This dreamy Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup tastes like the kind at Chili’s, only better! It is a simple soup that has a unique flavor thanks to Masa Harina (corn flour). There are no veggies in the soup; instead you make Pico de Gallo and serve it as a generous topping! It’s one of my all time favorite soups!

chicken enchilada soup

Originally posted on February 27, 2013. 

Now that the older two kids are off to school, it’s just me and Valentine at home all day. Six hours is a long time for a 2-year-old to entertain herself, let me just say. I was working on the computer this morning and didn’t hear her for a suspicious amount of time. You moms out there know what THAT means.

chicken enchilada soup recipe

I went into the kitchen to find that she had climbed up to the top cabinet monkey-style, found the candy (the ziplock full of random candy probably from Easter or whatever the last holiday was) and was just going for it at the kitchen table. When I found her she just kept saying “Sorry” and giving me hugs. How am I supposed to fight against this??

It still doesn’t beat the time a few weeks ago when I put her in a time-out for something in the laundry room. I completely forgot about her and she came out 20 minutes later with what looked like dirt all over her face. I went to investigate and found this:

chicken enchilada soup

She had climbed up to the shelves, opened a bulk size box of Oreos from Costco, and licked out all the centers.

She just came in and saw this picture of the Oreos and said gleefully, “That was a time-out!” Yeah, not much of one I guess, from the way you’re laughing right now. It’s like she’s mocking me. Valentine: 2. Mom: 0.

chicken enchilada soup

(It’s a good thing she steals things like tomatoes sometimes, too, otherwise I might completely lose it.)

cheesy chicken enchilada soup

Well she can have candy for lunch I guess, but I’m going to be eating this Chicken Enchilada Soup again. I love this soup so much! I posted all my favorite recipes right away when I started my blog. It was time for a photo update! Here’s what 2013-Karen had to say:

This was the first meal Eric’s mom ever made me. It was a few days after Christmas and I flew out to Montana to meet Eric’s family for the first time. I was 20 years old and scared to death. Eric and I had talked pretty seriously about getting married but weren’t engaged yet. It’s one thing to meet a boyfriend’s family, but knowing that they might soon become your family is a whooooooole different ballgame.

chili's chicken enchilada soup

But I had nothing to worry about. Eric’s family is awesome. I should have known when I tasted this soup. Only awesome people make such awesome food, right? (That’s what I tell myself every day.) The fact that I have intense memories of the flavor of this soup in such a high-pressure situation is a testament to its deliciousness. Or perhaps it’s just a testament to my obsession with food.

What is Masa Harina?

chili's chicken enchilada soup recipe

Either way, I promise you will love this soup. Don’t be turned off by the fact that it calls for masa harina.

chicken enchilada soup recipe

(Maseca is the most common brand of masa harina found in the US. )

You can find this in the Hispanic foods aisle in most grocery stores. Masa harina is the corn flour that is used to make tortillas. Dried corn gets soaked in calcium hydroxide and then ground very fine, which makes a dough that they then flatten into gorgeous scrumptious corn tortillas. But if you take that dough and dehydrate it, you get masa harina, sometimes called corn flour. Then at-home cooks can add water to it and make their own tortillas at home.

chili's chicken enchilada soup

OR you can use it to make delicious Chicken Enchilada Soup. It’s really what gives this soup such a unique flavor. Do you see this creamy bite?? Most enchilada soup recipes are broth-y and focus on the flavors found inside enchiladas: chicken, veggies, cheese, sauce. I love that this recipe incorporates the distinct tortilla flavor as well. It really does taste like cheesy enchiladas! It makes the soup so thick and creamy that you don’t even need to add sour cream. (But I mean. You still can.)

How to Make Chicken Enchilada Soup

Another unique thing about this soup is that there are no veggies in it, besides an onion. When you’re done with the soup it basically looks like game day dip of some kind. Go ahead and scoop a tortilla chip directly into the pot, you won’t regret it.

chicken enchilada soup recipe

Chicken enchilada soup is all about the garnishes. I posted my favorite recipe for Pico de Gallo earlier this week, and it is an essential ingredient in this soup. It’s not an optional garnish like cheddar cheese or sour cream, it really is necessary part of the soup that takes the flavor to the next level. Plus, how many soups have you had where you add fresh veggies at the end instead of cooking them in the beginning?? It’s kind of fun.

cheesy chicken enchilada soup

And don’t forget the Velveeta. Embrace it my friends, embrace it! It makes for the creamiest, cheesiest soup.

For old time’s sake, here’s the photo I took of this soup the first time I posted it back in 2013:

chicken enchilada soup recipe

I know it’s early to be thinking about this, but if you are throwing a Halloween party this year, this is really a fun soup to serve. It’s a huge winner at potlucks!

More recipes like this you are going to love!

The Best Chili Recipe I’ve Ever Made (Slow Cooker) << still true to this day. It’s legit.

Cowboy Pinto Bean Soup (Slow Cooker) << this is another classic recipe from my mother-in-law Kris. She is such a fabulous soup maker. Trust me.

Cream Cheese Chicken Chili (Crock Pot) << This is one of those life saver “dump all the cans in” type meals. And it’s SO good and creamy.

Beef Barley Soup << Another Kris recipe. It’s actually from her mother, Nana. I’ve gotten so many love letters about this soup guys, it’s crazy. It’s a winner if there ever was one. Check the reviews.

Chinese Beef and Broccoli Soup << this soup has tons of flavor. Your favorite Chinese takeout in soup form!

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Noodles << This is the only chicken noodle soup I will ever make!! Everyone needs a good chicken soup recipe.

Slow Cooker Chicken, White Bean, and Kale Soup with Parmesan Shavings << So easy and so good. There’s also a stovetop version.

If you’re looking for a great enchilada recipe, try my Aunt Shirley’s Creamy Chicken Enchiladas! Or check out these meatless Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas. Here’s a really easy homemade Killer Red Enchilada Sauce That’s Done in 10 Minutes.

Instant Pot Loaded Cauliflower Soup from All Day I Dream About Food

Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup from Well Plated

Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup from Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram


Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup (Chili’s Copycat Recipe)

4.78 from 9 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 10
This dreamy Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup tastes like the kind at Chili’s, only better! It is a simple soup that has a unique flavor thanks to Masa Harina (corn flour). There are no veggies in the soup; instead you make Pico de Gallo and serve it as a generous topping! It’s one of my all time favorite soups!


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup masa harina
  • 1 (10-oz) can enchilada sauce, any kind you like
  • 1 pound Velveeta, chopped into 1-2 inch chunks
  • 1 pound shredded chicken, I love rotisserie chicken*
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pico de Gallo, to serve with soup, not optional

For garnish

  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • crumbled corn tortilla chips
  • sliced avocado


  • In a large soup pot, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium high heat. When it is hot, add the chopped onion. Saute over medium high for about 4 minutes, until the onions are starting to look translucent.
  • Add 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons each of cumin and chili powder.
  • Add minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds, or until the garlic becomes fragrant.
  • Add 5 cups chicken broth. I love to combine water with Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base; I use this product every time a soup calls for broth.
  • In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, add 2 cups of water. Add 1 cup of masa harina gradually, whisking constantly. (This helps avoid graininess.) Add masa mixture to the pot.
  • Add the can of enchilada sauce and the chopped Velveeta to the pot. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring every now and then.
  • Once the soup has come to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to medium low.
  • Add the shredded chicken. If you just carved a rotisserie chicken, you can add a few larger chicken bones to the pot so that it absorbs the flavor while the soup simmers.
  • Simmer the soup for 30-40 minutes or until it is nice and thick.
  • Serve soup garnished with a generous amount of fresh Pico de Gallo, (again, this is a required component of the soup!)
  • Optional toppings include shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled corn tortilla chips, and avocado slices.


*You can also cook your own chicken if you don't have any rotisserie chicken on hand. Add 1 tablespoon oil to a large soup pot over medium heat. Sprinkle generous salt on 3 large chicken breasts (1 pound raw chicken). Add it to the pot and brown for 4-5 minutes per side, or until they are no longer pink. Remove chicken from pot to a plate and shred with 2 forks. Set aside. Continue with the recipe in step 1 by adding the onions to the pot, only adding a bit more oil if necessary. 
Source: adapted from my mother-in-law Kris, who got it from "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes" by Todd Wilbur.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 1802mg | Potassium: 380mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 860IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 296mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Calories: 232
Keyword: chicken, chili's, Copycat, creamy, enchilada, soup
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

Categorized as , , , , ,

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

You May Also Like...


  1. I made this and left out the cumin because my family doesn’t like it. I also substituted gluten free corn masa and used Anho chile. Fabulously delish. Thank you so much for a way ro usr my leftover 2 lbs of chicken. Winning dinner!!!

    1. Love the Ancho chili idea Felicia! And masa harina is naturally gluten free, so that is perfect. I’m so glad you guys liked it. Thanks for sharing your review!

    1. Hi Sandie! I’ve never tried that. It definitely won’t give you the same corn flavor. It will thicken the soup a bit but I don’t think it will be as creamy (might turn out grainy?) Let me know how it goes if you try it!

  2. Thank your recipe, Karen
    Made this soup tonight. Added a bit of salt, some chili powder and red pepper flakes and it was AMAZING!!!! Will definitely be added in to family’s regular rotation

    1. Ooh red pepper flakes to add a bit of a kick sounds delicious! I’m so glad you loved the soup Whit! Thank you so much for leaving a review, you’re a food blogger’s favorite. :)

  3. Is there a substitute for the masa harina? I would rather not have to buy a bag just for one recipe. Thanks.

    1. Hi Carol! No, sorry, there is no substitute really. If you leave it out, it will still be a delicious soup, but it won’t be as thick and it won’t have that corny flavor that makes this soup distinctive. If you end up buying it, you could also make my favorite chili recipe, which also calls for masa harina. Enjoy!

  4. Thanks for the memories, Karen, (as Bob Hope used to say).  We were as nervous as you were and you definitely were under the microscope! Were you going to take our son and brother away from us and not share? Was your family going to always take precedence and we’d never get many opportunities to see you both? Were you going to like us??? You passed with flying colors on all counts and we love you like the extra child and sister you’ve become and we can’t imagine our family without you! 💕

    This soup IS the best. Love it so much! And it’s definitely getting to be soup season in Montana-high today expected to be 55°. Brrrr. . . 

  5. Thank you for sending us this recipe in your mail-out. This is something that I would like to make eventually, because it looks like it is very affordable and tasty too. However, can I ask? Please, put a picture of the item in the email / newsletter where I know if I want to make it or not. I had to click and come here to see what you are wanting to show us.

    Anyway, love your site and been a recent subber. I will follow you in the years ahead.

    1. Hi David! I’m so glad you are going to try out the soup, you will have to let me know how it goes.

      Thank you so much for subscribing! I’ll take your suggestion into consideration!

    1. Hey Laura! I just put the recipe in an official recipe box, so you can click on the “Print” button at the top of the recipe and it will take you to a page that’s easy to print out. I hope you enjoy! My family loves this soup.

  6. This recipe looks great (in spite of the dreaded Velveeta). I’m always looking for ways to use up my masa flour, other than in tamales, mainly because I’m inept at wrapping tamales.

    And you’re crazy. Indiana Jones (at least, Raiders and Last Crusade) is awesome! You can’t knock the brilliance and beauty of a young Harrison Ford.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.