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November 19 2016

White Chicken Chili

By Worker Bee

PrimalWhite 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 celery root 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, poblano 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: 4 to 6

Time in the Kitchen: 45 minutes



  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (450 g) (or 3 cups cooked and shredded chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (15 g)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil (15 ml)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin (10 ml)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander (10 ml)
  • 3 to 5 cups chicken stock, depending on how much broth you want (770 ml to 1.2 L)
  • 1 celery root, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2 poblano peppers, chopped
  • Garnishes: chopped cilantro, green onions, jalapenos, squeeze of lime



If starting with raw chicken thighs, then bring a medium pot filled with water to a gentle boil. Add the chicken thighs and simmer 20 minutes. Remove chicken from water and shred with a knife. Season with salt and set aside.

In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the butter and oil. Add the onion and garlic. Saute until the onions are soft and lightly browned. Add the cumin and coriander and sauté a few minutes more, careful not to burn the garlic.

Add 3 cups chicken stock. Add celery root. Simmer 20 minutes, or until celery root is soft and easily pierced with a fork.

Add poblano peppers and cooked chicken. Simmer 10 minutes more.
If you want more broth in the chili, add the remaining chicken stock and simmer until warm. Season the chili with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions or chopped jalapenos, and a squeeze of lime.


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8 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 🙂

  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