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Mexican White Bean Chicken Soup (Slow Cooker or Stovetop!)

This is an ultra nourishing soup that’s always a crowd pleaser (my kids LOVE it!). It’s healthy and warming yet revitalizing, perfect for blustery days, game days, or anytime you need a little lift-me-up. The soup can be made in the slow cooker or on the stove top (I’ve included instructions for both!). If you use a slow cooker, cook the vegetables first on the stovetop or in the microwave before adding them to the slow cooker (otherwise they won’t completely soften in the soup). If you want to get a jumpstart on the recipe, chop (and even cook!) the vegetables the day before—check out the tips below. The toppings make this soup, so don’t skimp!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 30 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken white bean soup, mexican chicken soup, slow cooker chicken white bean soup
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

Vegetables

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium poblano pepper (or mild green pepper, such as bell or Anaheim), diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper

Slow cooker

  • 1 4- ounce can diced green chiles
  • 3 15- ounce cans cannellini or navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat shredded (skin and bones discarded, or you can save the bones for stock)
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth

To serve

  • Shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, diced avocado, crushed tortilla chips and/or hot sauce

Instructions

Sauté (or microwave) the vegetables

  • If you’re using a slow cooker, first cook the vegetables on the stovetop or in the microwave. To microwave, combine all of the ingredients, including the olive oil, onion, celery, peppers, garlic, cumin and oregano in a large heatproof bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Microwave on high, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 6-8 minutes. Otherwise, heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet or large pot (use a pot if you're cooking the soup on the stovetop) over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and oregano, and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. At this point you can either finish cooking the soup on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.

If cooking on the stovetop

  • If cooking on the stovetop, add the can of green chiles, beans, chicken and broth to the pot with the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours, depending on how much time you have and/or how lazy you’re feeling (this is a very forgiving soup), or until the vegetables are tender and the soup has thickened slightly.

If cooking in the slow cooker

  • If using a slow cooker, scrape the vegetables into the slow cooker, and add the can of green chiles, beans, chicken and broth. Season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 4-5 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.

Finish and serve

  • Taste the soup and season it with more salt and pepper as needed (the beans soak up flavor, so you may need more than you think!). To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, and serve it with the toppings of your choice.

Notes

Do Ahead:
  • The soup tastes even better after a day or two, so go ahead and make it ahead! It can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
  • To get a jumpstart on this recipe, chop the vegetables and garlic the day before. You can go ahead and sauté them, or store them in the refrigerator overnight, so they’re ready to go the next day.
Tips:
  • You can cook this soup in a 4- to 7-quart slow cooker or in a large pot on the stove (I’ve included instructions for each in the recipe below).  
  • Different slow cookers cook at different rates, so use the times as an approximation. I love my KitchenAid 6-quart oval slow cooker, which I use for everything from soups to braises to curries, meatballs and even brunch. If you use the slow cooker setting on an electric pressure cooker (such as an Instant Pot), check the soup early, as those machines run hotter. 
  • If your slow cooker has a sauté function, you can skip the stovetop step and cook the vegetables right in the  slow cooker.
  • I find it’s easiest to shred the meat from a rotisserie chicken right when I get home from the market while the chicken is still warm. You can shred the meat and refrigerate it for up to 2 days before making the soup. You can also chop the vegetables (and even sauté them) the day before, if you want to get a jumpstart on the recipe. 
  • Feel free to swap out the rotisserie chicken with leftover cooked chicken or turkey. You'll need 3-4 cups of shredded meat.
  • Try this soup with this Gluten Free Skillet Cornbread or with these Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Muffins!
  • Get a ton of vibrant, flavor-packed slow cooker recipes in my book, Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker: Reinvent the Slow Cooked Meal!