Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Soup

I combined my chicken tinga tostadas and Tex-Mex rice into a soup! Thank-you Mom. Sometimes you give me the best ideas.

Tender cubes of chicken, rice and corn swimming in a mildly spiced broth with confetti-sized pieces of onion, red bell pepper, black olives and salsa. I chopped everything smaller than usual including the chicken so you can’t help but get a little of each thing in every single spoonful.

I like to finish it off with a handful of cheddar cheese and tortilla chips for crunch.

This is mildly spiced with chile powder, oregano and thyme and dependant on what type of salsa you add. I use mild. You can make it hotter by adding cayenne, a tablespoon of chipotle peppers in adobo or a fresh red pepper or two. If you go the spicy-hot route you may also want to add a squeeze of lime at the end.

The rice soaks up a lot of the broth as it sits so if you’re not planning to eat most of it right away you can cook the rice on the side and add it to your individual bowls. I prefer to cook my rice right in the soup that way it can absorb all the wonderful flavors. You can mix a bit of water or more broth into it if it thickens too much.

Soup is one of the most deliciously satisfying things in the entire world! I’m happy to say I officially turned my family into soup lovers. Soup lovers who, like me, hate canned soup now. Once you get used to eating homemade it’s hard to go back to the canned variety. You get spoiled and it just doesn’t taste the same.

Almost every time I make a new soup my Mom claims it’s the best I ever made. I love that.

This soup? It’s making a second appearance in my house in less than a week. Maybe I’ve convinced you to make it too. I hope so.

Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Soup

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Soup

Tender cubes of chicken, rice and corn swimming in a mildly spiced, tomato-infused broth with confetti-sized pieces of onion, red bell pepper, black olives and salsa.


3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
1 small onion, diced
1 red or green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup finely chopped black olives
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 + 1/2 teaspoons chile powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano(preferably Mexican), crushed between fingertips
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup uncooked long or medium-grain white rice, rinsed well in a wire strainer with cold water
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup salsa
2/3 cup fresh or frozen corn
for serving:
fresh chopped cilantro
lime wedges
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
sour cream
tortilla chips


  1. In a large soup pot heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Season the chicken well and cook, stirring often so all sides get browned. Remove to a dish and set aside.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot over medium-low heat and saute the onion, pepper, garlic and olives together 5 minutes, season well with salt and pepper and stir often.
  3. Mix in the chile powder, oregano, thyme and rice, cook 3 minutes.
  4. Stir the chicken back into the pot and add the broth, salsa and corn. Bring to a simmer and cook 30 minutes. Stir and taste often - seasoning as needed.
  5. Serve with toppings like cilantro, cheese, sour cream, lime and tortilla chips if desired.


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  1. Kim says

    I made this tonight and it was very tasty. Great flavor meld. Definitely use the low-sodium broth. I only had full-sodium… it was still good, but a little too sodiumy. Also, I am a novice, it took me closer to double the prep time. I think I would leave out the olives next time just to knock off some time. Or just eat them whole as I’m cooking.

    • Kim says

      This is really a delicious soup. We had it last night, 2 days later as leftovers, and of course it was even better. I added some water and a little more chili powder and oregano to cut down the salt from the salted broth. And realized next time, I will throw the olives in the food processor with the onions. I really like step 3… seasoning the vegetables and rice before adding the liquid. Very cool!

      • says

        Thanks for making the soup Kim! You really have to be careful of how much salt
        you add because the olives add a lot of salty flavor and the salsa has salt in it too.
        If you found the broth too salty for your taste you could swap a cup or two of it out
        for water and the soup should still turn fine. Thanks again! Have a good weekend!

  2. says

    This sounds fantastic! I’ve been making more soups lately (my husband used to consider soups “a perfectly good meal that someone threw water on”, but he has come around since I’ve been cooking for him!) and this one looks like a great one to try!

    • says

      That is so funny about your husband Ashley! I never heard soup described quite like that!
      I’m glad he’s come around to them!

  3. says

    My husband loves tortilla soup and this looks like a tasty variation on that. I am going to give it a try this week. Do you have a favorite brand of salsa that you use? I keep trying different brands of jar salsa but haven’t found one I really like.

    • says

      Have you tried Rick Bayless Frontera Salsas? They’re a little pricey but I really like them. I also like. . . I think it’s the tostitos one? I’ll check and let you know for sure. I just bought a new brand too I never tried I’ll let you know how that is too.

  4. says

    I’m pretty crazy for soup– I think this one would be super amazing with beans subbed in for chicken, because that’s how I roll. Also, didn’t know there was Mexican Oregano? (or different kinds of oregano in general, actually!)

    • says

      Hi Kelly! You can find the Mexican oregano in the market near the Spanish/taco section – usually there is a small display with bags of spices and chiles.

  5. says

    This looks like my kind of satisfying meal on its own…a great way to eat rice as I don’t like rice much for their lack of taste. The soup would make them very flavorful and delicious!

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