Taco Soup

Taco Soup is quick and easy, easy to double/triple for a crowd, freezer friendly and only takes 30 minutes to make!  

You haven’t had Taco coup until you try this CHEESY, creamy Taco Soup version!   This 30 minute, ONE POT Taco Soup recipe is the ultimate comforting, hearty soup packed with all your favorite taco flavors.  It’s made with ground beef, beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, onions and homemade taco seasoning simmered in a rich enchilada-beef broth.  Top your Taco Soup with tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and avocados and you have a new Taco Tuesday favorite in soup form!   This Taco Soup is a dump-and-simmer dinner perfect for weeknight dinners or its easy to double or triple for crowds.   Say hello to a new family favorite! 

TACO SOUP RECIPE VIDEO

top view of easy Taco Soup in a bowl topped with cheese, avocados, sour cream and tortilla chips

Taco Soup Recipe

I love tacos in every form from my from Taco Spaghetti to Taco Pasta Bake and I LOVE Mexican soups from Chicken Fajita Soup and White Chicken Chili so when you combine two loves you get the BEST EVER TACO SOUP!

The first time I tried Taco Soup was as a young teenager at my sisters home.  My married sister loved to cook and experiment and the “7 Can Taco Soup” was wildly popular at the time.  As I spooned the frito topped soup into my mouth, I was enthralled at the idea of eating taco soup!  Since then, Taco Soup has continued to be a favorite of mine (and probably the rest of the world), but my Cheesy Taco Soup version is my ultimate favorite.

My Cheesy Taco Soup recipe is based off of my Cheesy Chili Dip.  The first time I made this dip, I instantly knew I would make it into Taco Soup so we could all shovel it into our mouths even quicker than a dip and call it dinner.   And what an easy, dinner it is.  It is also a wonderful make ahead meal that you can refrigerate and reheat or keep on the stovetop on low or even add to your slow cooker on the warm setting.

What do you put in taco soup?

The majority of ingredients in Taco Soup are either pantry staple cans or spices you dump into the soup so you can make this meal-in-one Taco Soup any night of the week!

  • Ground Beef:  take care you use lean ground beef or see substitutions below.
  • Onion:  you can substitute the onion with 1 teaspoon onion powder.
  • Garlic Cloves:  you can substitute the garlic with 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder.
  • Homemade Taco Seasoning:  we create homemade taco seasoning with chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.  This custom blend adds the perfect punch of flavor. You may substitute with 1 pouch (2 tbsp) taco seasoning  and then adjust seasonings to taste.
  • Canned Mild Diced Green Chilies:  make sure you purchase mild green chiles – I have accidentally used the hot chilies before and they are HOT!  Mild green chiles, however are more tangy than hot so you don’t have to worry about them making your soup spicy. 
  • Salsa:  this Taco Soup recipes uses your favorite salsa instead of just diced tomatoes to give your soup another dimension of flavor.  Make sure you us mild salsa or else your Taco Soup might be too spicy.  It is easy to add more heat but it is hard to take it away! 
  • Canned Black Beans:  you can substitute with pinto beans, kidney beans, cannellini bean or your favorite bean. 
  • Canned kidney beans:  I like pairing both kidney beans and black beans together for added texture but you may substitute with additional black beans.
  • Canned Sweet Corn:  I use canned corn for this Taco Soup for convenience but feel free to use corn fresh off the cob if you prefer.  You can also use frozen corn but add it toward the end of cooking, just so it has time to warm through, otherwise it can disintegrate.  
  • Mild Enchilada Sauce:  feel free to use your favorite homemade enchilada sauce if you prefer.  
  • Chicken Broth:  take care your chicken broth is low sodium so you can salt to taste. 
  • Cream Cheese:  cream cheese makes the soup wonderfully creamy.  You may use ⅓ fat cream cheese but it will not melt quite as well.
  • Cheese:  we add sharp cheddar cheese and pepper Jack to make our CHEESY Taco Soup.  Take care you use freshly grated cheeses so they melt easily.  You can omit the cheeses and add cheese to individual servings if you prefer.
side view of a bowl of best Taco Soup with a gold spoon topped with cheese, avocados, sour cream and tortilla chips

CAN I SUBSTITUTE BEEF WITH OTHER MEATS?

Absolutely!  You can make Taco Soup with ground turkey or ground chicken.  Whenever I make these beef substitutions, I add 2 teaspoons beef bouillon and then add salt to taste (because bouillon is already salty).  I use this trick in my Turkey Chili and Turkey Tacos and it is magic!  It imparts a beefy flavor without the beef!

You can also make  Taco Soup with chicken by either using shredded rotisserie chicken or simmering the soup with chicken breasts or thighs until they are pull-apart-tender like I do in my Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Do you put tomato sauce in taco soup?

Instead of tomato sauce, I use enchilada sauce in this Taco Soup recipe because it has more flavor than tomato sauce and doesn’t leave the broth tasting like your slurping tomato sauce.  If you are looking to make this Taco Soup gluten free, then substitute the enchilada sauce with tomato sauce (or use gluten free enchilada sauce) and add additional seasonings to taste.  You will also need to omit the flour or use gluten free flour.

How do you make taco soup?

Step 1:  The almost dump and run soup begins by browning your beef with onions, then adding your spices, garlic, bell peppers and sprinkling with flour to help it thicken and creamify.

showing how to make Taco Soup by browning beef with onions, garlic, taco seasoning, and bell peppers

Step 2:  Then comes the “dumping” of black beans, kidney beans,  enchilada sauce, salsa, green chilies, and chicken broth.  The addition of enchilada sauce and salsa really elevates and enlivens this fiestalicious Cheesy Taco Soup and of course then there’s the cheese…

showing how to make Taco Soup by adding black beans, kidney beans,  enchilada sauce, salsa, green chilies, and chicken broth to white soup pot.

Step 3: Melt in some cream cheese then stir in half cheddar and half pepper Jack cheese for creamy, Cheesy Taco Soup!

showing how to make cheesy taco soup by adding cheddar cheese to Taco Soup in white soup pot

What to serve with Taco Soup?

Then its topping time!  There is no right or wrong when it comes to toppings –  the option to customize your soup with whatever toppings fit your mood is part of the fun!  The only wrong thing about this Taco Soup is not making it soon, very soon.  You can create a toppings bar and let everyone pile on their favorites of:

  • Tortilla chips:  tortilla Strips are the Taco Shell in Taco Soup!   We also love to use fritos.
  • Cheese:  we’ve already made our our Taco soup creamy and cheesy but that doesn’t mean it can’t benefit from a little more cheese! Use freshly grated cheese for superior taste and melting ability.
  • Sour cream:  a must in my book!  Sour cream adds a wonderful creaminess and its refreshing tanginess cuts through and compliments the robust, rich flavors.  You can also use fat free sour cream or Greek yogurt.  
  • Cilantro:  chopped cilantro adds a fresh, zesty flair. 
  • Avocado:  chopped or sliced avocados add a wonderful creaminess.  I prefer chopped so I can get a bite of avocado in every spoonful.  
  • Tomatoes:  add a juicy freshness.
  • Pico de gallo:  a spoonful of  pico de gallo ins’t necessary but adds a depth of freshness I love. You can also use chopped fresh tomatoes.
  • Sliced jalapenos:  a fabulous topping for those who want to add some heat.
  • Lettuce:  We even add shredded lettuce to our Taco Soup!  It reminds me of adding cabbage to soup and adds a fabulous texture.
a large ladle full of creamy Taco Soup in a white soup pot garnished with cilantro

HOW TO MAKE TACO SOUP IN THE CROCK POT OR SLOW COOKER:

This Taco Soup is easy to make in  your slow cooker or crock pot for a walk-in-the-door eat right away dinner.

  1. Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray and add chicken.
  2. Follow step 1 in which you brown the beef with onions, add spices/seasonings, red bell pepper and garlic and cook with flour for 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer beef mixture to slow cooker followed by all remaining Taco Soup ingredients up to the cheeses.
  4. Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.
  5. Add very soft cream cheese and stir/whisk until melted, followed by pepper jack and cheddar cheese until melted.
  6. Add milk to thin to desired consistency if desired.  Season with additional salt/pepper/hot sauce to taste.
  7. Serve with desired toppings. 

HOW SPICY IS THIS TACO SOUP RECIPE?

This Taco Soup has a ton of flavor but is not spicy.  That being said, the spice level can change depending on how spicy your salsa is.  You can spice up the Taco Soup by adding hot sauce to individual servings if you like it spicier.

HOW DO YOU MAKE CREAMY TACO SOUP?

This Taco Soup is a creamy, cheesy version.  To make Creamy Taco Soup:

  • melt 4 oz. softened cream cheese at the end of cooking and stirring until completely melted.   This is the method I also use i n my Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder and it is fabulous.
  • melt pepper Jack cheese and sharp cheddar cheese directly in the Taco Soup.
  • if you are out of cream cheese, you can substitute 2 cups of the chicken broth with heavy cream or half and half mixed with 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
  • you can also add sour cream directly to the soup for a creamy tangingess.
up close of a spoon full of taco soup with ground beef, tomatoes, corn, onions, black beans

HOW LONG DOES TACO SOUP LAST?

Taco Soup tastes even better the next day!  It will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container.  You may need to add a little water to the soup when reheating.

CAN I FREEZE TACO SOUP?

I do not recommend freezing Taco Soup with the cream cheese and cheeses because the fat in the cheeses will separate and create a funny texture.  You can freeze your Taco Soup without the cream cheese and shredded cheeses.

HOW DO I FREEZE TACO SOUP?

  1. Follow recipe up to the point of adding cream cheese – do not add cream cheese or cheeses.
  2. Let soup cool completely.
  3. Add Taco Soup to a freezer size bag or airtight freezer safe container.
  4. Push out any excess air, seal, seal and freeze for up to 3 months.
  5. When ready to eat, let Taco Soup thaw in the refrigerator.
  6. Transfer soup to a Dutch oven/soup pot and warm over the stove.
  7. Once warm, stir in cream cheese until melted followed by cheeses until melted

Looking for More Mexican Recipes?

up close of a bowl of taco soup with a spoon in in i t topped with sour cream, tomatoes, cheese, avocados and tortilla chips

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Less than 30 minutes for this ONE POT Cheesy Taco Soup! This is the ultimate comforting soup packed with all your favorite taco flavors and is SO easy and great for crowds! You haven’t had taco soup until you try this version!

Cheesy Taco Soup

You haven’t had taco soup until you try this CHEESY Taco Soup version! This 30 minute, ONE POT Cheesy Taco Soup recipe is the ultimate comforting soup packed with all your favorite taco flavors and is SO easy and great for crowds!  Say hello to a new family favorite! 
Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp EACH chili powder, ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp EACH salt, dried oregano, smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 15 oz. can kidney beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz. can sweet corn rinsed and drained
  • 1 4 oz. can mild diced green chilies
  • 1 cup mild salsa
  • 1 10 oz. can mild enchilada sauce
  • 5 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

Add later:

  • 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pepper Jack cheese
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, cubed and softened

Garnish

  • Tortilla chips or fritos
  • sour cream
  • Tomatoes
  • lettuce
  • Avocado/guacamole
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • fresh cilantro

Instructions

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Brown the meat with onions until meat is cooked. Add all spices/seasonings, red bell pepper and garlic. Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
  • Stir in kidney beans, black beans, corn, green chilies, salsa, enchilada sauce and chicken broth. Bring to boil then reduce to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  • Turn heat to low and stir in cream cheese until melted, followed by pepper jack and cheddar cheese until melted. Add milk to thin to desired consistency if desired. Season with additional salt/pepper/hot sauce to taste.
  • Serve with tortilla chips/fritos and additional garnishes as desired.

Video

Notes

Don’t miss the “how to make” recipe video at the top of the post!
*If you like spicy, then heat it up with some medium salsa! I use medium Kirkland brand salsa from Costco.
**Once prepared, you can keep soup warm in your slow cooker until ready to serve if desired.

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64 Comments

  1. Kristin says

    I made this a few days ago, but I wanted to let you know how much my husband and I are enjoying this soup! I love the creaminess. The flavor of the soup is so good! You really do a great job mixing all those herbs and spices together. The only thing I did differently was make a homemade enchilada sauce, but other than that, I followed the recipe. This is very delicious and definitely one we’ll remake. Thanks so much for sharing your recipes! I appreciate what you do.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for taking the time to make my day! I’m so happy you both are loving this soup and I’m sure your homemade enchilada sauce made it that much more delicious!

    • Carol says

      Your recipes are amazing and I love that you are so culinary knowledgeable. I’m in the process of collecting all of your wonderful soup recipes for when I have some serious dental surgery.
      Since it will be a great time to diet, I would love to have an idea of the calories in your recipes.
      Thank you for your recipes and any calorie help you may have.

      • Jen says

        Thanks so much Carol, I’m honored you’re enjoying my recipes! I don’t include calories because of all of the variables but you can calculate calories for any recipe at: https://www.myfitnesspal.com/recipe/calculator Good luck on your dental surgery!

  2. Jequila says

    Made this soup tonight and it was a hit. The kids loved it and even the husband went back fur 2nds. I will be adding this to my list of recipes!

    • Jen says

      yesssss! I’m so happy it was a hit with everyone, thanks so much Jequila!

      • Janet says

        The typed recipe is missing the corn….

        • Jen says

          I don’t have corn in my recipe but you are welcome to add it!

  3. Stephanie S. says

    I made this a couple days ago for a do-ahead dinner, leaving out the cheeses and cream cheese until adding when I reheated it last night. Some good comfort food here when served with all the toppings, we all loved it! I make the cheater chili cheese dip with canned chili, mexican cheese blend and cream cheese in the micro so will have to try yours from scratch.

    • Jen says

      Hi Stephanie, what a delicious idea for a make-ahead dinner! I’m so happy everyone loved it! Your cheater chili dip also sounds delish – I’m interested to see how they compare!

  4. Iris says

    I’ve made this about 8 times for my boyfriend. He has a hard time choosing his favorite requests for me to make, but he raves that this is easily in his all-time favorite 3. It turns out perfect every time! I’ve even tried it with ground turkey instead of beef, and other reduced-fat versions of the ingredients, and it still tastes the exact same – a totally scrumptious flavor bomb! Kudos to such an infallible, customizable recipe!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for your awesome comment Iris! I’m thrilled it is such a customizable favorite!

  5. Bill says

    I first saw this recipe on Facebook a few months ago. I’ve been waiting for cooler “soup” weather here in the Midwest to make it. I did so last night. It was absolutely Fantastic! Everyone in the house couldn’t get enough. I followed the recipe dead-on but held back 1 cup of chicken broth until the end to see how thick it was. Didn’t need it. I served it with fresh chopped cilantro, diced green onions, sour cream and tortillas for dunking. Thanks for this recipe! It’s a “Keeper”!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for your awesome comment Bill! I’m thrilled the whole house “couldn’t get enough!” And all your topping sound like perfection!

  6. Tanvi says

    I wish I could leave picture/ video comments to show you how much everyone LOVED this soup! I used ground turkey and pre made taco seasoning since that’s what I had on hand and added yellow & white hominy as well. I took some of the meat/beans mixture out before adding the liquids and used it for tacos couple days later- so good! I wouldn’t have thought about adding enchilada sauce or salsa to the soup but a total game changer!! Thank you for another great recipe

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Tanvi, I’m thrilled everyone loved the Taco Soup and =what a great idea to use some of the meat/bean mixture for tacos!

  7. Middy says

    Hi. I came across this recipe on facebook today and I want to try and make it for me and my parents. I am learning how to cook and they are my guinea pigs lol. Problem is, my mom doesn’t like kidney beans. Is there something you would recommend as a substitute for it?

    • Jen says

      Hi Middy, you can use pinto beans or cannellini beans instead or leave them out completely if she doesn’t like beans at all 😉 Good luck!

  8. Katie says

    Can I convert this to a croc pot recipe? Maybe brown the beef and add all the ingredients except the cheese and wait until the end to add it?

    • Jen says

      Hi Katie, I have a section on how to make this recipe in the crockpot listed in the post – between the second to last and last photo. Good luck!

  9. Cody W Walton says

    Jen,

    I love all of your recipes that I’ve ever tried and this looks great for a dinner party we are hosting tonight. Question – one of the guests at the party eats a gluten-free diet…are there any modifications I need to make to this recipe for her? Or is it ok as-is? Thanks in advance and keep up the great recipes.

    Cody W.

    • Jen says

      Thanks Cody! The flour is the only ingredient that contains gluten. I would substitute the flour with 2 tablespoons cornstarch (half the flour) by whisking it into some of the broth until smooth before adding the broth to the soup to simmer. With that one change you are good to go! Have fun!

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