Southwest Chicken Soup

Looking for a spicy, nourishing and comforting soup that will transport you, at least in your imagination, to warm climes of the southwest? Look no further than this Southwest Chicken Soup. Given our pandemic-related travel prohibitions, taking a trip somewhere sunny and warm through your soup bowl is definitely the way to go.

Southwest Chicken Soup

I enjoy soup any day of the year, and often make it when I’m staying at the lake in the summer, but there’s nothing like a bowl of piping hot, spicy soup on a cold winter’s day.

Most soups are a canvas for whatever flavour profile you desire, and this one is no exception. Using the seasonings and flavours of the southwest, like oregano, cumin, chili, lime and cilantro, a bowl of this will transport you to warmer climes. And let’s face it, given our pandemic-related travel restrictions right now, it’s the only way to travel.

Slow Soup, Fast Soup: It’s Your Choice

I went all pioneer when I first came up with this soup in 2014, starting with an actual whole chicken that I simmered, resulting in both chicken stock and meat for the soup. But that’s not necessary. You could use a purchased stock and poach some chicken pieces for this purpose or, better yet, use leftover chicken from the previous night’s dinner if you’re the efficient, planning-ahead type. And hey, don’t forget the option of picking up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store on your way home from work. It’s all good.

Regardless of which approach you take, this Southwest Chicken Soup is spicy, nourishing and comforting. Just the thing to enjoy while I watch the fat snowflakes lazily dancing down to join their counterparts blanketing the ground.

Let’s Get the Soup Pot On

Southwest Chicken Soup
When I made this soup I had flat-leaf parsley but not cilantro. I think cilantro would fit the flavour profile better. Use one or the other, or both; after all, you’re in charge of your own soup!
Category: Soup
Keyword: southwest chicken soup
Servings: 6 servings
Author: © Marlene Cornelis/ 2014–2021
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 4 stalks celery diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1-1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes (or to taste)
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1-1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken (white and/or dark meat; it's your choice)
  • handful flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
  • juice of 1 lime
How To Make This Recipe
  1. Heat the oil over medium high heat in a Dutch oven, then tumble in the celery, carrot, onion and garlic. Cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Let the vegetables soften but not brown. Stir in all the seasonings, and let it all get happy for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken stock and cooked chicken. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn to a simmer for about 30 minutes.
  2. After 20 minutes, taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. When the 30 minutes is up,  stir in the parsley and lime juice. Start with a tablespoon of lime juice, and taste to see if you need the rest to brighten and lift the flavours of the soup. (Remember, it's easier to add more than to try to correct the taste if you've overdone it!)

  3. To serve, garnish with the reserved chopped cilantro or parsley.

Looking for More Flavours of the Southwest?

If you enjoy the earthy, spicy flavours of the southwest like I do, here are a few more dishes for you. The first is a Tex-Mex Taco Salad, using Jill Wilcox‘s recipe with permission. The second is a crunchy and fresh Southwest Shaved Cauliflower Salad. And finally, here’s another soup to warm you up on a cold day: Grilled Corn Soup.

First Published 2014 05 13
Republished 2021 02 16


  1. This soup looks heavenly and perfect for a cold…hope you feel better Marlene! Hope too you are enjoying some lovely, warm spring days at last. The sun is shining here in Britain so there is hope… 🙂

    • Thank you, Sherri! I am feeling better, thank you, but it’s now Day 12 (yes, sadly I’m counting) and I’m still not back to my usual self. As it turns out, I’ve had bronchitis. The weather has been largely unsettled while I’ve been ill, so I don’t feel like I’ve missed too much outdoors, but the English ivy isn’t removing itself from the garden all on its own! I need to pull up a large bed of it so we can put in a shade garden (hostas, ferns and the like). I hope to be back to my usual (full!) schedule of activities soon, including regular blogging!

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