February 5, 2013

Chicken taco soup

Serving chicken taco soup with tortilla chips.

This soup is something I make pretty frequently, but I never posted it until now. Mostly because I don't really measure when I'm making it and rarely make it the same way twice. It's a very forgiving soup that is terrific for using up leftovers. 

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This time, I decided to actually measure and take note when I was cooking it so that I could share it. However, feel free to modify it to use what you have on hand. For example, I like to make this with leftover chicken, but I think that turkey, beef, or even an extra can of beans would work (You can also cook the chicken thighs in the soup, remove them from the pot, shred the meat, and return it to the soup if you don't have leftover chicken). 

Speaking of beans, this time I used black beans, but I have made this with pinto and red beans in the past. No frozen corn? No problem. No chipotle in adobo? Just use a jalapeno and some extra smoked paprika. No tomatoes? How about some salsa instead? 

Feel free to toss in other vegetables as well. If I had some scallions, they'd probably be in this soup. If I had some black olives that needed using up - yep, they'd be sitting on top of this bowl. It's such a great way to use up odds and ends (like corn chip crumbs that are rapidly going stale).

All that being said, here is my basic recipe that I use as a guide for my chicken taco soup. This soup is delicious and full of spice and heat which is why all the toppings are perfect - they add cooling, creamy, salty crunch, and sour - giving you a balanced dish. This recipe will make about four to six servings of soup.

Bowl of chicken taco soup.
Chicken taco soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cups chicken broth
1 can (14-15 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
1 chipotle in adobo, minced, plus 1-2 teaspoons of the sauce (optional and to taste)
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
pinch of sugar (to taste)
about 3 cups cooked shredded chicken (thighs preferred)
1 can (14-15 oz.) black beans, drained
1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
juice of 1/2 lime

extra lime wedges
diced avocado
crumbled corn chips
shredded jack or cheddar cheese
sour cream

In a large soup/stock pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and pepper and cook until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and oregano. Stir and cook until fragrant. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Stir well to deglaze the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add the chipotle, salt, pepper, and sugar, to taste. Stir in the chicken, beans, and corn. Simmer until heated through. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice.

Serve hot in bowls and top with any/all of the toppings (definitely the corn chips, avocado, and sour cream for me) and extra cilantro.

Bowl of chicken taco soup with a spoon.


  1. I love how versatile this is! Sounds like it's chock full of great flavor!

  2. Ooh! Yes I love the sound of this! And I get what you mean. Sometimes when you're so used to making a certain food a certain way it just becomes 2nd nature to you and you won't even bother measuring it! Haha :)

  3. Looks wonderful! I love the idea of using leftovers in the soup and adjusting the recipe to what you have on hand.

  4. This looks so warm and comforting. My kind of soup!

  5. I'd love a meatless version of this, maybe with extra beans to make up for the chicken. Sounds like it's got a ton of great flavors, and avocado is a perfect garnish.

  6. Looks great especially with all the fun garnishes!

  7. Oh wow, I love how delicious this is. I love tacos and I am sure I will enjoy all the flavours in a soup.

  8. YUM! I love soups where you can add and subtract things and not affect the taste too much! I always make taco soup with hamburger, but I am loving this soup with chicken! I'm going to have to try it out!

  9. I love me some chicken taco soup! I make a similar one all the time too throwing in whatever I have on hand! If you like it thick and creamy refried beans are great for that.

  10. I love smoked paprika...wanna put it in everything! Love this soup, it's the best of both worlds =)

  11. Looks delicious your chicken taco soup...I love the color and the flavor of the smoked paprika...beautifully dome Amy.
    Hope you are having a fantastic week!

  12. yuum! this looks like such a great bowl of soup- my husband would love this!

  13. All of those ingredients sound like they would work perfectly together in a soup. So delicious!

  14. Wow, does this look like a tasty bowl of soup, perfect for a winter evening! And so healthy too! Definitely Pinning this one :)

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  16. This taco soup looks amazing. high quality ingredients with great taste! Nice warm dish for a cold winter!

  17. Hi Amy, your comfort soup look very appetizing. Very healthy version, perfect for those weight watcher.

    Happy Valentine's day to you.

  18. I have never made a taco soup but I do love tacos :) Very cool recipe. I'll put it on my Winter to do list!


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