. =)

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