Chicken Enchilada Soup

Grab a hot bowl of this Chicken Enchilada Soup for lunch (or dinner) today…it’s the perfect way to warm up on these cold winter days!

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Grab a hot bowl of this Chicken Enchilada Soup for lunch (or dinner)'s the perfect way to warm up on these cold winter days!Why is it that the best Mexican restaurants always seem to be the little hole-in-the-wall places that you just have to hear about through the grapevine?  Take my college town of Durham, NC for instance.  There was an awesome Mexican restaurant there.  (In fact, the sign on the wall proudly read “The best Mexican food on the planet.”)  But this place was on the second floor of a building on a side street.  The staircase up is old, wooden, narrow and creaky…and it’s covered in graffiti.  You wouldn’t just wander up there for fun…unless you knew what was waiting for you at the top.

Now I know there are some fancy Mexican restaurants out there, but the vast majority of good Mexican food comes from tiny little hole-in-the-wall restaurants.  Do you agree?

Grab a hot bowl of this Chicken Enchilada Soup for lunch (or dinner)'s the perfect way to warm up on these cold winter days!We were craving some good Mexican food the other day, but the thought of bundling up myself, my wife and the baby in ski coats just didn’t appeal to me.  I can’t imagine why not.  So we did the next best thing and made some delicious Mexican food here at home.  Since it’s bitterly cold out there (see note above about ski coats), I decided a soup was in order.  Enchiladas are one of my go-to meals whenever we go out for Mexican, so I set out on a mission to make Chicken Enchilada Soup.

This soup is crazy good, y’all!  It might look like a lot of ingredients, but other than the chicken + the base of onions and garlic, it’s mostly just canned tomatoes, beans and corn.  And enchilada sauce, of course.  So once you get the chicken and onions done, it’s just dump in a bunch of ingredients.  *simmer* *simmer* *simmer* Soup done.  (And as an added bonus, your house will smell amazing while this soup cooks!)

Grab a hot bowl of this Chicken Enchilada Soup for lunch (or dinner)'s the perfect way to warm up on these cold winter days!Oh, and one more note!  This recipe calls for the addition of masa harina.  Masa harina looks like cornmeal, and it brings that classic enchilada flavor to this soup.  Don’t skip it!  (And don’t substitute cornmeal…they’re not quite the same thing.)  Just make sure to stir well once you add it to the soup or else it will clump together at the bottom.  And no one wants clumped masa harina in their soup.

Grab a hot bowl of this Chicken Enchilada Soup for lunch (or dinner) today…it’s the perfect way to warm up on these cold winter days!

Grab a hot bowl of this Chicken Enchilada Soup for lunch (or dinner)'s the perfect way to warm up on these cold winter days!The best Mexican restaurants are little hole-in-the-wall, off-the-beaten-path type of places.  True or false?

What is your favorite winter soup?

Grab a hot bowl of this Chicken Enchilada Soup for lunch (or dinner)'s the perfect way to warm up on these cold winter days!

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Grab a hot bowl of this Chicken Enchilada Soup for lunch (or dinner) today…it’s the perfect way to warm up on these cold winter days!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 345kcal


For the Chicken

For the Soup

  • 1 medium white onion diced
  • tsp garlic minced
  • 1 cup masa harina
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 10-oz can red enchilada sauce
  • 2 14-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes (not drained)
  • 1 15-oz can corn, drained
  • 1 4-oz can diced green chilies
  • tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • lime juice
  • {Optional Garnishes} chopped fresh cilantro sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips


For the Chicken

  • Combine the paprika, garlic powder and chili powder in a small dish. Rub spice mixture evenly over chicken breasts.
  • Using a large Dutch oven or soup pot, add the olive oil. Place over medium heat and add chicken breasts. Cook for 5-6 minutes, flip and cook for 5-6 minutes more. Remove chicken and set aside.

For the Soup

  • Keeping the Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat, add onions and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes, or until onions begin to soften.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the masa harina with the water.
  • Add remaining ingredients (chicken stock, masa harina mixture, enchilada sauce, black beans, diced tomatoes, corn, chilies, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper) to the soup pot. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil.
  • Using two forks, shred the chicken and add it to the pot.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes. (Tip: Stir soup occasionally to ensure bottom doesn’t burn!)
  • Garnish with lime juice and other favorite toppings before serving.



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    1. That’s a good point, Kathy! I guess it only takes one, though…and then word of mouth takes over from there. I hope you (and the chickens) are staying warm!! 🙂

  1. I need to learn about masa harina. One of the perks of living in CA, you can find Mexican restaurant almost anywhere. From fancy to real authentic. And now I’m craving for some chicken enchilada soup. Yum!

    1. That’s totally true…I bet you guys have some awesome Mexican places out there. We have Mexican places out here, but the good ones are few and far between. But now I’m craving Mexican food like crazy! 🙂

    1. I may or may not have just polished off the leftovers yesterday, Gaila. Oops! But we can always make another batch…it’s cold out there, and cold weather requires comforting soups. 🙂

  2. Heck yeah, I most definitely do agree, the best Mexican restaurants are little podunk, hole-in-the-wall, places! When Lil Shashi and I were in San Diego – we had THE BESTEST Mexican food at little places where the menu was written in chalk and no one seemed to know a lick of English!
    Speaking of THE BESTEST – Dude – I love soups that have a ton of ingredients becasue that usuall means TONS of flavor and boyoboy does this have some serious layers of flavor! I just Googled masa harina – aparently some brands are gluten free – think I might have to pick some up to try this soon!

    1. Haha! What is it about restaurants where no-one speaks English? They often have some of the best food! Laura and I had the best pizza we’ve ever eaten at a place in Assisi where we had to pretty much communicate via sign language and pointing. Best pizza ever! Yeah, give this soup a shot, Shashi! Masa harina is pretty much just ground corn, so it should be gluten-free. And it’s a must for this soup…it really brings that classic enchilada flavor!

  3. I totally agree with you man, what good Mexican food comes out of hidden hole-in-the-wall restaurants or odd-looking trucks; only a few know about.
    Precious jewels, that’s what they are!
    Speaking of jewels, this soup looks really awesome. And with all those spices I’m sure it packs some serious flavor punch. Great job my friend!
    #SopaDeManadaDeLobos (or #WolfpackSoup)

    1. Oh yeah! Odd-looking trucks. I totally forgot about those…hole-in-the-wall places or odd trucks = best Mexican food ever. (On a random side note, I’m totally jealous of all the incredible food trucks you guys have down in the city.) I had no idea you spoke Spanish, Mike. You’re a man of many talents!

    1. Ah yes, that is totally true, Rachelle! BBQ and Mexican are both required to come from hole-in-the-wall places. Hope you’re staying warm down there! I was watching SportsCenter yesterday, and they were talking about the nasty weather moving into the Charlotte area. Make some soup and stay indoors! 🙂

  4. Hi David! This is just what I need today – we have 8″ of snow on the ground (it just started this morning) and it’s still coming down! This is just wrong!! This soup is just right!! Our favorite Mexican place in MI was in an old house on a side street, no sign and no ordering – you called to see if Mama Orta had room for you and you ate whatever it was that she cooked that day and it was BYOB! Perfect in all ways!

    1. 8″ + some? Dorothy! You’ve now officially gotten more snow in one day than we’ve had all year up here. That feels backwards! But that much snow just requires some good, comforting soup and a fire in the fireplace. I love the story about your favorite Mexican place, too. You just showed up and ate whatever Mama was cooking that day. That is amazing!! 🙂 Hope you guys aren’t too snowed in down there!

  5. This soup looks amazing and chicken enchiladas are my favorite! My favorite mexican restaurant is a tiny place in Fallbrook, CA where I grew up and I’ve never found anything as good since. Can’t wait to try this at home and have delicious mexican food at home!

    1. Thank you so much, Aimee! I agree with ya. I’ve been looking for a Mexican food place like the one back in Durham, NC but I haven’t found anything that even comes close. This soup is definitely a favorite around here, though…especially on these cold winter days!

    1. Yeah, we don’t have many Mexican restaurants in our area, either, Johlene. Plenty of delicious Italian places, but sometimes you just want good Mexican food. This soup is totally delicious, though…and perfect for a cold winter day! 🙂

  6. Diggin’ the masa harina in this one, great idea! I sometimes throw in a handful of tortilla chips and puree for that corn flava. It’s true, too , about the hole in th ewalls, especially down here in San Diego. I mean I’m near the border but its too much of a hassle to cross over. I hear Tijuana is BOOMING with a new hip restaurant scene, so might have to head down soon with friends We have two spot we regularly hit up here, the rest are too Americanized gringo Mexican food for me.I can make better myself. #WolfpackChilies

    1. Good call on the tortilla chips, Kevin! That would definitely work in a pinch. I can only imagine all of the awesome Mexican places you guys have out there in San Diego. And I’m jealous. Good Mexican food is hard to find way up here in upstate New York. (We’ve got Italian covered, but Mexican is lacking.) Yeah, I can also see that some of the Americanized Mexican places aren’t all that great, and you’d rather just make it at home. Hope your week is going well, my Wolfpack friend!

  7. Oh I totally stand by the fact that the best Mexican restaurants are the ones that look really dodgy from the outside. If it doesn’t look questionable, then it’s just not worth going in haha.
    I love enchilada soup, as it combines my love of Mexican food and soup!

    1. Haha! I’m with ya, Dannii! If it’s bright, well-lit and well-advertised, then don’t go in. 🙂 Hope you guys are staying warm over there. Whip up a batch of this enchilada soup and turn on a good movie tonight!

    1. Thanks so much, Olivia! We just finished the leftovers of this soup the other day, but I’m already ready for another batch. Stay warm! 🙂

    1. A gas station?? Now that one surprises me a bit, but I’ll take your word on it. Gas station tacos for lunch today! 🙂 Stay warm this weekend…and enjoy the snow!

    1. Oh man, I could totally go for some fajitas right about now, Kennedy! Fajitas are one of my favorite Mexican foods. But this soup is right up there at the top of the list, too. It’s perfect for these cold winter days! 🙂

  8. Man, I can almost smell that soup! And it is so cold outside! I do she with you: cold weather calls for soup. I’ve got some leftover cornbread in the fridge that I think this soup would be perfect for.

    1. Cornbread is a must for soup. Soup without cornbread is like Jekyll without Hyde. Or Scooby without Shaggy. Same thing. Have a great weekend, Jeff…and stay warm!

  9. The best Mexican restaurants are always in small, strange places, the smaller, the better, sometimes. This soup is perfect for these cold winter months, it looks scrumptious.

    1. I totally agree with you, Mary! It’s almost like I want to go out looking for the smallest Mexican place ever…that’s how you know it will be good. And yes, this soup is perfect for a cold, winter day! Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting!

  10. I cannot say that I know well the mexican restaurants. But talking about hole-in-the-wall places, I think it could be relevant to many other restaurants. I bet we all have a story when in a wierdly looking from the outside and inside (and sometimes even looking scary) place the most delicious food was served. Not fancy, but delicious and hearty. And believe me, If you were the owner of such a place, I would definitely stop by once in a while to have this delish soup. Wait. Why would I do that if you were the owner, right? I would gladly accept some food parcels from you once in a while:)

    1. You’re right, Ben. The food from hole in the wall places is most definitely not fancy…but more often than not, it’s crazy delicious! Like better than the stuff from fancy restaurants. Maybe I’ll pack up some of this soup in an envelope this weekend and send it your way. 😛

  11. Haha, love that “The best Mexican food on the planet” sign. To the point! It’s hard to keep good food a secret in NYC, so often those hole in the wall places are just as popular as the fancy ones!

    Loving this soup, need to add it to my Winter list!

    1. Yeah that’s a good point, Pamela. You guys have some of the best food ever down there in the city. But as soon as folks discover a place, it’s probably impossible to get in then. The blessing and curse of NYC! Definitely put this soup on your winter list, though…it’s a keeper! 🙂

  12. Dude, that is so true- Every Mexican recommendation has been for places which are hole in the wall or ones you’d never expect!!! I’ve never tried a soup at one before but you’ve got me completely intrigued- This looks amazing!

    1. Tell me about it! It almost makes me want to avoid Mexican places that are large and have bright lighting. Haha! Hope you had a great weekend, mate!

    1. Yeah, I don’t think we have any truly great Mexican places here in upstate NY either. Decent places, but nothing amazing. That just means we’ll have to make our own Mexican food at home, right, Dawn? 🙂

  13. Well, I’m in the Caribbean and it’s never cold, but I love tortilla soup. This does look really good, and amazing that in my little cornwr of the world, I think we have masa harina here. It must be good in Indian cooking also. I need to make this before it gets too hot for soup.

    1. I’m totally jealous of your Caribbean digs right now, Cathy! 🙂 It might not be soup season down there, but maybe you can just pretend? Hopefully you can find masa harina (corn flour) down there because that’s what really makes this soup taste like enchiladas! Stay warm…or cool…down there!

  14. I could really use a bowl of this soup right now!!! I love Mexican food and I agree with you it’s the smaller, non-chain restaurants that are the best. I just had Mexican food from my favorite spot yesterday. It was sooooo good!

    1. Heck yeah to Mexican food, Tamara! We all have that favorite hole-in-the-wall place for Mexican food…too bad mine is down in Durham, NC. That’s a bit of a drive to get dinner tonight. Haha! 🙂

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