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Smoked White Chicken Chili

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This smoked white chicken chili is full of flavor and easy to make on your pellet grill or smoker. By smoking a whole chicken and the vegetables for your smoked chili, you get maximum flavor that you just can’t replicate on the stovetop! Learn how to make white chicken chili on the smoker with this easy recipe.

When the weather turns colder, you can bet that I’ll have a pot of white chicken chili cooking. And while chili on the stovetop is nice because you don’t have to brave the cold outside air, making smoked white chicken chili on the pellet grill is so much better!

The chicken is perfectly smoked and tender, and it adds a layer of smoky goodness to your basic chicken chili recipe. But then when you smoke your peppers and corn as well, you get a depth of flavor and complexity that you just can’t get from your typical chili.

So if you’re looking for filling comfort food recipes for your smoker, then put this smoked white chicken chili recipe at the top of your list of new dishes to try on the pellet grill!

smoked white chicken chili

Ingredients for White Chicken Chili

This chicken chili has many of the same ingredients as regular beef chili. Here’s what you need:

ingredients for white chicken chili
  • whole chicken – The chicken that I used was 5.5 lbs, but the recipe will work for any whole chicken. If you purchase a smaller chicken, then your cook time will be less.
  • peppers – I used a combination of poblano peppers, jalapeños, and a green bell pepper. You can omit or substitute the peppers for your favorite varieties based on how spicy you want your chicken chili to be.
  • onion
  • chicken stock – I actually made my own stock from the chicken bones after I smoked and shredded the whole chicken. Homemade chicken stock is much richer than the canned or boxed store-bought kind. But feel free to use whatever chicken stock you like.
  • beans – I always use a mixture of beans when I make my regular beef chili, so I did the same with this smoked white chili recipe. I chose to use canned navy beans, Great Northern beans, and Cannellini beans for some variety.
  • canned diced green chiles
  • garlic
  • spices – I used Shake That All Purpose Seasoning to season the whole chicken before putting it on the smoker. For the chili, I added cumin, coriander, oregano, paprika, and cayenne pepper, along with salt and pepper.
  • corn – For extra smoke flavor, I smoked the corn on the cob on the pellet grill along with the chicken. But you can definitely substitute drained canned corn or frozen sweet corn.
  • onion
  • cream cheese
  • heavy whipping cream

Notes for Smoked White Chicken Chili

  • Pellet Grill Temp – 250 degrees F
  • Wood Pellets Used – Pit Boss Fruitwood pellets – If you want a smokier flavor, go for hickory or a competition blend.
  • Grill Used – Pit Boss Navigator 850
  • Smoking Time – My 5.5 pound chicken took 3 hours and 45 minutes to smoke. The vegetables for the chili smoked for 1 hour.
  • Other Notes – After shredding your chicken, don’t throw away the bones! You can add them to a pot with water, vegetables, garlic, and black peppercorns for an easy chicken stock.

How to Make Smoked White Chicken Chili on a Pellet Grill

Preparing the Whole Chicken for the Smoker

To start, spatchcock the chicken to prepare it for the smoker. When I’m smoking a whole chicken to serve by itself for dinner, then I will sometimes skip the spatchcock process and cook the bird for a longer period of time to get the nicer presentation.

But for this smoked chicken chili, the meat will be shredded anyway so I chose to spatchcock the chicken so that it cooked more quickly.

Once your chicken is spatchcocked, season all sides (including the underside) with a good all-purpose seasoning, or a mixture of salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

whole chicken seasoned with all-purpose seasoning

Chef’s Tip for Seasoning Meats:

When seasoning meat, I like to season the presentation side last. The “presentation side” is the side of the meat (steak, chops, fish, etc) that will be facing up on the plate when you serve it. In other words, season the bottom of your meat FIRST so that when you flip it upside down, the top side can get seasoned without having any wire rack marks or finger marks in it.

You’ll also notice that I seasoned my chicken on a wire rack. That’s because I find it easiest to get the chicken on and off the grill using the wire rack… the same goes for smoking the vegetables for this recipe.

Smoking the Chicken

When the chicken is prepped, add it to the preheated pellet grill or smoker. I had my Pit Boss pellet grill set on 250 degrees F.

I just placed the wire rack directly on the grill grates so as not to disturb the seasoning on the chicken. I also find the wire rack method easier, because I’m able to position the chicken where I want it more easily without having to reach into the hot grill… especially with a spatchcocked chicken which can be difficult to maneuver.

whole chicken on a pellet grill

Also, notice the direction that I placed the whole chicken on the pellet grill… with the dark meat (thighs and legs) closest to the heat source. On my Pit Boss pellet grill, the burn pot is in the center of the grill chamber, so the center is typically the hottest area of the grill.

The dark meat of your chicken can handle a hotter temp than the breasts, which is why I laid the chicken on the grill this way. *It’s small cooking details like this that can make you a better pellet grill master!

*NOTE – If you want less smoke flavor and a shorter cook time, then you can cook the chicken at 325 degrees F. At this higher temp, the pellets burn instead of smolder, so you’ll have less smoke flavor in your chili, but the chicken will cook in about half the time.

Smoke the chicken until the fattest part of the breasts reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees F. Then, remove the chicken from the grill and place the wire rack on a baking sheet. When the chicken is done, it should look something like this:

smoked chicken on a pellet grill

Cover with aluminum foil and allow the chicken to rest for 30 minutes. This helps to redistribute the juices in the meat for juicy, tender chicken.

Smoking the Vegetables for White Chicken Chili

When the chicken is almost done cooking, prep the vegetables to cook them on the pellet grill. Simply cut the peppers in half lengthwise and deseed them, and remove the skins from the onion and cut it in half as well. Put all of the vegetables on a wire rack like this:

cut peppers, onions, and corn on the cob on a wire rack

Just like with the chicken, this makes it easier to get the vegetables on and off the smoker versus placing them on the grill grates one at a time.

Smoke the vegetables at 250 degrees F for one hour. Then, remove them from the smoker and allow them to cool so that you’re able to handle them. The skins of the peppers will look darker in color and shriveled up, and the veggies will be tender and full of smoky grill flavor.

smoking vegetables for chili on a pellet grill

*NOTE – For extra smoke flavor, you can add a smoke tube to your grill. Go here to see how to use a smoke tube with pellets.

Making the Smoked White Chicken Chili

When the chicken and vegetables are smoked, it’s time to combine everything in a large pot to make the white chicken chili.

Start by dicing up the smoked peppers and onion, and cut the corn off the cob. Then, add the vegetables to a large cast iron dutch oven (or another large pot) with a few tablespoons of butter. Saute the vegetables until the onions are tender, which shouldn’t take too long since the veggies were already smoked on the grill. Then add in minced garlic and sauté another few minutes.

sautéing diced peppers, onions, and corn in a dutch oven

Next, add in the other chili ingredients, keeping the cream cheese and heavy cream aside for later.

One note on the beans: I mashed up one can of beans to act as a thickening agent for the chili. The other two cans I drained and then added to the pot. For reference, this is the can of drained navy beans that I mashed with a fork before adding to the white chicken chili:

mashed white beans in a bowl

If you like a thicker chili, then you can mash up another can of beans, or even blend them in a food processor.

Your chicken chili should look something like this when all of the ingredients (besides the cream cheese and heavy cream) are added.

making white chicken chili in a dutch oven

Cook the white chicken chili on low to medium heat for about 30-45 minutes. Then, add in the heavy cream and cream cheese, stir well, and continue to cook the chili an additional 10 minutes.

And then your smoked chicken chili is ready to serve!

We prefer our chicken chili topped with a dollop of sour cream, some shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, and a few dashes of hot sauce. If you’re feeling fancy, you can also dice up some of the crispy chicken skin from smoking the chicken, and use that as a nice crunchy topping!

smoked white chicken chili in a bowl with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onion


Can I use store-bought rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken for this recipe instead?

Absolutely! If you would like to save time, you can substitute leftover chicken, or shred a store-bought rotisserie chicken to use in the chili. Of course, smoking your chicken is a great opportunity to add extra smoke flavor to the chili.

How long does it take to make smoked white chicken chili?

This really depends on how you’re smoking the chili, if you’re going to smoke the vegetables separately before adding them to the pot, and whether or not you’re smoking a whole chicken for your chili.

For my smoked white chicken chili recipe, I wanted to take every opportunity to add smoke flavor to the dish, so I smoked my own chicken and the whole vegetables that I added to the dutch oven. In total, that smoking process took 4 hours and 45 minutes, with my pellet grill set at 250 degrees F. Then, after combining all of the ingredients for the chili, I cooked it on the stovetop for another hour.

What wood pellets should I use for smoked white chicken chili?

The choice of wood pellets largely depends on personal preference, but milder wood varieties like apple, cherry, or oak are recommended for this white chicken chili recipe. These woods complement the delicate flavors of chicken without overpowering them. *If you like a smokier flavor, choose hickory wood pellets or a competition blend.

I used Pit Boss Fruitwood Blend wood pellets in my Pit Boss Navigator 850 for this recipe, and the results were fantastic!

What can I serve with white chicken chili?

Chili and cornbread are a match made in heaven! This cast iron skillet cornbread is my favorite!

Smoked White Chicken Chili

smoked white chicken chili
This smoked white chicken chili is full of flavor and easy to make on your pellet grill or smoker. By smoking a whole chicken and the vegetables for your smoked chili, you get maximum flavor that you just can’t replicate on the stovetop! Learn how to make white chicken chili on the smoker with this easy recipe.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Total Time 2 hours


  • 5 cups smoked shredded chicken
  • 2 ears fresh corn
  • 1 large green bell pepper cut in half lengthwise and deseeded
  • 2 poblano peppers cut in half lengthwise and deseeded
  • 2 jalapeno peppers cut in half lengthwise and deseeded
  • 1 medium yellow onion skin removed and cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 15 oz can white navy beans drained
  • 15 oz can Cannellini beans drained
  • 15 oz can Great Northern beans drained
  • 7 oz can diced green chiles
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, chopped fresh cilantro, and/or hot sauce (optional)


  • Preheat pellet grill or smoker to 250 degrees F. Smoke all halved peppers, halved onion, and 2 ears of corn on the grill for 1 hour. Then, allow the vegetables to cool so you can handle them. Dice the smoked peppers and onion, and cut the corn off the cob.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a large dutch oven. Saute the smoked vegetables in the pot over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are tender. Then, add the minced garlic and saute an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, mash the drained navy beans with a fork to a slightly chunky consistency. *This will help to thicken the chili. If you have a food processor, you can also blend the beans to a smooth consistency if you wish.
  • Add the mashed navy beans to the dutch oven with the vegetables. Pour in the other two cans of drained whole beans.
  • Add the shredded chicken, canned green chiles, chicken stock, and all of the spices to the dutch oven. Stir to combine. Simmer for about 30 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the cream cheese and heavy cream. Stir well, and simmer another 5-10 minutes.
  • Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve with your favorite chili toppings like sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, and hot sauce.


  • To smoke a whole chicken for this chili recipe, I coated a chicken in avocado oil spray (I prefer duck fat spray, but I was out) and then sprinkled it liberally with Shake That All Purpose Seasoning.  Then, smoke at 250-275 degrees F until the fattest part of the chicken breasts reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees F.  Allow the chicken to cool for about 20 minutes, then shred, discarding the excess fat and gristle.
  • This recipe makes a large pot of chicken chili.  You can freeze leftovers in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag for up to 3 months.  To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight, then heat in a pot over medium heat.
  • You can substitute rotisserie chicken in this recipe to save time.

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