Let's get extra cozy with this Instant Pot chicken enchilada soup! Filled with tender shredded chicken and a mix of beans and hearty corn, this Tex-Mex soup features an ultra rich broth with the perfect punch of chile spice. Serve with your favorite toppings and you're in for one crowd-pleasing soup.
Why You Need to Make This Recipe
Good news! You’ll never need another chicken enchilada soup recipe again. This soup is as flavorful and easy as it gets.
Most recipes use canned enchilada sauce and boneless white chicken meat. While those make a nice soup, we can do even better and give this dish a huge flavor boost by making our own enchilada sauce first and using bone-in chicken thighs. The homemade sauce adds a deeper spice layer while the bone-in chicken thighs give the broth a wonderful richness that really makes this recipe special.
Plus, even with the homemade enchilada sauce, the Instant Pot makes this spicy chicken soup recipe so simple. Everything cooks in one appliance for your convenience, which makes it great for easy entertaining. You will want to make this spicy chicken soup for your friends and family again and again -- and they will thank you for it.
Let’s get to it. Here are our Instant Pot chicken enchilada soup ingredients.
- Canola oil: For cooking our chicken and making our enchilada sauce.
- Bone-in chicken thighs: As mentioned, the bones give us the best flavor.
- All-purpose flour: To help thicken our enchilada sauce.
- Spices and seasonings: This includes a blend of chili powder, cocoa powder, cayenne, cumin, Mexican oregano, cumin, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
- Onion and garlic: For another layer of savory flavor.
- Tomato sauce: This is the base of our enchilada sauce.
- Chicken stock: Because it’s not soup without stock.
- Mix-ins: We use a mixture of pinto and black beans, corn, and Rotel, which is a blend of tomatoes and green chiles.
- Fresh lime juice and cilantro: To liven up those warm spices.
- Desired toppings: Feel free to get creative but I love cheese, sour cream, fried tortilla strips, avocado and red onion.
With our ingredients prepared, we're ready to start on our soup. We begin by adding some oil to the Instant Pot, turning it to the Sauté function and cooking our chicken on both sides. Because of the amount of chicken, we take care of this step in two batches.
Now we remove the chicken and add more oil with flour to make a roux. While this sounds fancy, it's an easy process. We simply whisk together oil and flour to make a paste.
Once we create the roux, we stir in our seasonings like so.
This is the beginning of our homemade enchilada sauce. Now we add the onions and garlic and cook until softened.
Once our onions are nice and soft, we pour in our chicken stock and tomato sauce as well as add the chicken back to the Instant Pot. We cover the pot, seal the valve and turn the pressure cooker to the Manual function and set the timer for 13 minutes.
If you're new to Instant Pot cooking, the appliance will first need to come to pressure before the timer starts. So no need to panic when the timer doesn't start immediately.
After the 13 minutes are up, we let the Instant Pot naturally release for 10 minutes and then do a quick release. A natural release simply means letting the Instant Pot depressurize on its own. We don't have to touch any buttons. The Instant Pot will start a new timer during this process.
After the new timer hits 10 minutes during the natural release, we push the valve to the side for the quick release. When cooking meats, it’s generally best to first do a natural release.
Now we remove the chicken and give it a few minutes to cool. In the meantime, we turn on the Sauté function again and add the beans, corn and Rotel tomatoes and allow to heat through. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, we shred it off the bones and add back to the pot. We now add some fresh lime juice and cilantro, and we’re ready to dig in.
Can You Make This on the Stove-Top?
You sure can. While you're probably here for the pressure cooker recipe, it's helpful to have a backup plan in case your Instant Pot acts up one day.
Basically, we'd cook everything in a stock pot on the stove over medium heat in the same way we cook the soup in the Instant Pot on the Sauté function. But rather than sealing the lid to cook the chicken, we'd bring the soup to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. We'd then shred the chicken and add the mix-ins just like we would in the pressure cooker recipe.
Can You Make Ahead?
Absolutely! Heck, you may even prefer this because it gives the flavors time to meld and intensify in the refrigerator. When it comes to a spicy soup or stew, I generally like to make it ahead of time for this exact reason.
This also means entertaining is a breeze when you can make this soup well in advance. As long as you store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it should last four to five days.
Can You Freeze?
You bet. This soup freezes beautifully when kept in a freezer-safe container. For best quality, try to consume it within three months, though I've certainly enjoyed frozen soup past that and it's still tasty.
Expert Tips and FAQs
- Want to make a creamy Instant Pot chicken enchilada soup? Add a cup of heavy cream right before you stir in the lime juice and cilantro.
- Of course, spice heat is subjective, but I’d say this a medium-heat soup. If you want to intensify the heat, add more cayenne pepper or serve with fresh jalapeños. Or if you need to tame the spice, dilute with more broth or add some cream. Dairy helps calm spice levels.
- While I recommend using bone-in chicken thighs for best flavor, if you’re in a time crunch, you can cook the broth and then stir in shredded rotisserie chicken from the grocery store with the mix-ins.
- This recipe was tested in a 6-quart Instant Pot for reference.
Love a little heat? An IPA is for you. The hops will intensify the spice, but we also get some sweet malt for balance. If you're sensitive to spice, a pilsner is another option and will keep your palate refreshed.
Feeling wine? A Tempranillo is great. This red wine is great with spicy food, and with its medium body, it holds up well to the hearty beans and richer dark meat. We also get a punch of fruit to counter the chili powder as well as some acidity to cut through the rich broth.
And, of course, we are talking a Tex-Mex soup here, so you can't go wrong with a margarita. I like to think of Burrata and Bubbles as your one-stop margarita headquarters with plenty of options. Some of my favorites include this fresh cherry margarita, strawberry-kiwi margarita, blood orange margarita, Cara Cara margarita and classic margarita -- just to name a few.
For one cozy, comforting meal, I hope you try this Instant Pot chicken enchilada soup. I have no doubt you'll love it as much as I do.
Need More Cozy Soups and Stews?
- Creamy white chicken chili
- Shrimp and crab gumbo
- Herbed summer lobster and corn chowder
- Instant Pot red beans and rice
- Colorado-style pork green chile
Instant Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Instant Pot or pressure cooker
- ¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon canola oil divided
- Salt and pepper
- 8 bone-in chicken thighs skin removed
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced or grated
- ¼ cup chili powder medium heat
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 15-ounce tomato sauce can
- 1 15-ounce black beans can drained
- 1 15-ounce pinto beans can drained
- 1 10-ounce Rotel tomatoes and green chiles can
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 lime juiced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Desired toppings optional
- Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in Instant Pot on the Saute function. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken. Cook four chicken thighs until browned and then flip and brown on the other side, about four minutes per side. Remove from Instant Pot. Repeat with the other four chicken thighs and remove from the Instant Pot.
- Pour in the remaining ¼ cup canola oil and whisk in flour to make a paste. Continue to whisk for about two to three minutes to cook the flour. Then whisk in the chili powder, cocoa powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and cloves.
- Stir in the onions to coat with the spices and cook until softened, stirring every now and then, about four minutes. Add the garlic to the onion and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Stir in about 1 cup chicken stock. It doesn't have to be exact. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pot. Then, stir in the rest of the chicken stock and tomato sauce. Continue to stir until it smooths.
- Add the chicken back to the Instant Pot. Place the lid on top and seal. Turn to the Manual function and cook for 13 minutes. When the time is up, allow to naturally release for 10 minutes, and then turn the valve to quick release the rest of the pressure.
- Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and allow to cool for a couple minutes. Meanwhile, hit Cancel and then turn the Saute function back on. Stir in the black beans, pinto beans, Rotel and frozen corn.
- As the mix-ins heat through and after the chicken has had a chance to cool, use two forks to shred the chicken. Discard the bones. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup. Turn off the Instant Pot and stir in fresh lime juice and cilantro. Serve with desired toppings. Enjoy!
- For full tips, please see blog post.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.