A lighter version of your classic white chicken chili that is made using milk and cornmeal instead of traditional cream for a thick and satisfying easy dinner the whole family will love.

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New Years is the perfect time to recommit to eating well and this recipe is a healthy and delicious place to start. Lightened-up White Chicken Chili is made by sauteing onions and peppers and then adding raw chicken breasts and water. By cooking the chicken right in the soup the flavor is full. Beans and corn add protein and texture. The secret to this recipe is how it is thickened. A mixture of corn meal and milk is used to make a paste and then added to the soup. After it has a minute to cook the cornmeal thickens the soup instead of using cream or a roux. The thickening mixture also adds a wonderful side note of corn. Dinner is served.

White chicken chili is one of my all time favorite soups and I know you’ll like it too.

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Can chicken chili be frozen?

Yes! Store it in an airtight container for up to 3 months in the freezer.

How long will chicken chili last in the fridge?

It should last around 5 days in the fridge and makes great leftovers for lunches and easy dinners later in the week.

How can I thicken my chili?

This recipe is so unique in the fact that you use a slurry of cornmeal and milk to thicken it! It adds a great depth of flavor and you don’t have to have any cream on hand.


White Chicken Chili – lightened up

  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless This Mess
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings 1x


A healthy version of my favorite chili. White Chicken Chili is full of flavor and gets it creaminess from an unexpected place: corn meal!



  • 23 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 45 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 14-ounce cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup corn meal or masa
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped cilantro, optional


  1. In a large stock pot melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and peppers and saute until the onions are translucent around the edges and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. Cut any extra fat from the chicken breast and discard. Add the chicken breasts and the water to the pot. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and boil until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside to cool. Add the salt, cumin, black pepper, chili powder, white beans, and corn. Reduce heat to low.
  3. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, using two forks, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces and return to the pot.
  4. In a small bowl combine the cornmeal and the milk and mix until smooth. Add the cornmeal mixture to the hot soup and stir to combine. Let the soup cook over low heat for 3 to 5 more minutes. Add salt to taste. Serve hot and garnish with chopped cilantro.

  • Category: Chili
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: chicken chili recipe

Other easy chili recipes you’ll love:

Sides that go great with chicken chili:

This post was originally published in January 2013 and has been updated in June 2019.

A healthy version of my favorite chili. White Chicken Chili is full of flavor and gets it creaminess from an unexpected place: corn meal!

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38 Recipes for Busy Moms
9 Responses
  1. Monica McCue

    We love white chili!! We have a Betty Crocker crock pot recipe for it that is great and perfect for a cold day. This recipe looks delicious!

  2. marseille

    I just made this last night, even though I though I wouldn’t like it. (peppers…) but, I was pleasantly surprised. I LOVE it! And the cornmeal trick is genius! I’m goign to try it w/our other chilis. Now, if I can only figure out how to make dry beans taste as good as canned…(I have a consistency problem…)

  3. Micayla Angel

    How many servings would you estimate this recipe makes? Just me and my husband, so I’m curious how many leftover nights this will be. 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Melissa

      I’d say 4 to 6 depending on how much you eat. My husband can eat a lot and so can I so I’d say 4. I think it would freeze fine if you didn’t want to eat the leftovers right away too! Enjoy!

  4. Jan W

    We just tried this tonight and I’m in love! So easy & delicious – I used frozen pre-cooked chicken breasts to save some extra time 😉 It’s perfect with a wedge of hot cornbread! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe <3

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Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.

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