Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili with Salsa Verde 5

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili with Salsa Verde

One of my favorite dishes to make during the cold winter months is chili. There is simply nothing quite like a warm and comforting bowl on a chilly winter night. This non-traditional white salsa verde chicken chili is one of my favorite recipes! It’s a nice break from the traditional beef chili but is full of flavor with hearty white beans and a little spice. The best part is it can be made in the slow cooker while you check off other items on your to do list! This is a great recipe for anyone who wants an easy dinner the entire family will enjoy! Let me show you how to make this easy chicken chili with salsa verde. Full recipe card below.

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What is chili?

The great debate! Depending on where you live, this answer varies quite a bit. Chili is most commonly associated with Texas, the Midwest (specifically Cincinnati) and New Mexico and Colorado for their green chili. Then there is white chicken chili that has grown in popularity and one of my favorites! So what’s the difference?

Texas chili is usually a greater ratio of meat to sauce and includes no beans or fillers, just veggies and chili peppers. I would argue Cincinnati chili is really more like spicy spaghetti as it is usually served on top of noodles. And Hatch green chili as it is popular in New Mexico and my home state of Colorado is usually a spicy chili made with hatch green chiles and pork.

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili with Salsa Verde 3

No matter what type of chili we are talking about there are a few staples in most chili recipes. Frequently chili includes a meat, a sauce, veggies, chili peppers, and sometimes fillers like beans, rice, or noodles. Most chilis also vary depending on the sauce to meat and veggie ratios. Some chilis are thinner and more like a stew with beef broth, Some are more like a soup, and some are a thicker chili more like a saucy meat dish.

What type of chili is this?

This is a creamy white chicken chili recipe with green salsa verde. I personally prefer a more chunky soup like chili regardless of whether it’s a red, green, or white chili. So this one is roughly a 50:50 ratio of sauce to other ingredients and is definitely a white bean chili.

Basic White Chicken Chili Verde Ingredients

Most chili recipes have similar basic ingredients that are consistent across the board but vary in types and quantities. I will break down what I use and why and what ingredients can be substituted or left out.

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili with Salsa Verde

Chicken – A key ingredient in this recipe is the chicken. To make it easy, I usually use canned chicken that I buy in bulk at Costco. But you can use shredded boneless skinless chicken breast, shredded rotisserie chicken, or even leftover chicken from last night’s dinner. Just make sure the chicken is already cooked and isn’t more than a day or two old as chicken only lasts 3-4 days in the fridge before it starts to grow bacteria.

Great Northern Beans – While there is definitely a debate on beans in chili, I always add chili beans to mine. Canned beans are an inexpensive and easy way to make a dish more filling. This recipe uses great northern beans which are commonly referred to as white beans. They are mild in flavor and perfect for creamy dishes. If you cannot find them in the bean section at your grocery store, you can use cannellini beans as a close substitute. Just avoid dark beans like kidney beans and black beans because they can alter the color of this white bean chicken chili. You can also add more hearty beans for more protein and omit the chicken if you are looking for a vegetarian chili recipe.

Softened Cream Cheese – The creamy texture of the sauce in this chili comes from the cream cheese. It works best if the cream cheese is room temperature and a little soft, but don’t microwave it. Just take it out of the fridge about 15 minutes before you start cooking. You can use any version or brand you want. I used the reduced fat version so I feel less guilty going back for a second bowl, haha!

Chicken Broth – The base of this chili also uses chicken broth. I use the low sodium version so keep that in mind when salting the chili. Since this is a chicken chili I used chicken broth, but you can also use vegetable if you are looking for a vegetarian option. You can also substitute chicken broth for chicken stock, but you may have to add more salt and pepper to the finished chili since stock usually contains no added seasonings.

Salsa Verde – AKA green chili salsa. I normally use the medium 505 Southwestern Hatch Valley Green Chili Salsa because I like a little kick and this stuff is the best! But you can also use the mild version or another brand. I recently made this for my family out of state and I couldn’t find the 505 so I used a generic Kroger jar of salsa verde and it worked just fine. Just don’t skip this ingredient because it gives it a ton of flavor and some acidity.

Half and Half – I personally think half and half works the best for a creamier sauce, but I have also used 2% milk. It’s not as thick and creamy with milk but it’s still really good. I do think skim milk would be too runny though.

Onion – Adding fresh onion to chili is very common and adds a lot of extra flavor to the sauce. I normally use a white or yellow onion diced small. To speed up the chopping process, I use this slicer. It is truly a game changer when it comes to prep work and it can shred cheese too!

Jalapenos – Jalapenos add a little extra heat to the chili. You can remove the seeds for a milder version, keep the seeds in for more heat, or do half with the seeds and half without to meet somewhere in the middle. Since the spiciness of jalapenos varies, I usually taste mine before I decide but I frequently remove the seeds.

Did you know that jalapenos with striations on the exterior or that are changing color from green to red or orange are spicier? These jalapenos were left on the vine longer and have more heat.

If you are looking for no heat use a green pepper. For milder heat use use poblano peppers instead. For a spicier version, use serrano peppers.

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Corn – Corn adds a little bit of sweetness to the chili and plays off the other spice elements really well. I use canned corn for convenience but you can also use fresh or frozen.

Cilantro – Fresh cilantro adds so much flavor to a dish. I do not recommend using dried cilantro because I don’t think it tastes anything like real cilantro. If you don’t have the real deal, I would just skip it.

Garlic  – I always use real garlic from the jar because it’s convenient and has a softer flavor than garlic powder. If you choose to use garlic powder you will not need as much. Substitute 1/8 tsp of garlic powder for 1 tsp of fresh.

Chili Seasonings – I prefer to season my chili with my own combination of spices so I can control the sodium. I use a custom blend of cumin, chili powder, cayenne, oregano, salt, and pepper. If you don’t already keep these spices on hand, I would start. I use all of these very regularly and cumin is especially one of my favorite ingredients to give a dish a more earthy flavor.

Limes – Because this chili is a creamy base, a little lime juice really helps balance it out. I use the lime as a garnish and serve my chili with a slice of lime to squeeze on top and it’s just the right amount.

Tortilla Chips or Strips – I always garnish my chili with a handful of crushed tortilla chips or tortilla strips for a little crunch on top. In a pinch I have even used Doritos, which might actually be my favorite!

Avocado – This is totally optional, but avocado is one of my favorite toppings. But I could probably put avocado on just about anything, haha!

Sour Cream – Normally I top my chili with a dollop of sour cream, but I honestly don’t think this recipe really needs it. But feel free to add a scoop if you want.

Cooking Method – Chili is the perfect dish to make in the slow cooker because the flavors develop over time and no one wants to stand in front of the stove top for hours on end. Crockpots are also great for transporting for a chili cook-off party. I have hosted several and this keeps all the chilis hot and ready to taste. However, if you do not have one, you can definitely make this chili on the stove in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. I have not tested this recipe in my Instant Pot pressure cooker.

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Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili with Salsa Verde

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  • Author: Lisa
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x


The ultimate winter comfort food, a warm bowl of white chicken chili with salsa verde. The perfect dish for watching football, a cold night in, or simply an easy week night family meal. Just add all the ingredients to your slow cooker in the morning and by the end of the day, dinner is ready! You can even make it for your next chili cookoff party! A simple combination of cream, chicken, green chili, veggies, and spice make this an easy dish everyone will love.


Units Scale

12.5 oz Chicken drained & shredded (1 can)

8 oz Cream Cheese

31 oz Great Northern Beans drained (2 cans)

15.25 oz Corn drained (1 can)

14.50 oz Low Sodium Chicken Broth (1 can)

1/4 cup Half & Half

8 oz Green Chili Salsa

1/2 White Onion diced

2 Jalapenos diced seeds removed

2 tsp Garlic minced

2 tbsp Fresh Cilantro chopped

1 tsp Cumin

1 tbsp Chili Powder

1 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1/2 tsp Chili Powder

3/4 tsp Oregano

1 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Tortilla Strips (for topping)

Shredded Cheese (for topping)

Avocado diced (for topping)

Limes (for garnish)


  1. With a fork, shred the chicken and add it and the cream cheese to the slow cooker.
  2. Drain the northern beans and corn and add them to the chicken and cream cheese in the slow cooker.
  3. Add the chicken broth, half and half, and the salsa to the crockpot.
  4. Dice the onion, jalapeno, and cilantro and add them to the other items in the crock pot. To speed up chopping, I use this slicer.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and homemade chili seasoning to the slow cooker and stir.
  6. Turn on the crock pot and set it to low. Cook for 4-8 hours stirring occasionally. The cream cheese will melt into the chili over time.
  7. Top chili with cheese, tortilla strips, avocado and a lime wedge.
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American, Tex-Mex, Mexican


This simple salsa verde white chicken chili recipe makes 6-8 regular bowls of chili. Any leftover chili can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I have not tried to freeze this so do so at your own risk.

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili with Salsa Verde 5

How to Reheat Chili

I usually reheat chili in the microwave in increments of 30 seconds stirring in between until chili is heated all the way through. You can also reheat on medium low heat on the stovetop if you prefer.

When to Make White Chicken Chili

One of my favorite things about the winter is making a large pot of chili! This easy slow cooker recipe is perfect for snowy days, busy days, or even the big game! You can set it and forget it and have a hearty bowl of chicken chili waiting for you at dinner. It’s also perfect for chili cook-offs and fall parties. I made this for a chili cook-off and it was a winner and everyone wanted the recipe! No matter when you decide to make this easy recipe, I am confident it will become your go-to recipe the whole family will love.

Looking for a traditional beef chili? Get my recipe here and learn how to make cornbread waffles to go with it!

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