Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup - with Hearty Chicken, Corn, and Beans

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Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup - with Hearty Chicken, Corn, and Beans

This creamy chicken enchilada soup is inspired by the bold flavors of Mexico.

The soup reminds me of my favorite red enchilada sauce with a spicy tomato base and ancho chile.

Chicken, corn, and beans add substance, while cream and cheese provide dreamy texture.

Serve the soup with all the ingredients laid out on the table and let people choose their garnishes. Now that's festive and fun!

The Enchilada Sauce

The soup base is inspired by a traditional red enchilada sauce, with distinctive dark red ancho chiles. Ancho chiles are dried green poblanos.

It tastes smoky and a bit spicy, but not hot.

For this recipe, I use ground ancho chile powder as a shortcut.

Add the ancho chili powder with a little oregano to the onion and garlic sauté and cook for a minute to let the spices bloom.

Start with 1 tablespoon (light with a bit of a kick) and add more if you like it spicy.

Cream and cheese

The inspiration for this soup comes from enchiladas Suizas (Spanish for Swiss, named for the addition of dairy).

Enchiladas Suizas swim in a green sauce made with tomatillos and lots of cream.

For this recipe, I am using a red sauce with sour cream.

It is important to use heavy cream, not milk or half and half.

The extra fat in the cream prevents the soup from curdling when added to the tart tomatoes.

For a subtle cheese flavor, I add Monterey Jack to the soup.

I also use dairy as a beautiful and flavorful garnish to drizzle over soup.

Crema is another Mexican treat similar to crème fraîche. It is naturally sour and has the consistency of heavy cream.

You can make a substitute by diluting the sour cream with a little milk or sour cream.

To decorate, you can use shredded cotija cheese. It is a cow's milk cheese with a salty punch.


  • Look for canned fire-roasted tomatoes for the base, but don't worry if you can't find them. Even with regular canned whole tomatoes, your soup will still have plenty of flavor.
  • If you can't find cotija cheese to garnish, you can substitute feta or ricotta salata instead.
  • You can up the cheese factor by using sharp cheddar instead of Monterey Jack.

The Decorations (where's the fun)

You can go crazy with the garnishes! Arrange them so that each person decorates their own soup.

I usually start with cilantro, lime wedges (to squeeze into each bowl), homemade cream (to add creaminess), and sliced fresh jalapenos (for my fire-loving friends).

There's always more: chopped white onion, more grated cheese, cotija, sliced avocado, tortilla chips, or warm tortillas.

How to store and reheat enchilada soup

Let the soup cool to room temperature (it's okay if it's a little warm) and refrigerate for up to three days.

While many creamy soups don't freeze well, I found this one to be freezer-friendly.

Freeze up to three months in an airtight container and thaw, stirring constantly, over low heat in a soup pot on the stove.


For soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes with juice, preferably fire-roasted
  • 4 ounces (about 1 full cup) Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups of cooked chicken, shredded
  • 3 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen (no need to thaw)
  • 1 (14.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained

For the cream

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

To decorate

  • coriander leaves
  • thinly sliced jalapenos
  • lemon slices
  • Shredded cotija cheese (or feta)
  • diced avocado
  • hot corn tortillas
  • chopped white onion
  • Grated Monterey Jack Cheese


Cook the onions and spices:

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and golden.

Add the garlic, chili powder, oregano, brown sugar, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Add tomatoes and cheese:

Add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil.

Smash the tomatoes (I use a potato masher, but you can do this with a wooden spoon) and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.

Add the grated cheese.

Blend the soup until smooth:

Carefully pour the soup into the blender.

Cover the blender with a lid and cover the lid with a folded kitchen towel.

Starting on low speed, blend the soup for about 30 seconds.

Gradually increase speed to medium-high and blend for another minute, until soup is smooth.

You may need to blend the soup in batches or use an immersion blender to blend the soup right in the pot.

Add broth and cream:

Return the soup to the pot and place over medium heat.

Add broth, cream, chicken, corn, and beans.

Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt, if desired.

Make the cream:

In a small bowl, mix sour cream and milk or cream until smooth.

The consistency should be fluid, like a thick cream.

Decorate and serve:

Serve the soup in bowls and spoon a dollop of homemade cream over each one.

Arrange the garnishes on the table in small individual bowls and let each person fill the soup to their liking.

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