Homemade white chicken quinoa chili is a delicious twist on a classic. This version is made with everything we love about traditional white chicken chili with delicious additions like quinoa, salsa verde, and toasted cauliflower crunchies on top!
Chili is one of the most versatile, satisfying, and customizable meals out there and it’s a fun challenge to keep adding fun new variations to to our chili recipe repertoire! As soon as fall rolls around, it’s officially chili season and it lasts alllll the way through the long Minnesota winters.
I usually prefer tomato-based chilis (like this beef chili recipe or quinoa chili), but I’ve been on white bean kick and this white chicken chili did not disappoint. I love how quick it is, too – simply cook everything together in a pot on the stove for about 40 minutes (enough time for you to thaw out after a full day outside!), add your favorite toppings, and enjoy.
“It’s hard to find a recipe that is healthy, delicious, affordable, and yields enough food for a week’s meal prep. But this one checks all the boxes!” – Erin
What is in white chicken quinoa chili?
This chicken chili is made with all of the chili essentials, including:
- Protein: Shredded chicken breasts and quinoa add a double dose of protein.
- Beans: White beans and navy beans are the star of this white chicken chili.
- Broth: Chicken broth is the base and we use salsa verde for more liquid and flavor.
- Flavor: Cozy cumin pairs perfectly with the other ingredients and a squeeze of fresh lime juice at the very end adds a welcome brightness and freshness.
- Toppings: It’s not chili without toppings! Garnish each bowl with a scoop of Greek yogurt and homemade cauliflower crunchies.
White Chicken Quinoa Chili Substitutions
It’s super simple to customize this chicken chili to your preferences and what ingredients you have on hand. Here are a few ideas:
Use your favorite kind of combination of beans.
Instead of white quinoa, try tri-color quinoa.
Increase or decrease the spice level with the kind of salsa verde you choose.
Can you use pre-cooked chicken?
Yes. This chili recipe is a great way to use up any leftover cooked chicken (or a rotisserie chicken). Shred the cooked chicken and add to the pot in step 3. Heat until the chicken is warmed through.
Is this chili spicy?
No, this white chicken quinoa chili is not very spicy. The only “spice” comes from the salsa verde, but we don’t find salsa verde to be overly spicy. For less spice, choose a mild salsa verde. For more spice, use a spicier salsa verde or add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
How can you make this chili in a slow cooker?
Place all of the ingredients in a crockpot and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Once the chicken is tender and the quinoa is fully cooked, shred the chicken and then place back in and mix together.
This is a great recipe to make for meal prep! Let the chili cool completely, transfer to airtight containers, and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When you reheat the leftover chili, you may need to add a little water or broth because it will thicken in the fridge.
Freezing Instructions for Chicken Chili
Chili is one of our favorite meals to keep in the freezer and this white chicken quinoa chili is no exception. Transfer completely cooled chili into freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months. For all of our tricks and tips for freezing and thawing chili and soup, check out this how to freeze soup guide.
You know those delicious little crunchies left on the bottom of the pan after you roast cauliflower? Well, they are insanely good and addictive, so we decided to make a batch of only crunchies (using cauliflower rice) for topping this chili. More details included in the recipe below!
Chili Serving Suggestions
The toppings are the best part! We love topping this white chicken quinoa chili with homemade cauliflower crunchies, Greek yogurt, sliced jalapeños, and shredded cheese. While this is a totally standalone meal, feel free to serve it with your favorite sides like roasted broccoli or garlic glazed carrots.
White Chicken Quinoa Chili
For the Chili
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 large white onion finely diced
- 2 medium chicken breasts ~8 oz.
- 16 oz. salsa verde
- 15 oz. white northern beans drained and rinsed
- 15 oz. navy beans drained and rinsed
- 15 oz. white hominy or corn, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup white quinoa uncooked
- 32 oz. low sodium chicken broth 4 cups
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/8 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot. Add in minced garlic and white onion. Sauté for 1 minute and then add in chicken breast, quinoa, chicken broth, beans (drained), hominy, and salsa.
- Bring to a boil, uncovered. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes on low until chicken is cooked.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and shred on a plate or cutting board. Add the shredded chicken back into the pot. Add in cumin, salt, lime juice, and fresh cilantro and mix together. If your chili is too thick, add more chicken broth or water until it thins out to your desired consistency.
For the Cauliflower Crunchies
- In a medium bowl, combine the riced cauliflower, olive oil, and salt together. If using frozen cauliflower, no need to thaw it first.
- Transfer the cauliflower to a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Roast at 400ºF for 10 minutes. Toss and cook for an additional 5 minutes until crunchy.
Tips & Notes
- Storage: Transfer chili to airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When you reheat the leftover chili, you may need to add a little water or broth because it will thicken in the fridge.
- Freezing Instructions: Let the chicken chili cool completely, transfer into freezer-safe containers, and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Slow Cooker Version: Place all of the ingredients in a crockpot and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Once the chicken is tender and the quinoa is fully cooked, shred the chicken and then place back in and mix together.