Chicken Enchilada Soup is my personal favorite, and I just know that it will soon become one of yours as well! Packed with Tex-Mex flavors, this creamy chicken soup is simple to make and ready in under half an hour.
This is really and truly my favorite soup recipe! I have lots of soup recipes here for you to make, and they’re all very good, but creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup is the one recipe that I make over and over again at home.
It’s rich and flavorful, easy to make, and everyone at my house loves it!
This is not a 7-can chicken enchilada soup recipe, but canned beans, tomatoes, and corn are included because they’re easy.
We’re going to cook fresh chicken breasts, add my perfected blend of enchilada soup seasonings and spices, and make this enchilada soup rich and creamy with the addition of cream cheese.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Amazing Comfort Food – There’s something about a big pot of chicken soup that just makes everything better!
- Quick on the Stove, or Slow in the CrockPot– I usually make this soup on the stove, and I love that it’s ready in under 30 minutes, but I’ll give you instructions to make slow cooker chicken enchilada soup too.
- Pantry Friendly – All of the ingredients for this recipe are easy to keep on hand so you can be ready to make soup whenever the mood strikes.
Key Ingredients for Chicken Enchilada Soup
Here’s what you need to make this simple and delicious chicken soup:
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Chicken: Fresh chicken breasts are cooked with the soup. You could also make enchilada soup with leftover shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken instead.
- Seasonings: Salt and Pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and onion powder.
- Enchilada Sauce: A can of mild enchilada sauce adds amazing flavor to the soup. If you want your meal with more of a kick, choose a spicy one.
- Black Beans: Add filling fiber with beans. Pinto beans can also be used if you prefer them.
- Corn: I love adding sweet corn to spicy dishes. Canned corn works well, but frozen corn will also work.
- ROTEL: Fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles, ROTEL is the original, but store brand will work here as well.
- Chicken Stock: If you have some homemade stock on hand, feel free to use it. Otherwise, premade stock works wonderfully.
- Cream Cheese: Full-fat cream cheese makes this soup thick and creamy. Let it soften to room temperature before adding it to the soup.
- Cheddar Cheese: This is a cheesy enchilada soup! I like to use shredded cheddar cheese, but you could also use a Mexican blend.
How To Make Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Season the Chicken: I don’t add salt to the soup, but I do salt and pepper the chicken before cooking it.
- Brown the Chicken: In a dutch oven, heat the oil and brown the chicken for 2-3 minutes per side. It’s not necessary to fully cook the chicken at this point, but searing it adds flavor to the pot. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Start the Soup with Flavor: To the dutch oven, add onion and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until it’s soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, onion powder, and dried oregano. Stir and cook for 30 more seconds. Add a can of red enchilada sauce, and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
- Fill the Pot: Add black beans, corn, fire-roasted diced tomatoes with chilies (Rotel), and chicken stock.
- Simmer: Return the chicken to the pot. Stir and bring to a boil, then cover partially with a lid and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F/74°C.
- Shred: Remove the chicken from the soup and carefully shred it using two forks.
- Make it Creamy: Add softened cream cheese and 1 cup of cheddar cheese to the pot, and stir until the cheeses are melted. If you’d like to thicken the soup further, add cornstarch slurry. Return the chicken to the pot and then remove the soup from the heat.
- Serve: Serve in bowls, sprinkled with the remaining cheddar cheese, topped with sour cream, chopped cilantro and tortilla chips.
I like to shred the chicken for this soup because I just think it’s the easiest way. You can slice it into small pieces though if you like!
- Take a Shortcut, and use a rotisserie chicken or leftover shredded chicken to make enchilada soup.
- Use Chicken Thighs instead of breasts if you prefer. Any kind of chicken will work in this soup.
- Be Careful with Salt. Because we’re using enchilada sauce, there’s already plenty of salt in the soup. You can add more if you like, but I usually don’t need to.
- Adjust the Heat. This soup is a bit spicy from the enchilada sauce, chili powder, and Rotel. To make it milder, you can omit the chili powder. For more spice, use spicy enchilada sauce, or add extra chili powder.
- Add Other Things! Try pinto beans, cooked rice, or other veggies that you have on hand. Soup recipes are very forgiving; almost anything goes.
Store leftover soup in an airtight container. It will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
This soup freezes very well, and I like to freeze it in individual servings for easy lunches throughout the week.
The Best Toppings for Chicken Enchilada Soup
Get creative with your enchilada soup toppings! These are my favorites to add extra flavor and texture:
- Sour Cream: Adds a cool, creamy tang to the soup.
- Lime Crema: A traditional creamy Mexican sauce, it’s worth it to take a minute to mix up this recipe.
- Extra Cheese: Add more shredded cheddar.
- Tortilla Strips: You can buy these, or just use crushed tortilla chips to add a layer of crunch to the soup.
- Fresh Cilantro: Adds a fresh flavor.
- Sliced Jalapeno: for more heat
- Guacamole: Try my easy recipe for guac, or add diced avocado instead.
- Pico de Gallo: a fresh salsa featuring tomatoes and onions is delicious on tacos and in this soup.
This recipe for chicken enchilada soup is moderately spicy. You can adjust the heat if you want to by reducing the amount of chili powder in the recipe.
Absolutely! Brown the chicken, then add it and the rest of the ingredients, except for the cream cheese and cheddar cheese, to your crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Once the chicken is fully cooked, shred it, add it back in, and add the cheeses. Stir until melted, then serve.
If you want to make this soup dairy free, or reduce the fat content a bit, feel free to omit the cream cheese and cheddar. I would suggest thickening the soup with a cornstarch slurry if you go this route. You may also want to reduce the chili powder a bit, since the cream cheese helps to cool off the spice.
I hope you enjoy this creamy chicken enchilada soup recipe as much as I do! Stock up the pantry with beans, corn, and enchilada sauce so you’ll be ready to whip up this comforting soup any time.
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts about 1 pound, or 3-4 cups cooked shredded chicken
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 10 ounces (1 can) red enchilada sauce
- 15 ounces canned black beans drained
- 15 ounces canned whole kernel corn drained
- 10 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes with chilies ROTEL
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon of water optional, for thickening
- Sour cream
- Tortilla chips
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper from both sides.
- In a dutch oven, heat oil and brown the chicken from both sides (2-3 minutes per side), then remove onto a plate.
- To the dutch oven, add onion and cook for 3 minutes or until it’s soft and translucent (keep stirring every 30 seconds with a spatula). Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds, then add chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, onion powder, and dried oregano. Stir and cook for 30 more seconds. Add red enchilada sauce, and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
- Add black beans, corn, fire-roasted diced tomatoes with chilies, chicken stock.
- Return the chicken. Stir and bring to a boil, then partially cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the internal temp of the chicken is 165°F/74°C.
- Remove the chicken from the soup, and shred with 2 forks.
- Add cream cheese and 1 cup of cheddar, and mix until the cheeses melt. Return the chicken to the soup, and remove it from heat.
- Optionally, you can thicken the soup more by stirring in a slurry of cornstarch and water.
- Serve in bowls, sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped cilantro, and tortilla chips.
Slow Cooker Instructions:
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper from both sides. In a skillet, melt the butter and heat the olive oil, Then brown the chicken breasts for 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to your slow cooker.
- Add the rest of the soup ingredients, minus the cream cheese and cheddar cheese.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours, or until the chicken is fully cooked.
- Shred the chicken, and add the cream cheese and cheddar cheese to the crock pot. Stir until the cheeses are melted, then serve with your favorite toppings.
- This soup fits best in a 5 or 6-quart dutch oven. If you want to double the recipe, be sure to have a large stockpot ready.
- Chicken thighs can be used instead of chicken breasts. You can also use pre-cooked shredded or diced chicken.
- If you’re using pre-cooked chicken, skip the browning steps and simply add the chicken into the pot after the soup has simmered for 10 minutes.
- Use other types of cheese if you like. Monteray Jack or Mexican blend will work well.
- To Adjust the Heat: Reduce or omit the chili powder.
- To Store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- To Freeze: This soup freezes well. Keep in airtight containers for up to 3 months.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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