Caldo de Pollo, simply Chicken Soup in Spanish, is an ode to Homestyle Cooking.
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.
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 we discovered Caldo de Res last year, we were 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 know 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, we were 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.
You Will Love Caldo de Pollo Because it’s…
- Comforting and Nourishing: Caldo de Pollo is warm, soothing, and filled with nutrients from the chicken and vegetables. It’s often turned to as a comfort food when people are feeling under the weather, or as a source of warmth on cold days.
- Versatile: The soup is incredibly versatile, and can be easily adapted to include a variety of vegetables, herbs, and spices.
- Easy to Make: Caldo is relatively simple to prepare, requiring only one pot and straightforward cooking techniques.
- Healthy: Packed with lean protein from the chicken and a variety of vitamins and minerals from the vegetables, Caldo de Pollo is a healthy meal choice.
- Culturally Significant: For many Mexican people, Caldo de Pollo holds cultural significance and evokes a sense of nostalgia. It’s often a dish that’s been passed down through generations.
- Flavorful: Last but not least, people love Caldo de Pollo for its rich, savory flavor.
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 packed with tender, slow simmered chicken with 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.
A variety of seasonal vegetables are then added to the broth. The mix of vegetables can vary and often depend 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. Despite its simplicity, it offers a depth of flavor that is both satisfying and nurturing.
Caldo de Pollo Ingredients
- Bone-in Chicken – We highly recommend using 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. We 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 (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.
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.
We 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.
5. Add the other veggies: Add zucchini and green beans, simmer for another 10-15 minutes, uncovered.
6. De-bone the chicken: Discard the whole garlic and bay leaves. Discard the bones from the chicken, shred the chicken to your desired size.
7. Add in cabbage: Cook till it has wilted, but still holds some crunch.
8. Add back in chicken: Add chicken pieces back to the soup.
9. Serve the Caldo immediately with a dash of lime, cilantro and hot sauce or salsa (optional).
Tips and Tricks for BEST Caldo de Pollo
- 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.
Caldo De Pollo 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 de Pollo. 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 Caldo de Pollo
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 is just divine as it is. But it’s very common to further season the soup with some kind of hot sauce or salsa, or a dash of lime juice. Garnishings like fresh cilantro, onion, green onion, or pieces of avocado are also loved.
It’s customary for soups like this to have a healthy serving of either Mexican red rice or white rice added to the bowl just before digging in. And don’t forget to serve some warm corn tortillas to dunk into the tasty broth, before rolling them with some tender chicken bites.
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions
Always allow to cool down before storing your Caldo. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container 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, then transfer it to a stock pot and heat it up in the stove over medium-low heat. Or reheat in a microwave safe container in 3 minutes intervals.
The beauty of Caldo de Pollo lies in its simplicity and the depth of flavor achieved through its humble ingredients. It’s more than just a soup, it’s a symbol of home, comfort, and family traditions.
Whether you’re seeking to cure a cold or just need a cozy, delicious meal, this Mexican chicken soup never fails to deliver. We hope you enjoy every spoonful of this hearty, vibrant dish as much as we do!
Caldo de Pollo, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 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
- 1/2 small cabbage, cut into small wedges
- 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.
- 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.
- Simmer the Caldo, covered, for 30-40 minutes. Add in cilantro, green onion, oregano, tomato sauce, and carrots. Cook for another 15 minutes, uncovered.
- Add in potatoes and corn. Cook for 10- 15 minutes, uncovered.
- Add zucchini and green beans, simmer for another 10-15 minutes, uncovered.
- 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.
- Add in cabbage. Cook till it has wilted, but still holds some crunch.
- Serve the Caldo immediately with a dash of lime, cilantro and hot sauce or salsa (optional).
- 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 individual shape and texture.
Nutrition InformationYield 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.
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