Instant Pot white chicken chili isn't your average chili recipe! In fact, many people prefer this version! It's made with tender pieces of shredded chicken, kernels of corn, and buttery white beans surrounded by a perfectly seasoned, rich, and creamy white broth. It's a delicious one-pot meal that is perfect for cozy weekends and busy weeknights and the kids will love it!
If you're wondering what makes Instant Pot chicken chili different than a regular chili recipe, it's a few things. First of all this type of chili isn't tomato-based. The broth is made creamy and white thanks to the cream cheese and puréed white beans. We're also not using the ground chicken to replace ground beef. We're using shredded (or even easier, store-bought rotisserie) chicken in the same way you'd find in a chicken noodle soup!
The pressure cooker does an amazing job of cooking and tenderizing the chicken into a fall-apart tender chicken that can easily be shredded and added back in at the end. It's also got a ton of dreamy flavors from the herbs and spices like coriander, cumin, and oregano. The chilies give it a lovely kick and you can play around with the amounts.
This truly delicious and wholesome pressure cooker white chicken chili is a recipe you'll want to keep on hand all winter long! Make a big batch and freeze some for later or portion it out for easy lunches and leftover dinner ideas throughout the week!
Why You'll Love this White Chili Recipe
- It's standout delicious! There's just something about the combination of the creamy ingredients like buttery beans and cream cheese that's comforting. Then you've also got the herbs and spices that bring out the flavor elements. The shredded chicken is so tender and juicy, and the sweet corn adds a crispy element. It's all so amazing!
- This dish is both make-ahead and freezer-friendly. You can make it in the Instant Pot and keep it warm for hours until you're ready to eat. You can also freeze it for a later date and reheat it when you're ready.
- Making a homemade soup from scratch is so much healthier than opening up a store-bought can. I'm talking about a low sodium, high fiber, high protein meal that can be customized to suit your tastes.
- It doesn't get any easier than a dump and set recipe! I mean, other than the initial sauté of the aromatics and a quick deglaze, it's effortless!
- Olive oil - Needed for the initial sauté of the onion and garlic. I like to use olive oil because it's not only healthy but is pretty neutral in flavor and has a high smoke point. Checks all the boxes!
- Aromatics - Yellow onion and minced garlic are the base flavor on which this entire soup is built.
- Chicken broth - I use chicken broth because it only adds to the chicken flavor but you can use vegetable broth if you prefer.
- Chicken thighs - The recipe calls for chicken thighs because of how much more flavor they have, and how forgiving it is when under pressure. If you prefer to use chicken breast, you can use that as well.
- Seasoning – Cumin, oregano, coriander, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. All the basic pantry staples!
- Diced chilies - use a small can of mild diced chilies. Some brands include: Old El Paso, Hatch, La Preferida, or store brand.
- Cannellini beans - They're the white buttery beans that hold their shape when cooked but when mashed add so much body and thickness to the soup.
- Corn kernels - Use frozen corn kernels if you have or drain a can of corn. Up to you!
- Cream cheese - Some recipes are adamant you use a block over a container because of the melting properties. I do prefer to use the block, but in this case, it's not as strict. If a container is what you have, you can use it.
How to Make White Chicken Chili in the Instant Pot
Step 1: Press the [Sauté] button on your Instant Pot, then select more. Once it says “HOT” add olive oil, onions, and garlic and cook until softened.
Step 2: Pour in the chicken broth and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Scrape off the brown bits with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Doing this will avoid the bits burning while cooking but they also add crazy good flavor.
Step 3: Add ingredients in the following order. DO NOT STIR. Place chicken thighs into the pot in a single layer, then add the dry herbs and spices, followed by salt, pepper, and green chilies.
Step 4: Set aside 1 cup of cannellini beans and set that aside. Add the rest to the beans.
Step 5: Close the lid, set the valve to sealing, and [Pressure Cook] (or press the manual button) on High for 15 minutes.
Step 6: Use a food processor or blender to purée the cup of beans, that have been set aside, until smooth.
Step 7: Allow the pressure in the pot to naturally release for at least 10 minutes. This means, once the timer is finished, you'll leave it alone and do nothing for the first 10 minutes. Then, you'll move the valve to vent and finish releasing the rest of the pressure.
Step 8: Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer it to a plate, cutting board, or a large bowl. Shred the chicken using two forks. Pull the chicken apart until you have the size pieces you want.
Step 9: Add the chicken back into the pot along with the corn, cream cheese, and puréed beans. Stir until well combined.
What to Serve with White Chili
If you're serving a crowd, a fun way to serve this up is to keep it warm in the pot, provide a ladle and bowls, and when you're ready to eat everyone can serve themselves. A chili bar with all the fixings is a great, easy, and cost-effective way to serve a crowd, no matter the size! Here are some of my family's favorites:
- Tortilla chips - A basket of chips (homemade chips are especially amazing) for dipping and scooping are a great addition to this meal.
- Tortilla strips - Some people enjoy putting crispy tortilla strips right in the soup as a garnish for added crunch.
- Sliced avocado - Delicious and creamy avocado is a popular choice!
- Lime wedges - A squirt of lime juice to finish it off adds a whole other vibrant and zesty element!
- Shredded cheese - I use Monterrey Jack for the most part, but sometimes I'll switch it up with Colby Jack or cheddar cheese.
- Cut the cream cheese up into cubes for easier and faster melting. You could also bring it to room temperature ahead of time.
- Be sure to layer the ingredients as directed without stirring. This way you will avoid the burn notice that can sometimes happen.
- Depending on the consistency you like, you can mash the beans by hand for a chunkier texture if you don't want to purée it smooth. If you don't need a thick broth you can skip mashing any beans completely.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally for the first 10 minutes not only allows it more time for the flavors to develop but also helps to avoid the splatter that can happen with a quick release.
- Save time by using a pre-made rotisserie chicken. It's a great way to use up leftovers or to take a shortcut and pick one up from the store.
There are a couple of ways to make this ahead of time. You could prep some of the ingredients like chopping onion, mincing garlic, and preparing the chicken (cutting off bits of fat, etc.,). You could also combine the seasoning into one jar and add it all at once later on. Keep everything separate and use it as needed when you're ready to make it.
You can also make the soup ahead of time and keep it warm for hours on the warm setting on your Instant Pot.
Leftovers can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. A great way to enjoy it throughout the week is to portion it out into smaller containers for lunches and dinners the week. That way you just take out and heat up what you need.
If you plan on freezing it for later, make it without the cream cheese! Once it has cooled completely, transfer it to a freezer-friendly container and store it for up to 3 months. When you're ready to eat it, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stove (or Instant Pot), and add the cream cheese in at that point.
Reheat on the stovetop over low heat if it's just a small serving. A bigger portion can also be reheated on the stove, or in the Instant Pot on the warm function. You can also use the microwave if you wish.
Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
- Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 ¼ cups chicken broth
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 (4.5 oz) can diced chilies (mild)
- 2 (15.5 oz) cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 4 oz cream cheese
- tortilla chips or strips
- Monterrey jack cheese
- lime wedges
- To the Instant Pot, press [SAUTE}, then select More. To the pot, add olive oil, onions, and garlic; cook for 2-3 minutes until softened.
- Deglaze the pot with chicken broth, scrape any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot with a rubber spatula.
- Layer in the ingredients as follows: place chicken thighs into the pot in a single layer. Then, add cumin, dried oregano, ground coriander, ground cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and green chilies. Measure out 1 cup of Cannelini beans and set aside. Add the rest of the beans into the pot.
- Using a food processor, puree the 1 cup of Cannelini beans until smooth.
- Close the lid, making sure the knob is in the sealing position. Set the Instant Pot to [PRESSURE COOK]/ or Manual on High Pressure for 15 minutes. Once done, let it naturally release pressure for at least 10 minutes before quick releasing.
- Take chicken out onto a cutting board or plate. Using two forks, shred the chicken.
- Add corn, cream cheese, pureed beans, and shredded chicken into the pot. Stir until well combined.
- Serve warm with toppings such as tortilla chips, Monterrey jack cheese, avocado, and lime.
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