An easy recipe for Mexican Chipotle Lime Chicken Soup, or caldo de pollo, that’s brimming with zesty, spicy and citrusy flavor. This warming homestyle soup made with fresh ingredients is the perfect all-season comfort food!
If you like Mexican-inspired chicken recipes, check out my Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken!
This Spicy Chicken Soup is Mexican-Style Comfort Food
If you haven’t yet experienced caldo de pollo, or Mexican chicken soup, then you’re in for a culinary fiesta of epic proportions!
This caldo de pollo recipe is brimming with bright and bold flavors. It’s spicy and citrusy, with loads of fresh lime juice and sweet corn kernels cut fresh from the cob. It’s the perfect comfort food to enjoy all year round, even in the summertime!
My chipotle lime chicken soup is so easy to make, and the kids even enjoy it in spite of the heat! Plus, this recipe is great for leftovers. Like most soups, the flavors get even better over time!
What You’ll Need
I can practically taste this spicy chicken soup, just from reading the ingredients! Here’s everything you need to make your own caldo de pollo-style soup at home:
- Chicken: Boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1– inch cubes
- Chipotle Peppers: Dice up a couple of peppers from a can of chipotle in adobo sauce.
- Adobo Sauce: From the same can of chipotle in adobo, you’ll use a couple spoonfuls of the sauce.
- Chicken Broth: Low sodium chicken broth offers more control over salt and seasoning levels.
- Corn: I cut mine fresh from the cob (this recipe calls for three ears of corn). If it’s not in season, or if you’d prefer, you can also use frozen, or canned corn that’s been drained and rinsed.
- Garlic: Whole cloves, finely minced.
- Onion: I use yellow onion for this soup. You can use other kinds, keeping in mind they may have a stronger flavor.
- Limes: Lime brings a brightness and zestiness to the flavor of the soup.
- Cilantro: Very popular in Mexican cuisine, and an authentic herb in this soup recipe. However, if you’re super opposed to cilantro, use parsley instead.
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive Oil
- Garnish: Avocado, crushed tortilla chips and lime wedges are optional but recommended!
What Kind of Chicken Should I Use?
Traditionally, caldo de pollo is made with bone-in chicken. Boneless chicken breasts work great for this recipe, though browning them is key! (More on this later). The beauty of this soup is that virtually any part of the chicken will do the trick.
If you’re after even more flavor, use parts of the chicken with bones and skin, like drumsticks or bone-in chicken thighs. You can even use a whole chicken, including giblets, to really enhance the flavors!
How to Make Chipotle Lime Chicken Soup
The base for this Mexican chicken soup recipe consists of chicken broth mixed with adobo sauce, chopped chipotles, and the juice from two large limes. Here’s how everything comes together:
Saute: In a large pot, brown the seasoned chicken for a few minutes per side. I find working in batches is best! In the same pot, cook the onions and garlic until they’re soft and fragrant.
Combine & Simmer: Add the chicken back into the pot. Next, stir in the broth, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce, bringing the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and leave the soup to simmer. Shortly before the end of the cooking time, add in the corn kernels.
Season & Serve: Once the pot is off the heat, squeeze in the lime juice. Add cilantro and season to taste, before dishing up. Serve your Mexican-style chicken soup with avocado and crushed tortillas. See below for even more suggestions and ways to serve it!
Why Brown the Chicken?
Browning the chicken really adds dimension to both the chicken itself as well as the broth. Of course you can skip this step, but you’ll lose the depth of flavor that comes from a nice flavorful crust.
Make sure to brown your chicken in small batches so it gets nice and golden. Chicken that’s crowded in the pan will create steam, and prevent the outsides from browning nicely.
Tips for Success
- Adjust the Heat to Taste: You can add more or less adobo sauce, and certainly less chipotle peppers depending on the level of heat you prefer. The recipe as-written is on the spicy side; for a milder soup, I’d recommend to start with only one chipotle pepper instead of two, and add from there!
- Don’t Overcook the Chicken: Chicken breasts will become tough and dry if overcooked. Cooking times may also vary depending on the size of the chicken pieces, your stove and pan. Brown the chicken just enough and then leave the simmering to do the rest. You can check the pieces as they simmer to ensure they aren’t cooked too quickly.
- Skim the Fat: While chicken is a lean meat, you may notice excess fat rising to the surface of the soup as it cooks. You can leave the fat in, or skim it off if you prefer.
My kids love to add sour cream to their soup, as it makes it creamy and softens the spiciness. Shredded cheese is another delicious option that brings a melty, creamy texture to the soup!
I always add avocado slices and lots of crushed tortilla chips to mine, plus extra cilantro. Here are some more ideas for toppings:
- Salsa or Avocado Salsa
- Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream)
- Corn tortillas or even Seasoned Crackers
- Hot sauce
- Diced or sliced bell peppers
- Sliced jalapeños
- Taco seasoning
- Lime wedges
What to Serve with this Chicken Soup
This chipotle lime chicken soup is the perfect warm-up for taco night! Serve it alongside your favorite tacos and these other Mexican-inspired dishes:
This spicy soup is also great to enjoy served over Spanish Rice as a light meal or side dish when entertaining. Whether you’re keeping cozy during the winter months or looking for a fresh, zesty soup come summertime! Here are some other easy recipes to pair it with:
- Easy Cheesy Breadsticks or Sweet Dinner Rolls
- Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken
- Crispy Crab Balls with Chipotle Tartar Sauce
- Jalapeno Popper Pizza
- Southwestern Quinoa Salad
- Chipotle Pulled Pork with Apple Slaw
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Store leftover chicken soup airtight in the fridge for up to one week. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through.
Does This Freeze Well?
This soup will keep fresh when frozen for up to 3 months. Store it in a freezer-safe container and thaw it in the fridge before serving. You can also reheat this soup directly from frozen on the stovetop over low heat.
More Cozy Soup Recipes
- Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- Easy Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Chipotle Chicken Corn Chowder
- Creamy Baked Potato Soup
Mexican Chipotle Lime Chicken Soup, or caldo de pollo, is brimming with zesty, spicy and citrusy flavor! The perfect all-season comfort food!
- 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1– inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 48 ounces chicken broth
- 2 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotle in adobo sauce, diced
- 2 teaspoons adobo sauce, from can of chipotle in adobo
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups corn, I cut mine fresh from the cob (3 cobs) OR a 15-ounce drained can of corn
- juice of 2 large limes
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper
- garnish – avocado, crushed tortilla chips and lime wedges
- Season the cubed chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
- In a large sauce pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken in batches, a few minutes on each side, transferring it to a plate when browned.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add in onions to pot, cooking for 5-7 minutes until the onions are soft. Add in the garlic and cook for one more minute, stirring continuously.
- Add the chicken back to the pot, along with the chicken broth, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce, stirring to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add in the corn and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and squeeze in the fresh lime juice, add cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve warm with avocado slices and crushed tortilla chips.
Keywords: mexican chicken soup, caldo de pollo recipe, easy chicken soup