White Chicken Chili

White chili is called white chili for three reasons. One, it’s made with chicken, not beef. Two, it’s made with white beans. Three, it’s sometimes thickened with milk and flour, or cream.

Does white chili have a place at the Primal table? Absolutely. It’s easy to dispense with the milk and flour, since thickening the chili isn’t crucial to its flavor. What about the beans?  You can keep them in the chili if you like (although perhaps in smaller amounts than most recipes call for). Or, substitute cubes of white sweet potato to provide a creamy but slightly firm texture that’s similar to beans. Like beans, celery root also has a neutral, but earthy flavor.

Then, heap on the shredded chicken, peppers, cilantro, green onions and everything else that makes white chili so delicious. Without beans or dairy, this white chili is a lighter meal than regular white chili, but no less satisfying.

Servings: 3

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Notes: For a lower carb dish, sub the white sweet potato for celery root, rutabaga or turnip. For a hotter chili, use more poblano peppers or add in diced jalapenos. Save cooking and prep time by using frozen riced cauliflower. This chili is delicious served with avocado. You can also add some shredded cheese if you do dairy.


  • 2 Tbsp. Primal Kitchen® Avocado Oil
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ Tbsp. coriander
  • 1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup diced white sweet potato
  • 2 cups cauliflower rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • *avocado and cilantro to garnish


Heat 1 tablespoon of avocado oil in a pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped red onion and peppers. Saute for about 3 minutes, until the vegetables have softened. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Remove the vegetables from the pot.

Combine the cumin, coriander, oregano, paprika and salt together. Sprinkle half of the mixture all over the chicken thighs.

Add the remaining olive oil. Once hot, add the chicken thighs to the pan. Cook them for 2 minutes on each side. Pour the water into the pot. Once the water begins to bubble, bring the water to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees and begins to be soft enough to shred. Remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside to be shredded.

Add the diced sweet potato, half of the cauliflower rice and the remaining spice blend to the pot. Cover the pot again and cook until the sweet potatoes are soft. Use an immersion blender to blend the potatoes and cauliflower in with the broth. Bring the pot to a simmer again and add in the remaining cauliflower rice, shredded chicken and onion/pepper mixture. Continue to gently heat for about 5 minutes, or until the cauliflower rice has softened. Add in the chopped cilantro and season with salt or spices as necessary. Serve with more cilantro and avocado slices.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

  • Calories: 360
  • Total Carbs: 22 grams
  • Net Carbs: 16 grams
  • Fat: 16 grams
  • Protein: 33 grams

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15 thoughts on “White Chicken Chili”

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  1. Good looking recipe. Bet it would be even better with a spoonful of sour cream stirred into your bowl. ?

  2. Mmmm this looks delicious!! I definitely want to try. Check out my super healthy and easy salmon meal at https://courtneylivin.wordpress.com/2016/11/19/super-delicious-atlantic-salmon/ 🙂

  3. That looks like SOUP, not chili. Thicken with some potato starch. Voilá!

    1. Potato starch might work for those who like a thick chili, but it’s really the flavors that make it chili, not the thickener.

  4. This looks amazing! I love using boneless, skinless chicken thighs…I feel like they have more flavor than the breasts. I’ve never used celery root in anything, but this would be a good way to try it.

    1. We call it celeriac in the UK, makes great low carb mash, a bit like cauliflower, it blends really smoothly for soup too. Has a slightly aniseed flavour. It browns easily, so you need to put the cut celeriac/celery root in acidulated water (with a little lemon juice or cider vinegar). Also makes great coleslaw when grated raw.

  5. I like to use bone in skin on chicken thighs. I boil them whole and let them cool enough to remove the meat and shred. I continue simmering the bones and skin separately for more stock. If I use beans, garbanzo or Peruano beans are perfect for white chili. Peruano beans have a creamy texture. I sometimes use epizote greens along with cilantro. I’m looking forward to chili season

  6. I would use Eden white beans of some sort. I completely understand that people need to avoid beans. My choice is to eat them several times a week. They don’t seem to bother me. Would I be healthier in some way if I avoided them? Maybe. I have been doing 80/20 for about ten years and I am doing well.
    I am not rigid about what goes in chili, or I wouldn’t use beans at all. But I like beans in my chili. At 76, I am going to enjoy food I like, such as chili with beans.
    White sweet potato is great. I have it frequently. To me, it is a good replacement for regular potatoes, unlike cauliflower, which I love but which is not potatoes.

  7. You could add okra to thicken it a bit. Gumbo file too… if the flavor works with it. Chia seeds would thicken it up also.

  8. The white chicken chili recipe looks great but it says you use white beans…Don’t see them in the recipe..?

  9. White Chicken Chili
    Are white beans listed in the recipe? I’d like to add them.

  10. Absolutely delicious. I don’t miss the carb heavy version at all. I used turnips instead of sweet potatoes. Left out the cilantro because I didn’t have any. Added a bit of lime juice along with the avocado on top. Totally satisfying and delicious.