Easy Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup Recipe

Rich, creamy, comforting, and easy. J. Kenji López-Alt

Why It Works

  • Gently poaching the chicken just until it's done ensures tender, moist meat, while also adding flavor to the broth.
  • Instead of a can of enchilada sauce, our recipe starts with real dried chiles, toasted in the microwave for more complex, robust flavor.
  • Cream cheese gives the soup a rich texture and flavor.

This chicken enchilada soup features a rich and creamy broth, plenty of melted cheese, and the spicy, toasty flavor of chiles. Little nubs of sweet corn and black beans fill each spoonful, along with tender bits of shredded chicken. It's like drinking deliciously inauthentic liquid enchiladas—what more could you want on a cold night?

Recipe Facts



Active: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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  • 2 whole dried guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed (see note)

  • 2 whole dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed (see note)

  • 1 1/2 quarts (1.5 liters) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

  • 1 split bone-in, skin-on chicken breast (about 1 pound; 450g)

  • 4 ounces (100g) cream cheese

  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) distilled white vinegar (see note)

  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) vegetable or canola oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced (about 1 cup; 1/2 pound; 200g)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon; 10g)

  • 2 ears of corn, kernels removed (about 1 1/2 cups; 250g)

  • 1 (14-ounce; 400ml) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 (4.5-ounce; 125ml) can chopped green chiles (see note)

  • 1 (14.5-ounce; 400g) can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1/2 pound (225g) grated Pepper Jack cheese

  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh juice from 1 lime

  • 1/2 cup picked fresh cilantro leaves (about 1 ounce; 30g), chopped

  • Diced avocado, picked fresh cilantro leaves, sliced scallions, and grated cheese, for serving


  1. Place guajillo and ancho chiles on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high at 15-second intervals until hot, pliable, and toasted-smelling, about 30 seconds total. Combine chicken stock, split chicken breast, and toasted chiles in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to lowest heat setting, cover, and cook until chicken breast is cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the breast should register 155 to 160°F) and chiles are tender, about 15 minutes.

  2. Remove chicken breast to a plate and set aside to cool. Transfer chiles to the jar of a blender and add 1 cup of stock. Blend, starting at lowest speed and gradually increasing to high speed, until chiles are completely puréed, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and blend until homogeneous, about 1 minute, adding more stock as necessary if the mixture is too thick. Whisk chile/cream cheese mixture back into remaining chicken stock. Whisk in vinegar and set aside.

  3. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred meat into bite-sized pieces using your fingers or two forks. Set aside. Discard skin and bones.

  4. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  5. Add corn and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, chopped green chiles, black beans, and stock/chile/cream cheese mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Stir in pepper jack cheese, shredded chicken, and lime juice. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Stir in cilantro. Serve immediately with diced avocado, picked fresh cilantro leaves, sliced scallions, and grated cheese.

Special equipment

Instant-read thermometer, blender


For an easier version, use 1 cup (250ml) canned red enchilada sauce in place of the chiles and vinegar. You can use two fresh Hatch, Anaheim, or poblano peppers in place of the can of chopped green chiles. Roast the peppers in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet under a broiler preheated to high, turning the chiles occasionally, until they're charred on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Wrap them tightly in foil and let them rest for 5 minutes. Peel the chiles, discard stems and seeds, and chop.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
512 Calories
28g Fat
31g Carbs
38g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 512
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 13g 63%
Cholesterol 100mg 33%
Sodium 1507mg 66%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 9g 31%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 38g
Vitamin C 39mg 194%
Calcium 384mg 30%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 1151mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)