Cheesecake Factory White Chicken Chili

Are you a Big Bang Theory fan? If you are, you’ll get this post more than others. Recently, James’s best friend from high school, the fellow that introduced us to each other all those years ago, came for a visit. Mark brought with him his new bride, the lovely Heather, or as she’s affectionately known, Penny.

They celebrated their honeymoon throughout Canada and the NYC area, somewhat just to come hang out with us! On their honeymoon! That’s love, people. And family. Welcome to our family, Penny. We’re so glad to have you.

We did all the requisite NYC sight seeing and endless eating you can imagine, but one request gave James and me a pause and a chuckle. They insisted we go to a Cheesecake Factory at some point during their trip. They didn’t care when, or which location, we just had to go.

The reason behind their fascination with this ginormous chain is completely to do with the television show The Big Bang Theory, where the group of friends on the show tends to eat at least once a week, and where the main female lead works.

Not going to lie, James and I enjoy eating at this chain restaurant on occasion. Their molasses oatmeal bread is divine, and James could eat their White Chicken Chili every day of the week and be happy. That this chili appears on their “Skinnylicious” menu only makes him love it more.

We’ve been back several times to eat the chili so I could analyze it for recreation at home. At least, that’s the excuse James and I kept telling ourselves!

It’s a chili that is definitely full of flavor, and comes together quickly. But like most chilis, the longer you let it sit, the better it will taste. So make it a day ahead of time, or make a double batch so you have leftovers all week. It’s also great for going straight in the freezer.

What makes this chili so delicious? I like to think it’s a combination of all those fabulous spices: cumin, chili powder, garlic and onion, with the background notes of navy beans and juicy chicken.

We added red kidney beans to ours simply because I felt it needed a second can of beans, and we didn’t have more navy beans on hand. Feel free to switch out the red kidney beans for more navy beans if it strikes your fancy. I also added white shoepeg corn because I love corn in chili. Feel free to omit it if that’s not your thing.

As Sheldon says, Bazinga! There’s your dinner.


  1. says

    It is my life dream to eat at a Cheesecake Factory. The closest one is about 2 hours away, in Tulsa. My husband keeps telling me that is too far to drive just to eat at Cheesecake Factory, but I keep telling him, 2 hours is nothing when you’re talking about a life long dream.

    In the meantime, I’ll make this chili. And pretend.

    • says

      I have a better idea, Kristan! You come visit Shelly and me, since we just figured out we live about an hour from each other (and I’m 45 minutes from NYC too), and we’ll go to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch, and then spend the afternoon drinking margaritas on my deck. Life = Perfect.

  2. says

    Ohhh yum. My sister insists on going to the Cheesecake Factory for her birthday dinner every year, and I’ve never ordered this dish…but I love chicken chili so much I think I’m just going to have to make it for myself. :)

  3. says

    I haven’t seen The Big Bang theory, but I’m pretty sure I’ll still be thinking about this chili until I try it!! Love everything aobut it!

  4. says

    Such a fun reason to visit the Cheesecake Factory! Though I can’t eat their cheesecake, I LOVE going there for dinner, and I will absolutely be making this chili at home. I love that wheat bread too; we always devour two servings of it. I think perhaps you should recreate that too…more trips to the Cheesecake Factory! ;-)

  5. Rick Strong says

    This looked so good I had to make it; every bit as good as I had imagined, and more. Big big hit with the family, even better the second day, of course. Thank you!

  6. Donna says

    I made a low fat version of this recipe. I used a can of low fat evaporated milk instead of half and half and low fat sour cream instead of regular. The chili was delicious! I will be making this again.

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