This Instant Pot White Chicken Chili is a warm, hearty meal that brings a whole new meaning to comfort food! It’s packed with tender chicken, mildly spicy poblano peppers, and hearty beans, all served in a light yet creamy broth. Top each bowl with a generous amount of garnishes for the perfect fall and winter meal.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Convenience: There is no need to simmer your chili for hours with this Instant Pot recipe! You’ll have a flavorful, filling meal on the table in less than an hour.
- Healthy & wholesome: Packed with protein-filled chicken, fiber-rich beans, and a medley of vegetables, this chili is incredibly nourishing.
- Stovetop option: Don’t own an Instant Pot? No problem! This recipe also includes stovetop instructions, making it easy to prepare no matter what!
No-fuss Instant Pot white chicken chili
Instant Pot recipes, like Instant Pot chicken noodle soup, are always some of my favorites because of their hands-off approach and ability to quickly infuse flavors together. This Instant Pot white chicken chili ticks all of the boxes, and I know your whole family is going to love it!
Traditional chili often leans towards the dark and spicy side, but this version is lighter and creamier, resulting in a completely different eating experience! Tender chunks of chicken are mixed with creamy beans, subtly spicy poblano peppers, sweet corn, and warming spices.
Plus, this white bean chicken chili makes great leftovers! Prepare a double or triple batch, portion it into single-serving containers, and keep them in the freezer for high-protein lunches and dinners during busy weeks.
Ingredients & substitutions
- Olive oil: To sauté the onions and other aromatics. If you don’t have olive oil, avocado, sunflower, grapeseed, or canola oil will all work.
- Onion: Provides a subtly sweet and savory element. White or yellow onions are best, but red onions or even shallots will work.
- Poblano peppers: Bring a mild heat and a unique, earthy flavor. Try green bell peppers for less heat, or add jalapeños for more spice.
- Garlic cloves: For that characteristic savory aroma and zesty kick. Garlic powder will work in a pinch, but I highly recommend fresh garlic for this chili.
- Cannellini beans: To thicken the chili and add a creamy mouthfeel. If you don’t have cannellini beans, try Great Northern beans or navy beans.
- Chicken thighs: I prefer boneless chicken thighs since they remain tender and flavorful under pressure cooking. You can use chicken breasts, but they might be less juicy.
- Chicken stock: Forms the base of the chili, adding depth and richness. You can also use turkey stock, vegetable broth, or water.
- Tomatoes with green chilies: Add acidity and a slight kick. If you’re sensitive to spice, just use regular canned diced tomatoes.
- Frozen corn: Offer a sweet, juicy crunch throughout the chili. You can opt for fresh corn when it’s in season, or use canned corn if you can’t find frozen.
- Spices: I use a mixture of cumin and chili powder to give the chili a warm, spicy, and earthy taste. You can also use ancho or chipotle chili powder for a different flavor profile.
- Lime: Brings a bright, citrusy flavor that rounds out the savoriness of this chili. Make sure to use freshly squeezed lime, not bottled lime juice.
How to make Instant Pot white chicken chili
- Start with the base: Set your Instant Pot to sauté mode and cook the onions and poblano peppers in olive oil until they’re soft and golden. Mix in the garlic and cook it for another minute until it’s fragrant.
- Add the mix-ins: Add the beans, chicken, chicken stock, tomatoes, corn, and seasonings to the Instant Pot, then cover it with the lid.
- Pressure cook the chili: Secure the lid and make sure the valve is set to seal, then let the Instant Pot cook on manual mode for 15 minutes. After that, open the valve and let the steam release.
- Finishing touches: Take out the cooked chicken thighs and shred them with two forks. They should fall apart easily! Once shredded, mix the chicken back into the chili and add the lime juice. You’re then ready to serve with your favorite toppings.
Top this Instant Pot white chicken chili with garnishes like sour cream, avocado, tortilla chips, jalapeño slices, and cilantro to complete it. And to make it more filling, try pairing your bowl with some of these sides:
- Bread: Cornbread, garlic bread, or Spanish tomato bread all make great additions.
- Side salad: A crisp green salad or shaved zucchini salad with feta will balance out the hearty chili.
- Grains: Serve your chili over a bed of steamed rice or Instant Pot quinoa to soak up all the flavors.
Frequently asked questions
No, poblano peppers offer a mild heat. However, if you’re extremely sensitive to spice, you can use green bell peppers in place of poblano peppers.
While the Instant Pot speeds up the process and infuses flavors the best, you can also use a slow cooker or cook it on the stovetop (see the recipe card for stovetop instructions).
For a thicker chili, remove some of the bean mixture and blend it until smooth in a standalone blender or with an immersion blender. Then, return the bean mixture back to the Instant Pot and incorporate it with the rest of the chili.
Storage & reheating
Keeping your Instant Pot white chicken chili fresh and flavorful for leftovers is a breeze! Here’s what to do:
- Fridge: Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezer: Once cooled, transfer the chili to freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months.
- Reheating: Warm the chili on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally. If leftovers are from the freezer, thaw them overnight in the fridge first.
- Spicy: Add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes and include jalapeño or serrano peppers.
- Creamy: Stir in a half cup of half and half or heavy cream for a richer consistency.
- Beans: Switch out cannellini beans with black beans or kidney beans.
- Sweetness: Add a sweet potato, peeled and diced, for a creamy and sweet flavor.
- Beans: Ensure your beans are thoroughly rinsed to avoid an overly salty chili.
- Natural release: After pressure cooking, you can let the Instant Pot release pressure naturally for 10 minutes before the quick release for extra tender chicken.
- Keep warm: If you’re not serving immediately, keep the chili on the ‘Keep Warm’ setting to ensure it stays hot until you’re ready to eat.
Looking for more hearty recipes?
If you enjoyed this Instant Pot white bean chicken chili, be sure to check out some more hearty dishes like these:
- Turkey Quinoa Chili
- White Bean Soup
- Chicken and Sausage Pasta
- Tuscan Chicken Meatballs
- Beef Yakisoba Noodles
If you try this Instant Pot White Chicken Chili recipe, let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog
The Easiest Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 poblano peppers chopped
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 3 15.5-ounce cans cannellini beans or use Great Northern drained and rinsed
- 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken thighs or use chicken breast
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 10-ounce can tomatoes with green chilies
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or more to taste
- 1 large lime juiced
- sour cream for serving (optional)
- avocados chopped for serving (optional)
- tortilla chips for serving (optional)
- jalapeño for serving (optional)
- cilantro for serving (optional)
- Set the Instant Pot to saute mode and add olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and poblano peppers and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the chicken, cumin, chili powder, salt, chicken stock, tomatoes, corn, and beans. Cover and secure the lid with the valve set to seal. Using the manual pressure setting, cook for 15 minutes on high. Will take about 5-10 minutes to come to pressure. Open the valve and let the steam release once done cooking.
- Transfer chicken thighs to a plate. Use two forks to shred the chicken.
- Add the shredded chicken and lime to the Instant Pot, and gently mix to combine.
- To serve, ladle the chili into bowls, and top with sour cream, avocado, tortilla chips, jalapeño, and cilantro or your favorite toppings.