Easy Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup

This Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup takes classic chicken soup to a spicy, tomatoey new place. Serve with cilantro, lime wedges, and tortillas on the side.

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

This is my mother-in-law’s chicken soup. She is of Mexican descent and her soup is held in high esteem in our household.

As soon as the cold weather arrives, this soup goes into the weekly rotation. We never get tired of having it on the menu!

I’ve simplified and streamlined my mother-in-law’s recipe a bit. She usually starts by poaching a whole chicken and then makes Spanish rice to add to the soup, but in our busy world, it’s nice to be able to get dinner on the table in 20 minutes.

A key component to making this a “quick” dinner is having pre-cooked chicken that you can use for the base. I almost always have some leftover chicken hanging around, and if I don’t, I make sure I do by adding it to my weekly meal prep. I’ll either roast a whole chicken for Sunday supper and set aside some of the meat specifically for this recipe, or I quickly cook a few chicken breasts on their own so they’re ready to go into this soup.

With your chicken already done, you are on easy street. Cook some diced onion in olive oil, add a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, some frozen corn, and a little rice, and stir in some chicken stock. Wait 20 minutes and dinner is ready. You have just enough time to check your email or read that article you’ve been saving.

What elevates this soup from boring to enticing are the garnishes, so don’t leave them out. A squeeze of lime, some cilantro leaves, and a pile of warm tortillas will make you almost as happy as my better half when he smells this soup on the stove.

Mexican Chicken Soup

HOW TO WARM TORTILLAS

I like to serve this soup with warm corn tortillas to dip and nibble between bites. There are two ways you can heat them up:

1 Heat over a gas burner: Turn a gas burner to medium-low. When the burner grate is hot, place a tortilla directly on the grate for about 20 seconds, or until it starts to puff slightly. With tongs, turn it over and let it heat for a few more seconds on the other side. A little charring at the edges adds flavor.

2 Heat in a skillet: Set a dry skillet over medium heat and heat until hot. Lay one tortilla at a time on the hot pan and turn, as above.

Once warmed, wrap the tortillas in a tea towel or cloth napkin to keep them hot at the table and let everyone take tortillas from the pile as they want one.

Easy Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1/3 cup medium- or long-grain white rice (not cooked)
  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (See Recipe Note)
  • Leaves from 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish
  • 1 to 2 limes, quartered, for garnish
  • Corn or flour tortillas, to serve

Method

1 Cook the onion: In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and oregano. Cook, stirring often for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften. Stir in the salt and pepper.

Mexican Chicken Soup

2 Simmer the soup: Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, corn, and rice. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down the heat and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

3 Add the chicken: Add the chicken and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the chicken is hot. Taste, and season with more salt and pepper, if you like.

Mexican Chicken Soup

4 Serve the soup: Ladle the soup into bowls and serve hot with the cilantro and lime wedges on top, and warm tortillas on the side.

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