White Chicken Chili – a make ahead camping meal

Have you ever made a recipe that people rave about for years? This White Chicken Chili is that recipe. And it’s a perfect make ahead camping meal. Especially for the wonderful chilly nights that make fall camping fabulous. Although it’s not exactly the easiest recipe in the world, it’s definitely one of the best to make in advance, freeze, and serve when you need it. I should know… I made it for 400 people.

White Chicken Chili with Spoon Camping M

White Chicken Chili with Spoon Camping M

400 people! Crazy! I was shredding chicken, roasting poblanos, dicing jalapenos, packaging, freezing, and thawing for weeks.  But the end result was SO worth it. My sister had a completely amazing Halloween Party a few years ago (I wrote a blog about it here if you’re interested. It’s very cool…) Yes, 400 people came to be amazed, awed, and frightened by my sister’s talent. So I made the food. White Chicken Chili to be exact. And the guests loved it!

White Chicken Chili Camping Meal Overhea

Fast forward and I realized it’s the perfect make ahead camping meal. Spend a little time at home making it and freezing it, but when you’re out enjoying the wonders of fall camping just pull it out and heat it up. Serve with some great toppings and I promise people will be talking about it for years!

White Chicken Chili Bowl

This is a slightly modified version of the original to make it a little easier to prepare (canned chiles instead of roasted fresh ones). Plus the addition of corn takes it to a fresh, new level. It’s full of juicy rotisserie chicken, diced green chilis, tender shallots (my favorite part!), and some fresh jalapenos for that awesome kick! Top it off with tangy sour cream, cool fresh tomatoes, and a sprinkle of cilantro and you’ve got yourself a hit on your hands (and in everyone’s bellies!)

Check it out on The Spicy Apron cooking show! In 360 and Virtual Reality! (Those with iPhone/Safari will have to watch it directly in the YouTube app…. just until Apple decides to catch up and play nice with VR Videos! Lol!)

How To Make White Chicken Chili – Your Make Ahead Camping Meal

Heat up your pot, add some oil, the shallots then garlic and jalapenos. Add the wonderful spices that make chili chili and stir. Add chicken broth and simmer. Toss in your cannellini beans, steamed corn, green chiles, and shredded chicken. Thicken it up a bit with a cornstarch mixture, simmer, then add cream. Let cool. Store in a large, heavy duty zip top bag. Freeze flat. Thaw and heat up when you’re camping. Top with sour cream, cilantro, Monterey Jack cheese, and fresh tomatoes. Yum!

Your life will be so much easier at the campsite come dinner time! Just heat and serve! Oh… don’t forget the bowls. (I did that once. Not good.) Nothing says fall more than autumn camping. Well, maybe White Chicken Chili does…. (or this Spiked Hot Chocolate?) You decide. Just be ready for all the praise you’ll get. And if you can’t get out camping, at least make it for your next Halloween party. It’s perfect for that too!

Looking for more Fall Camping Recipes? Try these:



White Chicken Chili with Spoon Camping M

White Chicken Chili - a make ahead camping meal

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Large, Shallots, chopped
  • 2 Fresh Jalapenos, Minced (seeded if you don't want too much heat)
  • 3 Cloves garlic, Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Coriander
  • 2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
  • 8 Cups chicken broth
  • 4 Tablespoons Cornstarch, Mixed with 4 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Pre-cooked Rotisserie Chicken, Meat removed and shredded
  • 3 15 Oz. Cans Cannelloni Beans
  • 2 4 oz cans Diced Green Chiles, can add more if desired
  • 2 Ears Fresh Corn, kernels removed from cob (or use 2 cans)
  • 1 Teaspoon salt, As desired for taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 lime, Juice
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro, Chopped for garnish
  • 1 Tomato, Chopped for garnish
  • 1 Sliced Jalapeno, Garnish
  • 1 Cup sour cream, Garnish
  • 1 Cup Monterey Jack Cheese, Shredded for Garnish


  1. Heat butter in a large pot over medium high heat. Add shallots, garlic, and jalapenos. Add a large pinch of salt and cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, and chili powder and cook about a minute.
  2. Slowly add chicken broth, scraping up all the bits off the bottom of the pot. Increase heat to high until boiling. Add cornstarch mixture and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add beans, canned chiles, corn, and chicken. Return to a simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to low and add cream. Add additional salt and pepper for desired taste. Heat through and serve with chopped cilantro, jalapeno, shredded cheese, sour cream and diced tomato for garnish.

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    1. Hi Pam. I’ve actually done it both ways (drained and rinsed, and not drained). Both ways worked well and I didn’t notice much of a difference. So, I guess it’s your choice on that!

  1. Where do you use the lime?

    1. Hey Peggy! I must need to add that into the recipe. Sorry about that! You squeeze the lime in at the very end, just before serving it. It gives the whole pot a really nice “fresh” burst. It’s one of my favorite parts! 🙂 Thanks for asking.