This Tex-Mex inspired Spicy Chicken Soup is bursting with rich, deep flavor from Mexican spices, chili beans, corn and toppings. It’s hearty, and deliciously comforting; a family favorite.  
If you love soups as much as we do, be sure to check out our popular Creamy Zuppa Toscana, Chicken Fajita Soup, and authentic Gumbo!

A bowl of Spicy Chicken Soup garnished with sliced avocado and cheese.

Don’t let the name fool you, this soup isn’t overly “spicy,” at least not in the heat-your-mouth-up, Tabasco or hot sauce, kind of way. It simply has a lot of spices in it. The spice level also really depends on what type of salsa you add to it (mild, medium, or hot) to determine how spicy it will be. For mild flavor, add slightly less chili powder and choose a mild salsa. It’s a great soup to make in advance as it tastes even better over time, and you can load it with your favorite Mexican-style toppings, like cilantro, avocado, cotija cheese, and jalapeños.

How to make Spicy Chicken Soup:

1. Boil the chicken: In a large pot over medium heat, combine water, chicken, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, onion powder and bouillon cubes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken, but reserve broth. Shred chicken.

2. Make the soup: In a large pot over medium heat, cook onion and garlic in olive oil until slightly browned.  Stir in salsa, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, chili powder, cumin, corn, chili beans, shredded chicken, and 3 ½ cups of the reserved water. Simmer 30 minutes.

3. Garnish: Stir in sour cream. Taste and add extra salt, or additional seasonings, if needed.  Garnish with cilantro, cheese, avocado, crushed tortilla chips, or whatever you like!

Four process photos for making Spicy Chicken Soup.

Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:

To make ahead: This is a great soup to make the morning of or one day ahead of time.  It will stay fresh for 3-4 days in the fridge, depending on the freshness of the ingredients used.

To freeze: Don’t add sour cream to the soup and then freeze in a freezer safe container for 2-3 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Consider trying one of these classic soup recipes:

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Recipe

A bowl of Spicy Chicken Soup garnished with sliced avocado and cheese.
Prep 10 mins
Cook 50 mins
Total 1 hr
Add to Meal Plan

Video

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 3 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion , chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 3 teaspoons chicken bouillon paste (or 3 bullion cubes)
  • 8 ounces salsa , your favorite kind
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes , undrained
  • 4 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1/2 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 15 ounce can corn (or frozen), drained
  • 16 ounce can chili beans
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • Cilantro, shredded cheese, and avocado for soup garnish

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot over medium heat, combine water, chicken, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, onion powder and bouillon. 
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate and shred.
  • In a large pot over medium heat, cook onion and garlic in olive oil until slightly browned. 
  • Stir in salsa, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, chili powder, cumin, corn, chili beans, shredded chicken, and 3 ½ cups of the reserved water. Simmer 30 minutes. 
  • Stir in sour cream. Taste and add extra salt, or additional seasonings, if needed.
  • Garnish with cilantro, cheese, avocado, crushed tortilla chips, or whatever you like!

Notes

Slow Cooker Instructions: Sauté onion and garlic in oil, separately. Add remaining ingredients except for sour cream to crock pot and cook on low for 4-5 hours, until chicken is cooked through. Shred chicken and stir in sour cream.
Instant Pot Instructions: Add oil to instant pot on sauté setting. Sauté onion and garlic. Add remaining ingredients except for sour cream, chili beans and corn to the instant pot and cook on High Pressure for 8 minutes, with a 10 minute natural release. Shred chicken and stir in beans, corn and sour cream.

Nutrition

Calories: 314kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 17gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 1567mgPotassium: 1069mgFiber: 7gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 1520IUVitamin C: 15.9mgCalcium: 124mgIron: 3.7mg

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I originally shared this recipe November 2017. Updated October 2020.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    Great taste! What pulled it all together is adding in that great reserved liquid at the end. The chicken was perfectly cooked and alltogether the spice and broth was great!

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