Cook with Dry Beans: Simple White Bean Chili

Reading Time: 7 min

 

Learn to cook dry beans! White Bean Chili is comforting, inexpensive, simple, and full of real food. Instructions for Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, and Stovetop included.

Add chicken to make white chicken chili, and the recipe includes gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and freezer storing tips!

 

Learn to cook dry beans! White Bean Chili is comforting, inexpensive, simple, and full of real food. Instructions for Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, and Stovetop included. Add chicken to make white chicken chili, and the recipe includes gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and freezer storing tips! From CheapskateCook.com #recipe #chili

 

 

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When you are trying to save money and eat healthy, beans are important. I knew this when we started our frugal, real food journey 10 years ago.

However, I did not learn how to cook dry beans for a long time. 2 reasons: gross and gas. I did not like the way they smelled while cooking and did not like the way people smelled after eating them.

It’s just the truth, and unless you grew up eating beans, you probably agree with me.

 

Then I Learned This

Then I learned a couple of tricks that solved my problems:

 

Pressure Cooker

Cook beans in the Instant Pot (affiliate link) – not only is it faster than any other method, it mostly keeps the smell inside the pot.

 

Add Flavor

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, cook the beans in the slow cooker (affiliate links) with added flavors – bone broth, bay leaves, garlic, onion, jalapenos. These will fill the house and mask the sulfur.

This is a good idea even if you use an Instant Pot, because YUM.

 

The Type of Beans Matters

Generally, I avoid black beans and red beans. Something about them is a lot harder to digest. However, pinto and great northern – some of the cheapest beans in my area – are great.

 

Magic Spices

Some people use certain spices to “de-gas” beans. I tried it, but could never tell if it actually worked.

 

 

 

Now we cook a pot of beans almost every week.

Sometimes we make Cumin Bean & Cornbread.

The leftovers for that become Burrito Bowls

And those leftovers turn into tacos.

Since Great Northern beans are the next cheapest (thank you, Aldi), we use those too. Sometimes we use them in place of chickpeas for fun, weird dessert recipes like Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Dessert Hummus.

Or we use them in a classic recipe like White Bean Chili.

Like all of our meals, this recipe is more of a guideline than a hard and fast method. We like it just the way it is, but we usually tweak it depending on what we have at the time.

Sometimes we add shredded chicken, and sometimes we keep it meatless.

Sometimes we use the leftovers for a unique twist on tacos.

Other times we make it vegan by adding a generous dollop of simple, frugal guacamole or sliced avocado.

Make it your own. But when cool weather hits, and you crave a bowl of comfort with a kick, definitely make this.

This Recipe Is:

Gluten-free

Dairy-free (if you watch the toppings)

Vegetarian & Vegan (with vegetable broth and dairy-free toppings)

All real food

So cheap! Beans, broth, some veggies, and spices.

 

white bean chili from the side

 

Make it Cheaper

Broth

Use homemade bone broth! It’s made from chicken bones, veggies, and water. I’ll share my recipe soon, but this one works great (affiliate link).

Or use homemade vegetable broth, Veggies and water. Easy. Try this recipe.

Chicken

Dark meat is cheaper than white meat. We normally use leftovers from cooking a whole chicken.

Try this easy 1-hour recipe – no Instant Pot required!

If you don’t want to cook a whole chicken, try this tasty make-ahead chicken.

Aldi

Almost everything in these photos was from Aldi. The best price for these ingredients that I can find without hitting a killer sale.

Watch the Toppings

Don’t get carried away with all the fun toppings! They can easily turn into the most expensive part of the chili. We pick a couple favorites and stick to them.

 

Make it Real

Here are some tips to keep your chili healthy!

Broth

Making your own bone broth and vegetable broth means you control the ingredients, the amount of salt, everything. Not only does it save money, but it keeps your food clean.

Sour Cream

Watch the ingredients in your sour cream. Some cheaper brands have unnecessary ingredients (cornstarch, etc.).

Sour cream ingredients should be: milk, cream, enzymes.

Cheese

Shred your own cheese! Pre-shredded cheese has anti-caking ingredients. Sometimes this includes cornstarch or even gluten products.

My kids shred our cheese. It saves me time, makes them handy in the kitchen, and they sneak some cheese before dinner. Everyone wins.

 

 

White Bean Chili

Learn to cook dry beans! This White Bean Chili is comforting, inexpensive, simple, and full of real food. Add chicken to make White Chicken Chili.

Author: Steph Jenkins
Ingredients
  • 2 qts chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1/2 lb great northern beans, dry
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp oil or butter
  • One 6-oz can green chilis
  • 2 cups corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (to taste)
Optional:
  • 1/4-1/2 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and chopped (to taste)
  • 2-3 cups cooked chicken, shredded* (to taste)
  • 1-2 green bell pepper, deseeded and chopped (to taste)
Toppings:
  • sour cream
  • cilantro, chopped
  • cheddar cheese, shredded
  • avocado, sliced
  • guacamole
  • pickled jalapenos
  • tortilla chips or cornbread, to serve
Instructions
Cook the Beans:
  1. Pour the dry beans into a colander and rinse them under running water thoroughly. Pick through the beans to makes sure there aren't any rocks in them. I don't know why rocks are in our beans in 2018, but I tell myself it means they are more natural. 

  2. Pour the beans into a slow cooker or Instant Pot. Cover with 4 cups (1 qt) bone broth and 4 cups water. Add more water if necessary. You want at least twice as much water as beans because they will swell as they cook. 

  3. Peel and dice the onion and toss half of it in with the beans. Refrigerate the rest to use in the soup. Peel and mince 2 garlic cloves and add them to the beans as well. 

  4. Slow Cooker: Cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 3-4, until beans are soft and tender.

    Instant Pot: Put the lid on the pot and twist the seal valve. Set to Pressure Cook on High 30 minutes. Press Start. Let pressure release naturally after it cooks. 

Stovetop:
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, Melt 2 tbsp butter or oil. Add the other half of the diced onion to the pot, and saute until onion is translucent. If using green pepper or jalapenos, saute them as well. Mince last 2 garlic cloves and them and cumin to the pot. Cook for 1 minute.

  2. Pour cooked beans into the pot, add the remaining 4 cups (1 qt) bone broth, chilis, and corn (and chicken if using). 

  3. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, until onion is cooked and soft. Add salt and pepper. Then taste and add more salt if necessary. Homecooked beans do not have added salt like canned beans, so you will probably need to add more than you think.

  4. Top as desired and enjoy! We like plenty of cilantro with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheddar.

Slow Cooker:
  1. To cook the soup in the same slow cooker you cooked the beans, add this to the slow cooker: the other half of the diced onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic, cumin, green chilis, corn, and remaining broth. If using green pepper, chicken, or jalapenos, add them as well. Stir it well. 

  2. Cook on low 3-4 hours or on high 2 hours, until onions are soft and cooked through.

  3. Add salt and pepper. Then taste and add more salt if necessary. Homecooked beans do not have added salt like canned beans, so you will probably need to add more than you think.

  4. Top as desired and enjoy! We like plenty of cilantro with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheddar.

Instant Pot:
  1. Set the Instant Pot to saute and press Start. Melt 2 tbsp butter or oil in it. Add the other half of the diced onion to the pot, and saute until onion is translucent. If using green pepper or jalapenos, saute them as well. Add last 2 garlic cloves and cumin, and cook for 1 minute.

  2. Pour cooked beans into the pot, add the remaining 4 cups (1 qt) bone broth, chilis, and corn (and chicken if using). 

  3. Put the lid on the pot and twist the seal valve. Set to Pressure Cook on High 5 minutes. Press Start. Let pressure release naturally after it cooks.

  4. Onion should be cooked and soft. Add salt and pepper. Then taste and add more salt if necessary. Homecooked beans do not have added salt like canned beans, so you will probably need to add more than you think.

  5. Top as desired and enjoy! We like plenty of cilantro with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheddar.

Recipe Notes

Freeze It

To freeze leftovers, simply label a quart-size freezer bag, spoon in the chili, seal it, and lay it flat in your freezer so that it freezes in an easy-to-store brick.

When you're ready to use it, let it thaw in the fridge overnight, then reheat it in a pot on the stove.

 

Chicken

Try this make-ahead chicken! You can keep it in the freezer then toss it, still frozen, into the chili. Let it thaw as the chili cooks.

If you don't have leftover chicken, you can cook the chicken with the chili!

Pop 1 breast or 2 boneless skinless thighs into the slow cooker and cook it on low 6-8 hours or on high 3-4. Cook in the Instant Pot on high pressure for 10 minutes. Stovetop cook time should remain the same.

Simply shred it into the chili with two forks when it is cooked through.

Canned Beans

If you want to use canned beans, just use 3-4 cans (I'm not sure how many!) of canned Great Northern beans. Use only 1 quart of broth, and just add a whole onion and 4 minced garlic cloves to the soup itself. After cooking, taste it first before adding any salt. 

Vegetarian & Vegan

Use vegetable broth and leave out the chicken.

 

Gluten-free

This recipe is naturally gluten-free!

 

Dairy-free

This recipe is naturally dairy-free! Top with sliced avocado or guacamole, cilantro, and pickled jalapenos, as desired.

 

 

white bean chili ready for the freezer
White Bean Chili ready for the freezer

 

 

 



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