Green Chile Chicken Soup, or Green Chicken Chili, is a hearty soup with spicy southwestern flavor. Tender chicken breast, green chilis and a bit of heat make this a favorite recipe for the chilly months.
Green chile chicken soup is like a cozy, spicy hug for your insides! It's a delicious soup made with tender chunks of chicken, delicious green chiles, and other tasty ingredients like veggies and spices.
Why do we love this for a lower-calorie plan? It's super flavorful, so you won't feel like you're missing out on taste while you're watching those calories. Plus, it's packed with protein from the chicken and beans, which helps you feel full and satisfied.
There is also a nutritional evidence that spicy peppers are not only tasty but can also give your metabolism a little kickstart, helping you burn calories.
Green chile chicken soup has become a beloved and iconic dish in Southwestern, New Mexico especially, and Tex-Mex cuisine, celebrated for its bold flavors and comforting qualities. It's enjoyed by locals and visitors alike and now you can enjoy it in your own kitchen. Add this green chili soup to your easy soup recipes!
Just add a salad to make a full meal!
What Makes this skinny?
- Very little fat is used (1 tablespoon of olive oil only)
- Lean ingredients. Boneless skinless chicken breast (low fat content), vegetables, great northern beans (also a great source of protein and fiber which will keep you full longer).
- Any toppings are optional and we've suggested some high flavor, lower calorie options!
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Full ingredient list and amounts can be found in the printable recipe card at the end of the post. All ingredients are available at a regular grocery store.
Yellow onion. One cup of chopped yellow onion will be sauteed to give the soup flavor. This is approximately half of a medium size onion. Red onion can be substituted.
Jalapeno pepper. Diced jalapeno pepper gives some spicy heat to the soup broth. You'll use ¼ cup which is about 1 medium jalapeno. See the notes below on handling jalapeno peppers.
Boneless skinless chicken breasts. You'll need 1 pound raw chicken cut into small bite-sized cubes.
Great Northern Beans. These large white beans are a classic ingredient in green chile chicken soup. They have a mild flavor and soft texture. You'll use one 15-ounce can that has been drained and rinsed. If unavailable canned Cannellini Beans can be substituted.
Canned green chilies. One 7-ounce can of mild green chilies (regular or Hatch chiles) give the green chile soup it's signature ingredient and flavor. Be sure to use mild green chiles. The jalapeno pepper will make the broth spicy and using hot green chilies will make it VERY spicy.
Reduced sodium chicken broth (or chicken stock). We prefer to add more salt to taste, not have the broth determine the salt level so use low sodium. You'll need 4 cups which is one tetra pack container. Homemade broth can be substituted too!
Lime juice. This adds a bit of tang to the broth. Use freshly squeezed lime juice for best flavor.
Handling Jalapeno Peppers
If you have not worked with jalapeno peppers there are a few tips to know:
- The main source of heat is in the seeds. To remove the seeds and inside ribs we cut off the stem then slice the pepper lengthwise. Then use a small dining spoon turned upside down so the rounded end fits in the curved area of the pepper. Run it underneath the ribs and seeds to lift, remove and discard. Then dice the pepper.
- The oil in the pepper will irritate any mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth) if touched. It's important to wash hands thoroughly after handling hot peppers or to use food-safe gloves. Be sure not to touch your eyes during chopping the pepper.
How to Make it
STEP 1. Sauté
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or large soup pot on the stove top over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add onion and jalapeno pepper and sauté onion until soft (photo 1), stirring occasionally (about 2 minutes).
Stir in diced garlic cloves, cumin, salt, and pepper and cook another 20-30 seconds (photo 2) then add the cubed chicken (photo 3). Continue cooking 5 minutes or until all sides of chicken are no longer pink.
STEP 2. Simmer
Add the beans, green chilies, and chicken broth (photo 4). Heat to boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer for 15 minutes (photos 5-6).
STEP 3. Finish and Serve
Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.
STEP 1. Sauté
Turn on the sauté function of the Instant Pot and heat the oil. When hot add the onion and jalapeno pepper; sauté until soft.
Stir in the seasonings and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the chicken and continue cooking until all sides of the chicken are no longer pink.
STEP 2. Deglaze
With the Instant Pot still on Sauté mode pour in 1 cup of the chicken broth. Using a firm spatula or wooden spoon scrape off any bits of food sticking to the bottom of the Instant Pot liner. NOTE: if skipping this step and going into a pressure cooker cycle some models will issue a BURN warning.
Turn off the Sauté function.
STEP 3. Pressure Cook
Stir in the beans, canned green chilies and remaining broth. Seal the lid and turn the venting setting to closed. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes, allow a natural release for 5 minutes followed by a manual release of any remaining pressure (photos above).
The fun of a soup like this, similar to chili recipes, is adding your favorite toppings! Here are some ideas:
- Fresh chopped cilantro
- Lime wedge to squeeze on more lime juice
- A dollop of non-fat plain Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream). TIP: dairy products help dampen spicy heat in dishes so this will do that too!
- Avocado slices
- Jalapeno slices
- Tortilla chips
Store leftover soup in sealed airtight container or Mason jars in the refrigerator to up to 3-4 days.
How to freeze
Allow the soup to fully cool. Place in freezer-safe airtight containers (leave some room at the top for expansion) or freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months. I love using this freezer block maker to freeze the soup in bags. It's a mold that forms in the bag and after it's frozen you have easily stackable bags of soup!
Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.