White Chicken Chili

I harvested this year’s garlic about two months ago. While I’m saving the largest bulbs for replanting, all the rest is for eating. Soon I’ll make White Chicken Chili—perfect for seasonal eating now as I’m harvesting tomatillos and still have fresh bell peppers, jalapenos, and onion from the garden.

Garden Ingredients for White Chicken Chili

The photos here are from when I first made this dish in April 2020 as I was on the Whole30 program. At that time I used  frozen vegetables with dried oregano and garlic. I store my homegrown garlic after curing it by wrapping it in paper and putting it in a cardboard shoebox. I had checked the garlic in March, and dried, hardened cloves were all that I had left by April. They softened up during cooking, but I also added a little garlic powder for more flavor. Now in early fall, I could make this chili with fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden.

White Chicken Chili


  • 2 pounds skinless *chicken breasts
  • 1 cup onion or leeks, chopped
  • 1 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 small jalapenos, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 pound tomatillos
  • 7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano or 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1-½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon white (or black) pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth*
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Optional garnishes: fresh cilantro, jalapeno, avocado, guacamole, and/or lime wedges

*NOTE: You can use boneless chicken breasts, but I prefer to use bone-in chicken. It’s usually cheaper, and the bones add more flavor (you could even use water instead of chicken broth if you don’t have any broth). Besides, it’s easy to pick the bones out when you’re shredding the cooked chicken.


  1. Put tomatillos, onion, peppers, garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, and pepper in the bottom of a 6- or 7-qt. slow cooker. Arrange the chicken on top of the vegetables in a single layer. (Note: If you have a slow cooker with a removable aluminum pot or multi-cooker with a sauté function, you may sauté the onion and peppers first in a tablespoon of cooking oil until they start to soften, about 5 minutes.)
  2. Add broth and cover the slow cooker.
  3. Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.
  4. Remove chicken from slow cooker and place in a bowl. Shred chicken with two forks and be sure to remove any bones. Return chicken to slow cooker.
  5. Mash the tomatillos; I use a meat masher.
  6. Add coconut milk, stir, and cover. Cook on HIGH for an additional 10-15 minutes or until soup is heated through.
  7. Stir in lime juice and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve in bowls and top with desired garnishes.

I adapted this garden food dish from a recipe by Real Food Dieticians. The biggest change that I made—and an excellent one if I do say so myself—was adding tomatillos. I like making it in the slow cooker so that the smell wafts around the house all day, but you can look at their original recipe for pressure cooker or stovetop directions if you like. This is actually a Whole 30 recipe, but if you’re not on a round of Whole 30, you could serve this chili over rice or with cornbread or tortilla chips.

Like my regular chili, this recipe is great for all cool weather seasons. Preserving my garden harvests by freezing, drying, or canning makes it possible for me to enjoy our summer crops throughout the rest of year and still stick to seasonal eating. You can do this even if you don’t grow as much as I do. Buy extra produce from the farmers market when the food is in season and cheaper or get a larger CSA share and then preserve what you don’t eat right away. In any case, the vegetables and herbs in this recipe are seasonal here now, so this is the best time to try it. Tell me what you think in the comments below.

And get ready to plant some garlic! Here in Zone 5b, I usually shoot to do that around October 10th.


Published by Debbie Rea - The Gardener Wife

Helping you to GROW SOMETHING, something beautiful—even better, something to eat! Speaker, Writer, and Influencer—available for speaking engagements on gardening and/or Christian faith topics and for collaborations on home and garden products thegardenerwife@gmail.com

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