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. Emma says

    This is a staple in our house! My family practically counts down the days when they see it on the weekly menu. We’ve been using fideo noodles (found in the Hispanic aisle) instead of rice and it works just as well. In fact, we’re having this tonight because someone isn’t feeling well. Thanks for the recipe!

    • says

      Thank you Emma!! Great idea to use fideos instead of rice! I’ll have to try your version next time I make it! I’m glad it’s a big hit with your family! :-)

  2. Kelsey says

    Have you made this recipe with rice that has already been cooked? If so, did it turn out okay and how many cups of cooked rice would you use? Thanks!

  3. Elli D. says

    i really want to make it today.
    You left out when you would add the uncooked rice? Probably along with the chicken brooth and salsa?

    • says

      Hi Elli! It’s in step #3! You add it with the spices and toast it a little before adding the broth and salsa – it gives it more flavor that way. Enjoy!

      • Elli D. says

        How embarrassing! I can’t believe I didn’t see it in step 3,
        Thank you for the fast reply.
        Well….I made the soup an hour ago and it turned out sooo yummy! Definitely a keeper! Perfect for cold grey rainy autumn days. Thank you very much for sharing this recipe.

      • says

        Oh no need to be embarrassed! I overlook things like that all the time! I’m glad you made it and liked it. That makes my night! Thanks a lot for trying it Elli!

  4. Mandy says

    Best chicken tortilla soup I’ve ever made or eaten! I make it all the time now. I put in a can of rotel and a dash of cayenne pepper to spice it up a bit. :)

  5. Joan says

    I made this with ground chicken and it was great! It sat a few hours waiting for my husband to get home for dinner so it got really stick. I ended up adding and additional 2-3 cups to make it more soup like. Still really good and low calorie! I recommend!

    • says

      Thank-you Joan! Yes – the rice will soak up the broth when left to sit. I’m glad it turned out ok and was a hit!

  6. says

    Substituted leftover turkey for the chicken and it was very tasty. This dish is excellent for using leftover turkey from Thanksgiving! Will definately make this again!

  7. Aimee says

    I’m making a batch of this to freeze. Should I freeze it with the rice, or make the rice separately upon defrosting?

    • says

      Hi Aimee! I would probably make the rice fresh but that kind of defeats the purpose of freezing it. . . I think it would be ok if you added it ahead of time. Thank-you for making it!

  8. Anne says

    I made this soup this week, and I LOVE it! It’s just me, so I kept the leftovers the fridge, and ate like a queen for like 3 days. My coworkers were jealous, because I had the most delicious smelling lunch! I will definitely make it again this week, maybe add some black beans!!

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