Chicken Enchilada Soup

The most delicious chicken enchilada soup EVER (and it’s secretly loaded with vegetables)! Bonus: the recipe includes instructions for making it on the stovetop, slow cooker OR Instant Pot!

Chicken enchilada soup in tan bowl with brown stripe.

Here it is, the best chicken enchilada soup I’ve ever laid lips on.

If you’ve never made this recipe, I think you’ll be surprised at how flavorful and wonderful it is! Thick and creamy (without any added flour, thickeners, or cream), the soup is made by cooking a heap of vegetables (potatoes, butternut squash, red pepper) until tender.

Those hearty ingredients are blended to a silky smooth consistency right before adding tender chicken and white beans.

I don’t necessarily try to hide vegetables from my kids, but I wasn’t exactly forthcoming about the veggie-loaded nature of this soup the first time we ate it. Bless their little stinkin’ hearts, they had no idea they were gobbling up veggie after veggie after veggie when they inhaled this soup. 

And they loved it so much, they didn’t even bat an eye when I told them afterwards. Now, many years later, this soup is still a family favorite! 

Chicken enchilada soup in tan bowl with brown stripe.

It doesn’t hurt that we all pile on as many toppings as our bowls will allow. That’s what makes it fun (and also extra tasty!). 

Over the years, I’ve made some small adaptations to this recipe based on questions and comments I’ve received and also because of my own sanity-saving needs (i.e. throw it all in the slow cooker to cook on a busy day). I’ve included slow cooker and Instant Pot directions in the recipe below. My friend, Marci, also has some awesome freezer meal directions on her blog

This easy and healthy chicken enchilada soup is a cool month staple for us! I can’t imagine life without it, really. 

One Year Ago: Classic Blueberry Cobbler
Two Years Ago: The Best Chicken Fajitas
Three Years Ago: Chicken with Green Curry Sauce

The Best Chicken Enchilada Soup

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 cups chicken broth (I use low-sodium)
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 3-4 chicken breasts)
  • 1 (3.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered (see note for substitutions)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into large chunks
  • 3-4 cups butternut squash cubes (from about 1/2 of a medium butternut squash, peeled and cut)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (homemade version here
  • 1 cup sour cream, light or regular
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cans white beans, like Great Northern, rinsed and drained

Instructions

  1. STOVETOP: In a large pot, add the chicken broth, chicken breasts, green chiles, onion, potatoes, pepper, butternut squash, garlic, salt, cumin, and taco seasoning. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, covered or partially covered, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. If there doesn't seem to be enough liquid for the vegetables/chicken to boil in, add water or broth but take care not to add too much extra liquid or the flavor and consistency will be affected. Go to step #4.
  2. SLOW COOKER: Add the chicken broth, chicken breasts, green chiles, onion, potatoes, pepper, butternut squash, garlic, salt, cumin, and taco seasoning to the insert of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours until the vegetables are tender. Go to step #4.
  3. INSTANT POT: Decrease the broth amount to SIX cups and add the chicken broth, chicken breasts, green chiles, onion, potatoes, pepper, butternut squash, garlic, salt, cumin, and taco seasoning to the insert of a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker. Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 17 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure (if liquid spurts through the valve, close the valve and wait a few minutes before releasing pressure again).
  4. Remove the chicken from the pot/slow cooker/Instant Pot to a cutting board. Let it cool slightly before shredding or dicing. Use an immersion blender or ladle the remaining vegetables and broth into a blender (in several batches, if needed), and puree the broth and vegetables until smooth. Take care not to overfill the blender since the mixture will be hot and will expand as it blends! Pour the pureed soup mixture back into the pot/slow cooker/Instant Pot. Whisk in the sour cream and tomato sauce. Stir in the beans and chopped chicken. Heat through.
  5. Serve the soup with additional toppings: tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, pico de gallo or salsa, etc. The options are endless!

Notes

Over the years, I've used Yukon Gold or red potatoes in place of the russets and even subbed in half sweet potatoes. It's really adaptable.

Also the original recipe I posted years ago had the taco seasoning stirred in at the end. I've since added the seasonings at the beginning to enhance overall flavor.

If you want the soup thicker, ladle out some of the broth before blending (you can always add it back in to thin it out a bit).

This soup is absolutely unreal with homemade pico de gallo. Here's how I whip it up: 3-4 chopped ripe tomatoes, juice of one lime, handful of chopped cilantro, medium minced yellow onion, seeded and diced jalapeno and salt to taste. Let it chill out in the fridge for an hour or so, if desired, or use right away.

Follow @melskitchencafe on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #melskitchencafe. I love seeing all the goodness you are whipping up in your kitchens!

Recipe Source: adapted from my cousin-in-law Susie E.
Recipe updated 12/2018 with new photos, recipe notes.

Chicken Enchilada Soup