Chicken Enchilada Soup

DF GF

This chicken enchilada soup is packed with flavor and a hint of spice. It tastes like chicken enchiladas, but with a fraction of the effort. Plus it can easily be made in a slow cooker, Instant Pot or on the stove top. 

Fun fact: these healthy chicken enchiladas are one of the most popular recipes on my blog… of all time! Since it’s officially #soupseason I figured it was time to create a chicken enchilada soup! I love the flavors and this recipe is much less involved than traditional enchiladas.

A bowl of chicken enchilada soup, topped with shredded cheese, avocado slices and fresh cilantro.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s a one pot meal that can be made in the slow cooker, Instant Pot or on the stove top!
  • It’s packed with flavor and a hint of spice! You can’t go wrong with hearty soups!
  • Enjoy the flavors of chicken enchiladas with minimal prep work.
Ingredients measured out to make chicken enchilada soup: chicken broth, fire roasted diced tomatoes, chipotle, adobo sauce, tomato sauce, yellow onion, garlic, black beans, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, pepper, lime, corn, olive oil, chicken and cilantro.

Ingredients Needed

  • olive oil – to sauté the vegetables in for the stovetop method. I still add to the mixture in the slow cooker as well!
  • vegetables – the only fresh vegetables you need are yellow onion and garlic! I love these types of recipes because I often have the rest of the ingredients on hand (or can buy them in advance and don’t have to worry about keeping veggies fresh).
  • chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – you’ll use the peppers and the sauce!
  • tomato sauce – adds a creaminess to the base of the soup and of course a rich tomato flavor!
  • fire roasted diced tomatoes – regular diced tomatoes will work as well but I like the flavor depth the fire roasted tomatoes add.
  • chicken broth – I recommend using low sodium so you can control the saltiness of the soup. If you like a thicker soup, I recommend starting with 3 cups of broth and adding more as desired.
  • black beans – I used canned black beans for a shortcut. Just make sure you rinse and drain before adding to the soup.
  • corn – either frozen corn or canned corn works!
  • chicken – You can cook raw chicken in the soup and then shred it, you can use pre-cooked shredded chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken. See my note in the recipe.
  • cilantro – you’ll mix some cilantro into the soup, but I recommend having extra for topping as well!
  • lime juice – I recommend using freshly squeezed lime juice for the best flavor. A splash of lime juice adds a necessary acidity to the soup that brightens the rest of the flavors.
  • seasonings and spices – oregano, chili powder, cumin, sea salt and pepper.
  • optional toppings – Mexican cheese or cheddar cheese, green onions, fresh cilantro, jalapeños, Greek yogurt or sour cream, sliced avocado, tortilla strips or chips.
Collage showing the 4 steps to make chicken enchilada soup: ingredients in a slow cooker, plate with shredded chicken, adding shredded chicken into the slow cooker, and a photo of a ladle with some of the soup.

How to Make Chicken Enchilada Soup

There are a few methods you can use to make this soup: slow cooker, Instant Pot or stove top. I love using my slow cooker because it’s so hands off but the Instant Pot and stove top are also great options!

In the Slow Cooker

Add all of the ingredients except for the lime juice, cilantro and toppings into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker, allow to cool slightly and then use two forks to shred. Return chicken to slow cooker. Stir in lime juice and cilantro. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

On the Stove Top

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and fragrant – about 4-5 minutes. Add the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, dried oregano, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, chicken broth, black beans, corn and chicken breasts. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Carefully remove the chicken and shred using two forks. Add the shredded chicken, cilantro, and lime juice and stir to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

In the Instant Pot

Start by adding olive oil to the Instant Pot and put it on sauté setting. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients (besides the lime juice, cilantro and toppings) to the Instant Pot. Place the lid on the pressure cooker, lock lid and make sure the pressure release valve is closed. Press cancel to stop sautéing and then cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.

Once the timer reaches 0, the cooker will switch to “keep warm”. Carefully switch the pressure release valve to open to manually release the pressure. Be super careful during this! I recommend using a towel over the valve or use tongs so you don’t burn yourself with the steam.

Once the steam is released, remove the lid and use a fork or meat masher to shred the chicken and stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

pro tip!
Already have shredded chicken or a rotisserie chicken on hand! You can totally use it for this soup. I love prepping shredded chicken in my slow cooker. I also have a recipe for Instant Pot shredded chicken. Just add about 3 cups shredded chicken into the soup when you add the lime juice and cilantro. Heat until chicken is warm and serve. 
Two bowls of chicken enchilada soup, each topped with shredded cheese, fresh avocado slices and cilantro.

Enchilada Soup Variations

  • Vegan – Make this soup vegan by using vegetable broth and 1-2 cans of rinsed and drained chickpeas or white beans in place of the chicken.
  • Add rice – Make this soup heartier by adding in cauliflower rice or cooked brown/white rice. You can stir frozen or fresh cauliflower rice or cooked white/brown rice directly to the soup once it’s done cooking and warming in the slow cooker. Stir and let warm until soup is warm throughout.
  • Less spice – If you’re not a fan of spice (or serving kiddos) simply reduce how much chipotle pepper and adobo sauce you use.

How To Thicken

This enchilada soup is broth-based and doesn’t get too thick, which I prefer, but if you like a thicker broth I would start with only 3 cups of broth instead of 4. You can always add more broth later as desired. Another option would be to add another can of black beans or white beans, but mashed up. This is a great trick for thickening up any broth-based soup!

A spoon holding up a bite over a bowl of slow cooker enchilada soup. The soup has been topped with fresh avocado slices, cilantro and shredded cheese.

How to Serve Chicken Enchilada Soup

I recommend topping this soup with shredded cheese, cilantro, avocado and tortilla chips but you can top with anything you’d like! It’s a filling meal on its own, but if you want to pair it with some sides here are some suggestions:

How to Store

This soup is perfect for meal prep! I love making a batch on the weekend so I have lunch or dinner ready to go for the week. For storing, allow the soup to cool slightly and then carefully transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You could also freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container.

More Soup Recipes to Try

Be sure to check out all of the soup recipes here on EBF!

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

5 from 3 votes
This chicken enchilada soup is packed with flavor and a hint of spice. It tastes just like traditional chicken enchiladas but with a fraction of the effort and can easily be made in your slow cooker, Instant Pot or over the stove top. 
A bowl of chicken enchilada soup, topped with shredded cheese, avocado slices and fresh cilantro.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chipotle peppers, diced (from canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon of adobo sauce from can
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 oz can no salt added fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon fresh pepper, plus more to taste
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn or 15 oz can of corn (drained)
  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro, plus more for topping
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • Toppings: shredded Mexican cheese or cheddar cheese, green onions and fresh cilantro, jalapeños, plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, sliced avocado and tortilla strips/chips.

Instructions
 

Slow Cooker

  • Add all your ingredients to your slow cooker, except for the lime juice and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours until chicken is cooked through and easily falls apart.
    A slow cooker containing ingredients for slow cooker chicken enchilada soup: olive oil, yellow onion, garlic, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, tomato sauce, roasted tomatoes, dried oregano, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, low sodium chicken broth, black beans, corn, and fresh cilantro.
  • Remove the chicken from the slow cooker, allow to cool slightly and then use two forks to shred.
    Shredded chicken breasts on a plate.
  • Return chicken to slow cooker. Stir in lime juice and cilantro. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
    Shredded chicken added to a slow cooker containing ingredients for chicken enchilada soup.
  • Serve in bowls and top with shredded cheese, cilantro, avocado and tortilla chips or desired toppings.

Stove Top

  • In a Dutch oven or deep pot, heat oil over medium high. Sauté onion and garlic, until fragrant and the onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, dried oregano, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, chicken broth, black beans, corn and chicken breasts. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot, allow to cool slightly and then use two forks to shred. Add shredded chicken, cilantro and lime juice and simmer for a few minutes until chicken is heated through. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  • Serve in bowls and top with shredded cheese, cilantro, avocado and tortilla chips or desired toppings.

Instant Pot

  • Add olive oil to Instant Pot and put on sauté setting. Add onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, until fragrant.
  • Add remaining ingredients (besides lime juice and toppings). Place the lid on the pressure cooker, lock lid and make sure the pressure release valve is closed.
  • Press cancel on the pressure cooker and set to high pressure for 15 minutes.
  • Once the timer reaches 0, the cooker will switch to keep warm. Carefully switch the pressure release valve to open to manually release the pressure. (I use tongs for this). Once the steam is released, remove the lid and use a fork or meat masher to shred the chicken. The chicken should be cooked through and will just fall apart.
  • Stir in lime juice and fresh cilantro. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  • Serve in bowls and top with shredded cheese, cilantro, avocado and tortilla chips or desired toppings.

Notes

  • Want thicker soup? Use only 3 cups of chicken broth! Another option would be to add another can of black beans or white beans, but mashed up. This is a great trick for thickening up any broth-based soup!
  • Vegan: Make this soup vegan by using vegetable broth and 1-2 cans of rinsed and drained chickpeas or white beans in place of the chicken.
  • Add grains: Make this soup heartier by adding in cauliflower rice or cooked brown/white rice. You can stir frozen or fresh cauliflower rice or cooked white/brown rice directly to the soup once it’s done cooking and warming in the slow cooker. Stir and let warm until soup is warm throughout.
  • Less spice: If you’re not a fan of spice (or serving kiddos) simply reduce how much chipotle pepper and adobo sauce you use.
  • Shredded chicken: If you already have shredded chicken on hand you can skip adding the raw chicken breasts and add about 3 cups shredded chicken into the soup when you add the lime juice and cilantro. Heat until chicken is warm and serve. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 Calories: 441kcal Carbohydrates: 63g Protein: 35g Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 1g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 53mg Sodium: 720mg Potassium: 1185mg Fiber: 14g Sugar: 10g
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: enchilada soup

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




    3 comments
    1. imsen
      February 15, 2022 AT 10:43 am

      5 stars
      This soup is so yummy!! I just had a bowl and knew I had to come let you know how great it is. Thank you for sharing this.

    2. Ashlee
      January 19, 2022 AT 12:00 pm

      Hi there, this looks delicious!! How would you recommend modifying it to make it vegetarian? Is there a sub for the chicken? I can use veggie broth. Thank you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 19, 2022 AT 2:18 pm

        Hey Ashlee – I include some ideas in the blog post, but I would suggest swapping the chicken for chickpeas or white beans and yes you can totally use veggie broth. 🙂

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