Creamy and rich, with fall apart tender chicken and southwestern spices that will warm you up to the tips of your toes, this Instant Pot white chicken chili is simple to prep and reheats great!
The Instant Pot is a great way to 'set it and forget it' when it comes to soups, stews and chili. From Instant Pot cauliflower cheese soup to Tuscan chicken stew to this white chicken chili, you don't have to worry about stirring, and it cooks through quickly!
A nice departure from classic chili, white chicken chili is flavored with cumin, ground coriander, green chiles, sweet corn and tangy cream cheese. It's a bit mellower than the classic version, and can up the spice levels if you'd like with fresh jalapeño peppers.
Don't forget to load it up with your favorite toppings!
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Reasons you'll ♡ this recipe
- the Instant Pot makes it hands off to cook- no stirring!
- it's creamy and packed with flavor
- the combination of cumin, ground coriander, jalapeños, sweet corn and tangy cream cheese is delicious and comforting
- it stores great in the fridge or freezer and tastes even better on day 2
Watch the video below to see how simple it is to prep Instant Pot cauliflower cheese soup. It’s so easy! You can find more of my recipe videos on my YouTube channel.
- chicken- boneless skinless chicken thighs are perfect in this recipe because they stay nice and juicy and shred easily. You may swap for boneless chicken breasts, but will need to reduce the cook time to 8 minutes high pressure with a 10 minute natural pressure release.
- white beans- sometimes called cannelini beans, white kidney beans or great northern beans. They are creamy and soft, and are found with the other canned beans in the grocery store.
- green chiles- I've used Old El Paso brand, and they are not terribly spicy (in other countries, they may come with different spice levels- choose accordingly!). Avoid using canned jalapeños, or use them with caution as they are *quite* spicy.
- cream cheese- adds creaminess and a deliciously tangy flavor to the soup that compliments the corn and spices. Do not skip. You may use full fat or reduced fat.
Step by step directions
1. Combine- Place all ingredients except for the cream cheese in the stainless steel insert of your Instant Pot. Stir to combine and place the lid on the pot.
2. Cook- Set the steam release handle to the 'sealing' position, then set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. When the pot finishes cooking, allow it to naturally depressurize (aka: just let it sit) for 10 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure.
3. Shred chicken- Use tongs to transfer chicken thighs to a clean bowl. Use the tongs or an electric hand mixer to shred the chicken.
4. Thicken chili- Before adding the chicken back to the Instant Pot, transfer 3 ladles of soup to a blender. Add the cream cheese cubes and lime juice to the blender, then blend until fully pureed.
5. Add it all back- Return the shredded chicken and the blended chili back into the Instant Pot and stir to combine. Taste and add salt if needed.
This recipe works great in the slow cooker as well. Check out our slow cooker white chicken chili recipe (it also works great as a crockpot freezer meal as detailed below).
Chicken Shredding Hack
Use an electric hand mixer to shred your chicken in seconds!
To cut down on dishes, instead of using a stand blender, give the chili a few pulses with an immersion blender to thicken it up.
Like classic chili, this white chicken chili is all about the toppings! Here are some of our favorites:
- lime wedges
- fresh jalapeño slices
- avocado cubes
- shredded cheese (monterey jack or jalapeño cheddar)
- fresh cilantro
- sour cream
- tortilla strips or chips
- salsa verde
As written, this recipe is mildly spicy. You can cut down on the spice levels by omitting the jalapeño pepper or the green chiles. You can increase the spice level by choosing spicy green chiles or adding extra chopped fresh jalapeños.
Yes, if your frozen chicken thighs are separated, you can still cook them in this Instant Pot white chicken chili. Increase the cook time to 12 minutes. If your thighs are stuck together, I recommend thawing partially and prying apart before adding to the chili.
No. This defaults to 30 minutes at high pressure, which is way too long for chicken thighs. Use the 'pressure cook' button (or 'manual' on older models) and set to 10 minutes with a 10 minute natural pressure release.
I tested with and without sautéing the onions and did not detect any added flavor benefit from sautéing them. This recipe uses less prep steps for just as much flavor!
Storage + meal prep
White chicken chili can be cooked ahead OR assembled ahead as freezer packs (no cooking).
- fridge- cool completely, and portion out into one large or several small meal prep containers. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- freezer- cool completely, and portion out into a glass or plastic freezer jar. Leave lids ajar until fully frozen. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- thaw- overnight in the fridge, or leave on the counter for 2 hours to accelerate thawing.
- reheat- heat individual portions in the microwave until steaming hot. Reheat larger portions on the stove over medium heat; stir occasionally until steaming hot.
To assemble freezer packs for meal prep, you will:
- Assemble- Combine all ingredients *except for the cream cheese and lime juice in a 3 quart meal prep container or a sturdy gallon-sized freezer bag. Squeeze as much air out as possible.
- Freeze- Store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
3. Thaw- Thaw for 48 hours in the fridge, accelerate the process by leaving on the counter for a few hours or immersing the bag in room temperature water (make sure your bag does not leak).
4. Cook- Dump the contents of the bag into the stainless steel insert of your Instant Pot and cook as directed. No chopping or measuring required!
*you can also leave out the stock until cook day if your bag is getting full
More Instant Pot soups
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Instant Pot Turkey Chili
- Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Instant Pot Vegetable Beef Soup
- Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- 1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs roughly 8 thighs; see note 1
- 19 oz can of white beans drained + rinsed; see note 2
- 4.3 oz can green chiles 127 mL
- 11.5 oz can of corn kernels 340 mL; drained
- 1 jalapeño seeds removed and finely chopped; see note 3
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ½ block cream cheese 4 oz; see note 4
- 1 lime juiced; see note 5
- Combine- Place all ingredients except for the cream cheese in the stainless steel insert of your Instant Pot. Stir to combine and place the lid on the pot.
- Cook- Set the steam release handle to the ‘sealing’ position, then set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. When the pot finishes cooking, allow it to naturally depressurize (aka: just let it sit) for 10 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure.
- Shred chicken- Use tongs to transfer chicken thighs to a clean bowl. Use the tongs or an electric hand mixer to shred the chicken.
- Thicken chili- Before adding the chicken back to the Instant Pot, transfer 3 ladles of soup to a blender. Add the cream cheese cubes and lime juice to the blender, then blend until fully pureed.
- Add it all back- Return the shredded chicken and the blended chili back into the Instant Pot and stir to combine. Taste and add salt if needed.
- Serve- Top with shredded cheese, fresh avocado, jalapeno slices, cilantro, sour cream or salsa verde.
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