Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup Instant Pot recipe contains juicy shredded chicken in a Masa Harina based silky smooth, cheesy & creamy soup base. Choose a variety of Tex-Mex toppings like avocado, cheddar, cilantro, onion, Roma tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno and you’ll love to dig in.
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Note: This post has been updated with reheating directions, serving Ideas, frequently asked questions!
What is Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup?
Unlike other Mexican soups like this Instant Pot Creamy Tortilla Soup, the Chili’s version of the Enchilada soup doesn’t have a whole bunch of beans, corn or veggies in it. It has that smooth, thick, creamy consistency loaded with pristine enchilada flavor that we all dream about.
And if you are a sucker for Chili’s Enchilada Soup than you’ll totally love today’s recipe 😀
Ingredients & Substitutions
Find the Ingredients with actual measurements at the bottom of the post. The list below is just a reference.
- Chicken: We used boneless skinless frozen chicken breasts and pressure cooked them directly to yield amazingly juicy shredded chicken. You can use fresh chicken breasts as well, in that case reduce the cooking time (Check NOTES below) or even use pre-cooked or left-over rotisserie chicken Just like this Chicken Gnocchi Soup Instant Pot.
- Aromatics: Yellow Onion and garlic. DO NOT use red onion, it’ll overwhelm the enchilada flavor!
- Red Enchilada Sauce: We used the Old El Paso. That’s what we love the most.
- El Pato Hot Tomato Sauce: This will make the soup spicy and so flavorful. If you do not favor spicy food use regular tomato sauce or puree a 10 ounce can of Rotel tomatoes and use it instead. Use regular tomato sauce + some chopped Jalapeno if you prefer spicy food but can’t find El Pato hot tomato sauce.
- Seasonings: Paprika, Ground Cumin, Chili powder (skip if heat intolerant), ground black pepper.
- Masa Harina: Masa Harina is flour made from corn and used to make tortillas. This is one ingredients that’ll give a great depth of enchilada flavor to the soup and make it thick and smooth. Highly recommended. People often replace the masa with corn tortillas ground to a fine powder to thicken this soup. However, I’ve not tested it in my test kitchen!
- Brown Sugar: Yes, we love how the sugar smoothens out the deep flavors and lends the soup with a subtle sweetness. Love it. You can sub it with maple syrup or honey.
- Better than Bouillon: We love to use this stuff in place of regular chicken stock. It amps up the flavor quite a lot. Dilute the paste in warm/hot water & use it. You can make the soup even with plain water.
- Dairy: Heavy Whipping cream and sharp cheddar cheese. Makes the soup so creamy and cheesy. Addictive is the right word 😀
Tips & Tricks – Chili’s Enchilada Soup Instant Pot
- Chili’s Soup secret: Use the Masa Harina. This will thicken the soup extremely well and also pack the soup with elevated tex-mex flavor. If you cannot source it check out the sub mentioned above. Also use Old El Paso enchilada sauce, it’s the best!
- Incorporating the Masa Harina: DO NOT add it directly to the pot. It’ll form lumps. Scoop out ladles of the hot broth from the pot and dilute the Masa into a paste. Try breaking down all those tiny lumps. Than, add this to the soup in 2-3 slots and stir briskly to incorporate it well into the soup. You’ll not have any Masa lumps at all.
- Kids friendly option: Sub the El Pato hot tomato sauce with regular tomato sauce, skip the chili powder, increase the amount of brown sugar and add 1-2 dashes more heavy cream.
- Dairy tricks: Warm up the fridge cold heavy cream slightly in the microwave and than add it to the hot soup. This will prevent the cream from curdling. Also, turn off the heat before adding the cream and the cheese. Otherwise the cheese will curdle badly, form lumps & ruin the soup forever!
- Fresh Chicken Breast over frozen chicken: If using fresh chicken breasts pressure cook the chicken for 5 mins/NPR 5 mins (thick breasts). We use frozen chicken directly and hence, the cooking time is more.
How to make Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup in Instant Pot?
Find the detailed step by step recipe along with measurements + Video at the bottom of the post.
Step #1 Saute aromatics & seasonings
Saute the onion and garlic on HIGH heat on SAUTE function. Add the dry seasonings when the onion begins to turn soft. Saute the seasonings for just 30 seconds.
Step #2 De-glaze pot, add sauces
Immediately pour the chicken stock and de-glaze the pot really well with the help of your spatula to loosen any stuck food particles from the bottom of the pot.
Add the Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce and the El Pato hot tomato sauce. Stir well to mix.
Step #3 Pressure Cook chicken
Throw in the frozen chicken breasts into the pot directly from the freezer, no need to thaw them.
PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for 10 minutes followed by 5 minutes Natural Pressure Release (NPR). Than, release the rest of the pressure manually. Fish out the cooked chicken breasts and shred them with the help of a a pair of fork. Set them aside.
Step #4 Add Masa Harina & heavy cream
Hit back the SAUTE function and set it on LOW heat setting. Scoop out ladle full of the hot broth from the pot onto the Masa Harina and make a smooth lump free paste, this will take some time as Masa tends to form lumps a lot.
Now, add this Masa Harina Paste to the hot broth in the pot, 2-3 scoops at a time, stir briskly until the paste fully incorporates into the soup. This needs little patience, take your time and do it, otherwise the Masa will form lumps. Repeat this step unitl the full Masa is well incorporated into the soup. It’ll look smooth and lump free.
Now, slightly warm up the heavy whipping cream in the microwave oven and add it to the pot. Mix well and simmer the soup stirring frequently until the soup thickens.
Once, the soup thickens to your preferred consistency TURN OFF the Instant Pot.
Step #5 Mix Cheese, add chicken
Now, add the cheddar cheese in 2-3 slots and stir briskly until the cheese fully melts and incorporates into the soup. Do not stop stirring otherwise the cheese might clump up.
Finally, throw in the shredded chicken and stir well to mix. Serve the soup hot with your favorite toppings like chopped – roma tomatoes, Jalapeno, avocados, shredded cheese, dollop of sour cream, cilantro, lime, tortilla chips. Dig in! Enjoy!
How to make Chili’s Enchilada Soup in Slow Cooker?
- Add all ingredients in the slow cooker except the heavy whipping cream and the cheddar cheese. Mix well.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
- In the last hour add the heavy whipping cream and the cheddar cheese. Mix very well until the cheese completely melts and incorporates well into the soup.
- Serve with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!
How to serve
We even love this soup with pastas like this instant pot cajun chicken pasta, instant pot crack chicken pasta, instant pot pesto chicken pasta, instant pot Italian sausage pasta , instant pot salmon pasta , instant pot penne pasta and meatballs, instant pot rigatoni and meatballs. You can also make it more of a complete meal by serving it with the below items:
- Cheesy Garlic Bread.
- Bread Sticks.
- A light crisp salad.
- Lightly toasted sour dough bread.
- Corn bread.
- Regular crusty bread like sourdough.
Fridge: You can store the soup in air tight containers for upto 4 days. Store the soup without the toppings, you can add them later while serving the soup.
Freezer: I’ve not tried freezing the soup. It’s so freaking delicious that we are almost never ever left with leftovers 😀 If you happen to freeze this soup we would love to hear your feedback in the comments section below 🙂
How to reheat
Microwave Oven: You can reheat this Chili’s chicken enchilada soup in the microwave oven until warm or hot.
Stove top: You can also reheat this soup in a heavy bottomed saucepan on the stove top over medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent the soup from burning.
Traditional tortilla soup often has a thinner broth with fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes, it can also have a thinner creamy base (by adding a splash of heavy cream), and fried tortilla strips, while enchilada soup has a thicker broth made with enchilada sauce and often a thickening agent like masa harina (Mexican corn flour). Enchilada soup is also more spicy than tortilla soup.
Yes, today’s recipe is spicy as we used chili powder and also the El Pato hot tomato sauce. Leave out the chili powder and also replace the hot tomato sauce with regular tomato sauce to make the soup non-spicy. You can also add 3 tbsp brown sugar instead of 2 tbsp to balance off the flavor of the enchilada sauce.
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Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup Instant PotPrint Recipe Pin Rate
Watch Recipe Video
- 3 Frozen Chicken Breasts (**boneless skinless breasts. Yields about 2 cups cooked shredded chicken. For fresh chicken breasts read NOTES below.)
- 1 cup onion (**yellow onion roughly chopped.)
- 1 tbsp garlic (**minced)
- ½ cup Masa Harina
- 8 ounce El Pato Hot tomato sauce (**for spicy soup. Use regular tomato sauce for non-spicy soup.)
- 10 ounce Red Enchilada Sauce (**we used El Paso Enchilada Sauce. It's the best!)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil (**or any neutral oil.)
- Salt (**according to your personal preference.)
- 2 cups cheddar cheese (**we used pre-shredded sharp cheddar.)
- ½ cup Heavy Whipping Cream (**slightly warm it in microwave oven.)
- 3 cups chicken stock (**or 2 tbsp Better Than Bouillon paste diluted in 3 cups hot/warm water. We always use this.)
- Saute Aromatics & Seasonings: Set the Instant Pot on SAUTE function and set it on HIGH heat. Add oil and when the oil becomes moderately hot gently release the onion & garlic and saute until the onion becomes limp. Add salt to quicken the process. Now, add the seasonings and saute for just 30 seconds.
- De-glaze Pot: Add the chicken stock and de-glaze the pot very well scraping the sides & the bottom of the pot with the help of a spatula. This is to loosen any stuck food particles from the bottom of the pot. This will prevent the BURN error. So, DO NOT rush this step.
- Add Sauces & Chicken: Now, add the enchilada sauce and the tomato sauce. Give everything a good mix and than add the frozen chicken directly into the pot. No need to thaw! You can also use fresh chicken, but the cook time will change! Check time below.
- Pressure Cook: CANCEL the SAUTE function. Secure the lid, seal the valve and PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for 10 mins (frozen chicken) and 5 mins for fresh chicken. Once, the pressure cooking cycle is over the instant pot will begin to beep, wait for 5 mins Natural pressure release (NPR) & than release the rest of the pressure manually by moving the valve from the sealing to the venting position.
- Shred chicken: Open the lid carefully. Fish out the cooked chicken breasts and shred them with the help of a pair of fork. Set them aside.
- Prep Masa Harina: Now, take the Masa Harina in a large enough bowl and add enough hot soup from the pot to the bowl. Whisk immediately until the Masa reaches a smooth and almost a lump free consistency. This will take some time.
- Thicken Soup: Hit the SAUTE function & set it on LOW heat. Now, add the Masa paste in 2-3 slots stirring vigorously every time. It should completely blend well into the soup. DO NOT stop stirring briskly otherwise the paste will form lumps. Simmer the soup stirring frequently until it thicken to your desired consistency.
- Add dairy & Chicken: TURN OFF the Instant Pot. Add the slightly warmed up heavy whipping cream into the soup. Mix well. Add the shredded cheddar cheese in 2-3 slots and mix well until the cheese completely melts and incorporates into the soup. You will have a pretty thick and smooth soup base. Finally, transfer back the shredded chicken into the pot. Mix well.
- Serve with toppings: Serve the Chili's copycat Chicken Enchilada soup with your favorite toppings. We used some chopped yellow onion, jalapeno, roma tomatoes, cilantro, lime, tortilla chips and shredded cheddar as toppings.
- Soup consistency: Smooth, thick. Chili’s Enchilada soup has no beans, corns or tomato chunks in it.
- Slow Cooker option: I’ve mentioned the detailed method of making the soup in the slow cooker in the post. Do check it out.
- Is this soup spicy: Yes, today’s recipe is spicy because we used El Pato hot tomato sauce & also chili powder.
- Non-spicy Soup: Sub the hot tomato sauce with regular tomato sauce and also skip using the chili powder. You can also increase the amount of brown sugar (use 2 tbsp).
- Can I use pre-cooked or rôtisserie chicken? Yes, you can sued pre-cooked or rotisserie chicken to make this soup.
- Fresh Chicken Breast cook time: High Pressure 5 mins / NPR 5 mins.
- Masa Harina: DO NOT add the Masa directly to the hot soup, it’ll form lumps and you’ll have a hard time incorporating those innumerable masa lumps into the soup. Make a masa paste first using the hot soup and than add it into the soup in 2-3 slots.
- What can I use instead of Masa Harina? Now, people do use corn tortillas ground to a fine powder to thicken this soup. However, I’ve not tested it in my test kitchen, so I am not able to come up with the exact quantities right now. You can certainly experiment with corn tortillas. We’ll be happy to hear about the outcome in the comments section below.
- Toppings we used: Avocado, cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, yellow onion, roma tomatoes, lime wedges, cilantro, jalapeno. You can pick your favorite toppings.