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    Caldo de Pollo (Mexican Chicken Soup)

    I love this simple homestyle Chicken Soup called Caldo de Pollo. A big pot of Caldo simmering for hours, loaded with tons of veggies and chicken, literally creates magic.

    You don’t need fancy ingredients, no extravagant spices, and no complex cooking style. Just a regular soup pot and plenty of patience to make the tastiest, delicate chicken broth with plenty of veggies to munch on.

    This Caldo de Pollo, or Mexican Chicken Soup, is brimming with simple flavors and loaded with fresh veggies. It's great any time of the year!

    For many Mexicans, a big bowl of Caldo is welcome any time of the year, even if it’s a million degrees in summer time. A spoonful is very comforting and very satisfying. A Caldo cooked right is just like “Chicken Soup for the Soul”.

    When I discovered Caldo de Res last year, I was amazed at the delicate yet very tasty soup created when you simmer meat for a long time with array of vegetables.

    Mexican soups are all about clear broth without tons of the spices and chilies that they are known for. Caldo has minimal spices, often just salt and pepper, but it carries the inherent taste of the beautiful broth created by cooking meat for hours.

    This year, still remembering our first Caldo experience, I was really looking forward to give the same treatment to another protein, chicken! The result is equally satisfying, and very slurp worthy till the last spoonful.

    This Caldo de Pollo, or Mexican Chicken Soup, is brimming with simple flavors and loaded with fresh veggies. It's great any time of the year!

    What is Caldo de Pollo?

    Caldo in Spanish means “broth” and Pollo means “chicken”. So Caldo de Pollo, or Sopa de Pollo, is a soup with tender, slow simmered chicken and tons of veggies.

    The base of Caldo de Pollo is typically made by simmering chicken (usually bone-in pieces for more flavor) in water along with seasonings such as onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. This creates a rich, savory broth.

    I found out that a variety of seasonal vegetables can go in this soup depending on personal or regional preferences. Some versions of Caldo de Pollo also include rice or noodles, which are cooked in the broth, making the soup even more filling.

    Caldo de Pollo is known for its comforting and restorative properties. It’s a common home remedy for colds and flu, and a staple dish in many households.

    This Caldo de Pollo, or Mexican Chicken Soup, is brimming with simple flavors and loaded with fresh veggies. It's great any time of the year!

    Ingredients Needed

    • Bone-in Chicken – I like to use bone-in chicken, like bone in thighs or drumsticks, as it gives the broth a ton more flavor than boneless chicken. Dark meat becomes more tender and is ideal for soups and stews. I remove the skin, as it can make broth greasy. You can make this soup with whole cut up chicken as well.
    • Aromatics & Seasonings – Onion, garlic, green onion, cilantro, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, chicken bouillon, tomato sauce.
    • Vegetables – Carrots, celery, potatoes, green beans, corn, zucchini, cabbage.

    Mexican Chicken Soup Recipe

    1. Make the chicken broth: In a large soup pot (I used a 7qt dutch oven), place chicken thighs and drumsticks, 10 cups of water, bay leaves, a whole head of garlic, onion, celery, salt, pepper, cumin powder and chicken bouillon. Mix well. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the temperature to medium low and let it simmer.

    making the soup base

    Once the chicken starts cooking, some greasy foam will start appearing on top of the broth. Remove as much as possible to get a clear broth.

    2. Simmer the Caldo: Simmer the Caldo, covered, for 30-40 minutes. Add in cilantro, green onion, oregano, tomato sauce, and carrots. Cook for another 15 minutes, uncovered. While it simmers, check out our collection of favorite Mexican recipes.

    adding carrots and cilantro

    I will be adding different veggies at intervals, as some take longer to cook than others. You don’t want veggies to turn into mush, but instead to hold their individual shape and texture.

    3. Add potato and corn: Add in potatoes and corn. Cook for 10-15 minutes, uncovered.

    adding corn and potatoes

    4. Add the other veggies: Add zucchini and green beans, simmer for another 10-15 minutes, uncovered.

    adding green beans and zucchini

    5. De-bone the chicken: Discard the whole garlic and bay leaves. Discard the bones from the chicken, shred the chicken to your desired size.

    shredded chicken on a plate

    6. Add in cabbage: Cook till it has wilted, but still holds some crunch.

    adding cabbage

    7. Add back in chicken: Add chicken pieces back to the soup.

    adding back in chicken

    8. Serve the Caldo immediately with a dash of lime, cilantro and hot sauce or salsa (optional).

    This Caldo de Pollo, or Mexican Chicken Soup, is brimming with simple flavors and loaded with fresh veggies. It's great any time of the year!

    Tips and Tricks

    • Use bone-in chicken: Chicken pieces with the bone in will give your broth much more flavor than boneless chicken.
    • Use plenty of veggies: Use a variety of fresh vegetables for the best flavor. They also add to the flavor of the broth.
    • Simmer slowly: Allow your soup to simmer gently rather than boiling rapidly. This will help the flavors to meld together better, and will result in a clearer broth.
    • Skim the broth: Be sure to skim the foam off of the top of the broth.
    • Don’t rush: Good soup takes time, so be patient. Caldo takes a while to cook, but the result is worth it.
    • Stagger the veggies: Add different veggies at intervals, as some take longer time to cook than others.
    • Adjust to taste: Taste your soup as you go and adjust the seasonings as needed.

    Some Variations

    • Swap the meat: Make the same recipe with different protein like Caldo de Res (beef soup) or Caldo de Pescado (fish soup).
    • Try different veggies: Just about any vegetable you can think of would go great in Caldo.
    • Add rice: It’s called Caldo de Pollo con Arroz. Here rice is cooked directly in the soup. This adds a bit of extra heartiness and texture.
    • Add noodles: Similar to the rice variation, some people like to add noodles to their caldo. This can be a particularly popular choice for kids.
    • Spicy Caldo de Pollo: For those who like a bit of heat, adding chili peppers or a dash of hot sauce can give the soup an extra kick.

    How to Serve It

    Once the soup is ready to serve, find the largest bowl in your kitchen, as this chunky chicken and veggie soup would need a lot of space to accommodate. Ladle a generous portion of the clear delicious broth into your bowl, adding the chunks of chicken. 

    Now add every single veggie to each portion, as no one wants to end up with just potatoes or carrots. Each bowl should have every veggie component.

    This Caldo de Pollo, or Mexican Chicken Soup, is brimming with simple flavors and loaded with fresh veggies. It's great any time of the year!

    This is just divine as it is. But personally I like to add dash of hot sauce or salsa, or a dash of lime juice. Another of my go to add-ons are fresh cilantro, onion, green onion, or pieces of avocado.

    This time I also made Mexican red rice and added it to the bowl just before digging in. You can also serve it with some warm corn tortillas to dunk into the tasty broth, before rolling them with some tender chicken bites.

    This Caldo de Pollo, or Mexican Chicken Soup, is brimming with simple flavors and loaded with fresh veggies. It's great any time of the year!

    There you go. I don’t know about you, but I am totally hooked on to my Caldo bowl, and wanted to share my easy version of this simple yet delicious Mexican Chicken Soup. Give it a try and see how simple ingredients can create a cozy, comforting meal if you make it just right.

    Caldo de Pollo, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    bowl of caldo de pollo atop the Gypsy Plate

    Try these other soups from around the world!
    Hungarian Goulash
    Laksa Noodle Soup
    Asopao de Camarones
    Finnish Salmon Soup
    Albondigas Soup
    Harira
    Ribollita
    Sancocho
    Fasolada

    featured image for caldo de pollo recipe post

    Caldo de Pollo (Mexican Chicken Soup)

    Yield: 6 servings
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

    This Caldo de Pollo, or Mexican Chicken Soup, is brimming with simple flavors and loaded with fresh veggies. It's great any time of the year!

    Ingredients

    • 3 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
    • 3 chicken drumsticks
    • 10 cups water
    • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp black pepper, ground
    • 2 tsp cumin, ground
    • 1 small onion, cut into big chunks
    • 2 celery stalks, cut into big chunks
    • 1 whole garlic head
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 3 carrots, cut into big chunks
    • 4 green onions
    • 4oz tomato sauce
    • 1 small bunch of cilantro
    • 4 potatoes, cut into big chunks
    • 3 corn cobs, cut into big chunks
    • 1 large zucchinis, cut into big chunks
    • handful of green beans
    • ½ small cabbage, cut into small wedges

    Instructions

    1. In a large soup pot (we used a 7qt dutch oven), place chicken thighs and drumsticks, 10 cups of water, bay leaves, a whole head of garlic, onion, celery, salt, pepper, cumin powder and chicken bouillon. Mix well. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the temperature to medium low and let it simmer.
    2. Once the chicken starts cooking, some greasy foam will start appearing on top of the broth. Remove as much as possible to get a clear broth.
    3. Simmer the Caldo, covered, for 30-40 minutes. Add in cilantro, green onion, oregano, tomato sauce, and carrots. Cook for another 15 minutes, uncovered.
    4. Add in potatoes and corn. Cook for 10- 15 minutes, uncovered.
    5. Add zucchini and green beans, simmer for another 10-15 minutes, uncovered.
    6. Discard the whole garlic and bay leaves. Discard the bones from the chicken, shred the chicken to your desired size. Add chicken pieces back to the soup.
    7. Add in cabbage. Cook till it has wilted, but still holds some crunch.
    8. Serve the Caldo immediately with a dash of lime, cilantro and hot sauce or salsa (optional).

    Notes

    1. We add different veggies at intervals, as some take longer time to cook than others. You don’t want veggies to turn into mush, but instead to hold their shape and texture.
    2. Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions: Always allow to cool down before storing your Caldo. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. This soup freezes beautifully, too. Freeze in a freezer-proof container for up to 3 months. Thaw your Mexican soup overnight, transfer it to a stock pot, and heat it over medium-low heat. Or reheat in a microwave-safe container in 3-minute intervals. 

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 6 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 437Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 153mgSodium 1174mgCarbohydrates 44gFiber 7gSugar 8gProtein 38g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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