Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup
This Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup is quick and easy to make in one pot, hearty and filling, and full of spicy and smoky hot Mexican flavors! It’s loaded with veggies, shredded chicken, corn, black beans, and made wonderfully thick, creamy and cheesy with masa harina and smoked cheddar cheese!
Spicy, velvety, cheesy, and full of robust tomato and hot smoky Mexican flavors! This soup has ALL the flavors you love in chicken enchiladas, but it’s in the form of a warming and comforting bowl of soup! 😋
We already have a Spicy Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup and a Spicy Pumpkin Chicken Tortilla Soup (great for post Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners as you can use leftover shredded turkey too! 🙌 ) on the blog. I thought it was time to add to the Mexican soups collection and made this delicious Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup!
While it’s similar in some ways to the aforementioned soups, the main difference is that it incorporates masa harina, a type of gluten-free corn flour (not the same as cornmeal) that’s used to make dough for corn tortillas.
Masa harina is the secret ingredient that makes this chicken enchilada soup thick and luscious without adding any cream. It also infuses the broth with some lovely corn flavors! ❤️
Why This Recipe Works
- It’s quick and easy to make, calls for leftover cooked chicken, and several canned products that you can just dump in the pot and let the soup “make itself”!
- It’s hearty and filling, and full of feel-good veggies, beans, and chicken.
- Using masa harina thickens the soup, and gives it a wonderfully creamy and velvety texture without having to add any heavy cream. It also imparts some delicious corn flavors that are similar to the flavor of corn tortillas.
- It’s a great make ahead recipe since the flavors intensify over time. The soup tastes even better the next day! It’s also freezer friendly and good for up to 3 months! (Meal prep lovers, this soup is for YOU! 🙌 )
- TOPPINGS GALORE! You can top off your bowl with AS MUCH OF and ANY of your favorite Mexican soup toppings you like! Think sour cream, coriander, cheese, avocado, tortilla chips/strips, pico de gallo, etc. to enjoy this fiesta soup! The more the merrier, and the sky is the limit! 💃 😋
What’s in Chicken Enchilada Soup?
- Fresh veggies: Some red onion, and red and yellow bell peppers. You’re welcome to use white or yellow onion, and any colored bell peppers you like.
- Chilies: I like to make this soup extra spicy and use plenty of chopped red and green Bird’s Eye chilies! But you can use any hot red and green chilies that you can get in your area. Feel free to use less according to your heat level preference, or omit them if you’d like to make this soup milder.
- Masa Harina: I used yellow masa harina, which is a type of corn flour that is used to make dough for tortillas, tamales, pupusas, and gorditas. It comes in bags for convenience, and the most popular is the Maseca brand (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand though). It’s what makes this chicken enchilada soup thick and creamy without having to add any cream. It also adds some corn flavor, similar to the flavor of corn tortillas. Look for it in the Latin food aisle or flour section of a well-stocked supermarket.
- Cooked Chicken: I used some leftover baked kosher salt and black pepper seasoned chicken breasts that I made using the method for this Juicy Baked Chicken Breasts recipe. However, you can use any leftover cubed or shredded chicken you have on hand. Or use shredded rotisserie or roasted chicken from the store.
- Red Enchilada Sauce: Either store-bought or homemade. You’ll need a 10 ounce can or 1 & 1/4 cups. I used Frontera Red Chile Enchilada Sauce with Roasted Tomato & Garlic in the pictures here. However, I’ve also made this soup with an Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce can (medium spice level) too. Both taste great! Use a mild, medium, or hot red enchilada sauce based on how spicy you’d like the soup to be.
- Crushed Fire Roasted Tomatoes: For some extra smoky flavors!
- Canned Chopped Tomatoes: Any type of canned chopped/diced tomatoes that you have in your pantry is fine to use. I used Waitrose’s Rich & Savory chopped Italian tomatoes with olive oil and garlic.
- Sweet Corn: Use either store-bought frozen or fresh sweet corn kernels, or canned corn. I normally buy fresh corn ears, slice the kernels off with a knife, then freeze them in 1 cup portions in individual freezer friendly bags. This makes it super convenient to pull it out whenever I need some corn for a recipe.
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce: I use canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. The chipotle peppers add a smoky hot flavor to the soup, and the adobo sauce (which is made out of tomato and vinegar) adds tasty zesty notes. Use less chipotle peppers and deseed them if you prefer to make this soup milder.
- Spices & Seasonings: To season the soup, you’ll need some kosher salt (use half the amount if using iodized table salt), freshly cracked black pepper, garlic powder, ground cayenne, chili powder, smoked paprika (either hot or sweet), ground cumin, and dried oregano flakes.
- Oil: I used olive oil, but you can use any cooking oil you like.
- Cheddar Cheese: I used applewood smoked cheddar cheese to give this soup a delicious, smokier cheesy flavor. But regular sharp cheddar works tastes great too. Just be sure to not use the pre-bagged stuff and grate the cheese from a block at home instead. Freshly grated cheese melts more quickly and evenly than the bagged shredded cheese. The latter has anti-caking agents and preservatives that make it difficult to melt evenly.
Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.
How to Make Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Sauté veggies and aromatics: In some oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot until softened and fragrant.
2. Stir in masa harina: Combine masa harina with some water in a measuring cup and mix well. Then add to the pot and stir until evenly combined.
3. Build the soup: Stir in the low sodium chicken broth, red enchilada sauce, canned crushed fire roasted tomatoes, and canned chopped tomatoes. Add the black beans, sweet corn kernels, cooked leftover shredded chicken, tomato paste, chopped chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, garlic powder, ground cayenne, chili powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin, and dried oregano flakes.
4. Simmer: Lower the heat and give everything a good stir. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
5. Stir in the smoked cheddar cheese. Once fully melted, stir in the coriander and lime juice.
6. Serve! Ladle the soup evenly into bowls, and top with chopped coriander, freshly grated smoked or sharp cheddar cheese, diced avocado, corn tortilla chips/strips, sour cream, pico de gallo, or any of your other favorite Mexican soup toppings. Then enjoy!!
Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Use store-bought rotisserie or roasted chicken if you don’t have leftover cooked chicken on hand. It’ll save you time from having to cook raw chicken breasts or thighs in the broth, then removing and shredding or cubing the meat before adding it back into the broth. Simply shred the store-bought chicken and add to the broth!
- Adjust the spice level to taste. You can make either a mild or spicy chicken enchilada soup by adjusting the amount of fresh red and green chilies, ground cayenne, chili powder, and the type of smoked paprika (sweet or hot) you use. Also, select a red enchilada sauce (mild, medium, or hot) based on your desired heat level.
Masa harina and cheddar cheese makes the soup creamy and thick without having to add any heavy cream.
The soup gets pretty thick with the masa harina and cheese. But if you’d like to make it thicker, you can stir in a corn starch slurry made with 1 tablespoon of corn starch and 2 tablespoons of water at the end. Simmer for a minute, then either remove from heat or add more corn starch slurry until the soup has reached your desired consistency.
Absolutely! Once cool, transfer to freezer friendly containers and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight (it won’t thaw completely, but that’s okay). Reheat in a pot on the stove over medium-high heat until hot throughout.
- Omit or use different beans. Feel free to omit the black beans if you prefer to not have beans in the soup. Or use different beans – pinto beans, kidney beans, or any of your favorite beans will taste great!
- Use cream cheese or Velveeta. Instead of cheddar, you can use cream cheese or Velveeta to make this soup thick and creamy with a slight hint of tang.
- Make it vegetarian/vegan. Omit the chicken or use a shredded or cubed plant-based chicken meat alternative. To make it vegan, same as for making it vegetarian but also use a dairy-free cheddar cheese.
- Use a green enchilada sauce. Switch up the flavor and use a green enchilada sauce instead to give the soup a fresh tomatillo flavor, and a kick of heat from green chilies!
- Add rice. I love making soups more substantial by adding rice like I have done in my Spicy Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup and Creamy Chicken Mushroom Rice Soup! Add a cup of uncooked medium or long grain rice when you add the bulk of the ingredients in step 4. It will take about 10 minutes for the rice to cook through.
More Soups You May Also Like
- Spicy Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Spicy Pumpkin Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Hearty Pumpkin Chicken Soup
- Creamy Tomato Basil Tortellini Soup
- Creamy Chicken Mushroom Rice Soup
- Or browse the entire Soups & Chowders recipe collection.
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Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup
Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup is quick and easy to make in one pot, hearty and filling, chock-full of veggies and chicken, and loaded with spicy and smoky hot Mexican flavors!
- Prep Time: 12
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 32 minutes
- Yield: 8
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: Mexican-inspired
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 1 medium Red Onion (or yellow or white onion) – diced
- 6–7 Garlic cloves – minced
- 2–3 Green Chilies (or 1 small Jalapeño pepper), to taste – deseeded if less heat is desired, finely chopped
- 6–12 Red Chilies, to taste – deseeded if less heat is desired, finely chopped
- 8 ounces Bell Pepper (any color – I used half of a yellow and red bell pepper) – deseeded and diced
- 2 Chipotle Peppers + 2–3 TBLS Adobo Sauce – deseeded if less heat is desired, chopped (use less peppers and adobo sauce for a milder soup)
- 2 TBLS Coriander (Cilantro) – finely chopped
- ¾ cup Masa Harina
- 1.5 cups Water
- 2 TBLS Olive Oil (or any other cooking oil you prefer)
- 4 cups / 32 ounces Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 1 & ¼ cups / 10-ounce can Red Enchilada Sauce (I used Frontera)
- 1 (411 grams / 14.5-ounce) can Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes (I used Muir Glen)
- 1 (400 grams /14-ounce) can Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 (425 grams / 15-ounce) can Black Beans – drained and rinsed
- 1 cup Sweet Corn Kernels (frozen or fresh)
- 400 grams / 14 ounces (about 2.5 cups) leftover cooked Shredded Chicken
- 2 TBLS Tomato Paste
- 2 TSP Kosher Salt, to taste (use half the amount if using iodized table salt)
- 1.5 TSP freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste
- ½ TSP Garlic Powder
- 1 TSP ground Cayenne, to taste
- 1 TSP Chili Powder, to taste
- 1.5 TSP Smoked Paprika (I used a hot one, but you can use a sweet one if you prefer)
- 1 TSP ground Cumin
- 1 TSP dried Oregano Flakes
- 1 cup freshly grated Smoked Cheddar Cheese (or use sharp cheddar)
- 2 TBLS freshly squeezed Lime Juice (juice of 1–2 small limes), to taste
- To Serve (optional toppings): Chopped coriander, freshly grated smoked or sharp cheddar cheese (or Monterey Jack cheese), diced or sliced avocado, corn tortilla chips or strips (store-bought or homemade), sour cream, pico de gallo, lime wedges for squeezing, etc.
- Prepare the ingredients: Chop the red onion, garlic, green chilies, red chilies, bell pepper(s), chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and coriander as indicated in the ‘ingredients’ section.
- Combine masa harina with water: Whisk together the masa harina and water in a measuring cup until evenly combined.
For the Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup:
- Sauté veggies and aromatics: Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven (or stockpot) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the red onion and bell pepper(s) and sauté for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, green chilies, and red chilies and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
- Stir in masa harina: Stir in the masa harina and water mixture until evenly combined.
- Build the soup: Pour in the low sodium chicken broth, red enchilada sauce, canned crushed fire roasted tomatoes, and canned chopped tomatoes. Add the black beans, sweet corn kernels, cooked leftover shredded chicken, tomato paste, chopped chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, garlic powder, ground cayenne, chili powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin, and dried oregano flakes. Reduce the heat to medium and give everything a good stir. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Stir in the cheese, coriander, and lime juice: Stir in the smoked cheddar cheese until fully melted and integrated in the soup. Then stir in the chopped fresh coriander and lime juice, and switch off the heat.
- To Serve: Ladle the soup evenly into bowls, and top with chopped coriander, freshly grated smoked or sharp cheddar cheese (or Monterey Jack cheese), diced avocado, corn tortilla chips/strips, sour cream, pico de gallo, lime wedges for squeezing, or any of your other favorite toppings. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Chicken. I used some leftover baked kosher salt (1 TSP for 2 breasts) and pepper (1/2 TSP) seasoned chicken breasts that I made using the method for this Juicy Baked Chicken Breasts recipe. However, you can use any leftover shredded or cubed chicken you have on hand, or shredded rotisserie or roasted chicken from the store.
- Storing. Store in sealed airtight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Freezing. Once cool, transfer to freezer friendly containers and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight (it won’t thaw completely, but that’s okay). Reheat in a pot on the stove over medium-high heat until hot throughout.
- See ‘Variations’ section in post above if you’d like to customize this spicy chicken enchilada soup.
Shop the Recipe
- Serving Size: 1 bowl
- Calories: 370
- Sugar: 11.8g
- Sodium: 1377.8mg
- Fat: 11.7g
- Saturated Fat: 3.7g
- Unsaturated Fat: 5.6g
- Trans Fat: 0.1g
- Carbohydrates: 42.6g
- Fiber: 10.1g
- Protein: 22.4g
- Cholesterol: 52mg
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.
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