A rich and flavorful chicken enchilada soup, made healthier with lots of veggies. We love to top this soup with crispy tortilla strips, cheese, and cilantro. This soup is a perfect option to warm up to on a chilly day!
My Favorite Chicken Enchilada Soup Recipe
I adore soups, and soup weather has hit in Oregon! My first soup of the year is almost always this one. It packs in a ton of Mexican flavors, has lots of protein, and uses the last of the summer veggies.
Soups are always more fun if they include topping options! This is a fun one to load up. I bake corn tortillas until they are crispy, and use them rather than using chips. We also love to add a squeeze of lime, cheese, cilantro, and hot sauce.
However you top it, you’re sure to love this soup!
This Mexican Chicken Soup Recipe works because:
- The broth is made with tomato paste and tons of spices to give it all the flavors of a thick and rich enchilada sauce.
- A pre-cooked chicken makes adding the protein to this soup quick and easy. (Or go ahead and roast your own chicken and make your own chicken broth! Ideas for that down in the next section.)
- Adding peppers, zucchini and corn make this a one-bowl meal.
- Go wild with the toppings! Sour cream and avocado would also be amazing.
This soup makes a great leftover-turkey recipe! Simply substitute shredded leftover turkey for the chicken. You can even make your own turkey stock with the carcass and use it in this recipe!
How to Roast a Chicken and Make Homemade Chicken Broth
To save time, most often I use a pre-roasted chicken from the store and some cartons of organic chicken broth.
If you have more time on your hands, or a whole chicken hanging out in your freezer, you can make this soup entirely from scratch.
First, prepare the chicken by defrosting it, and rubbing it down with lots of salt and pepper. Place it in a baking dish, and add a cover or cover it with foil, and bake it for about an hour. The internal temperature when the chicken is done should be 165º F. If your chicken is large or small, the baking time will vary. Read this post on a simple roasted chicken if you’ve never done this before!
Once your chicken is baked and has cooled, you can pull all the meat off the bones. Place what’s left of the chicken in a large stock pot, and fill it with water. Boil the chicken carcass for 2-3 hours at a low simmer.
If you’d like to have an even more flavorful broth, you can follow this recipe for how to make chicken stock with some vegetables and herbs. However, with all the additional flavors in this soup, it’s really not necessary.
How to Make Chicken Enchilada Soup
Step 1: In a large soup pot, add avocado oil and onion. Saute until the onion has softened, about 7-10 minutes.
Step 2: Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices and salt into the pot, and stir to combine.
Step 3: Into the soup pot, add the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, and allow the mixture to simmer for about 20 minutes.
Step 4: Add the peppers, carrots, and chicken, and continue to simmer another 10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
Step 5: Add the zucchini and corn, and stir in. Turn the heat off to allow the veggies to stay crisp.
Step 6: Add tortilla strips (if using) to bowls, and ladle the soup over them. If desired, top with cheese, cilantro, and additional lime wedges. Avocado and sour cream are awesome toppings as well!
How to Bake Tortilla Strips
Step 1: Cut the corn tortillas in 1/4 inch thick strips.
Step 2: Add the tortilla strips to a baking dish, and lightly spray them with avocado or olive oil. Sprinkle them generously with sea salt. Bake the tortilla strips for about 12 minutes, or until starting to brown and evenly crispy. Allow to cool to completely crisp up.
Variations and Substitutions
Freeze this Soup: Make this soup, but leave out the zucchini. It freezers wonderfully. When reheating, consider adding zucchini in it to give it a pop of crisp freshness.
Make this a Beef Enchilada Soup: Instead of chicken, and 1 1/2 pounds of browned (precooked) ground beef. It’s wonderful like this!
Other Mexican Soup Recipes:
Chicken Enchilada Soup
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 medium onion finely diced
- 1 15- ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 6- ounce can tomato paste
- 6 cups chicken stock (sub vegetable broth)
- 1 cup water
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube (I use Rapunzel)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder*
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano** (sold in the Hispanic section of most grocery stores in plastic bags)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 carrot diced
- 2 bell peppers (I used 1 green, 1 yellow)
- 1 1/2 cups corn removed from cob, or frozen
- 1 zucchini sliced and quartered
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken shredded (from roasted chicken, or shred 2 cooked chicken breasts or thighs)
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- cilantro (garnish, optional)
- cheddar cheese (garnish, optional)
- 8 thin corn tortillas
- olive oil spray
- sea salt
- Add avocado oil to a large soup pot, and saute onion until it's translucent, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock, water, and vegetable bouillon cube. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, and molasses sugar to the broth. Taste, and add sea salt, if necessary (will depend on your chicken stock).
- Add the carrot, bell peppers, and chicken, and continue to cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add the corn, zucchini, and lime juice. Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, then remove soup from heat.
- Serve the soup topped with cilantro, cheese, and tortilla strips.
- Slice tortillas in strips. Lay out on a cookie sheet, and spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 f for about 10 minutes, watching carefully to not burn. Turn oven off, and allow tortilla strips to sit in the heated oven to continue crisping.