Southwestern Chicken Taco Soup

A bowl of chicken taco soup with avocado, lime and fresh cilantro.

This hearty, healthy, Southwestern-inspired chicken black bean soup recipe makes a big pot of soup to feed a crowd. Using everyday ingredients and pantry staples like leftover rotisserie chicken, canned black beans, corn, Ro-Tel and tomatillo salsa, you can make this taco soup with black beans in under an hour. I’ve added quinoa to this chicken Ro-Tel recipe to round out the mouth feel and nutrition factor in this amazing tomatillo soup.

sautéing onions and celery with garlic and spices for the taco soup with black beans.

If you love the spicy tingle of Southwestern spices, this chicken taco soup with black beans will satisfy your cravings. I make it whenever we’re jonesing for those familiar taco flavors without the guilt. Instead of being weighed down with creamy sauces, cheeses and tortillas, this chicken rotel recipe is mostly vegetables, lean protein and broth, but the punch of chile and spice is definitely THERE.

Chicken Black Bean Soup Ingredients:

  • Yellow Onion
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Ro-Tel (original)
  • Black Beans (canned)
  • Corn (canned, frozen or fresh)
  • Hatch Chiles (canned or fresh fire roasted)
  • Tomatillo Salsa
  • Bay Leaves
  • Chicken Broth from Rotisserie Chicken or low-sodium broth
  • Quinoa
  • Leftover Chicken
  • Lime
opening cans of black beans, tomatillo salsa, corn and ro-tel for the taco soup.

Pantry staples for chicken taco soup

This is also a convenient way to whip up a meal for a crowd using just a few common canned goods and everyday veg. This chicken Ro-tel recipe is nothing fancy, but it’s hearty and GOOD.

What’s Ro-Tel?

Ro-Tel is a blend of tomatoes, green chiles and spices. Almost a salsa, but not quite — because it doesn’t contain onions and cilantro. Where salsas can have a saucy consistency, Ro-Tel is packed in its own juices.

Newsletter Signup
Join our community of food lovers!

Get my latest recipes, helpful kitchen tips and more good things each week in your inbox.

Which style of Ro-Tel is best for this chicken Ro-Tel recipe?

I recommend original Ro-Tel, it’s got moderate heat, but not over the top. If you’re sensitive you may want to use the mild variety, but I wouldn’t recommend the Hot & Spicy Ro-Tel in this soup, since this recipe also includes a jar of spicy green tomatillo salsa.

adding the canned ingredients into the pot for an easy chicken ro-tel recipe.

Dump and go chicken tomatillo soup

What makes this recipe so easy are the convenience and pantry items. Just crack open a few cans, dump them into the pot and simmer for a few minutes. I used my homemade rotisserie chicken stock and my favorite charred tomatillo salsa verde recipe in this soup, however, it’s not required and good store-bought versions definitely work in this recipe. (Just be sure to use low-sodium broth.)

pouring chicken stock into the chicken ro-tel recipe

Assembling Chicken Taco Soup

  1. Sauté the celery and onions in a large pot or Dutch oven until they’re softened and slightly translucent.
  2. Stir in the garlic and heat until it’s fragrant, then add the spices and heat for about one minute to bloom them. Then start dumping…
  3. Dump in the can of Ro-Tel, undrained black beans, drained corn, tomatillo salsa, hatch chiles, bay leaves and chicken broth.
  4. Heat to boiling, stir in the quinoa and reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the diced cooked chicken and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. To serve the soup, ladle into bowls and squeeze a wedge of lime over the soup (this is important – the bright acidity wakens the flavors in the soup and gives it depth. DON’T SKIP IT.)
adding quinoa, diced leftover rotisserie chicken and diced hatch chiles.

This is a very forgiving recipe and there are many swaps and substitutions you can make in a pinch.

Substitutions for taco soup

  • Fresh chicken breasts instead of diced cooked chicken – Dice the chicken breasts into bite sized chunks and brown them in hot oil with a little salt to season them. Then stir in the chopped vegetables and continue.
  • Swap other canned legumes or dried lentils for the black beans. Good substitutions would be cannelini beans, kidney beans, great northern beans or pinto beans. You can also use half a cup of dried lentils, but the soup may need to cook for a few more minutes.
  • Ro-Tel – You can use any brand of diced tomato and green chile (Publix has a store brand of this) or simply use plain diced tomatoes.
  • Tomatillo Salsa Verde – If you haven’t made my version of this green salsa verde, you REALLY NEED TO. It’s great in this chicken tomatillo soup or any Southwestern or Mexican favorite dish. I recommend Trader Joe’s Hatch chile salsa verde as the closest substitute, however, you can use any green or red salsa.
  • Quinoa – Substitute farro, barley, rice, orzo, ditalini or other small pasta. The thing to watch for when you’re substituting other grains/pasta are the cooking times and liquid. Longer cooking items like pearl barley and farro can take 30-40 minutes to cook. I’d recommend cooking them separately and adding them into the soup at the end. Pastas will continue to soak up the broth, consequently, you may need more broth for the soup.
I was scooping the chicken taco soup from the Dutch oven.

Can I freeze chicken taco soup?

Yes. Portion out the chicken rotes soup recipe into plastic containers and freeze them for up to 3 months. Defrost before reheating.

Can I meal prep this soup?

Yes. Divide the soup into individual servings. In a separate container store any toppings that you want to serve with it — and definitely make sure each serving gets a wedge of lime to squeeze into the broth just before serving. It makes all the difference to the flavor of the soup.

A bowl of the taco soup with chicken, avocado, lime and cilantro.

What are the best toppings for taco soup?

  • Sliced or diced avocado.
  • Fresh diced tomato
  • Grated cheddar or monterey jack cheese
  • Crumbled queso fresco
  • Fritos (I love Fritos)
  • Fried tortilla strips
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh pico de gallo

What to serve with Southwestern chicken black bean soup:

Adding a scoop of sour cream to the taco soup recipe.

More easy soup recipes you’ll love:

Tried this recipe? Leave a rating and review.

Your comments and shares are invaluable to me and the thousands of readers who use this site daily. If you've made the recipe, leave a star rating and review. We want to hear how you liked it.

We'd love it if you shared the recipe with your friends on social media!

A bowl of chicken taco soup with lime for squeezing.
Print Pin
4.91 from 10 votes

Southwestern Chicken Taco Soup

You can use canned ingredients, frozen veg and pantry staples for this easy, delicious soup. It’s very forgiving.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Mexican, Southwestern
Keyword black beans, chicken, hatch chile, homemade salsa, tomatillos
Dietary Restrictions Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8


  • dutch oven or stock pot


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 10 oz can Ro-Tel not drained (can substitute diced tomatoes)
  • 1 15 oz can black beans not drained
  • 1 15 oz can yellow corn drained (or use frozen or fresh)
  • 8 oz diced hatch chiles
  • 8 oz green tomatillo salsa recipe on this site or use store-bought
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 cups chicken stock from rotisserie chicken or low-sodium broth
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 pound cooked shredded or diced chicken breast
  • 2 limes quartered


  • fresh cilantro
  • diced fresh tomato
  • diced avocado
  • fried tortilla strips
  • fritos
  • tortilla chips
  • monterey jack or cheddar cheese shredded
  • sour cream


  • In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and celery and stir, cooking for 3-4 minutes or until slightly softened and translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute until very fragrant.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, kosher salt and pepper and stir to coat the vegetables, cooking for a minute or two until very fragrant.
  • Add the Ro-Tel (tomatoes) black beans, corn, hatch chiles, tomatillo salsa, bay leaves and chicken broth. Stir to combine and heat to boiling. Stir in the quinoa, cover the pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes and stir in the chicken. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and serve each with a lime wedge to squeeze over the soup. Garnish with other suggested toppings.


Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 682mg | Potassium: 423mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 550IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg

Pin “Southwestern Chicken Taco Soup with Black Beans” For Later!

a Pinterest Pin to save for later.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Jessica Formicola says:

    5 stars
    I am so glad I found this recipe! I have a can of black beans in the pantry that I’ve been waiting to use!

  2. Andrea Metlika says:

    5 stars
    I can’t believe how easy this delicious soup is to put together. Looks so amazing.

  3. 5 stars
    I sadly can’t get Ro-tel where I live, but this recipe is still amazing without it, for anyone who also can’t get it.

  4. Cookilicious says:

    5 stars
    Love how hearty and comforting this soup tastes! Thanks for the recipe. I make it vegetarian with paneer.

    1. An excellent way to suit it to your tastes!

  5. 5 stars
    This is such a warming and comforting soup! And I am so here for al those toppings, perfect!