We love all types of chilli and this White Chilli Chicken is a regular star in our dinner rotation through the summer months. And we love to eat it fully loaded with our favourite toppers; grated cheddar and lightly salted tortilla chips for added crunch are a must all round and my husband and I also add on jalapeños (sliced from a jar) and fresh, chopped coriander.
This recipe is super family friendly, I will guide you on the right level of cayenne pepper for your family. If you are eating with a baby, or saving left overs for them, you can add just a pinch and then add heat for yourself by adding jalapeños to your servings. I’ll also recommend how to spice for young children. It’s fussy eater friendly as well, and my kids really love it (my picky eater included), probably because I serve theirs with grated cheese and give them a few tortilla chips to eat with it. I’ve yet to find a child that loves a coriander garnish, but if you are a coriander fan, add a sprinkling to your serving - it will finish it off perfectly. If you like you can jump to my adapting my White Chilli Chicken recipe for your family here.
Through the summer months I always cook this chilli in the slow cooker, which helps to keep the kitchen cool. It’s also the best way to cook it for fall apart chicken, which is perfect for this meal as we are shredding it at the end. And you can keep the kitchen even cooler by serving it in soft flour tortilla’s (we like the Old El Paso tortilla boats, easier for young kids to handle) instead of rice, or cook your rice in the pressure cooker if you have one. This White Chilli Chicken also works great on the stove, and I cook it this way when I’m not around to get it in the slow cooker earlier in the day. I have also tested it out in the Instant Pot and included instructions for cooking it that way in the recipe.
How to Cook My White Chilli Chicken
Watch me make this White Chilli Chicken step-by-step here, before or as you cook.
- Peppers. I have used yellow and orange peppers (bell) here but you can of course use red peppers which are sweeter.
- White Beans. I use haricot beans (navy beans), but you can also use cannellini beans. If you have a baby or toddler, you’ll see I recommend sticking with the haricot beans as they are smaller.
- Cream Cheese. I use full fat cream cheese for this meal, but you can use light cream cheese instead if you like.
Eat More Sustainably
You can reduce the number of chicken breasts, down to two small ones and instead use two cans of white beans to make this meal more sustainable. You could use one can of the haricot beans (navy) and one of cannellini or butterbeans.
You can prep the onions and pepper in advance and store, covered, in the fridge until ready to cook. You can also measure out all your spices and seasonings into a small bowl and cover with clingfilm until later.
Kids Cook Too
Younger children can get involved by helping to measure out the spices. They’ll also enjoy adding their own toppers to their meal.
My White Chilli Chicken Pairs Perfectly With…
Fluffy white rice or soft flour tortilla’s; we like the Old El Paso boats, they are easier for younger kids to manage than a flat tortilla folded up. This chilli chicken is also great loaded up with grated cheddar, jalapeños (for the adults), chopped coriander and lightly salted tortilla chips.
Feed a Crowd
This White Chilli Chicken can easily be doubled if you are cooking it on the stove in a large saucepan. You can also double it if cooking in the pressure cooker or slow cooker if they are large enough.
Storing My White Chilli Chicken
You can store leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days (2 days + day of cook). You can also freeze them, just defrost for 24 hours in the fridge and reheat until steaming hot all the way through. Store without any of the toppers added.
For more on safe food storage and reheating read here >
My White Chilli Chicken is gluten, nut and egg-free.
Adapting My White Chilli Chicken For Your Family
Here, I recommend how to tweak this recipe if you are eating with younger children, including fussy eaters, babies or toddlers. Plus, how to make it more grown up for adults.
Child Friendly Spice
If you have a baby or toddler, see below for how to adjust the spice level. If your children are older but not used to spicy food I would recommend you use ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, which will just bring a slight, mild heat to the dish. If your kids are used to more spicy food or are older, you can go up to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper. If you have teenagers or children who like their food very spicy you can push that up to 1 teaspoon. See the below Add On’s for Adults section for how to spice up adult only servings.
Keeping Picky Eaters Happy
If they are a cheese lover, giving them the option to add grated cheddar to their serving is really going to help you out here. You can pop their bowl in the microwave for a short time to melt their cheese also if you like. And allow them to have a few tortilla chips (lightly salted) with their serving too. My fussy eater likes to crumble them all over his chilli chicken and melted cheese. I allow him to do this with any type of chilli I cook and they always go down well with him. Allowing your fussy eater to add their own toppings can also help encourage them to eat their meal. If your fussy eater doesn’t tend to like sauces, dish theirs up using a slotted spoon.
See more from me on fussy eaters here >
Add On’s for Adults
You can make your White Chilli Chicken more grown-up by adding on freshly chopped coriander and sliced jalapeños from a jar. You’ll especially want to do that if you are sharing your meal with a little one, as you’ll be keeping the cayenne pepper level very low (more about that in the next section). You can of course have grated cheddar on yours too, and the tortilla’s give it a great crunch.
Making it Baby & Toddler Friendly
You’ll want to hold off adding salt to the cook and switch to low-salt chicken stock. Add salt to your serving or once you have removed little one’s portion and stir in. The only ingredient that needs tweaking here is the cayenne pepper. If you are eating with a weaning baby or toddler you can either omit the cayenne pepper or add just a pinch or up to ⅛th teaspoon of it. That will keep it lovely and mild for little one and be a good introduction to spice.
How to Serve My White Chilli Chicken to Babies & Toddlers
Just a couple things to bear in mind when you prep little one’s serving. Ensure you shred the chicken horizontally (as in video) and pick out finger size strips for them.
You will have diced the pepper up small and if you’ve cooked it in the slow cooker it will be very soft and fine to serve as is. Otherwise you can cut their pepper pieces in half. Alternatively, you can cut all the pepper into strips instead of dicing it when you prep it, then baby can palm these.
Smash down the beans once with the back of a teaspoon and be sure to stick to using haricot / navy beans as they are nice and small.
Add some chilli chicken to your stick blender pot or food chopper (if you have that one that purées) along with a little rice and blitz until puréed. Add more sauce and a little warm boiled water to loosen as needed.
Add some chilli chicken and a little rice to your food chopper. Finely chop, using short sharp pulses, checking as you go and adding more sauce and a little warm boiled water to loosen as needed.
Add just the chilli chicken to your food chopper pot. Pulse gradually, just a few times to start then check the consistency. It should lumpy with small chicken pieces. Once the consistency is right, transfer it into their bowl, add some rice and stir through. If it needs loosening, add a little more sauce.
12 month + Transitioning Period
Shred the chicken into smaller pieces using forks and mash down the red pepper pieces with the back of a fork. Slice the onion pieces in half or discard as you won’t be able to mash them. Smash down the beans once with the back of a teaspoon just to flatten a little. Serve alongside rice.
Chop the shredded chicken into bite-size pieces, chop firmer pieces of pepper in half. You can serve alongside or mixed in with the rice.
I’ve also added these notes to the bottom of the recipe so you have them to hand when you come to cook.
For more info on how I keep my family meals baby & toddler friendly, read here >
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WHITE CHILLI CHICKEN (Stove, Slow Cooker + Instant Pot)
- Chef’s knife + chopping board
- Slow cooker / medium-large saucepan / Instant Pot
- Sharp knife + fork for shredding
- Cheese grater
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion diced small
- 2 large peppers (red, orange or yellow mix) diced small
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped/crushed
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- ⅛ - 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper see note 1
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 650 g chicken breasts
- 300 ml hot chicken stock
- 400 g haricot beans / navy beans US (canned) drained
- 120 g cream cheese
- ½ tablespoon lime juice
OPTIONAL SERVING TOPPERS
- Green jalapeños (from a jar)
- Tortilla chips
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Fresh coriander finely chopped
See notes for baby & toddler tweaks
- Heat the oil in the removable slow cooker pot over a medium-low heat. Add in the onion and peppers and fry for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add in the garlic, paprika, cayenne, cumin, ground coriander, salt & pepper and fry for a further minute, stirring. Pour in the chicken stock and the haricot beans and give it a good stir. Transfer the pot back to the slow cooker base.
- Nestle in the chicken breasts, pushing them down so they are close to the bottom of the pot and mostly covered in liquid. Cover and cook on high for 2-2 ½ hours, medium for 3-3 ½ hours or low for 4-4 ½ hours. Bear in mind all slow cookers are different, in mine, four small breasts take 2 hours on high where as three large take 2 ½ hrs.
- When done, transfer the chicken breasts to a chopping board. Then add in the lime juice and cream cheese and stir until the cheese has melted. Leave the slow cooker uncovered while you shred the chicken into chunks. Then add the chicken back into the slow cooker pot and stir in well before you serve. Top with your chosen extras.
- Heat the oil in a medium-large saucepan over a medium-low heat. When hot, fry the onions and peppers for 6 minutes, stirring often. Add in the garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, ground coriander, salt & pepper and fry for a further minute, stirring. Pour in the stock and beans and give it all a good stir.
- Nestle in the chicken breasts, increase the heat and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 mins for small breasts - 30 minutes for larger.
- Transfer the chicken breasts to your chopping board. Stir in the lime juice and cream cheese until dissolved. Shred the chicken into chunks and add it back into the pan. Give it all a good stir and then serve.
- Sauté the onion and peppers for 3 mins, stirring. Add in the garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne, ground coriander, salt & pepper and fry for a further minute, stirring. Pour in the stock and the beans and give it all a good stir.
- Nestle in the chicken breasts, put the lid on set to Sealing. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes (10 minutes for frozen chicken breasts). Natural release for 10 minutes and then quick release. Transfer chicken to a chopping board. Add in the lime juice and cream cheese and stir until dissolved. Shred the chicken into chunks.
Fab recipe! We enjoyed eating this together as a family with our baby and will make it again soon! Thank you 🌟