Caldo de Pollo
Caldo de Pollo is a favorite Mexican Chicken Soup that is hearty, warm, comforting and tastes like its’ been simmering for hours but on your table in less than 60 minutes – most of that is hands off time! It is loaded with juicy, tender shredded chicken, carrots, potatoes, celery, chayote, sweet corn, fire roasted tomatoes, tangy green chiles, aromatic onions and garlic infused with lime juice and cilantro. This Caldo de Pollo recipe stores and reheats beautifully, is freezer friendly and epically delicious. In short, it belongs on your table forever and ever.
Servings Prep Time
6-8 servings 25minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
6-8 servings 25minutes
Cook Time
a bowl of authentic Caldo de pollo (Mexican Chicken Soup) toppd with avocadoes, cilantro and limes
  • 3tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 5 bone-in skinless chicken thighssee notes
  • 1 large onionchopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper minced (optional)***
  • 4 medium carrotssliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 4 stalks celerysliced into 1/2-inch thick
  • 3 medium Yukon gold potatoeschopped into 1-inch chunks
  • 6 garlic clovesminced
  • 2-3teaspoons chili powdersee notes***
  • 2teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1tsp EACH dried oregano, ground coriander seeds
  • 1/2tsp EACH smoked paprika, salt, pepper
  • 115 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes with juices
  • 1 4 oz. can mild diced green chiles
  • 9cups low sodium chicken broth
  • corn from 2 ears sweet cornor one 15 oz. can sweet corn rinsed and drained
  • 2 chayote, peeled, coredchopped into 1” cubes (see notes)
  • 1tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 chopped cilantro more or less to taste
  • Avocadoes
  • Tomatoes
  • cilantro
  • sour cream
  • lime juice
  • hot sauce
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and sear until golden on each side. Remove to a plate. Don’t clean out pot.
  2. To the now empty pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onions and jalapeno pepper and cook 3 minutes.
  3. Add carrots, celery, potatoes and all seasonings. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
  4. Add chicken back to pot along with tomatoes, green chiles and chicken broth.
  5. Cove pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
  6. Remove chicken from the pot to a cutting board.
  7. Add chayote and corn to the pot and gently simmerer an additional 10 minutes while you remove the chicken from the bones. (Alternatively, you can serve chicken whole as traditionally done.)
  8. After 10 minutes or once chayote is tender, stir in shredded chicken, lime juice and chopped cilantro and heat through.
  9. Ladle over bowls of rice (optional) and top with desired toppings.
Recipe Notes

Ingredient Notes

  • Chicken Breasts: Bone-in chicken thighs produce the juiciest chicken but you may use chicken breasts. They aren’t as juicy as chicken thighs and are easier to dry out, so make sure you don’t overcook them.  Sear the chicken breasts and simmer them with the vegetables just like you would the chicken thighs.  Check them for doneness around 20 minutes. The chicken breasts are done when they easily shred with a fork. 
  • Shredded Rotisserie Chicken: You will need about 2 ½- 3 cups, depending on how “chunky” you like your soup.   Add the already cooked chicken to the soup at the end of cooking with the cilantro and heat through.
  • Chayote: Chayote is also known as mirliton squash of Mexican origin AKA the most delicious squash you have never heard of.  They are pear or avocado in shape with a green skin.  When cooked, chayote taste like a baby squash with a hint of sweet corn.  I was able to easily find chayote at my local Sprouts (specialty produce store), so if don’t spot them right away, make sure to ask someone.  When buying chayotes, choose firm, unblemished vegetables – the harder the better.  If you can’t find chayote, then you may substitute baby squash or any squash you can find. 


  • Prep Ahead. You can prep all your vegetables in advance and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for quick and easy dinner time.  You will need to keep the potatoes submerged in water in the fridge or else they will turn brown.
  • Cook Time.  The chicken cook time will depend on the size of your chicken and how good of sear you get.  The vegetable cook time will depend on the actual size of your vegetables.  If the chicken isn’t easy to pull of the bones, cook on.  If the vegetables aren’t fork tender after you simmer with the chayote, cook on. 
  • ***Spice Level.  One jalapeno, three teaspoons chili powder and ½ teaspoon pepper is slightly spicy.  If you want it more kid friendly, omit the jalapeno, reduce the chili powder to 2 teaspoons and the pepper to ¼ teaspoon.  You can taste at the end of cooking and either add additional chili powder, pepper or hot sauce to taste.
  • Strain Fat:  You can skim off any excess fat that rises to the top of the soup as it simmers.