Chicken Poblano Soup — All the familiar flavors of chicken tortilla soup but with the addition of roasted poblanos and tomatillos to give extra heartiness and depth of flavor! An EASY soup, ready in 30 minutes, and a guaranteed family favorite to put on rotation especially for busy weeknights!
Easy Chicken and Poblano Pepper Soup
I am a huge fan of chicken tortilla soup. And so are all of you! My chicken tortilla soup recipe has been a fan favorite for nearly a decade.
Because I can never just leave anything alone, I created a new version of chicken tortilla soup with amped up flavor thanks to roasted poblano peppers and tomatillos. The two ingredients add richness of flavor and a smoky depth that makes the soup feel hearty and cozy.
I used similar spices and seasonings that you’ll find in my original recipe. If it ain’t broke.
This chicken poblano soup recipe is easy to make and as long as you move along, you can get it done in 30 minutes. Plus, it’s naturally gluten-free and I think the soup is on the healthier side because of all the vegetables.
Ingredients in Chicken Poblano Soup
To make chicken and roasted poblano soup, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Poblano peppers
- Olive oil
- Yellow onion
- Chicken broth
- Diced tomatoes (fire-roasted or plain)
- Cooked shredded chicken
- Chili powder
- Smoked (or regular) paprika
- Salt and pepper
- Tortilla chips or strips, for garnishing
How to Roast Poblano Peppers and Tomatillos
Roasting poblano peppers is extremely easy! Along with the poblanos, you’re going to want to roast four tomatillos. Tomatillos look like green tomatoes with husks on that you can easily remove.
In order to roast the poblano peppers, do the following:
- Preheat the broiler to 500F and place the poblanos and tomatillos on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Broil for 5 minutes or until blackened on one side.
- Flip the poblanos and broil to blacken on the other side.
- Using a tongs, place the poblanos in a zip top bag, seal it, and allow them to steam for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile add the whole tomatillos to a Vitamix or similar blender and process momentarily, until chunky.
- Remove the peppers from the bag, cut off stems, remove seeds, and slice into strips.
Tip: You may want to remove the tomatillos early since they will likely darken quicker than the poblanos.
How to Make Chicken Poblano Soup
After you’ve got your poblano peppers roasted and sliced and the tomatillos have been blended, you’re ready to move on.
- Add the olive oil and onions to a large Dutch oven and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for one minute until fragrant.
- Add all the remaining ingredients (except garnishes) plus add the roasted poblanos, tomatillo puree, stir, and let simmer for 20 minutes.
- Serve with tortilla chips, avocado, cilantro, lime, and crema.
Tip: To save time, don’t wait to actually to start the soup once you get the poblanos and tomatillos roasting in the oven. Move right onto making the soup so you’re not standing idle and wasting time!
Garnishes to Try
Now that you’ve made a pot of delicious chicken and poblano pepper soup, you’re ready to serve and garnish! The garnishing options for chicken poblano tortilla soup are just that — options.
I am a firm believer in plenty of avocado, cilantro, lime, and crema with my tortilla soup because all the flavors are so harmonious, but mix and match the garnishes based on what you have on hand.
Mexican crema is thinner than American sour cream and many well-stocked markets have it, but if you can’t find it, sour cream is fine.
How to Make Tortilla Chips for Garnishing
While you could of course use store-bought tortilla chips to top your chicken poblano soup, homemade tortilla chips are so easy!
Follow these easy steps:
- Simply cut corn or flour tortillas in strips or triangles.
- Brush with just a bit of olive or vegetable oil and a sprinkling of salt.
- Bake at 400°F about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Tip: I wrote a detailed post on how to make Baked Tortilla Chips with extra seasoning and flavor ideas. Or see my Easy 30-Minute Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe for another twist on homemade tortilla strips rather than chips.
Are Poblano Peppers Hot?
No, poblanos are very low on the Scoville scale (which measures the spiciness of chiles). They are much milder than, say, a jalapeño. Plus, you are deseeding them, essentially removing even more of the “heat.”
For anyone wanting to make this poblano pepper recipe spicier, I have a few suggestions:
- Add a couple shakes of cayenne pepper
- Don’t be meticulous deseeding the poblanos
- Add a small serrano chile to the oil and onion and saute them together
Can the Poblano Peppers Be Substituted?
A poblano pepper substitute you could use in a pinch are canned diced green chiles. However, since the poblanos are a key flavor component in the soup, I recommend using and roasting fresh poblano peppers and not using canned green chiles.
What Kind of Chicken Should I Use?
When it comes to chicken for chicken soup, I always use store bought rotisserie chicken that I shred quickly.
My grocery store even sells their own rotisserie chickens, already shredded in plastic containers in the deli area which is another time saver.
However, if you have leftover grilled chicken, baked chicken, or want to poach some fresh chicken for the soup and then shred it, by all means go for it.
How to Store Chicken Poblano Soup
I always say that when there are tomatoes and red sauce involved, the flavors marry and the dish tastes more scrumptious in the coming days.
Whether we are talking about lasagna or chicken and roasted poblano soup, it’s just the way it is and this soup may taste even better the next day! It will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Being that there is no cream or dairy in it, it freezes, thaws, and reheats perfectly.
Tips for the Best Chicken and Roasted Poblano Soup
Pay attention to the steps going on. You’ve got vegetables under the broiler and then if you’re doing homemade tortilla chips you’ll have them in the oven baking, while the soup is simmering on the stove. Totally manageable, but just read ahead to your next steps so you’re not wasting time.
If you want to be extra, a fun tip is to grill your corn before adding it to the soup. Simply olive oil it well, add it to your grill grates, and flip every 2 to 3 minutes until all sides have charred evenly before shaving it off the ear.
This isn’t necessary and you can use frozen or canned corn. Trader Joe’s tends to have intriguing options in their frozen corn lineup, including grilled and fire-roasted, either of which would be great.
I used fire-roasted tomatoes and added a fair amount of chili powder so there’s flavor, a little kick, but the soup overall is definitely not spicy.
To tone down all spiciness, use regular canned diced tomatoes rather than fire-roasted and just one tablespoon of chili powder.
Pin This Recipe
- 4 whole tomatillos, husks removed
- 3 whole poblano peppers
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
- 3 to 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 6 cups low or no-salt added chicken broth
- one 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted or plain, do not drain)
- 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
- 1 1/2 cups corn (frozen or *See Notes)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked (or regular) paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- Tortilla chips or strips, for garnishing** (See Notes)
- Limes, for garnishing
- Fresh cilantro, for garnishing
- Avocado, for garnishing
- Mexican crema or sour cream, optional for garnishing
Roasting the Poblanos and Tomatillos
- Preheat your broiler to 500F and place an oven rack on the top rung. Line a baking sheet with foil for easier cleanup.
- To the baking sheet, add the tomatillos, poblanos, and broil them for 5 minutes. Tip - Start working on the soup when the vegetables are roasting.
- Flip, and broil on the other side until blackened, about 5 minutes more. Tip - You may want to take the tomatillos out early as they will blacker faster than the poblanos.
- When blackened, using tongs, immediately add the poblanos to a gallon-sized zip to bag and seal it.
- Add the tomatillos to the canister of a high-speed blender and blend until chunky; set aside.
- After the poblanos have steamed for about 5 minutes in the bag, open it, and remove one poblano. Take the stem off, open it up with a knife, scrape out the seeds, and the slice vertically into thin strips.
- Repeat with the other two poblanos; set aside cleaned and sliced poblanos.
Tip - If you are making your own tortilla chips, do that now while your oven is still hot. Turn it down to 375 to 400F, slice flour or corn tortillas, lightly oil them with olive oil, and bake on a baking sheet for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until lightly golden browned and crisp.** (See Notes below for additional info)
- To a large Dutch oven or similar heavy-bottomed stock pot, add the olive oil, onion, and saute for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat or until the onion ins beginning to soften; stir intermittently.
- Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir nearly constantly.
- Add the broth, diced tomatoes, chicken, corn, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, add in the blended tomatillos, the sliced poblanos, and simmer uncovered for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Taste your soup. If it needs anything to help balance the flavors, add it now. Salt and pepper are likely necessary. If it tastes at all flat or dull, you likely need salt. Plus, garnishing with a hearty squeeze of lime juice really helps do wonder for the flavors.
- Garnish with limes/lime juice, cilantro, avocado, and crema. All garnishes are optional however not really on the lime juice and cilantro; they are more fundamental than optional.
- Serve immediately. Soup will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Reheat gently in the microwave or as desired.
*If you want to be extra, a fun tip is to grill your corn before adding it to the soup. Simply olive oil it well, add it to your grill grates, and flip every 2 to 3 minutes until all sides have charred evenly before shaving it off the ear. You can also use frozen corn. I add it straight from the bag and don't bother thawing it. Trader Joe's always has interesting frozen corn varieties. Canned is my least favorite choice, but it's fine; rinse and drain well.
**To make homemade tortilla strips, use my original Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe. Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or foil to save cleanup time. Loosely scatter the tortilla strips, evenly drizzle with olive oil, evenly sprinkle with kosher salt, toss with hands to coat evenly, and bake for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until crisp and lightly golden brown; set aside.
Additionally you can follow my Baked Tortilla Chips recipe which has some additional seasoning ideas you can utilize to jazz up the flavor. Or you can simply use store bought tortilla chips.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 214Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 339mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 13g
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