Prepare to fall in love with easy cheesy chicken taco soup! It’s a great way to use up taco night leftovers and even tastes amazing the next day!
When there’s a slew of leftovers in the fridge, or we can’t figure out what on earth to eat, this default dish has our back! With so many combinations possible, every night can be taco night!
Or in this case, taco soup night!
I’m notorious for making enough food to feed a small army even though there are just 3 of us in the house. Taco night, for example, always gets out of hand around here!
Luckily I’ve become a pro at revamping tasty leftovers into even tastier new dishes.
It saves time, saves money, and makes crazy busy days just a little bit easier. There’s really only one rule: No boring leftovers!
Of course this soup couldn’t be boring if it tried, especially since it’s a glorified fiesta in a bowl!
It all starts with taco night. As inevitable as breaking my tacos into a million pieces within the first bite, is the fact that we’re going to have some serious leftovers. I know how much I should cook for the fam, but honestly if I’m in the kitchen anyways, I might as well make enough for two or three meals, right? It’s a total lifesaver when lunch rolls around the next day and I’m still in stretchy pants and covered in neon pink paint, stickers, and copious amounts of peanut butter. Leftovers to the rescue!
I hereby dub this leftover-rescuing superhero of a soup Taco Night 2.0 and it’s officially what I’ll be doing with all my taco night leftovers from here on out! Nachos were the former go-to (because YUM!) but this soup is a waaaaay healthier option plus I still get to let a few tortilla chips in on the action. Done deal!
Much like it’s crunchy hand-held counterpart, taco soup is one of those super simple, easily customizable meals that can be made a million and one ways and taste great every time.
You can mix and match the veggies and beans used based on what you have handy and even add extras like bell pepper or fresh tomatoes.
As for the toppings, the options are endless! Here are a few of my favorites to get you started:
Tasty Taco Soup Toppings
- pico de gallo
- fresh sliced jalapeños or pickled jalapeños
- minced red onion or pickled red onion
- sour cream or Greek yogurt
- sliced avocado or guacamole
- grated cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
- fresh cilantro
- tortilla chips or strips
Cheesy Chicken Taco Soup
I love making this taco-inspired soup whenever I have salsa chicken leftover from taco night, which I often plan for on purpose to make this soup, nachos, or even chicken quesadillas. We are constantly mixing things up to keep things interesting!
You can use leftover chicken from the previous night’s dinner or from weekend meal prep, or grab a rotisserie chicken and shred it up for this tasty soup.
You can also add raw 1 chicken breast (or 2 thighs) during step 5 and simmer until cooked through. Then simply remove with tongs, shred/chop, and return to the pot.
Cheesy Chicken Taco Soup
- 2 tsp avocado oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt plus any extra to taste
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 cups chicken broth or stock
- 15 oz crushed fire toasted tomatoes (1 can)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 15 oz black beans (1 can) drained and rinsed
- 2 cups chopped/shredded cooked chicken (great use for leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken)
- 1 cup freshly grated medium cheddar cheese
- ½ cup favorite salsa (verde or regular)
TASTY TOPPING OPTIONS
- fresh cilantro and/or scallions
- shredded cheese
- tortilla chips or strips
- sour cream or greek yogurt
- chopped onions
- pico de gallo or fresh salsa
- guacamole or sliced avocado
- Measure out all your ingredients and prep your veggies for speedy soup assembly.
- Finely chop onion and jalapeño. Peel and mince fresh garlic.
- Bring a large pot to medium-high heat with avocado oil or olive oil.
- Sauté onion and jalapeño until tender, approx. 5 minutes. Next add garlic and spices and cook for an additional 30-60 seconds until fragrant, stirring often to prevent sticking.
- Next add broth/stock and fire-roasted tomatoes, and frozen corn. Mix well and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the cream cheese, chicken, and drained/rinsed black beans. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until warmed through then remove from heat. Stir in a cup of shredded cheddar cheese (optional but delicious!) until it melts into the soup.
- Give it a taste and add any additional seasoning as desired. The amounts of cumin, chili powder, and salt can all be amped up to taste.
- Top with all your favorite taco toppings and dig in! It's fantastic right away and fabulously flavorful the next day too. Enjoy!
Have you ever saved leftover rice, pasta, meat, or veggies with zero clue what to even do with them? Or maybe you panic and toss them, knowing very well that the back of the fridge is where leftovers go to grow legs and googly eyes… Well I’m totally here to change that!
This deliciousness is part of my Love Your Leftovers blog series.
Past installments include:
- Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowls
- Spicy Sriracha Lime Chicken Zoodle Soup
- Buffalo Chicken Taco Salad
- Recipes to Make with Leftover Spinach Dip
If you get a chance to try this cheesy chicken taco soup recipe, let me know!
You can leave me a comment here (LOVE checking those daily!) or tag @PEASandCRAYONS on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creations. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!
Hey! I’ve been making this recipe for years with the Pacific Red Pepper soup. Just checked it for the ingredients, and it looks like you changed the recipe significantly. Do you have the old recipe? Thank you!
Hey Jessica! I thought literally no one ever made it so I reworked the recipe into something new and went the scratch route. Let me see if I can dig it out from the archives — I’m stoked you love the red pepper soup version as I do as well!
I also made a scratch Vegetarian Taco Soup since I’m such a soup fanatic!
Got it! Emailing you right now <3
I also used the old recipe using the red pepper soup. Would you be willing to send it over to me as well? Thank you!!
Of course Courtney! I’ll email it over right now and it’s also on my reshoot list so I can give the original it’s own post again. xoxo
I am crushing on this recipe, Jenn! I know it would be a big hit over the holidays and I love that you can use up leftovers. Brilliant idea! Fabulous photos, too 🙂
three words… Delicious. Delicious. Delicious! They didn’t have to be different words did they? Please keep ‘Love your leftovers’ coming!
Bahaha thank you Tara! I’ll take a trio of deliciouses any day! 😉 I’m glad you’re loving the series because I have another installment on the way! Woot!
This looks fabulous! I really love soups especially this time of year and especially easy ones. Awesome photos too!
Thanks Darlene!!! Soup is totally a must around here right now – total comfort food! 🙂
It’s so ridiculously satisfying too! I usually need a side dish with soups but this one stole the show all on it’s own!
Oh my goodness … I never thought to use our taco leftovers to make soup! Totally trying this after our next Taco Tuesday night!
Super excited you’ll be making it! Hope you looooove it Kimberly! <3
Beautiful soup! Looks bright and full of flavor. Sounds great for busy schedules!
Printed, bookmarked, screen shot, and wife forwarded. If it’s easy and cheesy we’re all about it.
Looks so yummy and easy to boot! I love taking shortcuts wherever I can and soups are perfect for them. I’m going to bookmark this!
We always use our taco leftovers for taco salad or nachos, but now you’ve inspired me to make this taco soup!
Yay! Thanks Michelle!
You are my hero with this amazing soup!! I have to admit, a lot of leftovers go uneaten at my house, but if I can repurpose them into a whole new delicious meal, it’s a huge win! I’ve got that same box of Red Pepper and Tomato Soup in my pantry now, so I foresee your yummy recipe happening SOON! 🙂 Can’t wait!
Ahhh so excited! Hope you adore it Anna! The red pepper tomato base totally MADE this soup! <3
I love revamping leftovers! This soup looks delicious 🙂 So good that maybe I might skip taco night and just have a bowl of this instead!!
Haha thanks Dini! I’ll join you!
Waste not, want not…right? I love the idea of this soup, and using the Tomato Red Pepper soup as the base is really a kick-start great idea. I’ll bet this would also be yummy with left-over rotisserie chicken because like you we are only two anymore and always have left-over chicken. Cheers ~Lindy
Yes! Thanks so much Lindy! I think it’ll be marvelous with leftover chicken! Let me know if you get a chance to try it! 🙂
Delicious soup and I love that it has a shortcut for a quick after work dinner
Thanks so much Julia! I always need a few shortcuts on crazy nights!
Taco anything…I’m in! Looks incredible yummy and creamy. 🙂
Sooooo yummy! Thanks Sandra!
Thanks Michelle! I already want another bowl 🙂
Oh hello! This is my kind of leftovers dinner idea!
It’s totally my new favorite from them – SO GOOD!!! <3 Thanks Anna!
This looks and sounds wonderful! The perfect comfort food!
Thanks so much Kimberly! <3
I love using leftovers to make new meals! And we always have these ingredients to make this!!
Yay! Thanks Lauren!
I love a good hearty soup and this Taco Soup is totally calling my name!! Yum!
Thanks Cyndi! <3 Hope you get your hands on a bowl soon! 🙂
Oh hello, my new favorite soup! Seriously, taco goodness and soup comfort all rolled into one? AND easy and fast? Do you think my family will notice if I serve this every 4th night? Hmmm… Great recipe! XO
We’re already clamoring to have it again – Hope y’all love it as much as we do!