How many calories is large bowl of white chicken chili?

White chicken chili is a hearty, creamy soup that is a popular meal choice for many people. It typically contains chicken, white beans, vegetables like onions and peppers, and a mixture of seasonings. While chili can make for a nutritious meal, many people wonder just how many calories are in a large bowl of this tasty dish.

What Is White Chicken Chili?

White chicken chili is a type of chili made without any tomatoes. It gets its name from the pale appearance from using white beans and chicken as the main ingredients. Some key features of white chicken chili include:

  • Chicken – Shredded chicken breast or thigh meat simmers in the chili to provide protein.
  • White beans – Great Northern or cannellini beans are commonly used to provide fiber, plant-based protein, and texture.
  • Vegetables – Onions, garlic, peppers, and other veggies add flavor.
  • Chicken broth – Helps thin out the chili to the right consistency.
  • Spices – Chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper provide traditional chili seasoning.
  • Cream or cream cheese – For a rich, creamy texture.

This combination creates a hearty chili that forgoes the traditional red color from tomatoes. It can be topped with shredded cheese, avocado, cilantro, sour cream, or tortilla chips.

Calorie Count in White Chicken Chili

The calorie count of white chicken chili can vary considerably based on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used. Some factors that influence the calories per bowl include:

  • Meat – Using dark chicken meat with more fat instead of lean breast meat adds more calories. The same goes for using fatty versus lean ground meat.
  • Beans – Higher fat, processed baked beans have more calories than boiled dried beans.
  • Oils – Cooking the vegetables and chicken in oil adds significant calories compared to broth.
  • Cheese – Toppings like cheese, sour cream, and avocado can add 100 calories or more per serving.
  • Serving size – A large 16-20 oz bowl has up to twice the calories of a typical 8-12 oz bowl.

To estimate how many calories are in a bowl, you’ll need to look at the specific amounts of each ingredient.

Calories in Common White Chicken Chili Ingredients

Here are the calories found in typical serving sizes of key white chicken chili ingredients:

Ingredient Serving Size Calories
Cooked chicken breast, shredded 1 cup 231
Cooked chicken thighs, shredded 1 cup 326
Cannellini beans, canned 1/2 cup 150
Great northern beans, canned 1/2 cup 120
Vegetable oil 1 Tbsp 120
Onion, chopped 1/2 cup 32
Bell pepper, chopped 1/2 cup 20
Chicken broth 1 cup 42
Cream cheese 2 Tbsp 104
Cheddar cheese, shredded 1/4 cup 113
Sour cream 2 Tbsp 58

As you can see, ingredients like oils, cream, cheese, and higher-fat meats add the most calories per serving. Choosing lower-calorie options like chicken breast, veggies, and broth can help lighten up the calorie count.

Calorie Count for Different White Chicken Chili Recipes

Looking at full recipes for white chicken chili can give a better idea of the total calories per bowl. Here are the calorie counts for three common recipes:

Simple Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

A simple slow cooker recipe with minimal oil or cream may contain around 300 calories per 12 oz bowl:

  • 1 cup shredded chicken breast (231 calories)
  • 1 15oz can cannellini beans (250 calories)
  • 1 cup onion (64 calories)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (42 calories)
  • 2 cloves garlic (10 calories)
  • Spices (negligible)

Total calories: Around 597 calories for the entire pot.
Calories per 12 oz bowl: About 299

Creamy White Chicken Chili

A creamier version with chicken thighs, cream cheese, and cheddar may have around 500 calories per 16 oz bowl:

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded chicken thighs (489 calories)
  • 1 15oz can Great Northern beans (200 calories)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil (120 calories)
  • 1 cup onion (64 calories)
  • 2 Tbsp cream cheese (104 calories)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (21 calories)
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (113 calories)

Total calories: About 1111 calories for the entire pot.
Calories per 16 oz bowl: Around 500

White Chicken Chili with Sour Cream

Topping with high-calorie sour cream can add over 100 calories per bowl:

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken breast (347 calories)
  • 1 15oz can cannellini beans (250 calories)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil (120 calories)
  • 1 cup onion (64 calories)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (42 calories)
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream (58 calories)

Total calories: 881 calories for entire pot
Calories per 12 oz bowl: About 375
Calories with 2 Tbsp sour cream: Around 490

Tips to Lighten Up White Chicken Chili

To lighten up this hearty dish, consider these simple substitution and serving tips:

  • Use chicken breast instead of thighs
  • Choose dried beans over canned to cut sodium
  • Use broth instead of oil when cooking
  • Skip the cream cheese or cream
  • Use reduced-fat cheese
  • Top with cilantro instead of cheese or sour cream
  • Ladle chili over a salad instead of alone in a bowl
  • Choose 12 oz portions instead of 16 oz bowls

With smart substitutions and smaller portions, you can enjoy white chicken chili while controlling calories. Aim for bowls around 300-400 calories to keep it light.

Nutritional Benefits of White Chicken Chili

While keeping calories in check is important, white chicken chili also provides key nutrients, including:

  • Protein – From lean chicken and beans to support muscle growth and satisfaction.
  • Fiber – Beans provide a big dose of filling fiber.
  • Iron – Important for oxygen transport in the blood.
  • Magnesium – Found in beans, it aids nerve and muscle function.
  • Zinc – Chicken provides this immune-boosting mineral.
  • Vitamin C – Bell peppers pack this antioxidant vitamin.

Choosing lower sodium canned beans, using minimal added salt, and loading up on vegetables boosts the nutrition.

Simple Healthy White Chicken Chili Recipe

Here is an easy recipe for lighter white chicken chili weighing in at just 323 calories per bowl:


  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • 15oz can cannellini beans
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano


  1. Cook chicken seasoned with salt and pepper in a skillet until no longer pink inside. Shred or dice chicken.
  2. In a pot, saute onion, bell pepper, and garlic in broth over medium heat until soft.
  3. Add shredded chicken, beans, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Ladle 1 1/2 cups chili into bowls and top with cilantro if desired.

This simple recipe using chicken breast, minimal added oil, and lots of fiber-rich beans and vegetables creates a lighter,protein-packed white chicken chili. Enjoy it guilt-free!


White chicken chili can contain anywhere from 300 to over 500 calories per bowl depending on the ingredients used. Choosing lower-calorie options like chicken breast instead of thighs, avoiding added oils or cream, and limiting high-fat toppings helps keep the calorie count down. With smart substitutions and reasonable portions, you can still enjoy the hearty flavor of white chicken chili without overdoing the calories.

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