Filled with juicy shredded chicken, beans, and veggies, this easy and flavorful Chicken Enchilada Soup cooks in the Instant Pot making it the perfect family meal for busy weeknights. Serve this Chicken Enchilada Soup Recipe with all your favorite toppings such as avocado, cilantro, cheese, and homemade Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Strips.
Unlike some Enchilada Soup Recipes that are creamy, heavy, and filled with cheese, this recipe skips the cheese and focuses on an awesome, flavor-packed broth filled with chicken and veggies (don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you can’t add cheese).
One of my new favorites, serve your own Chicken Enchilada Soup with all your favorite toppings – including these fun cinnamon sugar tortilla strips.
Chicken Enchilada Soup Ingredients
- Onions – onions add amazing flavor to just about any soup recipe. I used two medium yellow onions to make this soup, but feel free to use what’s available to you.
- Bell Pepper – as with the onions, bell peppers are seemingly mandatory when it comes to Tex-Mex recipes like this as they add a unique flavor to the broth. That said, feel free to skip the bell pepper if it’s not your thing.
- Garlic – must have garlic. Fresh garlic is best, but pre-minced garlic will also work.
- Corn – I LOVE adding corn to chicken enchilada soup because it is naturally sweet and helps balance all the heavy flavors from the taco seasoning and enchilada sauce.
- Tomatoes – I used canned tomatoes here, but feel free to add fresh tomatoes if you have them.
- Corn tortillas – A common ingredient in Chicken Tortilla Soup, corn tortillas are often added to the broth as the soup cooks to help naturally thicken and flavor the soup.
- Taco Seasoning – homemade or store-bought, taco seasoning is one of those ingredients that I keep on hand all the time. Assuming it’s a seasoning mix that you know you like, it’s much easier to add a couple of teaspoons of taco seasoning than a combination of 6 different seasonings.
- Enchilada Sauce – I added my homemade enchilada sauce. Feel free to add store-bought if that’s all you have on hand.
- Chicken – I pressure cooked chicken breasts for easy, fast cooking. After all, we are using the Instant Pot. If, however, you prefer to use leftover rotisserie chicken or chicken thighs, that will work also.
- Black Beans – black beans are the traditional addition to a chicken enchilada soup, but any bean will work, so simply pick your fav!
- Green Onions + Cilantro – I love adding a lot of fresh chopped green onion and cilantro right at the end of cooking because it still tastes super fresh. Add as much or as little as you like.
- Sugar (optional) – The broth can be quite acidic given the tomatoes and enchilada sauce (this is why most store-bought sauces come loaded with sugar). I will usually add 1-2 teaspoons of sugar to help offset this. BUT, not too much. Keep in mind that the toppings will also help tie in the flavors from the soup.
Toppings for Chicken Enchilada Soup
This is one of those soups that really wants you to have fun with the toppings.
From fresh greens to zesty lime juice, and everything in between, you can go wild or keep it super simple. I like to think about different texture and flavor combinations. For example, creamy, mild avocado paired with crunchy, salty, sweet tortilla strips…with cilantro and fresh lime juice, of course.
So, that’s what I did.
I made some Baked Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Strips. Of course, these are completely optional, but the cinnamon, salt, sugar mixed in with the soup was a fantastic addition.
Other delicious ideas include-
- Fresh greens– chopped cilantro and green onion.
- Avocado– you want this, trust me.
- Fried tortilla strips– homemade, store-bought, or my baked cinnamon sugar tortilla strips.
- Heat– chopped jalapeño or serrano peppers.
- Dairy– cheese, Greek yogurt, or sour cream.
- Fresh lime wedges
How to make Chicken Enchilada Soup
Start by gathering the necessary tools and ingredients (you will need an Instant Pot). Before you start cooking, I recommend that you chop the onion, bell pepper, and garlic as those will be used almost immediately.
Next, set your Instant Pot to sauté mode on medium heat. Once hot, add the olive oil and onion directly to the bowl of the Instant Pot and cook, stirring often, for 4-6 minutes, or until softened. Add the red bell pepper and continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes before adding the garlic and cooking for an additional 30 seconds.
If, at any time, the onions start to burn, reduce heat to low.
Cook for a minute or so before adding the chicken breasts and water (or chicken stock) to the pot.
Cancel Sauté mode.
Place the lid on your Instant Pot until it is secured properly (mine plays a little song for me). Select soup mode (or pressure cook, high) and set the timer to 6 minutes with a natural release.
- NOTE – it takes approximately 10 minutes for your Instant Pot to reach pressure before the 6-minute countdown to begin and another 10 minutes or so to naturally release pressure.
Yay! The soup has finished cooking! Always be super careful when removing the lid from your Instant Pot.
Next, carefully remove the chicken breasts from the pot and transfer to a clean plate to rest until cool enough to handle (caution- don’t leave them out too long as they can start to dry out).
As the chicken cools, add the canned black beans, green onions, and cilantro to the soup. Mix well to combine.
Season the soup with additional salt and pepper, to taste. If necessary, add a couple of teaspoons of sugar to help balance any acidity or bitterness.
Shred the chicken with two forks and return back to the pot. Mix well to combine.
Tips, Tricks, & Substitutions
- In general, chicken enchilada soup is pretty mild. This will vary depending on if you use homemade or store-bought taco seasoning and enchilada sauce, but in an effort to get my child to eat this soup, I left out any additional spice and chile peppers. If you prefer more heat, add a diced jalapeño or serrano pepper, or a teaspoon of red chili flakes.
- If you have the time, I really highly recommend that you make my homemade enchilada sauce to add to this soup. It makes a great big batch for you to use not just for this soup, but all your other favorite enchilada recipes.
- If you really want a thick, creamy, cheesy soup, simply add 8 ounces of finely grated (not pre-shredded) cheddar cheese to the soup at the end of cooking.
- Feel free to use any corn – from the cob, frozen, canned – any will work.
- If you don’t use homemade enchilada sauce or taco seasoning, read the label to confirm that it is gluten-free. You never know what kinds of sneaky ingredients may have ended up in there.
- Shredded chicken breast is always my go-to, but feel free to add whatever you have on hand- chicken thighs, leftover chicken, or even ground chicken.
How to Store Chicken Enchilada Soup
As with Albondigas Soup and Cioppino, this Chicken Tortilla Soup tastes awesome leftover. In fact, I’m just going to go ahead and say that it may even taste better 1-2 days after it was initially made.
If you’re not really into eating the same thing two days in a row, you can easily freeze the leftovers for a quick family meal or in pre-portioned containers for lunch.
How to freeze Chicken Enchilada Soup:
- Allow the soup to cool completely before dividing or transferring. I recommend refrigerating overnight, if possible.
- Freeze in either large gallon or quart-sized freezer bags or in freezer-friendly containers.
- Do NOT freeze with the toppings.
- Place the soup-filled bags on a baking sheet or on a flat surface in the freezer to freeze, always making sure to leave a small amount of room in each bag for expansion during freezing.
- Freeze completely and stack each on top of each other or side-by-side for easy storage.
To thaw: transfer frozen bags of Chicken Tortilla Soup to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
If you try making this Chicken Enchilada Soup Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
For more soup recipes check out,
- Ham and Bean Soup Recipe (Crock Pot)
- Aguadito de Pollo (Peruvian Chicken Soup)
- Homemade Tomato Basil Soup Recipe
- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
- Easy Minestrone Soup Recipe (Stovetop + Slow Cooker)
- Healthy Buffalo Chicken Soup
- Easy Chicken Avocado Soup Recipe
- Easy Chicken and Dumplings Recipe
DON’T FORGET TO PIN AND SHARE THIS EASY AND DELICIOUS ENCHILADA SOUP TO ENJOY AND SERVE ALL YEAR LONG.
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Chicken Enchilada Soup (Instant Pot)
For the Soup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions - diced
- 1 red bell pepper - seeded and diced
- 6 cloves garlic - minced
- 3 ears corn - shucked with corn cut from the cob OR 1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
- 4 (6-inch) corn tortillas - chopped into small squares
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning
- 1/3 cup Enchilada sauce
- 3 chicken breasts
- 6 cups water - plus more as needed
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans - drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup green onions - finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro - chopped
- 2 tsp granulated sugar - optional
- Cinnamon sugar tortilla strips - (instructions below)
- Fresh cilantro
- Green onion
- Lime wedges
For the Soup
- Set instant pot to sauté mode, medium heat. Once hot, add the olive oil and onion directly to the bowl of the Instant Pot and cook, stirring often, for 5-6 minutes, or until softened. Add the red bell pepper and continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring continuously, for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add the corn kernels, tomatoes, corn tortilla, taco seasoning, and enchilada sauce. Mix well to combine and continue to cook for an additional minute or so before adding the chicken breasts and water (or chicken stock) to the pot.
- Cancel Sauté mode. Place the lid on your Instant Pot until it is secured properly (mine plays a little song for me). Select soup mode and set the timer to 6 minutes with a natural release (it takes approximately 10 minutes for your Instant Pot to reach pressure before the 6-minute countdown and another 10 minutes or so to naturally release pressure).
- As the soup cooks, prepare the toppings and prepare the Baked Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Strips (recipe below).
- Once the soup is finished cooking, carefully remove the chicken breasts from the pot and transfer to a clean plate to cool just enough to handle. Meanwhile, add the canned black beans, green onions, and cilantro to the soup. Mix well to combine.
- Season the soup with additional salt and pepper, to taste. If necessary, add a couple of teaspoons of sugar to help balance any acidity or bitterness.
- Shred the chicken with two forks and return back to the pot. Mix well to combine.
For the For the Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Strips
- Serve garnished with creamy avocado, sour cream, fresh cilantro, green onion, lime juice, and, of course, your favorite homemade or store-bought tortilla strips.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut your corn tortillas into 1/2-inch strips (or whatever size/shape you prefer). Add tortillas to a large mixing bowl and toss to coat in approximately 1 tbsp vegetable oil.
- Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and toss to coat the entire surface of the tortilla strips, or transfer tortilla strips to the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar and ground cinnamon, flip, and repeat.
- Transfer baking sheet to the oven and bake for approximately 6-8 minutes before gently tossing the tortilla strips and returning to the oven to bake again for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until golden and crispy.