Make the most delicious Mexican Chicken soup with tender shredded chicken and vegetables in a spicy tomato broth. This soup can be made in the slow cooker, Instant Pot, or stovetop! Add your favorite vegetables and toppings.
It’s no secret that we love Mexican soup recipes. With just the right amount of spice, it’s one of the best meals for a cold night. As much as we love taco soup, lately, everyone in my house has been asking for this Mexican Chicken Soup on repeat.
This soup is packed with tender chicken breast, vegetables, and corn in a rich, slightly spicy tomato broth. It can be made in the slow cooker, Instant Pot, or stovetop. The flavors of the aromatics and spices combine for a really delicious, spiced broth.
Then the magic comes in the toppings! Add queso fresco, tortilla chips, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, or sour cream. This soup screams for toppings.
Why You’ll Love Mexican Chicken Soup
- All about the toppings: The toppings are what make this soup really delicious and fun! Let everyone build their own soup bowls with tortilla chips, cilantro, lime juice, sour cream, avocado, and more.
- Easy to customize: Think of this recipe as a jumping-off point! Add rice or beans. Throw in some potatoes. Add more traditional vegetables like Mexican squash, corn on the cob, or cabbage. This recipe is flexible.
- Set it and forget it: Spend just 10 minutes prepping the soup and the rest of the work is done by the crockpot, Instant pot, or stovetop.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken: This recipe works with boneless chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs. Whole-cut pieces of chicken will also work for a more authentic Mexican soup.
- Onion and garlic: These aromatics are essential for building lots of flavor in the broth. Add carrots and celery as well if you like.
- Jalapenos: To add a little spice to the broth, fresh jalapenos are the perfect ingredient. Use serrano peppers for more spice and poblano peppers for less spice. For no spice, use bell peppers.
- Diced tomatoes: Fire-roasted tomatoes add some nice smoky notes to the broth. Regular diced tomatoes also work. Fresh Roma tomatoes will also work, just cook them down with the onion. Use Rotel tomatoes for extra spice.
- Spices: This soup doesn’t need too much in terms of spices. Cumin, oregano, bay leaves, salt, and pepper give it plenty of flavor.
- Corn: Corn on the cob is normally used in traditional Mexican chicken soup, but I used corn kernels to make things easy. Swap in fresh corn on the cob (or frozen) if you like, just cut the cobs into smaller pieces.
- Cilantro and lime: These are a must in this soup! Add lots of fresh cilantro and plenty of lime juice. It should be slightly tangy.
- Toppings: Add queso fresco, radishes, avocado, corn tortillas or tortilla chips, and any other toppings you like.
How to Make Mexican Chicken Soup
This soup couldn’t be easier to make! Here’s everything you need to do, plus some tips in case you are making your own variations.
- Saute the vegetables: It may seem like an extra step, but it is important to saute the onions, jalapenos, and garlic before adding them to the slow cooker. Sauteing releases the flavor and ensures a rich broth. If you are adding carrots or celery, add them here as well.
- Add everything to the slow cooker: This is the easy part! Add everything to the crockpot and give it a good stir. Cook on low for 4 hours for chicken breast or chicken thighs. Chicken thighs can cook longer on low if needed, up to 8 hours. Bone-in chicken needs 8 hours to cook through. If you are adding canned beans, add them in this step.
- Add quick-cooking additions: Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it and set aside. Add the corn and any other quick cooking ingredients here. This could include zucchini, corn on the cob, or pre-cooked rice.
- Shred the chicken: While the quick cooking ingredients cook, shred the chicken using two forks or cut it into bite-sized pieces.
- Season and add toppings: Add the chicken back to the soup. Taste it and add salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the cilantro and squeeze in the fresh lime juice. Serve in bowls and add any toppings you are using.
All the Best Mexican Chicken Soup Toppings
As I mentioned, the toppings make this soup something really delicious! Don’t skimp.
- Fresh cilantro
- Lime juice
- Shredded cabbage
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Tortilla chips
- Corn tortillas
- Queso fresco, queso cotija, or shredded cheese
- Make it creamy: Add ½ cup of heavy cream and ½ cup of cream cheese to the fully cooked soup to make this a creamy soup.
- Make it low-carb: Leave out the corn for a low-carb soup.
- Add more veggies: Take this in a more traditional route with potatoes, corn on the cob, Mexican squash, carrots, and cabbage.
- Add rice and beans: This soup is delicious with black beans, pinto beans, or rice. If you add rice, cook it separately for the best results.
- Use hominy: Instead of corn, use hominy! Hominy is traditionally used in pozole but would be delicious in this soup.
Is this the same as Caldo de Pollo?
Caldo de Pollo is a traditional Mexican soup made with whole chicken cut into pieces or bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. The chicken is cooked in a large soup pot with potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, cilantro, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and water. Some people add jalapeno peppers or serrano peppers.
During the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, many people add Mexican squash, cabbage, Roma tomatoes, and small pieces of corn on the cob.
It is served with corn tortillas, fresh lime juice, radishes, avocado, and sliced jalapenos.
This Mexican Chicken Soup is more of a Tex-Mex version since it used boneless chicken breast in a tomato chicken broth. It’s similar to a mash-up of a more traditional soup with chicken tortilla soup.
Stovetop and Instant Pot Instructions
- Stovetop: Saute the onion and jalapeno for 6-8 minutes in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, chicken breast, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper to the soup pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes covered on low until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken to shred. Add the corn to the soup along with the shredded chicken. Stir in the cilantro and lime.
- Instant Pot: Saute the onion and jalapeno for 4-6 minutes in the Instant Pot. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, chicken breast, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Close the lid and cook on manual/high pressure for 8 minutes. Let naturally release. Remove and shred the chicken. Add the corn and chicken to the soup. Stir in cilantro and lime juice, Season as needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to the most common questions about making this soup.
For a faster option, simply add the shredded rotisserie chicken to the cooked soup. Make sure to give the broth and vegetables some time to simmer and cook before adding the chicken so the broth is rich and flavorful.
For a more authentic Caldo de Pollo, consider adding some carrots, celery, Mexican squash (or zucchini), cabbage, potatoes, and small pieces of corn on the cob. Normally the vegetables are chopped in large, rustic pieces.
Mexican Chicken Soup
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- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced (leave seeds for spicier)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 28 oz canned fire roasted diced tomatoes with juices
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups corn (frozen or canned)
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (more to taste)
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 1 lime
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- Nutritional Information
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
Stovetop: Saute the onion and jalapeno for 6-8 minutes in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, chicken breast, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper to the soup pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes covered on low until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken to shred. Add the corn to the soup along with the shredded chicken. Stir in the cilantro and lime.
Instant Pot: Saute the onion and jalapeno for 4-6 minutes in the Instant Pot. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, chicken breast, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Close the lid and cook on manual/high pressure for 8 minutes. Let naturally release. Remove and shred the chicken. Add the corn and chicken to the soup. Stir in cilantro and lime juice, Season as needed.
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