This spicy chicken soup made with fresh lime juice, salsa verde, and easy frozen veggies is a true winner! It not only tastes great but it cooks up in the slow cooker and requires very little active time! You can also easily make it into a pantry meal with one easy swap!
Recipe: $5.14 ($3.79 w/o chicken) | Per Serving: $0.86 | Yield: 6
This soup has tons of flavor thanks to fresh lime, salsa verde, and some jalapeños. It has chicken tortilla soup-meets-chile verde vibes.
This recipe was originally posted in January of 2015 and was inspired by Pinch of Yum's Jalapeño Lime Chicken Soup. I've reduced the chicken (#budgetfriendly), added vegetables (#nutritionist), and adapted it for the slow cooker.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- An easy soup recipe that uses pantry and freezer ingredients.
- A healthy chicken soup that tastes amazing!
- Almost completely hands-free cooking! The crockpot does nearly all the work.
- Nutrient-dense recipe with plenty of greens!
Spicy Mexican Chicken Soup is made using simple ingredients that you may already have in the kitchen or can easily grab at any grocery store. Here's what you need:
- Chicken: Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for more flavor (and less effort). Chicken breasts will work too, but be sure to shred them into really small pieces with two forks to help them rehydrate after cooking.
- Broth: Make spicy chicken soup with homemade slow cooker chicken bone broth or vegetable broth. You can also buy some at the store but I recommend choosing low-sodium.
- White beans: Cook from one cup dry or use two cans. You can use any small white beans such as cannellini beans, northern beans, or navy beans.
- Jalapeños: Adding in some fresh jalapeños gives the soup a bit more spiciness.
- Salsa verde: This green salsa is usually made from tomatillos and has a bright, almost citrusy flavor that brings great flavor to the soup.
- Lime juice: Use fresh! You won't regret it.
- Frozen spinach: Frozen spinach makes an easy addition to soups.
- Corn tortillas: Baked in the oven to make crispy tortilla strips to add to the top of the soup.
Substitutions and Variations
- Jalapeño: Swap the fresh jalapeño for pickled jalapeño from a jar or red pepper flakes to make this spicy chicken soup a complete pantry recipe.
- No chicken? You can leave it out and add extra beans. It's also a great soup to add leftover shredded pork or chicken. Add full cooked proteins it to the pot in the last hour of cooking.
- Use bone-in chicken: It works great too and increases the glycine and glutamine content in the soup. Be sure to remove the bones before serving.
- Less spicy: Reduce the amount of jalapeños by half or leave them out completely.
- Frozen spinach: You can also use frozen kale or fresh greens.
How to Make Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup
This easy slow cooker soup recipe takes just minutes to get everything into the pot to cook. Here's what you need to do.
- Place the chicken thighs in the bottom of the slow cooker in a single layer. Sprinkle the tops with a little salt and add the white beans on top.
- Add the onions, garlic, and jalapenos to the slow cooker. Followed by the salsa verde.
- Add the broth, water, and lime juice.
- Cook on low until the chicken is tender and has an internal temperature of 165° F. Remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool slightly.
- Add the frozen spinach to the slow cooker.
- Shred the chicken. You can do this easily with two forks or with the paddle attachment on your stand mixer.
- Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker. Continue to cook until the spinach is heated all the way through. Give it a taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Slice the tortillas into small, thin strips and toss with oil and a sprinkle of salt. Spread them out onto a baking tray.
- Bake until crispy.
How to Serve Spicy Chicken Vegetable Soup
This soup is really really good but here are some ways to make it even better!
- Toppings: I really love the crispy tortilla strips on top! Chopped cilantro adds fresh herby flavor and some cotija or feta cheese is another great addition. Be sure to serve with lime wedges for those of us who love citrus!
- Pickled Carrots & Jalapeños: make Mexican-style quick pickled carrots to add as a tangy topping.
- Starchy side: Serve up some cassava flour tortillas, cornbread, or tortilla chips on the side.
Expert Tips and FAQs
- Store in the fridge for up to five days or in the freezer for up to three months.
- Freeze leftovers in portions. I like to divide up the soup into portions so I can grab exactly what I need to heat up for one meal.
- Place the chicken on the bottom of the slow cooker. The order of the rest of the ingredients isn't as important but the chicken will cook better on the bottom, closer to the heating element.
- Adjust the seasoning and spiciness of the soup to your own tastes!
- Cook on low if you have time for the most tender easy-to-shred chicken.
- To prevent mushy beans, use salted cooked beans or canned beans.
If you haven't already made the soup, you can use a few jalapeños. Also, make sure to remove the membrane and seeds from any jalapeños you use. If the soup is already cooked and it's too spicy, add in some more lime juice. The acid in the juice will help cut through some of the spicy flavors.
You can also add in another can of (drained) beans to dilute the spiciness if needed.
For Vegetarian: Omit the chicken, increase the white beans.
For Paleo: Omit the white beans and increase the chicken.
More Soup Recipes
Did you like this recipe? If so, please take a moment and give it a 5-Star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and leave a comment further below! Don't forget to follow me on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest for more delicious recipes!
Spicy Chicken Soup with Salsa Verde (Slow Cooker)
Spicy Chicken Soup
- ½ medium onion 1 cup minced
- 2-3 jalapeños minced
- 2 cloves fresh garlic minced
- ½ pound 250g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Pinch of salt
- 3 cups white beans cooked (canned & drained, or from 1 cup dry)
- 12 ounces salsa verde about 1 cup
- 2 cups chicken bone broth or vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- juice from 2 limes + 1 lime for garnish
- 12 ounces frozen chopped spinach
- More salt to taste
- Optional: cilantro for garnish
Crispy Tortilla Strips
- 2 corn tortillas
- 2 teaspoons oil for brushing avocado, coconut, ghee, olive, etc.
Make the Soup
- Mince the onion, jalapeño, and garlic.
- Add the chicken thighs to the bottom of the slow cooker, sprinkle with a little salt.
- Add remaining ingredients - white beans, veggies, salsa verde, chicken broth, water, and juice from 2 limes.
- Cook on LOW for 5-8 hours or on HIGH for 3 hours, or until the chicken reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165ºF.
- About 30 minutes before serving time, remove the chicken and add the frozen spinach (if using). You want the spinach to warm through completely.
- Shred the chicken with two forks (you can also easily shred this in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment), and then return to the slow cooker.
- Season soup to taste with any additional salt.
For Crispy Tortilla Strips
- Slice tortillas into small, thin strips, about ¼ inch wide by 1 inch long. Toss with 1-2 teaspoons of oil and a sprinkle of salt. Spread out onto a baking tray.
- Bake on 400ºF for about 8-10 minutes or until crispy.