It was a chilly September day, and I was looking for a soup to make with thawed chicken. Our neighbors were recovering from the most famous illness of 2020 and I had planned to bring them some soup, but basic chicken noodle seemed…boring. With less free time on my hands, I wanted to make an Instant Pot chicken soup using some bone broth I already had on hand. After searching the internet and my pantry, I finally produced what is now one of my favorite recipes: southwest chicken soup.Jump to Recipe
What began as a throw-together recipe quickly became one of my favorite dinner meals of all time. This instant pot chicken soup is profoundly easy to make, requiring only 10 minutes of hands-on time, and it doesn’t require any fancy ingredients. This is now my go-to soup for cold days, especially when one of us is feeling under the weather.
The mix of spices in this chicken soup is what sets it on a higher plane than my other soup recipes. The cayenne lends a hint of heat without making the soup overly spicy. As a result, this soup helps warm you up both with its temperature and its spice, but doesn’t bombard your taste buds with too much spice.
My southwest chicken soup is adapted from this creamy chicken tortilla soup recipe from The Chunky Chef. As we have a lot of family members with Celiac, I wanted to make a version that was completely gluten free. I also didn’t have any heavy cream on hand, so my soup ended up lighter…and, ultimately, a completely different category of soup. If you’re looking for a creamier version of this southwest chicken soup, you should absolutely try her recipe!
This instant pot chicken soup requires a few basic ingredients – all of which I tend to keep stocked in my pantry.
- Chicken breasts
- Chicken stock
- Minced garlic
- Avocado oil
- Some fresh vegetables – onions and a green pepper
- A few canned goods – black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes
- The most important part: the spices – chili powder, cayenne, cumin, smoked paprika*, and (optional) taco seasoning.
*Regular paprika will work fine in this chicken soup if you don’t keep smoked paprika on hand. The smoke adds extra flavor, but it’s just a bonus.
How to make southwest chicken soup
Start by turning your Instant Pot to “sauté” and adding two tablespoons of avocado oil. Once the oil has become hot, add your two diced onions. Sauté these for a few minutes, until they are starting to become transparent. Then add your minced garlic and green pepper, sautéing for another minute.
Next add the star of the show — the spices. If you don’t have taco seasoning on hand, the soup will still be delicious, but I would recommend adding an additional half teaspoon of both chili powder and cumin to make up for the difference. Stir these into your onion/pepper/garlic mixture until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
Next pour in your can of diced tomatoes. This should react with the heat at the bottom of your pot and deglaze the pan. (You really want the brown crusted bits! They’re some of the most flavorful parts of this soup.) Once you’ve deglazed the pot, turn off the sauté function. Stir in your black beans and corn.
After those components have combined, add your chicken breasts to the pot. It’s okay if they’re still frozen, though ideally they should be separated and not in once big chicken-y chunk. The spices will stick to the outer parts of the chicken as it cooks, and smaller pieces will adhere to the spices better.
Pour in your chicken broth. If you want to make a great deal of soup, you can top off the mixture with water – just make sure you don’t exceed the max fill line on your Instant Pot!
Set your vent into the “sealing” position and turn Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 11 minutes, adding 1-2 minutes if your chicken is frozen. After the soup has cooked and the Instant Pot has indicated it is done, “quick release” the vent and, once vented, remove the lid. Using two forks, find the chicken breasts and pull them apart into bite size slices of chicken before serving.
Serve this soup on its own, or top with cilantro, sour cream, and tortilla strips. May this soup bring you warmth and deep contentment on even the coldest of days!
Did you make this recipe at home? Please tag any of your social media photos with @WhiskAverseBaking, or leave a message in the comments below. I’d love to see how your southwest chicken soup turned out! If you’re not quite ready to make this soup but want to remember this winter, you can click the “Pin Recipe” button to save this recipe for later.
Southwest Chicken Soup
- Pressure cooker
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 yellow onions diced
- 1 green pepper diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 round tablespoons of minced garlic from a jar)
- 3 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons taco seasoning optional
- 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 can diced tomatoes including the liquid
- 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 can corn kernels drained
- 1-2 pounds chicken breasts
- 4 cups chicken stock or bone broth
- Add avocado oil to Instant Pot and press “Saute”. Once hot, add onion and cook 5 minutes, or until almost translucent. Add garlic and green pepper, and cook an additional 1 minute.
- Add spices and stir, using a heat-proof spatula or wooden spoon.
- Add tomatoes and mix thoroughly, ensuring all browned pieces are deglazed from the metal bottom of the pot.
- Turn off the "saute" function. Pour in chicken stock, then add black beans and corn.
- Add chicken breasts and broth. If you would like more soup, top up the pot with water or additional broth, stopping before you hit the max fill line.
- Place lid on Instant Pot and turn valve to "sealing". Turn on “Pressure Cook” setting (High Pressure) for 11 minutes, adding 1-2 minutes if chicken is frozen.
- When the timer beeps, do a quick release by carefully turning the seal to the “venting” position. Allow to vent completely, then open the Instant Pot.
- If any chicken pieces are larger than bite size, use forks to tear them into smaller strips.
- Serve hot with any additional toppings (see below).
- Sour cream
- Baked tortilla strips