A delicious and healthy Mexican Chicken Soup made all in one pot, in 45 minutes and with 10 simple and affordable ingredients. This Mexican chicken tomato soup features a flavorful broth, juicy and tender shredded thighs, and a combination of tomatoes, jalapeños and onion. Make it stovetop or use the hands-free slow cooker, we will give you the foolproof recipe for both!

The Secret to Mexican Chicken Soup

First and foremost, this Mexican Chicken Soup Recipe is part of my SOUP-er Simple Series! This means it has a short ingredient list (10 ingredients!), quick cook time (45 minutes!), and loads of flavor. One way I keep the ingredient list short is by skipping store-bought stock or broth and using the soup ingredients to build a flavorful broth in one pot.

The key secret technique in building flavor for this easy Mexican soup recipe is browning the chicken thighs. The browning of the skin creates flavor to create drippings that are used to cook the onion, jalapeño, garlic and oregano. 

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

There are so many incredible authentic soup recipes from Mexico. Some of our other favorites for you to try are Pozole Verde, Sopa de Fideo (Mexican Noodle Soup, Pozole, and Albondigas Soup.

brothy soup in a large pot with shredded chicken, tomatoes, diced avocado, crumbled cheese and cilantro

Ingredients

When counting ingredients I do not include salt, pepper and oil. You will need all of those for this Mexican Chicken Soup recipe.

  • Chicken thighs: You’ll want to use bone-in, skin-on thighs for the best flavor and texture. 
  • White onion: You can also use yellow. Adds great flavor for building the broth.
  • Jalapeño: Use one large or two small. Feel free to remove the ribs and seeds if you want the soup to be more mild in spice. 
  • 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 flavor 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. They add a nice creaminess and hint of acid to bring all the flavors together.
brothy soup in a white bowl with shredded chicken and tomatoes

How to Make Easy Mexican Chicken Soup

Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect for the stovetop recipe! Scroll down to the recipe card for full ingredient amounts.

  1. Brown the chicken thighs in a splash of oil. Start skin side down for 6 minutes then flip and cook another 4 minutes before transferring thighs to a plate to rest.
crispy fried chicken thighs on a large white plate.
  1. Add the onion to reserved drippings in the pot, cover and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. 
cooked diced onions in a large pot
  1. Stir in jalapeño, garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant, another 2 minutes or so.
  2. Add water, tomatoes and thighs back to pot; simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
  1. Remove the meat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard the skin and bones, then shred meat and add back to pot with cilantro.
shredded chicken and cilantro on top of a tomato broth in a large pot
  1. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste, then serve with diced avocado, Cotija and fresh lime juice.

Test Kitchen Tips

  • For a quicker version, use rotisserie chicken and skip the thighs altogether. Cook the onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil and use low-sodium chicken broth or stock in place of the water. Simmer the soup just 5 minutes before adding shredded breast meat 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.

How to Make Mexican Chicken Soup in a Slow Cooker

If you’re looking for a hands-off cooking process, the slow cooker is also great for this recipe. You can build the pot and forget about it until dinnertime with little effort.

  1. In a large skillet, brown the chicken thighs in a splash of oil. Start skin side down then flip and cook briefly before transferring thighs to a plate to rest.
  2. Add the onion to the reserved drippings in the skillet, cover and cook until softened. Then stir in the jalapeño, garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant. 
  3. Transfer the cooked onions mixture and thighs to a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker. Add the water and tomatoes and cook, covered, on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  4. When ready to serve, remove the thighs and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard the skin, then shred the meat. Discard the bones.
  5. Stir the shredded chicken and cilantro into the soup; season to taste with salt and pepper.
brothy soup in a white bowl with shredded chicken, tomatoes, diced avocado, crumbled cheese and cilantro

Toppings

This soup is perfect for everyone involved to customize with their favorite toppings. Here are some that we always have on our table:

  • Cotija or crumbled feta: Salty Mexican cheese, it adds the perfect finishing touch to the spicy broth.
  • Diced avocado: Gives a creaminess to each bite.
  • Cilantro: Fresh herbs are always the way to go, cilantro gives a zing to the soup and brings all the flavors together.
  • Lime wedges: Adds a hint of acid to the broth. This is always a chef’s tip, adding acid at the end to a broth or sauce enhances the flavors even further.
  • Mexican crema: You can also use sour cream or Greek yogurt if this is difficult to find.
  • Fresh or charred corn: Just another delicious vegetable to add to the mix, especially if corn is in season. Frozen corn works well too.

Storage Instructions + Freezing

  • Most soups get better with a day or so in the fridge, and that’s true for this Mexican Chicken Soup recipe as well! Store leftover soup in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • For longer storage, freeze Mexican Soup for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stove until piping hot.

What to Serve with Mexican Chicken Soup

brothy soup in a white bowl with shredded chicken, tomatoes, diced avocado, crumbled cheese and cilantro

FAQs

Is Mexican Chicken Soup the same as Caldo de Pollo?

This Mexican chicken soup has authentic flavors but is a little different than Caldo de Pollo. Caldo de Pollo often has tomato paste as well as other vegetables including corn, potatoes, and zucchini.

Can I use rotisserie chicken in Mexican Chicken Soup?

Yes! This will actually speed up the recipe to be even quicker. Just add the shredded meat 5 to 10 minutes before serving to warm through.

More Easy Chicken Soup Recipes

Mexican Chicken Soup Recipe

4.78 from 9 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 9 cups (4 servings)
Category Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Author Lauren Grant

Description

A delicious and healthy Mexican Chicken Soup made all in one pot, in 45 minutes and with 10 simple and affordable ingredients. This Mexican chicken tomato soup has shredded chicken thighs, tomatoes, jalapeños and onion and can be made stovetop or hands-free in the slow cooker.

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

Stove Top 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Serve soup with avocado, crumbled Cotija and lime wedges.

Slow-Cooker Instructions

  • Pat chicken thighs dry; season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet 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.
  • Add onion to reserved drippings in skillet, cover and cook until softened. Then stir in jalapeño, garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant.
  • Transfer cooked onion mixture and browned thighs to a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in water and tomatoes with their juices and cook, covered, on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  • When ready to serve, remove thighs and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard skin, then shred meat. Discard bones.
  • Stir shredded chicken and cilantro into soup; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Equipment

Video

Notes

I don’t recommend using chicken breast in place of the thighs. But if you do, cook and shred the 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. 
Storage: 
  • Most soups get better with a day or so marinating in the fridge. Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 
  • For longer storage, freeze Mexican Chicken Soup for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stove until piping hot. 
Tips: 
  • You can use shredded rotisserie chicken instead of chicken thighs for a quicker version. Just add the shredded meat 5 to 10 minutes before serving to warm through. 
  • For a smokier version, add 1 to 2 chipotles in adobo. Be sure to remove the seeds for a mild soup. 
  • Feel free to add more veggies as well. I also sometimes add beans too!

Nutrition

Serving: 2¼ cups soup (no toppings)Calories: 193kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 24gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 1000mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5.5g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #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.