Southwest Chicken Chili is the hearty kind of dinner that leaves you feeling full and satisfied! Loaded with shredded chicken, beans, and Southwestern flavors, this dump-and-go recipe is perfect for busy weeknights. With just a few minutes of prep, this wholesome dinner is prepped and the crock pot will do the hard work!
They say that Chicken Noodle Soup is good for the soul, but I think this Southwest chicken chili also qualifies as one of those cozy recipes that feels a little like a warm hug.
If you’re used to something like my Easy Crock Pot Chili, Southwest white chicken chili is a little different. First, it’s made with chicken instead of ground beef! It’s also made without tomatoes or tomato sauce, which means it’s more broth-y than sauce-y. The addition of green chiles gives it some Southwestern flair—seriously, don’t skip them!
Every spoonful has a perfect combination of shredded chicken, hearty beans, and sweet corn, all flavored with spice-infused broth. Add your favorite toppings and you have the perfect meal for a cold winter day!
Why I LOVE this recipe!
- Dump-and-go recipe – No need for complicated prep work, just dump the ingredients in your slow cooker and let it do its magic. It’s that easy! The ingredient list might look long, but it’s mostly pantry staples, so this recipe really comes together in a snap.
- Cozy and hearty – Nothing beats a warm, satisfying bowl of chili on a cold winter day. This Southwest chicken chili is a delicious twist on the classic with incredible flavor.
- Family-friendly – While this chili is very flavorful, it’s not a spicy chili recipe. If you have picky eaters who turn their noses at even the mildest Tex-Mex recipes, this crockpot Southwest chicken chili will be a hit!
- Healthy – This recipe is not only tasty but also packed with nutritious high-protein ingredients like lean chicken, fiber-rich beans, and vegetables. It’s a complete meal in a bowl!
This Southwest chicken chili recipe is as simple as promised! Just dump-and-go for a family friendly meal.
In this section I am going to go through a few tips and tricks I use for how to make crockpot Southwest chicken chili to get the absolute best and most delicious results.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the FULL recipe card.
Ingredients + Substitutions
- Boneless, skinless chicken breast – You can substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs if you prefer.
- Yellow onion and garlic – Both ingredients create the base of flavor for this Southwest chicken chili recipe.
- Seasonings – Ground cumin, chili powder, paprika, dried oregano, salt, and pepper add that signature Southwest flavor without making this chili spicy.
- Cannelini beans – Or substitute another variety of white bean like Great Northern beans. Pinto beans will work too!
- Frozen corn – Canned corn can be used instead if that’s what you have on hand.
- Diced green chiles – You can buy these mild or hot, so if you want to add some heat to this chili recipe, go with hot. If you use mild, it should not have much heat and still be very kid-friendly.
- Chicken broth – Use either homemade chicken broth or store-bought.
- Toppings – Cilantro, lime, tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and anything else you like on your chili.
Make sure to see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full quantities and ingredients list.
If you love this recipe as much as we do and want some quick ways to change it up for variety, these little tips will do the trick!
- Creamy Southwest Chicken Chili – There are a lot of ways you can make this recipe creamy! Add a can of cream of chicken soup and 1/2 cup of sour cream to make this chili extra creamy; add a block of cream cheese to the crockpot at the end of the cooking time, cover and let it sit for 5 minutes, then stir it in; or just stir sour cream into each individual bowl of chili to let everyone make it as creamy as they like.
- Spicy Southwest Chicken Chili – For those who like it hot, add some chopped jalapeños or cayenne pepper for an extra kick.
- Instant Pot Southwest Chicken Chili – And for those who prefer the Instant Pot, this recipe can also be easily adapted. Use the method in my Pressure Cooker Chicken Chili recipe with the ingredients from this Southwest white chicken chili recipe.
Recipe Step by Step
I am going to highlight a few key steps in the recipe here, but make sure to jump down to the recipe card for comprehensive instructions on how to make Southwest white chicken chili.
Add the onions and garlic to the bottom of the slow cooker, then lay the chicken on top. Add the seasonings to the chicken.
Layer the white beans and green chiles over the seasoned chicken.
Add the corn to the crockpot, then pour in the chicken broth.
Cook the chili, then shred the chicken and stir everything together before serving.
- Layer the onion on the bottom – This helps the onion cook all the way through and elevates the chicken so it’s not touching the bottom of the pot.
- Sprinkle the seasonings on the chicken –Don’t just add them in the pot! Sprinkling them on the chicken will make it extra delicious.
- Don’t over-cook the chicken – I recommend using an instant read thermometer and checking the chicken at the lower range of the cooking time to see if it has reached 165ºF. This will keep the chicken from getting tough!
- Serve with toppings – Don’t forget to add your favorite toppings—chili isn’t done until it’s topped! A squeeze of lime juice is especially delicious.
Recipe Short Cuts
If you need to make this recipe, but are extra short on time, here are a few ideas that can help make this recipe even faster!
- Buy pre-diced onions – Save a little prep time by using pre-diced onions from the grocery store.
- Premeasure the seasonings – You can premeasure the seasonings as early as you want or whenever it is convenient.
- Assemble it in advance – Combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker insert the day before and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook. Let the insert sit at room temperature a bit before placing it in your slow cooker and turning it on.
Freezer Meal Instructions
Making this Southwest chicken chili recipe into a freezer meal is simple! Follow the steps below and you can store this recipe in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To freeze before cooking
- Combine all of the ingredients in a gallon-sized freezer bag.
- Lay the bag flat in your freezer and freeze for up to 3 months before cooking.
- When ready to cook, thaw the bag in the fridge overnight, then dump the contents into your slow cooker and cook according to recipe instructions.
How to Freeze Southwest Chicken Chili After Cooking
- Transfer the Southwest chicken chili to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag.
- Freeze for up to 1 month.
- Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating on the stove or in the microwave.
What to Serve with Southwest Chicken Chili
Since this hearty white chili has the delicious flavors of green chiles and Southwestern spices, it will pair well with many of your favorite Mexican-inspired side dishes.
Choose one or several of these side dishes to create a wholesome, well-rounded dinner. There are both classic options and some healthy options to keep it light.
Side Dish Ideas
Southwest Chicken Chili Leftovers
If you have leftovers after making this recipe, then it is your lucky day! They save and reheat well, and can make the start of another delicious dish.
To save leftovers, separate into meal sized portions and then place in an airtight container and store:
- in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
- in the freezer up to a month
What brings out the flavor in chili?
The combination of spices, such as cumin, chili powder, and oregano, and a long, slow cooking time help bring out the flavor in any chili recipe, including this crockpot Southwest chicken chili!
How do I thicken my white chicken chili?
If you want a thicker chicken chili, after you remove the cooked chicken, add constarch slurry of 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of broth from the crockpot. Mix it into the chili, then shred the chicken and stir it back into the slow cooker.
Can I make this recipe on the stovetop instead of using a slow cooker?
Yes, you can easily adapt this recipe for stovetop cooking. Sauté the onions and garlic with a drizzle of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, then add the rest of the ingredients. Cover and simmer until the chicken reaches 165ºF, then shred it and stir it into the chili.
More EASY Chicken Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, I really hope you will take a moment to grab a few more easy recipes for another busy night!
You can check out all of my easy chicken recipes here, or see a few of our readers favorite recipes below.
- Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Crock Pot BBQ Chicken – 3 Ingredients!
- Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Rice Casserole
- Dutch Oven Roast Chicken
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cans cannelinni beans, (15.5 ounce each)
- 12 ounces frozen corn, (about 2 cups)
- 2 cans diced green chiles, (4 ounces each)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- Tortilla chips
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Sour cream
- Place the diced onion and garlic on the bottom of the crockpot. Place the chicken breast on top of the onion.
- Sprinkle with the cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper, paprika and oregano.
- Add the cannelinni beans, corn, and green chiles, then top with the chicken broth.
- Cook on high for 3-3.5 hours, or low for 4-4.5 hours.
- Once done, remove the chicken and shred, then stir back into the chicken chili. Serve in bowls with your choice of toppings.