Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili (Dairy-Free)


This hearty, bean-free Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili is just what you need to ward off a chill and make quick work of feeding a hungry family. We’ve made it dairy-free using coconut milk but don’t worry, you won’t even taste the coconut. Don’t need it to be dairy-free? Swap out the coconut milk for whole milk or half-and-half if you’d like. Don’t have a slow cooker? We’ve included Instant Pot & Stovetop directions, too.
Two bowls of Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili on a cutting board draped with a grey and white napkin.

I dream of chili

No kidding. It has to be one of my most favorite foods. I just love how versatile it is and how everyone – EVERYONE – has their own idea of what ‘chili’ should be. Some like beans, others don’t. Some like big hunks of meat and others like theirs heavy on the plant matter. Some like it hot, some like it mild. And you’ve even got the red versus white thing going on here, too. There are about as many different chili recipes in the world as there are hairs you on your head. Maybe, even more, depending on your genetics. 

Although this isn’t your ‘typical’ chili it’s darn good and it’s great for when you want to change things up a bit. And it’s tomato-free for those tomato-adverse folks or those times you look in the pantry and don’t have any canned tomatoes on hand. And it’s easy to make. And we give you THREE options for making it – in the slow cooker or crockpot, in the Instant Pot (did you know that it has a ‘slow cooker’ setting?!), or in a pot on the stovetop. It also freezes beautifully so you can double the recipe and have an easy reheat and eat meal on hand for those days you just don’t want to cook. We should also mention that this crockpot white chicken chili is the perfect vehicle for all of your favorite chili toppings like fresh cilantro, avocado, jalapenos (fresh or pickled), and more.

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili made in the Instant Pot using the slow cooker setting.

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Ingredients for Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

  • Chicken breasts or thighs – Use whichever you have on hand or prefer, they both work great
  • Onion
  • Bell pepper
  • Jalapeno – Removing the seeds and membranes will reduce the heat quite a bit if you don’t like your chili spicy but still want the flavor of jalapeno
  • Garlic
  • Ground cumin
  • Dried oregano
  • Chili powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chicken broth – Either store-bought chicken broth or homemade bone broth will work
  • Coconut milkFull-fat canned coconut milk will give you the creamiest results while keeping it dairy-free and Whole30-friendly. But you can use any plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk or creamer – or even milk or half-and-half if you don’t need it to be dairy-free
  • Lime juice
  • Fresh cilantro
  • For topping: Fresh cilantro, sliced or diced avocado, and/or sliced jalapenos (fresh or pickled)
  • Optional: Canned white beans (such as cannellini beans or Navy beans)

A shallow white bowl with cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, and pepper to make crockpot white chicken chili.

How to Make Cooker White Chicken Chili in the Slow Cooker

Step 1: Add the onion, peppers, garlic, and spices (cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, and pepper – plus beans, if using them) to the bottom of a slow cooker. Arrange the chicken on top of vegetables in a single layer.

Step 2: Add the broth the place the lid on the slow cooker.

Step 3: Set the heat to LOW and cook 5-6 hours or until the chicken is done and the vegetables are tender. Depending on your slow cooker, this can take even less than 5 hours if yours runs ‘hot’.

Step 4: When the cooking time is up, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it with two forks. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker.

Step 5: Turn the heat to HIGH. Add coconut milk, stir and replace the lid. Continue heating the chili for an additional 10-15 minutes or until it’s heated through.

Step 6: Stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve in bowls garnished with chopped cilantro, avocado, and/or lime wedges, if desired.

Looking for Instant Pot or Stovetop Directions? See the recipe below!

A wooden spoon serving up a Whole30 white chicken chili.

Can I Freeze White Chicken Chili?

You bet you can! In fact, I almost always have a portion or two of this Whole30-friendly white chicken chili in the freezer for a quick and easy meal. You can either freeze the entire batch in a shallow freezer-safe container like this 11-cup glass baking dish with lid or split it into smaller portions and freeze it in these stand-up resealable silicone bags.

Overhead view of a stoneware bowl filled with slow cooker white chicken chili that's topped with sliced fresh jalapeños, avocado slices, and fresh cilantro.

More Chili Recipes to Try

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Let’s Get Cookin’

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Our hearty, bean-free Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili takes just 10 minutes to prep! Great for busy weeknights & freezer meal cooking sessions. Of course, you can add a can of beans, if you’d like.

  • Author: Jessica Beacom
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 7 hours
  • Total Time: 7 hours 10 mins
  • Yield: 5 1x
  • Cuisine: Paleo, Whole30, Dairy-Free

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 Tbsp. fat or choice (for stovetop and Instant Pot versions only)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium bell pepper, any color; diced
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed and finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups organic chicken broth (or homemade bone broth)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk*
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Fresh cilantro and lime wedges for garnish, optional
  • Optional: 1 (14-ounce) canned white beans, drained and rinsed (omit for Whole30)

Instructions

Slow Cooker Directions

  1. Add the onion, peppers, garlic, and spices (cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, and black pepper), and beans, if using, to the bottom of a slow cooker. Arrange the chicken on top of the vegetables in a single layer.
  2. Add the broth and place the lid on the slow cooker.
  3. Set heat to LOW and cook 5-6 hours or until the chicken is done and the vegetables are tender.
  4. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it with two forks. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker.
  5. Turn the heat to HIGH. Add the coconut milk, stir and replace the lid. Continue heating for an additional 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
  6. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve in bowls garnished with chopped cilantro and lime wedges, if desired.

Stovetop Directions

  1. Place a large saucepan with a lid (or Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp. fat of choice and heat until it just starts to shimmer.  To the hot oil, add the onions and peppers. Saute 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion and peppers start to soften.
  2. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, pepper, and beans, if using. Continue to cook an additional 30-60 seconds or until fragrant.
  3. Lay the chicken in the pan over the onion and pepper mixture. Add 1 cup of broth and bring it just to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Shred the chicken in the pan using two forks or transfer it to a cutting board to shred before returning it to the pan.
  4. Add the remaining 1 cup of broth and coconut milk and return to a simmer. Cover the pan and allow the chili to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve in bowls garnished with chopped parsley and lime wedges, if desired.

Instant Pot Directions

  1. Select the ‘Saute’ function on the Instant Pot.
  2. Add your fat of choice. When the oil just starts to shimmer, add onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno.
  3. Saute 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion and peppers start to soften.
  4. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, pepper, and beans, if using, and cook an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  5. Press ‘Cancel’. Add the chicken breasts and 2 cups of broth.
  6. Lock the lid into place. Turn the vent valve to the ‘Sealing’ position.
  7. Select the ‘Manual’ or ‘High Pressure’ setting and set the cooking time to 15 minutes.
  8. When cooking time is up, allow pressure to naturally release 5-10 minutes then release remaining pressure using the quick-release method (i.e. flip the vent valve to ‘Venting’ position)
  9. Add the coconut milk, lime juice, and fresh cilantro. Stir to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as desired.

Notes

*Light coconut milk may also be used which reduces the amount of fat to 10 grams per serving. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/5 recipe (about 1 ½ cups)
  • Calories: 327
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 676mg
  • Fat: 17g
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 28g

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All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter

About Jessica Beacom

Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.





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