This easy chicken taco soup is spicy, tomatoey, and loaded with the best of Tex-Mex flavors. Packed with pantry staples for convenience, it’s an easy weeknight recipe with pops of color from bell peppers, corn, and black beans.
Easy Chicken Taco Soup Recipe
This easy taco soup tastes like Texas and Mexico decided to cook dinner together on a busy weeknight. It’s spicy, tomatoey, smokey and full of crunchy textures. Made with pantry staples, it’s the ideal comfort food after a long day at work. If you’re in the mood for a cozy, warming soup recipe – this is it!
A homemade paprika and cumin blend gives every spoonful plenty of spice, while the veggies bring a nice pop of color. There are bell peppers, yellow corn, jalapeño, black beans… It’s literally a Tex-Mex party of flavors! Don’t worry if you’re out of ground chicken, though. Leftover rotisserie chicken works just as well.
Simmered until all the ingredients have made friends in the pot, it’s served warm and topped with cilantro, more jalapeños, and a lime wedge. The end result? This one-pot work of art inspired by your favorite Texan and Mexican flavors.
Ingredients You’ll Need
It’s time to hit the spice cabinet! Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts for this easy taco soup.
Paprika – Use sweet or smoked.
Chili powder – Skip this if you’re not a fan of spicy food.
Vegetable oil – Corn and canola oil work too.
Yellow onion – Feel free to use white onion instead.
Garlic – Don’t substitute it for garlic powder.
Red bell pepper – You can also use orange or yellow bell peppers.
Yellow corn – Fresh or frozen is fine. If you’re using frozen, thaw and drain them before adding them in.
Jalapeño – You can also use serrano chile for more heat but reduce the amount by half.
Canned diced tomatoes – You can also use fresh Roma or heirloom tomatoes.
Canned black beans – You can also prepare your own.
Low-sodium chicken broth – Veggie broth is okay as well.
Salt and pepper
These variations can turn 1 pot of soup into 4 different ones.
Add bacon. Cook a few bacon strips until crispy. Crumble them and use them as a topping for the soup. It will add wonderful smokiness and crunch.
Change the protein. Substituting ground chicken for the same amount of beef or turkey will yield equally tasty results.
Add rice. Adding leftover Mexican red rice to this soup will make it extra filling and flavorful. You can add 1/2 to 3/4 cups. If you add more, the rice will absorb all the liquid in the soup. To avoid this, you can also store the rice and soup separately.
Make it creamy. Add about 4 ounces of cream cheese and stir it into the soup until completely dissolved. Let the soup simmer for another 10 minutes before serving.
How to Make Chicken Taco Soup
If you prep the veggies in advance, this easy taco soup comes together much faster.
Make the seasoning. Mix the onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, and chili powder in a small bowl. Set it aside.
Cook the onion. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and let it cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until softened. Add the garlic and mix well. Let it cook for another 2 minutes. The mixture should be fragrant.
Cook the chicken. Add the ground chicken to the pot and let it cook for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown. Add all of the seasoning and mix well. It’s okay if there are browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pot, they’ll add lots of flavor later on.
Add the veggies. Add the bell pepper, corn, and jalapeño. Stir to combine and let the mixture cook for 4-5 minutes or until the bell peppers have softened.
Add the tomatoes. Pour the diced tomatoes into the pot. Stir well. Let them cook for 5 minutes. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to gently scrape the bottom of the pot to remove the browned bits. Don’t use a metal spatula because it’ll scratch the pot.
Pour in the broth. Add the black beans to the mixture. Let them cook for 5 minutes. Pour the broth in and raise the heat to high. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve warm.
Tips for Success
A couple of tips make this easy taco soup even easier. I swear.
Use homemade taco seasoning. I have a great recipe for homemade taco seasoning that can be used instead of the spice mix in this recipe. Add 3 to 4 teaspoons of it, adding more, or less, to suit your taste.
Use leftover chicken. Rotisserie chicken is a quick protein option for lazy days. Just toss it in! I recommend 1/4-1/2 cup per bowl.
Add a slurry. Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl until well combined. Pour the slurry into the soup during the last 15 minutes of cooking and stir well. This will help thicken the soup without having to reduce it much.
Prep ahead. Slicing all the veggies in advance will help you just add everything into the pot when you’re ready to cook.
What to Serve with Taco Soup
Once served, you can top this easy taco soup with chopped cilantro, jalapeños, and a lime wedge. Dipping tortilla chips into it is also super yummy. However, it’s practically a meal of its own— even without the toppings.
Also, this soup can be a great side dish to all your Tex-Mex and Mexican meals when served in smaller portions. When I’m craving tacos, I love to serve the soup with my Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas Tacos, Shredded Buffalo Chicken Tacos, and Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa in corn tortillas.
For saucier bites, I prefer my Beef Enchiladas and Easy Baked Salsa Chicken.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
To Refrigerate: Store soup leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. To reheat it, pop it into the microwave for 1 minute, stir it, and heat it for another 1 to 2 minutes or until warm. You can also heat it in a pot over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
To Freeze: Once cooled, pour this easy taco soup into freezer-friendly bags or containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. Don’t forget to label the container or bag with the cook date because it’s easy to forget after a couple of weeks in the freezer.
To thaw, transfer it to the fridge a night before serving. Reheat as usual.
More Easy Soup Recipes
Prep Time 15mins
Cook Time 45mins
Total Time 1hr
Mix the onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, and chili powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and let it cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened.
Add the garlic and mix well. Let it cook for another minute.
Add the ground chicken to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until slightly browned. Add the prepared taco seasoning and stir well.
Add the diced bell pepper, diced jalapeño, and corn. Stir to combine and let the mixture cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
Pour the diced tomatoes into the pot. Stir well and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
Add the black beans to the mixture, and cook for another 5 minutes.
Stir in the broth and increase the heat to high. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes.
Taste for salt and pepper and adjust to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve warm.
Chicken: Sticking with the taco theme, we used ground chicken for this soup recipe, but you can also use ground beef or ground turkey. If pressed for time, get a rotisserie chicken and shred it before adding it to the soup.
Seasoning: If you’d like to use store-bought taco seasoning, you will need about a tablespoon of it, give or take.
For a creamy soup, whisk in 4 ounces of softened cream cheese – don’t stop whisking until it’s completely incorporated.
To store: Keep the soup in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.
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