Easy Southwestern Chicken Soup

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Southwestern Chicken Soup uses pantry ingredients for a quick and satisfying meal that’s incredibly easy to make.

» You might also like this Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo or Quick Green Enchilada Chicken Soup.

southwestern chicken soup

If you have an Instant Pot, this soup is even faster and easier to make than ever. You can pour the ingredients into the pot, set it and forget it, and it’s done in just 20 minutes.

I like to make a large batch of this soup and wild rice and chicken soup, and save the leftovers for lunches. You can also freeze the leftovers to pull out whenever you need it, which saves even more time.

For anyone who has plenty of pantry staples, like beans and canned corn, this is a go-to soup that is in both filling and delicious.

▶ See our best comfort food recipes.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Chicken – You can use boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs. I like to use thighs because they don’t get dry during cooking and they have more flavor. Cube the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  • Chicken broth – You can use a boxed chicken broth, or mix water with a cube of chicken bouillon.
  • Diced tomatoes – You’ll need one can of diced tomatoes for the sauce. Using diced canned tomatoes instead of crushed gives the soup more texture.
  • Black beans and pinto beans – You can choose whatever beans you want to use in this recipe, though black beans, pinto beans, and white or northern beans are the best because of their texture. If you only have a jar of kidney beans, don’t let that hold you back. It’ll turn out just as good.
  • Corn – You can use canned corn or frozen.
  • Spices and Seasoning – Chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

What Type of Beans to Use

3 kinds of dried beans

You can choose whatever beans you want to use in this recipe, though black beans, pinto beans, and white or northern beans are the best because of their texture. If you only have a jar of kidney beans, don’t let that hold you back. It’ll turn out just as good.

If you’re using the Instant Pot, you can even use dried beans for this recipe. Did you know that it only takes about 30 minutes to cook dried beans in the Instant Pot? There’s no need to soak them beforehand. Just add the dried beans to the Instant Pot with the correct amount of water, according to the package and cook for 30 minutes on high pressure.

Once you’ve cooked the beans, you can proceed with this recipe, using the beans you just cooked as a substitute for the canned beans.

>> Do you know beans are quite healthy for you? Read about the benefits of eating beans.

How to Make Southwestern Chicken Soup

On the Stove Top

I make this soup most often in the Instant Pot, but you can make it on the stove top if that’s more convenient for you. The Instant Pot has the benefit of being super fast. But it only takes 30 minutes to make this on the stove top. For more depth of flavor in less time, the Instant Pot can’t be beat.

Combine all of the ingredients in a stock pot on the stove top and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 30 minutes on medium heat, stirring now and then.

Remove the chicken from the pot and shred it, then return it to the pot and mix in with the soup.

Southwestern Chicken Soup

In the Instant Pot

Combine all of the ingredients in the Instant Pot. Lock the lid and set the vent to sealing. Press the pressure cook button and set the time to 8 minutes. 

Allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure. Remove the chicken from the pot and shred it, then return it to the pot and mix in with the soup.

>> Learn more about the Instant Pot. If you have an Instant Pot, you know how quick the process is. If you don’t yet have an Instant Pot, look over this post to see the benefits and reasons I think it’s the best tool in my kitchen.

Why Use An Instant Pot

Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.

If you don’t have one yet, check out our guide on which one to buy. You can also check out our Instant Pot page for more information.

Tips and Notes

  • You can add the chicken breast from frozen, but you’ll need to increase the cook time to 50 minutes on the stovetop and 12 minutes in the Instant Pot.
  • Use whatever beans you like or have on hand, it doesn’t strictly have to be black and pinto. You can also use dried beans, but you’ll need to increase the water by double or more.
  • Garnish the soup with avocado, sour cream, cheese, and/or tortilla chips, if desired.

Can This Soup Be Frozen?

Yes, you can freeze this soup and use it later. That makes it easy to make a big batch and freeze for later meals. Freeze individual servings in the freezer for up to 2 months.

To reheat it, just put the frozen soup in a soup pot over medium heat and bring it up to temperature. It takes about 15 minutes.

Like this recipe? Here are a few other soups to try:

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Southwestern Chicken Soup

Southwestern Chicken Soup

A quick and easy chicken soup using pantry staples to make a satisfying and delicious meal.
4.67 from 36 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 326kcal
Author: Laura Lynch

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 14 ounces can diced tomatoes
  • 14 ounces can of black beans rinsed
  • 14 ounces can of pinto beans rinsed
  • 10 ounces can of corn drained
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a stock pot on the stove top, or in an Instant Pot.
  • Cover the pot with lid. Cook for 30 minutes on medium heat on the stove top. If cooking in the Instant Pot, set to high pressure for 8 minutes, then allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot and shred it, then return it to the pot and mix in with the soup.

Notes

  • You can add the chicken breast from frozen, but you’ll need to increase the cook time to 50 minutes on the stovetop and 12 minutes in the Instant Pot.
  • Use whatever beans you like or have on hand, it doesn’t strictly have to be black and pinto. You can also use dried beans, but you’ll need to increase the water by double or more.
  • Garnish the soup with avocado, sour cream, cheese, and/or tortilla chips, if desired.
  • Soup can be frozen.

Nutrition

Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 331mg | Potassium: 909mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 350IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 4mg

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