White Bean Leftover Turkey Chili

This cozy and toasty White Bean Leftover Turkey Chili has quickly become our new favorite leftover turkey meal! It’s tasty, creamy (without cream), and ready to eat in a little over 30 minutes!

White Bean Leftover Turkey Chili

Yes, I am aware that there are a ton of recipes for white chilies online. But let me tell you, in addition to being a creamy, wonderful way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey, the charred corn, green chilies, cumin, and coriander provide a depth of flavor to this White Bean Leftover Turkey Chili. There are several ways to up the heat for those of us who desire it, but the basic recipe is really mild and ideal for the whole family (even our 3 and 5 year olds)! This is our new go-to meal for leftover turkey!

What is White Chili?

A few tweaks to a traditional chili give rise to the term “white chili.”

White Meat. As opposed to conventional chili, which is cooked with red meat (beef). Naturally, because this is a leftover turkey chili, turkey is our preferred protein, but you can also use leftover chicken!

White lentils. This white chili employs only white beans, as opposed to regular chili’s blend of black, red, and occasionally white beans. You may use navy, cannellini, or great northern beans.

Base of Stock. Unlike traditional chili, which has a tomato basis, this white bean chili has a stock base. Naturally, we like to use freshly prepared homemade turkey stock for our leftover turkey chili, but chicken stock works just as well.

Ingredients Needed

  • Leftover Turkey – We prefer to make this with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, but it would also work well with some leftover chicken!
  • Great Northern beans are our preferred option for white beans, but you may also use navy or cannellini.
  • Is it possible to prepare soups without onions and garlic?
  • We use mild green chilies in this dish, but you may use a hotter kind to kick up the heat a bit.
  • Corn: This works nicely with canned, frozen, or fresh corn. However, the most crucial step is to first lightly burn it in some butter. This white chili is so much more flavorful with it!
  • Broth: Have you used any of your leftover Thanksgiving turkey to create turkey broth? If not, this is a terrific use for chicken stock.
  • The flavor combination of cumin, oregano, and coriander is really good in this soup!
  • Cheeses: Pepper Jack and Cream Cheese. Cream cheese is essential for giving the soup body and richness, but you may also use cheddar or a Mexican mix cheese in place of the pepper jack.
  • Addition of fresh cilantro at the end adds a wonderful freshness, but you may leave it out if you don’t like it.
  • Squeeze in some fresh lime juice just before serving to bring some vibrant acidity and bring everything together.
White Bean Leftover Turkey Chili

How to Make White Bean Leftover Turkey Chili

White Bean Leftover Turkey Chili

the base of taste! This white bean chili gains a ton of flavor from first caramelizing the corn in butter and then simmering the onions, garlic, and green chilis in additional butter while retaining all of their deliciousness on the bottom of the pan!

White Bean Leftover Turkey Chili

After bringing to a boil, simmer. Add the mashed and whole beans, corn, turkey, and stock. After bringing it to a boil, add the cheeses, reduce the heat, and simmer until the cheese is fully combined.

White Bean Leftover Turkey Chili

In slightly over 30 minutes, completed. White turkey chili is excellent when you add fresh cilantro and lime juice!

Cooking Tips

Sauté the green chilies and char the corn. By adding a bit buttery charred taste and bringing out the flavor of the green chilis with all of the goodies on the bottom of the pan after charring the corn, these steps really take this White Bean Leftover Chili to the next level.

Blend A Few Beans. A wonderful creamy texture and a bean-filled white chili that isn’t overbearing may be achieved by crushing roughly 1 1/2 cups of the beans before adding them to the pot. The great northern beans are still packed with fiber and protein.

Cream cheese needs to melt! The cream cheese will not melt completely for at least ten minutes. Mix thoroughly, being sure to check the soup’s texture to make sure everything is well combined.

Grate your pepper jack fresh. Since freshly grated cheese melts better than pre-shredded, it is always worth the extra effort to grate your own cheese, which will result in a creamier, smoother texture. This is because pre-shredded cheese contains chemicals that keep the cheese from sticking together.

Turn up the heat. You may entirely modify this recipe to suit your preferred level of heat. This has a very mild foundation, suitable for children ages 3 and 5. Turning up the heat is, however, rather simple! For our preferred methods of heating it up, see the recipe notes.

White Bean Leftover Turkey Chili

I’m not sure about you, but for me, there’s nothing better than the leftovers from the Christmas dinner. And my new favorite dish for leftover turkey is this White Bean Leftover Turkey Chili!

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White Bean Leftover Turkey Chili

This cozy and toasty White Bean Leftover Turkey Chili has quickly become our new favorite leftover turkey meal! It's tasty, creamy (without cream), and ready to eat in a little over 30 minutes!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6


  • 2 cups leftover turkey shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups corn fresh frozen, or canned
  • 3 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1 white onion diced approx 1 cup
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 oz green chilis
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 3 cups great northern beans cooked or 2 cans
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese approx 4 oz
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 wedge fresh lime approximately 1 teaspoon juice

Optional Garnishes

  • avocado
  • sliced jalapenos
  • tortilla strips
  • hot sauce


  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high to high and cook the corn for two to three minutes, or until it starts to brown slightly. Cook for a further two minutes while stirring. Take out the corn and place it aside.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and melt the remaining butter. Remove any remaining corn kernels from the pan’s bottom by scraping it up (taste!). Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for 4 minutes, or until tender.
  • Mix in the green chilies. Mix in the spices and heat for one minute. Return the heat to medium-high and gradually add the stock, heating it until it boils.
  • In the meantime, place 1 1/2 cups of great northern beans in a small dish and mash the beans using a fork or potato masher.
  • After the beans are mashed (it’s okay if you do this before the stock boils), add the mashed beans, whole beans, corn, and turkey to the pot along with some cream cheese and pepper jack cheese.
  • After bringing everything to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low or medium once again to simmer the soup. Mix in cheeses well. Simmer for ten to fifteen minutes, or until the cream cheese is completely melted and has a creamy texture.
  • Add 1/4 of a fresh lime wedge’s juice along with some fresh cilantro.
  • Arrange in bowls and top with fresh avocado, tortilla chip strips, or spicy sauce.


Storage: Refrigerator: Keep in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Store in the freezer for up to three months.
Freezer tip: Simmer the soup for only five minutes and then freeze it before adding the cheeses if you’re making it ahead of time especially for the freezer. Before serving, defrost, simmer, and add cheese. When warmed, this will result in the optimum consistency.
Increase the Temperature:
Green chilis: Instead of using mild green chilis, use hot ones.
Add half of a jalapeño, diced, while the garlic and onion are sautéing.
Add one-fourth to one-half teaspoon of cayenne.
Add some of your favorite spicy sauce and garnish. HAB Sauce spicy sauces are our favorite.
You may use any type of white bean as a substitute for the beans in this soup.
Corn: tinned, frozen, or fresh off the cob. If using frozen, just give it a brief rinse in a colander before using; there’s no need to defrost. Drain and rinse if using canned food (1 1/2 cups is roughly one can).
Onion and Garlic: Yellow or white onions work well. One tablespoon of finely chopped fresh garlic equals three cloves. One teaspoon of garlic powder is an additional option.
Use Monterey Jack, cheddar, or Mexican blend cheese instead of pepper jack.
Making Use of Dried Beans
You will need one cup of dry beans to utilize dried white beans. Rinse them, put them in a pot, and add enough water to cover by at least three inches. After bringing the saucepan to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook the beans until they are soft, 45 to 60 minutes. The age of the beans will affect how long they need to cook.
Keyword White Bean Leftover Turkey Chili

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