Mexican Chicken Soup (Caldo de Pollo)

Mexican chicken soup, or caldo de pollo, is one of several soup recipes I’m eating on this month. While I’ve been home in this cold weather, I don’t think there’s been 5 minutes that some kind of soup hasn’t been simmering on the stove.

About once a week, our family enjoys an authentic Mexican restaurant about a mile down the road from us. The food is scrumptious…especially the Caldo de Pollo. So I decided to try reproducing that delicious flavor at home. Success! 

Bowl of Mexican chicken soup - callo de pollo - with chicken, rice, pico de gallo, and avocado

Chicken soup is one of those comfort foods served by mothers all over the world. With veggies and antiviral and anti-inflammatory ingredients like onions and garlic, chicken soup is good for you! This Mexican version adds some wonderful flavors and heat. Whether it’s cold out or you have a cold, caldo de pollo will hit the spot.

A big pot of this soup is simple to make, and you can pre-portion the leftovers to store in your freezer, thaw what you need, and then heat up the soup on the stove or in the microwave. If you’re really short on time, you could cut the prep time with a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and storebought low sodium chicken broth. However, I recommend making this soup from scratch whenever you can.

I like to make my own broth, so making the soup takes a little longer, but nothing goes to waste and the soup is 100% better. It’s also super easy — I’ve included the broth preparation in the recipe. It takes about 45 minutes to simmer the chicken on the stove to make the chicken broth.

If you want to make this a crockpot Mexican chicken soup, that will work, too.

Ingredients for Mexican Chicken Soup

A beautiful thing about soup is that you can improvise to use up leftover vegetables and whatever else you have on hand.

closeup of homemade Mexican chicken soup with avocado and pico de gallo in white bowl with spoon in the soup

This caldo de pollo recipe includes the following key ingredients:

  • A whole fresh chicken (but chicken thighs or chicken breasts will work as well)
  • Kosher salt: I’ve noted elsewhere that this coarsely ground salt breaks down protein and improves the texture of meat
  • Onion and fresh garlic cloves
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Cooked rice
  • Chunks of avocado
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Pico de Gallo, a condiment that includes diced tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro

You could add other soup veggies such as corn or cabbage. You could also replace the cooked rice and tortillas with potatoes, black beans, or no starch at all. Cheddar cheese or a dollop of sour cream would be delicious on a low-carb version. Finally, feel free to add a dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper if you like your chicken soup spicy!

Stacy Lyn’s Caldo de Pollo Recipe

I hope you’ll try this delicious soup and let me know how you and your family like it!

two white bowls full of Mexican chicken soup on a yellow-and-white floral cloth placemat
Bowl of Mexican chicken soup - callo de pollo - with chicken, rice, pico de gallo, and avocado

Mexican Chicken Soup (Caldo de Pollo)

Course Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 servings


For the Chicken and Broth

  • 1 whole chicken about 4 pounds
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 onion peeled and quartered
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
  • 3 stalks of celery cut into thirds
  • 3 carrots peeled and cut into thirds

Rice Bed and Garnish Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 2 avocados cut into chunks
  • 1 cup pico de gallo
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • red bell pepper chopped (optional)
  • lime wedges optional
  • Warm tortillas tortilla strips, or tortilla chips (optional)


  • In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, bring water and chicken to a boil. Add the salt, onion, garlic cloves, celery, and carrots. Turn the burner down to medium or medium-low heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes.
  • Pour chicken, broth, and vegetables over a fine mesh strainer into a large pot. Remove the chicken and the carrots to a cutting board and allow to cool. Place the strained chicken stock over low heat and add water to the broth. Continue to simmer until ready to serve the soup.
  • When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred or chop into medium sized pieces and dice the carrots.
  • When ready to assemble the soup, check the broth for seasoning and season to taste. Add ¼ cup of rice to a bowl and ladle the broth over the rice. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the diced carrots, a few chunks of avocado, 2 tablespoons of pico del gallo, and a teaspoon of cilantro. Serve with warm tortillas.


If you want to make the chicken broth ahead of time, place cooled broth in the refrigerator overnight. Remove any fat from the top and warm over low heat.
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Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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