You can make this tasty, gluten-free White Chicken Chili with Bacon on the stove, in an Instant Pot, or in your slow cooker. Any way you prepare it, it’s crowd-pleasing and delicious.
Is using canned beans a cheat? I don't think so, since we're trying to make a quick, delicious meal with little effort: exactly what canned beans are made for. Plus, the creamy beans add texture to the dish. This recipe actually utilizes the liquid from the canned beans to help create a smooth sauce.
If you'd like to make this chili even easier, skip cutting up the chicken. You can pop whole chicken breasts in the chili and then pull them out after cooking is complete to chop or shred.
If I cook the chicken pieces whole, I just pop the shredded bits back in the chili and stir to blend and warm for about 2 more minutes.
Can I use chicken thighs? Frozen chicken?
In a word: yes. You can use chicken thighs in the recipe. You can use frozen chicken with the Instant Pot method - I recommend thawing for the other options. If you use frozen chicken in the Instant Pot, you'll need to shred it before serving as described above.
I top this White Chicken Chili with shredded cheese and more basil, my husband prefers sour cream & hot sauce. My daughter eats it with chips, almost like dip. Make a batch, and then make it your own!
If you’re a meal prepper, this chili will likely be one of your favorites. Check out my Roasted Shrimp with Lemon & Garlic and Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs with Bacon for easy weekday dinners or meal prep too.
White Chicken Chili with Bacon
- 2 15 oz. cans white kidney cannellini, or white beans (including the liquid, do not drain cans)
- 1 lb chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes
- 5 slices thick-cut gluten-free bacon chopped
- 2 shallots diced
- 1 large carrot diced
- 5 leaves fresh basil chiffonade
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. chili powder or more, to taste
- salt & pepper to taste
Stove Top Method:
- Warm the olive oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and carrots, cook until shallots start to become translucent (about 3-5 minutes). Add the bacon and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring to prevent burning or sticking. Lower heat to medium and add chicken and brown sugar. After sugar has thoroughly melted, reduce heat to medium-low and add the canned beans with the liquid from the cans, along with the basil, paprika, chili powder and ½ teaspoon of both salt and pepper. Allow to cook for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Taste the chili and add salt, pepper or chili powder as desired, allowing chili to cook for at least 5 more minutes after spices are added. Serve.
Slow Cooker Method:
- Add all ingredients to slow cooker crock and stir to blend. Cook on low for 6 hours or more.
Instant Pot Method:
- Set the Instant Pot to the saute function. Once the pot in warm, add the olive oil and bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, to begin to crisp the bacon, 5-7 minutes. Then turn the pot off.
- Add all remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot and stir to combine. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and lock, making certain the vent is in the sealed position. Set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 20 minutes (or use the chili setting). When the cook time is finished, let the steam naturally release.
Photos: Meg van der Kruik
Chili. The easiest way to please the family and yourself. Toppings optional, but encouraged.
Frequently Asked Questions about White Chicken Chili:
Yes, you can make this gluten-free white chicken chili recipe in the InstantPot, in a slow cooker, or on the stove.
No. To make sure any chili is gluten-free, it needs to be made with gluten-free ingredients and not exposed to cross contamination.
Yes. You can freeze the chili in a freezer-safe airtight container for two months.