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.