A delicious and healthy Mexican Chicken Soup made all in one pot, in 45 minutes and with a simple list of humble ingredients. This chicken tomato soup features a flavorful broth, juicy and tender shredded chicken thighs, and a combination of tomatoes, jalapeños and onion. Finish with salty Cotija and creamy avocado for an easy all-in-one meal.

Why I Love this Recipe 

First and foremost, this soup recipe is part of my SOUP-er Simple Series! This means it has a short ingredient list, quick cook time, and loads of flavor. One way I keep the ingredient list short it by skipping store-bought stock or broth and employing the soup ingredients to build flavor and infuse a delicious broth. 

The first step in building flavor for this soup is browning the chicken thighs. The browning of the skin creates flavor while the drippings are used to cook the onion, jalapeño, garlic and oregano. 

I’ve tested this recipe using chicken breasts and thighs and I must say, bone-in skin-on chicken thighs are ideal. Chicken thighs stay moist and flavorful throughout the searing and poaching—the same cannot be said for chicken breast. 

Watch: How to Make Mexican Chicken Soup

Just 7 Ingredients Needed

When counting ingredients I do not include salt, pepper and oil. You will need all of those!

  • Chicken thighs, you’ll want to use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for the best flavor and texture. 
  • White onion, you can also use yellow 
  • Jalapeño, use one large or two small. Feel free to remove the ribs and seeds if you want the soup to be more mild. 
  • Garlic, fresh is always best!
  • Oregano, I recommend using fresh for the best flavor. If you’d rather use dried for convenience you certainly can.
  • Canned diced tomatoes, make sure you add the tomatoes and their juices! The juices will add to the broth.
  • Cilantro, fresh cilantro adds a ton of flavor and brightness. You’ll need about 1 small bunch of cilantro.
  • Optional toppings, avocado, Cotija (salty Mexican cheese), fresh lime.
brothy soup in a large pot with shredded chicken, tomatoes, diced avocado, crumbled cheese and cilantro

How to Make Mexican Chicken Soup

  1. Brown the chicken thighs in a splash of oil. Start skin side down then flip and cook briefly before transferring chicken to a plate to rest.
  2. Add onion to reserved chicken drippings in pot, cover and cook until softened. 
  3. Stir in jalapeño, garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant. 
  4. Add water, tomatoes and chicken back to pot; simmer until chicken is cooked through. 
  5. Remove chicken and let rest until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard chicken skin and bones, then shred meat and add back to pot with cilantro.
  6. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste, then serve with diced avocado, Cotija and fresh lime juice.
brothy soup in a white bowl with shredded chicken, tomatoes, diced avocado, crumbled cheese and cilantro

Storage Tip

  • Most soups get better with age, and that’s true for this one as well! Store leftover soup in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Variations 

  • For a quicker version, skip the chicken thighs altogether. Cook the onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil and use low-sodium chicken broth or chicken stock in place of the water. Simmer the soup just 5 minutes before adding shredded chicken breast or rotisserie chicken to the pot with the cilantro. 
  • For a smokier version, add 2 or 3 chipotle chiles in adobo to the soup. Mince the chipotles and add them to the pot with the garlic and oregano. You can choose whether or not to add the fresh minced jalapeño. It’s all about spice preference!
  • For more veggies, in addition to the onion, use celery and carrots. You could even throw in a can of black beans.
brothy soup in a white bowl with shredded chicken, tomatoes, diced avocado, crumbled cheese and cilantro

More Mexican-Inspired Soups to Love…

Quick & Easy Mexican Chicken Soup

Print Recipe
4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Yield 9 cups (4 servings)
Category Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Author Lauren Grant

Description

This Mexican Chicken Soup is brothy, flavorful and so easy to make. Featuring a humble list of ingredients, this soup will surprise you with how flavorful and comforting it is. Not to mention how quickly and easily it comes together! Finish with a bit of Cotija cheese for the ultimate bowl of soup.

Ingredients

  • 4 pound bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (1 ½–2 pounds total)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large or 2 small jalapeños, minced (½ cup)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano or 1 heaping tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado diced, optional
  • ¾ cup crumbled Cotija or feta cheese, optional
  • Lime wedges, optional

Instructions

  • Pat chicken thighs dry; season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high until shimmering. Add chicken, skin-side down, and cook until golden brown, 6 minutes, flip and continue to cook until browned on second side, about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate; set aside.
    crispy fried chicken thighs on a large white plate.
  • Reduce heat to medium, add onions and stir to coat; season with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, until softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in jalapeño, garlic and oregano; cover and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes, stirring halfway through.
    cooked diced onions in a large pot
  • Increase heat to medium-high. Add 4 cups water, scraping up any browned bits. Add tomatoes and their juices and browned chicken to pot. Bring to a boil over high then reduce to a simmer over medium; cook until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
    tomato broth in a large pot
  • Transfer chicken to a plate and let cool. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard chicken skin and bones, shred meat and return to pot. Stir in cilantro and season soup with salt and pepper to taste.
    shredded chicken and cilantro on top of a tomato broth in a large pot
  • Serve soup with avocado, crumbled Cotija and lime wedges.

Notes

I don’t recommend using chicken breast in place of chicken thighs. But if you do, cook and shred the chicken breast ahead of time. Use 2 tablespoons olive oil to cook the onions (instead of chicken drippings), and add the cooked chicken to the soup as directed. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2¼ cups soup (no toppings)Calories: 193kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 24gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 1000mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5.5g
Keywords chicken tomato soup, mexican soup, mexican soup recipe
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @ZestfulKitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #zestfulkitchen!
brothy soup in a white bowl with shredded chicken, tomatoes, diced avocado, crumbled cheese and cilantro

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Found this recipe on google webstories. the ingredient list was surprisingly simple and the flavor was totally unexpected. outstanding!! and the cotija cheese is a must—a favorite in our house. planning on making this again next week.