This Mexican Chicken Soup comes together quickly with rotisserie or leftover chicken and is loaded with fabulous South-of-the-Border flavor!
We've had this Mexican Chicken Soup several times over the past few weeks but I'm making another pot tonight for dinner. Why? Well, first of all, because it's crazy delicious and secondly because it makes wonderful leftovers to warm up for lunch or quick dinners on the run. And honestly, it seems like we've been on the run a LOT lately. I thought you might be in the same boat and need a recipe that comes together quickly and is a fabulous lifesaver on those busy days!
And if you know someone who needs a little TLC, this is the perfect thing to drop off with a sweet note of encouragement. They will think fondly of you with each delicious bite while being nourished inside and out!
Healthy and Tasty
I love that this Mexican Chicken Soup, in addition to being so tasty, is also loaded with veggies and lean chicken so it's a healthy soup that I feel good about eating and serving to family and friends. The ingredient list includes onion, bell pepper, celery, carrots, corn and lots of tomatoes.
I keep things simple in this recipe by utilizing rotisserie or leftover chicken, canned tomatoes and green chilies. And if, fresh corn is out of season, sweet, tender canned corn will also work (see Café Tips below for suggestions.
I love using, what I call, flavor bombs when making soups, stews and other one-pot meals. For this Mexican Chicken Soup, there's a whole line-up of flavor bombs:
- Canned fire-roasted tomatoes - if you're not familiar with fire-roasted tomatoes, you're missing out! Fire-roasted tomatoes are available in most larger grocery stores in the same area as other canned tomatoes. The difference is that these tomatoes are charred over an open fire before being diced and canned. The charring adds a delicious depth of flavor and a deep, beautiful red hue. I've tried lots of different brands of fire-roasted tomatoes and my favorites are _______ (kind of pricey) and the Happy Harvest brand at Aldi (super reasonable). If you live outside the U.S. or in an area where fire-roasted tomatoes are not available, regular diced canned tomatoes will also work for this recipe.
- Dried oregano - this is one of my favorite seasonings and the one herb which I actually prefer the dried version vs. fresh. Dried oregano adds a ton of delicious flavor to this soup and blends beautifully with other spices and herbs. Sometimes oregano is thought of as solely an Italian seasoning but it actually works well in many cuisines.
- Ground coriander - another spice I love! Coriander is citrusy, mildly sweet, yet savory at the same time. It's often paired with cumin in recipes for wonderful flavor. It's the seed of the cilantro plant, but no worries, if you're not a cilantro lover. It tastes nothing like fresh cilantro.
- Ground cumin - cumin adds a warm, rich, earthly flavor. It's used in lots of Southwestern and Mexican recipes.
- Smoked paprika - there are two varieties of smoked paprika, sweet and hot. If it's not labeled "hot" you can be assured that it's the sweet variety. Smoked paprika is made from peppers that are smoked over wood fires so, as the name indicates, it has a warm smoky flavor and aroma. I really like Frontier Smoked Paprika.
- Chili powder - just one teaspoon in this Mexican Chicken Soup recipe brings a bit of zip and a touch of heat - if you like things spicier, you can add more. I really like Ancho Chili Powder which is moderately hot with a bit of both heat and smokiness.
- Cilantro - even if you are cilantro-adverse, I recommend adding this as you will never know it's cilantro after this soup is simmered. However, it does add a wonderful depth of flavor. Another portion of cilantro is added at the end, after cooking and before blending. If you want to skip this, it's okay.
- Corn tortillas - although we show a bowl of crispy tortilla strips to serve as a garnish for this soup, there are also 6 small corn tortillas that are chopped and then added before the soup is simmered. The tortillas melt into the soup as it cooks and any remaining bits are pureed at the end. The corn tortillas add classic Mexican flavor but they also act as a thickener for the soup.
- Canned green chilies - an easy way to add another delicious layer of flavor.
- Brown sugar - might sound odd in a soup recipe but it rounds out the flavor. It's just two teaspoons in this big pot of soup so it doesn't make the soup sweet, just cuts down on the acidity of the tomatoes and balances the all-around flavor.
What to serve with this Mexican Chicken Soup
I love to serve this soup with lots of optional toppings and allow family and friends to help themselves. Here are some options:
- Crispy, oven-roasted (not fried) tortilla strips, recipe included below.
- Tortilla chips, if you're running short on time, purchased tortilla chips are delicious with this Mexican Chicken Soup.
- Chopped tomatoes
- Fresh cilantro
- Diced avocado
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
- Crumbled Cotija cheese
- Finely sliced green onions
- Sliced jalapenos
Although this soup is fabulous on its own, our favorite side to serve with this soup is warm cornbread with honey butter. A simple green salad is also nice and, if you have a bit of extra time, this Mexican Chopped Salad is AMAZING (and one of our most popular recipes!).
This is the PERFECT soup to enjoy with family and/or friends on a crisp cool evening. It makes entertaining super easy as it can be prepared in the morning or even a day or two in advance. The crispy corn tortilla stro[s also can be prepared ahead of time. So invite some friends, put together a pot of this Mexican Chicken Soup, gather some fun toppings and it's South-of-the-Border party time! Enjoy!
Café Tips for making this Mexican Chicken Soup
- This makes a big pot of soup. Feel free to half the recipe but, as I mentioned above, it does reheat beautifully and also freezes well.
- I love that there's no fussy chopping for this Mexican Chicken Soup. Because everything gets blended before the chicken and corn are added at the end, you can just coarsely chop the veggies and throw them in the pot.
- Regarding the corn in this recipe. If it's corn season and you can get fresh corn on the cob, by all means, use it. During the off-season (or if you're pressed for time), there are some really good canned corn options available. I really like the tiny Green Giant Steam Crisp Corn. It comes in 11-ounce cans and the corn is sweet and slightly crisp. You could also use frozen corn although I've found that many brands of frozen corn are not great, they're either mushy or the kernels are tough.
- If you use fresh corn, I love this super easy way to cook and cut the corn from the cob. It eliminates all the mess and fuss!
- As mentioned above, don't be afraid of the cilantro in this recipe that's added before the soup is simmered. If you have any cilantro-adverse family members or friends, I promise they will enjoy this soup. You can't taste the cilantro as "cilantro" but it does add a wonderful layer of flavor.
- You'll note in the recipe that this soup is blended before adding the chicken and corn. You can blend it until nice and smooth if you like but I like to leave it a bit chunky. I use my immersion blender to make things really easy. The soup can be blended right in the pot and the blender attachment goes into the dishwasher. If you don't have an immersion blender, they are wonderful kitchen workhorses and can be used for so many things. An immersion blender also makes a great gift for new cooks.
Thought for the day:
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him;
for He knows how we are formed,
He remembers that we are dust.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium sweet yellow onion coarsely chopped
- 2 celery stalks coarsely chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper coarsely chopped
- 3 medium carrots coarsely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 jalapeño finely (seeds and veins removed)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder I love Ancho chili powder
- 2 15-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth maybe more
- 1 4-ounce can green chilies undrained
- ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and stems
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt more to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 6-inch yellow corn tortillas
- 3-4 cups chopped rotisserie or leftover chicken we like the white meat in soups but you can you either white or dark or both.
- 6 ears fresh corn cooked and cut from the cob OR 2 11-ounce cans of tiny crisp corn
- ½ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
- 6 6- inch corn tortillas
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper and carrots and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeño, oregano, coriander, cumin, smoked paprika and chili powder. Continue to cook, stirring frequently for one more minute.
Add the fire-roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, brown sugar, green chilies, cilantro, salt, and black pepper.
Stack the corn tortillas and cut the stack in half. Stack both piles on top of each other then slices the tortillas into thin strips (about ¼-inch thick). Add the tortilla strips to the pot with the other ingredients.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a steady simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the carrots are nice and tender.
Add the coarsely chopped fresh cilantro. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender), blend the soup until smooth but still a little chunky.
Add the chicken and corn and stir to combine. f you prefer a thinner soup, you can add a bit more broth at this point. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until everything is warmed through. Take a taste and add more kosher salt, as needed. Serve and enjoy!
See the post and Café Tips above for serving suggestions and recommendations on preparing this soup in advance.
Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.
Stack the corn tortillas and cut the stack in half. Stack both piles on top of each other then slices the tortillas into thin strips (about ¼-inch thick).
Transfer the tortilla strips to the prepared pan and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with the salt.
Using your hands, toss the tortilla strips to coat them with the oil, then spread them out to a single layer on the pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and slightly crisp (they will crisp up more as they cool.), tossing with a tongs to redistribute every 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan.
Store in a airtight container.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesnt have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.