Healthy Cheesecake Factory White Chicken Chili

My delicious Healthy Cheesecake Factory White Chicken Chili recipe is made with white beans, pinto beans, corn, zucchini, cottage cheese, garlic, and lime. The zucchini and onions are sauteed and blended, and the beans are generously simmered to minimize heartburn and support easy digestion. It’s a flavorful copycat base you can easily add more spice to so everyone can enjoy it!

Bowl of white chicken chili.

My Healthy Cheesecake Factory White Chicken Chili Recipe is made with added vegetables, including corn and zucchini. And I’ve elevated this copycat recipe with a creamy protein boost from cottage cheese. I blend down the onions and simmer all the beans to minimize heartburn and promote gentle digestion. But it still has all the delicious flavor of cheesecake factory’s white chicken chili but is easy on the spice.

My recipe provides the perfect flavorful base that you can easily add more spice to. This comes in really handy if you are serving this as a cozy weeknight dinner to a group with varying spice tolerances like my family 🙂 This is our favorite recipe for a heart-warming meal that can be made in a dutch oven, pressure cooker, or slow cooker.

YouTube video

Why You’ll Love This Healthier Copycat Cheesecake Factory White Chicken Chili Recipe

  • You only need a few major ingredients.
  • It is super easy to make for an impressive result.
  • The flavor-rich ingredients make it taste amazing!
  • All the ingredients are easily digestible for a gentle tummy.
Dutch oven filled with white chicken chili.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Chicken Breast: Instead of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for a richer flavor. You can also use a rotisserie chicken.

Chicken Broth: Use vegetable broth, organic chicken broth, or low-sodium chicken broth for a lower sodium option. Consider making your own broth with water, vegetables, and herbs for a fresher taste.

White Beans and Pinto Beans: Mix and match beans based on preference; navy beans, great northern beans, cannellini beans, red kidney beans or black beans can be used as alternatives. If using dried beans, soak and cook them before adding to the recipe.

Whole Kernel Corn: Opt for fresh corn kernels or frozen corn instead of canned corn.

Zucchini: You can omit the zucchini or replace it with yellow squash, bell peppers, or eggplant for a different flavor and texture.

Cottage Cheese: You can omit cottage cheese or replace it with cream cheese or sour cream. Greek yogurt or plain yogurt can also be used, but you will need to stir in the greek yogurt right before you serve the chili.

Onion: You can omit the onions or use yellow onions. You can also replace with two teaspoons of onion powder.

Butter: Olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil can replace butter for a healthier fat option.

Garlic: Use garlic powder or roasted garlic for a different depth of flavor.

Light Olive Oil: Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Avocado oil can be used instead of olive oil. I do not recommend vegetable oil.

Mild Diced Green Chilis: You can omit the chilis or use fresh diced jalapeños or poblano peppers to meet your spice tolerance.

Spices (Ground Cumin, Paprika, dried Oregano, Salt, Black Pepper): Adjust the spice blend to personal preference, or use a pre-made taco or chili seasoning mix. You can also add cayenne pepper and/or chili powder to taste.

Bowl of white chicken chili.

How to Make My White Chicken Chili with Cottage Cheese Recipe

Step 1: Prep Your Ingredients

Roughly dice 1/2 an onion and 4 cloves of garlic. Slice off the ends of one zucchini and thinly slice.

Make 1″ slices through the thickest part of the two chicken breasts. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken pieces with coarse sea salt and a few dashes of pepper. 

Pour 3 cups of chicken stock into a mixing bowl. Stir in the cumin, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. 

Open and drain the cans of white beans, pinto beans, and whole kernel corn. Rinse them thoroughly and drain.

Chopped zucchini and onions on a cutting board.
Sprinkling salt on boneless skinless chicken breasts.

Step 2: Cook and Blend the Vegetables

Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a large dutch oven or large soup pot over medium to high heat. Add in the chopped zucchini, onions and garlic. Mix well then cover and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring about every minute, until the zucchini is fork tender. Carefully spoon the vegetables into a high-speed blender. Add 1 cup of prepared chicken broth and blend until smooth.

Sauteeing zucchini and onions in a dutch oven.
Blended zucchini, onions and garlic in a high speed blender.

Step 3: Cook the Chicken

Pour 2 tablespoons of light olive oill into the dutch oven on medium-high heat. Carefully lay in the chicken breasts. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the underneath is golden brown. Flip the chicken over and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Add the remaining chicken stock, zucchini mixture, green chiles, drained beans, and corn. Stir well, then cover and simmer at a low boil for 30 minutes.

Browning chicken in dutch oven.
Stirring white chicken chili with a spatula.

Step 4: Shred the Chicken

Carefully transfer the cooked chicken to a tray and shred it with two forks.

Shredding chicken with two forks in a baking sheet.

Step 5: Add the Cottage Cheese and Lime Juice

Add 1 cup of cottage cheese and about 1/2 cup of liquid from the dutch oven to the blender. Blend until smooth and pour the mixture back into the dutch oven. 

Add the juice of 2 limes to the dutch oven and the shredded chicken.

Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.

Adding cottage cheese to an upright blender.

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy

Turn off the heat and uncover the pot. Allow the chili to cool slightly until it’s no longer bubbling. Ladle the chili into a bowl. And garnish with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions, and cilantro leaves. Serve with a side of your favorite tortilla chips.

Bowl of white chicken chili.

White Chicken Chili Recipe Notes

Spice Level: This recipe is made very flavorful but not spicy. The spice level can be adjusted to suit individual preferences. Add more diced green chilis, red pepper flakes, or hot sauce for extra heat. For an even milder version, omit the green chilis and black pepper and reduce the cumin to 1 teaspoon.

Fresh Lime Juice: For the brightest flavor, use fresh lime juice. Adjust the quantity based on personal taste preferences.

Kid-Friendly Variation: For a milder version suitable for children, reduce the amount of diced green chilis and black pepper.

Blending the Zucchini and onions: This will make them easier to digest and disguise the zucchini. But you do not have to blend if you prefer a chunkier chili.

Extra Simmer at the End: This extra 10 minutes of simmering helps the shredded chicken really soak in the flavors and incorporates the cottage cheese.

Slow Cooker: Cook the vegetables and brown the chicken in a frying pan. Then transfer everything to a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Remove the chicken, shred it, then add it back to the slow cooker and stir in the cottage cheese mixture and lime juice.

Insta-Pot Pressure Cooker: Set the pressure cooker to saute mode and cook the vegetables and brown the chicken. Then add all the ingredients and pressure cook for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken, shred it, then add it back to the pressure cooker and stir in the cottage cheese mixture and lime juice.

Refrigeration: Allow the chili to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. 

Freezing: If you want to store the chili for an extended period, portion it into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Leave some room for expansion to prevent containers from cracking.

Individual Servings: Freeze individual servings for convenient, quick meals. This allows you to thaw and reheat only what you need.

Defrosting: When ready to use frozen chili, transfer it to the refrigerator the night before to allow for slow, safe thawing. Alternatively, use the defrost function on the microwave.

Reheating: Reheat the refrigerated or thawed chili on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Ensure it reaches a safe internal temperature (165°F or 74°C).

Storage Duration: Consume refrigerated chili within 3-4 days for optimal freshness. Frozen chili can be stored for 2-3 months.

Can I use canned chicken instead of fresh chicken breasts?

While fresh chicken breasts provide a more robust flavor and texture, canned chicken can be used as a convenient alternative. Adjust cooking times accordingly.

Is there a dairy-free alternative to cottage cheese?

Yes, you can use a dairy-free yogurt or silken tofu as a substitute for cottage cheese to maintain a creamy texture without dairy.

Can I make this recipe vegetarian?

Absolutely! Omit the chicken and use vegetable broth. Consider adding extra vegetables or plant-based protein sources like tofu for a delicious vegetarian version.

Can I make this chili in a slow cooker?

Yes, after cooking the vegetables and browning the chicken, transfer everything to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours for a convenient, hands-off option.

How do I adjust the spice level?

Easily customize the spice level by adding more diced green chilis, red pepper flakes, or hot sauce according to personal preference.

Can I substitute dried beans for canned beans?

Yes, you can use dried beans, but be sure to soak and cook them before adding to the recipe. Adjust cooking times accordingly.

What can I use instead of a cast iron dutch oven?

Any large, heavy-bottomed pot can be used as an alternative to a cast iron dutch oven.

Here are a few more of my Mexican-inspired recipes I recommend:

Healthy Cheesecake Factory White Chicken Chili Recipe

Gluten-Free diet-friendly recipe
My delicious Healthy Cheesecake Factory White Chicken Chili recipe is made with white beans, pinto beans, corn, zucchini, cottage cheese, garlic, and lime. The zucchini and onions are sauteed and blended, and the beans are generously simmered to minimize heartburn and support easy digestion. It's a flavorful copycat base you can easily add more spice to so everyone can enjoy it!
5 from 1 vote
Servings 8
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients
  

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans white beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon mild diced green chilis
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Roughly dice 1/2 an onion and 4 cloves of garlic. Slice off the ends of one zucchini and thinly slice.
    Make 1" slices through the thickest part of the two chicken breasts. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken pieces with coarse sea salt and a few dashes of pepper. 
    Pour 3 cups of chicken stock into a mixing bowl. Stir in the cumin, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. 
    Open and drain the cans of white beans, pinto beans, and whole kernel corn. Rinse them thoroughly and drain.
  • Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a large dutch oven or large soup pot over medium to high heat. Add in the chopped zucchini, onions and garlic. Mix well then cover and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring about every minute, until the zucchini is fork tender. Carefully spoon the vegetables into a high-speed blender. Add 1 cup of prepared chicken broth and blend until smooth.
  • Pour 2 tablespoons of light olive oill into the dutch oven on medium-high heat. Carefully lay in the chicken breasts. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the underneath is golden brown. Flip the chicken over and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
    Add the remaining chicken stock, zucchini mixture, green chiles, drained beans, and corn. Stir well, then cover and simmer at a low boil for 30 minutes.
  • Carefully transfer the cooked chicken to a tray and shred it with two forks
  • Add 1 cup of cottage cheese and about 1/2 cup of liquid from the dutch oven to the blender. Blend until smooth and pour the mixture back into the dutch oven. 
    Add the juice of 2 limes to the dutch oven and the shredded chicken.
    Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and uncover the pot. Allow the chili to cool slightly until it's no longer bubbling. Ladle the chili into a bowl. And garnish with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions, and cilantro leaves. Serve with a side of your favorite tortilla chips.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Spice Level: This recipe is made very flavorful but not spicy. The spice level can be adjusted to suit individual preferences. Add more diced green chilis, red pepper flakes, or hot sauce for extra heat. For an even milder version, omit the green chilis and black pepper and reduce the cumin to 1 teaspoon.
Blending the Zucchini and onions: This will make them easier to digest and disguise the zucchini. But you do not have to blend if you prefer a chunkier chili.
Extra Simmer at the End: This extra 10 minutes of simmering helps the shredded chicken really soak in the flavors and incorporates the cottage cheese.
Slow Cooker: Cook the vegetables and brown the chicken in a frying pan. Then transfer everything to a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Remove the chicken, shred it, then add it back to the slow cooker and stir in the cottage cheese mixture and lime juice.
Insta-Pot Pressure Cooker: Set the pressure cooker to saute mode and cook the vegetables and brown the chicken. Then add all the ingredients and pressure cook for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken, shred it, then add it back to the pressure cooker and stir in the cottage cheese mixture and lime juice.

Nutrition

Calories: 274kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 17gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 847mgPotassium: 653mgFiber: 5gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 414IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 107mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Cheesecake Factory, chicken, chili, copycat, corn bread, cottage cheese, pinto beans, white beans, zucchini
Did you make this recipe?Please let me know in the comments below how it turned out 🙂

Responses

  1. CHERYL Avatar
    CHERYL

    5 stars
    EXCELLENT recipe! Such bright flavor with the lime. I did add more garlic, cumin, and green chiles to my preference. Great levels of flavor!!!

    1. Nicole Bonilla Avatar
      Nicole Bonilla

      Hi Cheryl, thank you so much for sharing your review! I love that you were able to spice it up to your liking 🙂

  2. Betty Avatar
    Betty

    5 stars
    I made this and didn’t have pinto beans but added garbanzo beans. This was delicious. I will make this again for sure.

    1. Nicole Bonilla Avatar
      Nicole Bonilla

      That’s a great idea to replace the pinto beans with garbanzo! Thank you for sharing this 🙂

  3. Carolyn Avatar
    Carolyn

    5 stars
    I made this yummy white chicken chili yesterday. It was so full of delicious spices, and it was delightful to eat it. I felt happy that I was making healthy, tasty soup. I will definitely be making this again and again. Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipe!

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    EXCELLENT recipe! Such bright flavor with the lime. I did add more garlic, cumin, and green chiles to my preference. Great levels of flavor!!!

    1. Hi Cheryl, thank you so much for sharing your review! I love that you were able to spice it up to your liking 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I made this and didn’t have pinto beans but added garbanzo beans. This was delicious. I will make this again for sure.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this yummy white chicken chili yesterday. It was so full of delicious spices, and it was delightful to eat it. I felt happy that I was making healthy, tasty soup. I will definitely be making this again and again. Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipe!

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating