Black and White Chicken Chili – The Perfect Halloween Stew

Halloween is going to be tricky this year, no pun intended! If you’re handing out candy, taking little ones trick or treating, or just keeping the lights off and pretending to not be home, you’ll need something warming, simple and healthy-ish that can be kept on the stove top and ready for no matter what time it is needed. 

This stew is hearty, healthy-ish and may even taste better the longer it sits.  It can also easily be cooked in the slow-cooker while you are at work for the day and ready for an easy pre- trick-or-treat meal that will keep hunger at bay while collecting all the candy (or giving it away!).  Feel free to prep the veggies the night before and then it can come together quickly in the morning.

Double or triple this recipe, as needed, to fill your cauldron and your ghoulish eaters!  Please let me know if you make this recipe (for Halloween or not!) and how it went for you.  I really love hearing from you!

Some Black and White Chicken Chili FAQs!

 I don’t like spicy. Should I leave out the hot peppers?

Maybe.  For some, the use of chili powder and cayenne will be plenty.  You need to decide.  You can always remove the seeds and membranes of the hot chiles – that’s what makes it spicy.  I used both serrano and habanero in mine.  I think a chipotle pepper would actually be great in this dish to up the smoke factor.  But yes, please. Leave out anything you don’t like!

What’s in the sauce to make it so rich and flavorful?

I really wanted the broth to be white so that all the vibrant colors of the carrots, black beans and corn would show up, so a tomato-based broth was out.  I wanted it to taste rich, but not heavy.  And I needed to keep it dairy-free for some family.  I thought about adding coconut milk or a thickening agent but in the end the combination of grilled/slightly charred chicken and corn along with a little bit of spices and broth gave it such an amazing flavor, that I didn’t feel the need to add creaminess.  I like the lightness and more chili-like consistency of the broth, but I tried it a bit thicker, by adding 2 tablespoons of flax meal for a warm nutty flavor that added just the right amount of stick-to-your-ribs consistency without being starchy. 

Can I add or eliminate this?  Can I substitute that?

Of course you can!  During this time when we don’t want to shopping as often, etc. it is all about using what you have. As always, my recipes are guidance mostly and ideas for you.  Not very much is absolutely necessary so feel free to switch up the veggies, eliminate the meat, add more or less of anything you think will work.  Want to make it easy on yourself and use frozen vegetables. Have at it!  And I’d love to hear if you do so and have a good experience! We’d all like to learn from your creativity!  

Can I make this in my Instant Pot?  In my slow-cooker?

Absolutely!  If using the Instant Pot, you don’t have to pre-cook/grill your chicken or even your beans for that matter.  

In the slow cooker, just throw everything in, combine well, and set for either low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours, depending on the strength of your slow cooker, of course.  Good news here is that it can stay on warm for hours after cooked.

Let me know if you make this chili. I’d love to hear about your creativity.  Have a spooky fun time!

Black and White Chicken Chili - Healthy Halloween Stew

You will love the amazing flavors created with the spiced, grilled chicken, caramelized corn and Mexican spices in a healthy stew. You can take the shortcuts presented here and get this done in less than 30 minutes!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili, comfort food, Fall, gluten-free, healthy, Mexican, stew, weeknight dinner, winter
Servings: 8 2-cup servings
Calories: 327kcal
Author: Kiki Simpson, Healthy Sexy Kitchen


Chili Spice Mix

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin toasted, if you have
  • 1.5 tablespoons fennel seed cracked, if possible
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano Mexican, if you can
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder I used ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika can sub hot or sweet paprika if you don't have smoked
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced or ground garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder or dried, minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt or more, to taste.

Stew Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or any cooking fat divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or amount from 1 small lime
  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast sliced in half horizontally for quick cooking. You can also use bone-in, thighs or drumsticks or even a rotisserie chicken. Weight is for edible parts only.
  • 3 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen divided
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped you can use an Anaheim chili or even bell pepper f you like
  • 3 medium carrots peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces. May use white or yellow carrots for a true white chili effect.
  • 1.5 cups cooked white beans or 1 (15 oz can), drained and rinsed
  • 1.5 cups cooked black beans or 1 (15 oz can), drained and rinsed
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water or combination I used 4 c broth and 2 c water
  • 2 tablespoon flaxmeal optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke optional


  • serrano or jalapeno peppers fresh or pickled
  • scallions sliced
  • cilantro chopped
  • sour cream
  • Grated or crumbled cheese I used cotija (crumbly Mexican cheese)


  • First, combine all the chili spices in a small bowl.
  • In another small bowl, combine half of the spice mixture with 1 tablespoon olive oil and lime juice. Rub this into your prepped chicken, completely coating.
  • At this point, you can grill or pan sear your chicken right away, or if you have the time, you can let the chicken marinade for 30 minutes or so, but make sure to refrigerate if sitting longer than that. When grilling, or searing, you want to get a nice char but not over done. Err on the side of undercooked. After grilling, chop into bite-sized pieces and set aside. It is ok if the chicken isn't completely cooked through. It will continue cooking in the stew.
  • If you pan-seared your chicken, you can use the same skillet to caramelize the corn. Heat 1 tablespoon oil or fat over medium heat. Add 2 cups of corn kernels (saving the last 1 cup for later) and toss to coat, pressing corn in as much of a single layer as possible. Cook for about 6-8 minutes, stirring only every 2 minutes or so, allowing the corn to brown in places. Take off heat and set aside.
  • In your stew pot, heat 1 tablespoon (or more, if needed) olive oil or cooking fat. Then add the other half of the spice mixture and stir into the oil until aromas bloom, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add chopped chicken, poblano pepper, carrots, beans and 5 cups of broth or water. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the last 1 cup of broth or water to the skillet with the caramelized corn and deglaze the pan slightly before pouring it into the stew pot with everything else. You may need to reheat the skillet briefly if it has been sitting too long. Just enough to get any brown bits scraped up from the skillet.
  • Once the stew has begun boiling, reduce the heat, add the flaxmeal, if using, and stir it in well. Simmer, with lid slightly ajar, for about 30 minutes to thicken and reduce slightly. Stir in the last 1 cup of fresh corn kernels. Check that the carrots are to your liking. If not, cover and cook a bit longer until they are done.
  • Serve hot with your choice of the suggested toppings! Stew can sit on stove, covered, until ready to eat. Reheat gently, stirring well, if needed.


Choices - You have the choice of the type of chicken, or tofu or tempeh. You have the choice of grilling outdoors, or pan searing inside. You have the choice of types of beans and vegetables. You can use all or just a few of the spices suggested here. Your results can and should, vary!
Shortcut Version - Use pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces.  Coat the chicken pieces with the spice paste and add to stew pot in Step 6 (along with carrots, poblanos, beans, etc.) You can use frozen vegetables of your choice and canned beans. 
Make it Vegan - Omit the chicken.  You can substitute with cubed tofu or tempeh that you spice marinate the same way as the chicken and pan sear. You can add more beans and/or just beef up the vegetables. I have added sweet potatoes and green beans before. 

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