Soups

October 14, 2021

Instant Pot Healthy White Chicken Chili

This Healthy White Chicken Chili is creamy, delicious, and incredibly easy to make. Made with shredded chicken, pinto beans, sweet corn, and cream cheese all in the Instant Pot, this white chicken chili recipe will be an instant family favorite!

October, November, and December are my favorite months of the year as a food blogger because every recipe is focused on highlighting delicious ingredients and bringing people together. It's so fun to create each exciting dish!

So far I'm loving my Apple Pecan French Toast Casserole, Homemade Shepherd's Pie, and my chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. Each recipe is so different, but yet they all celebrate the fall flavors and enjoying time with those you love.

When I was thinking about a new soup recipe, I remembered a white chicken chili my mom made once for my high school marching band and how much I loved it. It was so creamy and so different than any other chili I'd ever had! I knew this was the soup recipe my blog needed.

And let me tell you, today's Instant Pot Healthy White Chicken Chili isn't just amazing, it's THE BEST. Like, better than every other white chicken chili recipe on the Internet. It's so easy to make, it's macro-friendly, and it's packed with protein!

Bowls of White Chicken Chili

White chicken chili ingredients

Pulling this Instant Pot dinner together is quite easy and affordable. For this healthy white chicken chili, you'll need:

  • Chicken breasts: no need for pre-cooked chicken. The chicken is made in the chili right in the Instant Pot! Just make sure to trim it and chop into smaller portions before cooking.
  • Chicken broth: to add some volume and natural sodium to the chili. Make sure to get "reduced sodium!"
  • Veggies: pinto beans, canned corn, diced green chilis, onions, and garlic for all the best flavors. We'll be sauteeing these in the Instant Pot with some cumin, paprika, and salt.
  • Turkey bacon: not a traditional white chicken chili ingredient, but it adds so much flavor you won't regret it. It's also lower in fat and sodium than regular bacon.
  • Cream cheese: what makes this white chicken chili recipe creamy. I use fat free to maximize the protein, but if you can't find any, neufchatel will be just fine.
  • Toppings: I love my chili with avocado, cilantro, a dollop of plain greek yogurt, extra shredded cheese, and tortilla chips!

A bowl of healthy white chicken chili with tortilla chips

How to make Instant Pot white chicken chili

The beauty of the Instant Pot is that it has more than one function. With this white chicken chili recipe, we're using the 'saute' function and the 'pressure cooker' function. This means literally EVERYTHING is done in one appliance!

Start by sauteing the corn, bacon, onions, diced green chilis, and garlic with the olive oil. You'll press the 'saute' function and adjust the time for 7 minutes. Add in the spices and salt and watch the magic happen!

From here, it's pretty simple: add in all the remaining ingredients except for the cheeses.

To make sure you chicken is cooked thoroughly, chop the chicken breasts into 4 oz pieces. If you're eyeballing it, let's say you bought two pounds of chicken and there are two breasts. That means each breast is a pound (16 oz), so you'd cut each breast into 4 large pieces.

Seal your Instant Pot lid and make sure to turn the valve to "seal." Cook on HIGH pressure for 8 minutes, then allow for natural release for 10 minutes.

This means the display will read "L:10," and you can then manually release the pressure by switching the valve from "seal" to "vent."

Remove the chicken and shred, then mix back into the chili with the shredded cheese and the cream cheese. To ensure the cream cheese mixes thoroughly and you don't have random chunks, your cream cheese MUST be at room temperature.

Yes, this is different from nuking it in the microwave until soft. I promise. I've done it both ways and the microwave just doesn't do it right!

Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy! I love using extra shredded cheese, diced avocado, cilantro, and tortilla chips.

Ingredients for white chicken chili in the instant pot

Frequently Asked Questions

My Instant Pot tells me my chili is burning. What did I do wrong?

I've found that when the display reads "burn," one of two things happened. One, you didn't have enough liquid, so the pressure combined with the heat is burning your food to the bottom of the Instant Pot (this recipe has enough liquid, so this isn't the problem) or;

Two, none of the liquid you added made it to the bottom of the pot to prevent burning. This is most likely the reason. When you add the remaining ingredients, be sure to stir it all together so the liquid is evenly dispersed in the pot.

Why isn't my chicken cooked thoroughly?

You didn't cut your chicken into small enough pieces. Some Instant Pot recipes let you put in entire chicken breasts, but that means the cook time is much longer and some of the other ingredients are sacrificed in the process.

For this healthy white chicken chili, I wanted the cook time to be as short as possible, but in order for that to be possible, you need to cut your chicken into small portions - I recommend 4 oz portions.

Can I make white chicken chili on the stove?

Yes! However, you'll need pre-shredded chicken. Bringing the chili to a boil to cook the chicken will affect the other ingredients too much. You'll also need to let the soup simmer with a lid for at least 30 minutes before adding in the chicken and cheeses.

Can I make this white chicken chili recipe in a slow cooker?

Yes! Follow all the instructions for the recipe, but cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours. Cook the raw chicken in the chili and stir in the cheeses at the end.

Bowls of Instant pot white chicken chili

Can I double the recipe in the Instant Pot?

No, a single recipe already fills up the pot, so if you want to double the recipe, I would either have two pots going at the same time or make a double recipe in one slow cooker.

I haven't tried the latter method, so I'm not sure about how the cooking times need to adjust, so please leave a comment below if you try it!

Why this recipe works

  1. It's so easy: literally everything is made in the Instant Pot. Less prep and less cleanup makes this white chicken chili recipe perfect for busy weeknight dinners and easy dinners to feed a crowd!
  2. It's creamy: unlike other chilis and soups, this healthy white chicken chili is not brothy or tomato based. It's thick and creamy thanks to cream cheese!
  3. It's packed with flavor: all those Mexican flavors you know and love like cumin, oregano, garlic, green chilis, pinto beans, and grilled corn are in each bite.
  4. It's macro-friendly: this means the ratio of fats to carbs to protein is balanced so you get a little bit of everything! There's 34g of protein per serving, and I also chose carbs like beans and corn that are full of fiber.
  5. It's perfect for meal-prep: each recipe makes a hearty 8 servings so you can enjoy dinner multiple nights in a row without cooking every night!
  6. It's customizable: feel free to switch out the pinto beans for great northern white beans, black beans, or chickpeas. You can also add any toppings you like! I love shredded Mexican cheese, a dollop of plain greek yogurt, sliced jalapenos, diced avocado, fresh cilantro, and crushed tortilla chips.
  7. It's allergen-friendly: this white chicken chili recipe is naturally gluten-free and easily dairy-free. Just use your favorite non-dairy cream cheese and cheddar cheese!

White chicken chili with cheese, jalapenos, cilantro, and tortilla chips on top

You are going to LOVE this healthy white chicken chili! I can't wait to hear what you think!

Please leave a star rating and review below if you try the recipe so other readers know how you liked it. You can also tag me on Instagram! I love seeing you make my recipes!

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Instant Pot Healthy White Chicken Chili

This Healthy White Chicken Chili is creamy, delicious, and incredibly easy to make. Made with shredded chicken, pinto beans, sweet corn, and cream cheese all in the Instant Pot, this white chicken chili recipe will be an instant family favorite!

Author:

Brooke Harmer

Prep:

10

min

cook:

35

min

total:

45

min

servings:

8

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. chicken, roughly chopped*
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 4 oz. diced green chilis
  • 3 slices turkey bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • 2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 C reduced fat shredded Mexican-style cheese
  • 8 oz. fat-free cream cheese, room temperature

Instructions

  1. Press the 'saute' function on the Instant Pot and adjust the time to 10 minutes. Add the olive oil, corn, diced green chilis, bacon, onion, and garlic. Season with the cumin, paprika, and salt. Saute until the Pot beeps and the display reads "off."
  2. After you are finished sauteing, add the chicken, pinto beans, chicken broth, and lime juice. Stir everything together and make sure the chicken is completely submerged. Secure the lid and turn the valve to 'seal.' Cook on HIGH pressure for 8 minutes and allow for 10 minutes natural release (the display will read L:10). Manually release the remaining pressure.
  3. Remove the chicken and shred. Return the chicken to the chili and stir in the shredded cheese and cream cheese. The cream cheese should be completely mixed in with no clumps remaining. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Notes

*Chicken should be cut into approximately 4 oz. portions. See blog post for more info.

Nutrition facts are a calculated estimate of 1 cup of chili, not including any toppings.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cup / Calories: 288 / Fat: 7.9g / Saturated Fat: 0.3g / Sodium: 888mg / Carbohydrates: 19.9g / Fiber: 2.9g / Sugar: 2.1g / Protein: 34.4g