White Bean Chicken Chili: A Family Favorite with Plant-Based Option


For many years, when our children were very young, our friends hosted an annual pumpkin patch party, complete with face painting, magicians, and lots of great food. The centerpiece of the buffet table was always a huge vat of White Bean Chicken Chili, served with plenty of tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, and love.

Eat Dairy Free - Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and SweetsThe chili itself is dairy free, and with a few quick swaps of dairy-free sour cream (we use Tofutti) and dairy-free cheese shreds (Daiya Cutting Board Shreds are great), this hearty dish can be enjoyed by even more people! Some of my children don’t care for traditional chili, but they do like this creamy chili recipe that features chicken instead of beef and seasonings reminiscent of tacos.

This white bean chicken chili recipe can be modified to make in a slow cooker or Instant Pot, but we haven’t tried either of these cooking methods yet.

White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe - A Family Favorite That's Naturally Gluten-Free and Allergy-Friendly #chickenchili with Vegan Option

Kids Can Cook Tips: White Bean Chicken Chili

This white bean chicken chili recipe is a great introduction to cooking main dishes for kids who are ready to move on from beginner recipes. Rinsing and sorting beans is a fun job for little helpers, as is measuring and pouring many of the ingredients.

Older kids and teens can practice their knife skills on the onions, garlic, and chicken, saute the vegetables and spices, keep an eye on the cooking beans, and learn how to tell when beans are done! Often, children are more willing to try a recipe if they helped make it or made it themselves, which is another great reason to get them in the kitchen.

White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe - A Family Favorite That's Naturally Gluten-Free and Allergy-Friendly #chickenchili with Vegan Option

Special Diet Notes: White Bean Chicken Chili

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and top food allergy-friendly.

For vegan white bean chili, swap vegetable stock for the chicken stock, and omit the chicken or substitute your favorite vegan chicken alternative.

White Bean Chicken Chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
As with many soups and stews, this chili tastes even better the next day and is a perfect fall meal. Please note that the Prep time does not include the soaking time, because it is hands on time only. You'll want to soak the beans a day ahead.
Serves: 6 to 8 servings
  • 1 (1-pound) bag dried great northern beans
  • 6 cups + 2 cups chicken stock, divided (see note above for vegan option)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped and divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • 6 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (see note above for vegan option)
  • 1 cup mild tomato salsa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon neutral-tasting oil (not olive oil)
  • 2 ounces canned diced mild green chiles, drained
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Dairy-free sour cream, cheddar shreds, or tortilla chips, for serving (optional)
  1. In a colander, rinse and pick over the great northern beans.
  2. Place the beans in a large pot and cover with water. Cover the pot, and let the beans soak overnight.
  3. Drain the beans, and return them to the pot. Add the 6 cups stock, 1 chopped onion, and 1 minced garlic clove.
  4. Bring the beans to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until the beans are softened, stirring periodically. For some reason, the cook time can vary quite a bit.
  5. Add the chopped chicken, salsa, and salt, and let it simmer while you cook the remaining ingredients.
  6. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the remaining onion, remaining garlic, green chiles, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper, and saute until the onions are just softened, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the green chile mixture to the beans, and let it simmer for 1 more hour. Add the remaining 2 cups stock as needed to reach your desired consistency.
  8. Serve your white bean chicken chili with the dairy-free sour cream, cheddar shreds, and/or tortilla chips, if desired.

For More Family-Friendly Dairy-Free Recipes, Enjoy Eat Dairy Free!

Eat Dairy Free - Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets

About Author

Sarah is the Associate Editor for Go Dairy Free. Her previous experience includes work as a copy editor at Thoroughbred Times magazine, a content writer at Travelago.com, and an intern at Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Sarah was a 'mom blogger' for many years but now mostly hangs out on Go Dairy Free and Instagram.


  1. I doubled this recipe. My family loved it. I have two dairy allergic toddlers. My husbands favorite recipe from this site thus far.

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