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Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup

Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup has been a long time favorite recipe here at CopyKat. Years ago this soup was made from scratch in the restaurant. In recent years, this soup is made in a large central kitchen and reheated in the restaurant. While the soup is still remarkably tasty in the restaurant, I think it misses the chunkiness and homemade flavor it used to have. This soup has more texture and is filled with more vegetables and meat than the restaurant equivalent.
I use processed American cheese in this recipe. I believe this is an underrated cheese because it melts so well and has a pronounced cheese flavor. I do not recommend using Velveeta for this because I think the flavor of Velveeta can take over in the soup. Store-brand cheese works extremely well. Normally you might buy processed American cheese in slices, but you can also buy it in a chunk in the delis in most grocery stores. If you don’t want to unwrap multiple pieces of cheese, walk over to your deli counter and purchase some of this cheese at your local deli counter.

Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup

  • Author:
  • Recipe Type: Copycat Restaurant Recipes, CopyKat Recipes, Soup Recipes
  • Prep time:10 minutes
  • Cook time:15 minutes
  • Serves: 10

This soup makes a hearty meal and is so tasty!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken base
  • 3 cup diced yellow onions (about 3 medium onions)
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound processed American cheese, cut in small cubes
  • 3 pounds diced cooked chicken (you can use 2 rotisserie chickens)

Instructions

Instructions

In a large pot, combine the oil, chicken base, onions, cumin, chili powder, granulated garlic, and cayenne. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. In a pitcher or large measuring cup, combine the masa harina with 1 quart of the water. Stir until all lumps dissolve. Add to the onions and bring to a boil. Once it starts to bubble, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. (This will eliminate any raw taste from the masa harina.) Stir in the remaining 3 quarts water and the tomatoes. Let the soup return to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Add the cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cheese melts. Add the chicken and heat through.

Note

Please note that you must incorporate in the masa harina into the water completely first. If you add the masa harina into the soup directly, it will be difficult to blend in and may be lumpy. If you feel 2 cups masa harina is too much, I have made the soup with 1 1/2 cups with good results.

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  • Tinna

    oh I also added shredded Mexican cheese and crumbled corn chips.

  • Tinna

    oh I also added shredded Mexican cheese and crumbled corn chips.

  • Tinna

    oh I also added shredded Mexican cheese and crumbled corn chips.

  • Tinna

    oh I also added shredded Mexican cheese and crumbled corn chips.

  • Tinna

    oh I also added shredded Mexican cheese and crumbled corn chips.

  • Tinna

    oh I also added shredded Mexican cheese and crumbled corn chips.

  • Tinna

    oh I also added shredded Mexican cheese and crumbled corn chips.

  • Tinna

    oh I also added shredded Mexican cheese and crumbled corn chips.

  • Tinna

    oh I also added shredded Mexican cheese and crumbled corn chips.

  • Tinna

    oh I also added shredded Mexican cheese and crumbled corn chips.

  • Tinna

    oh I also added shredded Mexican cheese and crumbled corn chips.

  • Tinna

    oh I also added shredded Mexican cheese and crumbled corn chips.

  • Tinna

    oh I also added shredded Mexican cheese and crumbled corn chips.

  • Tinna

    oh I also added shredded Mexican cheese and crumbled corn chips.

  • Tinna

    I just made this recipe and loved it. it was a little bland at first, but I added garlic salt and more of the chicken base and it was amazing.

    • stephaniemanley

      Don’t you just love that you can season soups and food the way you like?

  • BTeeters

    This had to be the worst recipe I’ve ever experienced. Very rarely do I follow directions to a T (because I like to add my own flare) but I did this time. Absolutely horrible. The masa harina ended up as a big glob at the bottom of the pot (even after mixing with water before adding, and then bringing to a boil). As I tasted it, it was if I never added any seasoning. I added the cheese (thinking it would be more flavor) and still nothing. Basically it tasted like watered down corn. Thankfully, I didn’t add the 3 lbs of chicken! I had to dump the entire pot and start fresh with my own recipe. Don’t waste your time, money, or energy on this poor excuse of a recipe.

    • stephaniemanley

      I am very sorry you did not like this recipe and found it a complete waste of your time.

    • Sarah

      I can’t believe it turned out so poorly for you. I’ve used this exact recipe from this website for years and it’s FABULOUS!
      Just add your family’s preference for salt amounts and it’s good to go!

  • cooky48

    For those of you wondering what masa harina is….it is corn flour :)

    • http://www.copykat.com Stephanie

      Thank you for helping me out!

  • Sharonli

    The chicken base,,,,,is that the paste type? If so that would give it allot of flavor. I was not sure of what you meant. The base or the boullon cubes

    • http://www.copykat.com Stephanie

      It is a type of paste, it is sold right next to chicken boullion.

  • heather

    In Alaska, all the chili’s shut down over night. This is as close to my favorite soup from there that i have found. But i add more chicken broth than water and extra sharp cheese for toppers. And salt if needed.

  • Jpiechota

    If you use corn meal to substitute the masa haring how much do you use?

    • http://www.copykat.com Stephanie

      I wouldn’t do this. Corn meal won’t break down enough.

  • Faughntastic

    Double the spices.
    Use chicken stock instead of water.
    You’ll be good to go.

    • Michaelsgreatchef

      Double the spices was awesome

      • stephaniemanley

        Some people really like to double up the spices ;) I personally knock back the spices some when I write recipes, i personally love everything heavily seasoned. I appreciate your comments Michael!

  • Karen

    Excellent recipe! I used more chicken stock than water, eliminating the need to add salt. It doesn’t taste exactly the same as Chili’s, but it’s pretty darned close!

  • bliss

    I cut the water in half…. doubled the spices…and added some Badia Tropical seasoning & chicken bouillon…also doubled the cheese…it just looked too bland the way the recipe was….turned out really good :)))

  • Michele

    Can you make this recipe in the crockpot?

  • Lanie Moore

    I love this recipe. Lately instead of using the crushed tomatoes, I just add a can of Rotel Tomatoes with Chili’s. I no longer have a Chili’s in the area so this is a great substitute for what I can remember the soup tasted like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sambaker1026 Samantha McNaught Baker

    I made this last week and it was fantastic! I did make a few changes. I swapped the first qt of water with chicken stock, used real minced garlic instead of the granules, and instead of precooking the chicken, I allowed it to cook in the soup, it only took about an hour to cook through and it was very, very tender.It was way spicier then it is in the restaurant so I may cut the cayenne and chili in half next time. This is definitely a new family favorite. It made so much I sent half into work with my husband to share with his co-workers the next days and it got rave reviews. The masa definitely makes the dish, so never, ever substitute it!

  • Katie

    Soup turned out great. Had to add salt…next time I will try chicken broth in place of water. I also puréed it before adding chicken with a hand blender. Great smooth texture.

  • Country Girl ♥

    I am on my way to get ingredients. Keeping my fingers crossed that my favorite soup turns out good….Will give a update tonight :)

  • Pbolts01

    This recipe is awesome! I took others advice and seasoned the chicken, used sharp cheddar and put a packet of enchilada seasoning in the water.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carolyn-Hulvey-Latzke/100000716317194 Carolyn Hulvey Latzke

    i would think that yoy could season to your liking,that’s what recipes are all about

  • Babymakez3

    i could have swork years ago this recipe used velveeta and it was amazing

    • Babymakez3

      oops *sworn

  • Merhabadallas

    Making this for dinner tonight. I am wondering if the people who keep saying “flour” live where they can’t get masa harina and are substituting? If so, no wonder they say it doesn’t taste right.

    • Merhabadallas

      ps–forgot to say this is my second time to make it, and I found the recipe spot on! But the masa is definitely key

  • Merlin73

    Just had this soup from Chili’s yesterday. Don’t recall any tomatoes in the texture of the soup, onions either. Perhaps they puree them? Not seeing how this can be the same.

    • Anonymous

      A couple of years ago, chili’s began to prepare this soup in an industrial setting and it is no longer prepared in house. The texture has changed radically. I have not updated the original recipe.

  • Twana79brown

    Taking into consideration the salt and chicken stock advice I got this recipe right on. Cant wait to make it again.

  • APRIL<3

    SO SHE WANTS US TO MIX 1 QUART OF CHICKEN BROTH TO THE MASA? AND WHERE DID THE RECIPES LIST ASK FOR TOMATOES? DO WE DICE THEM? AND ABOUT HOW MUCH?

    • foodie

      The recipe states clearly.. 2C. crushed tomatoes, and it says to add the them right before the cheese and after the 3 quarts of remaining h2o… maybe you overlooked it. good luck!

    • Stephanie Hall

      Why are you shouting????

      • stephaniemanley

        I am sure it wasn’t meant this way.

  • Hlawson

    what is the” chicken base” called for in this recipe?

  • Khleigh

    Just made it, It was surprisingly easy to make, once I found all of the ingredients I have never heard of. I will post to let you know how it turned out!

  • avysmommy

    Super, super close but not quite… My husband is a huge fan of Chili’s version of this soup so I gave this recipe a try. Turns out it is super bland but we found that if we added salt and a sharp cheese to top it with it helped. I’m guessing even 1 quart of chicken broth and 3 quarts water would help instead of 4 quarts water. It’s really close though and really good for the most part!

    • Beth

      Add a beer in for some of the broth and will give it a lot more flavor

      • http://www.copykat.com Stephanie

        Great idea. Thank you for sharing.

  • Doug Lindeman

    Super, super close but not quite… My husband is a huge fan of Chili’s version of this soup so I gave this recipe a try. Turns out it is super bland but we found that if we added salt and a sharp cheese to top it with it helped. I’m guessing even 1 quart of chicken broth and 3 quarts water would help instead of 4 quarts water. It’s really close though and really good for the most part!

  • Karina

    Will it make a great difference if I use regular flour instead of Masa Harina?

    • Stephanie Manley

      It will make a large difference. It won’t turn out correctly, soup made with regular all purpose flour is likely to turn into a thick paste.

  • Karina

    Will it make a great difference if I use regular flour instead of Masa Harina?

  • Davdiarochelle

    Can you substitute cornmeal or polenta (raw or cooked) for the masa?

    • Anonymous

      I would not try this, corn meal is far more coarse than masa harina. If you try it, let us know how it turned out.

  • BGlass

    I made this according to the directions. I added the masa (which I made absolutely sure there were NO lumps) to the onion mixture, waited for it to boil, but instead it turned into dough! What did I do wrong??

    • Anonymous

      Not sure what happened, maybe the heat was too high.

    • Lisaloo

      so did mine but I kept on going and followed the rest of the recipe… turned out great! Delish!

  • Jody

    do you think olive oil would change the taste too much?

    • http://www.copykat.com Stephanie

      I don’t think it would change it too much, but it would change the flavor a little. If you have regular Olive Oil instead of Extra Virgin, this may be a better choice.

    • Anonymous

      It could change it somewhat. I would avoid extra virgin olive oil.

  • Deltaqueen

    great recipe- BUT….. needs some salt and you need to PRE-SEASON your chicken with a taco mix before you add it to your soup. ALSO….. use chicken broth INSTEAD of water where called for, if not, it’s too bland !!

  • cheryl haynes

    this stuff is terriffic-took it ito a bookclub meeting and people asked for leftofvers to take home.

    • http://www.copykat.com Stephanie

      I am glad to hear the soup worked out well for you! People asking for left overs is always a compliment.

  • Anonymouse

    I definitely taste the 2 cups flour. I made it as the recipe suggested and the flour taste just overpowered everything else. I then tried adding a can of green chillies to see if that would help…it did but I still taste flour.

    • http://www.copykat.com Stephanie

      You really need to cook the soup long enough for the masa harina to cook through, if you do not fully cook it, it will continue to taste raw.

      • Sick_Pleasure

        An alternative to masaharina which works very well is “arepa flour” which is precooked cornmeal. The best brand is called Harina Pan, another is Areparina. They are typically available at Latin American groceries. Since it isprecookedit does not require cooking, just add to hot stock..

        • http://www.copykat.com Stephanie

          Thank you for that great tip!

  • Anonymous

    I make this soup but add i can of enchilada sauce, maybe Diane is missing.
    My husband loves this soup I have also made it with shredded pork. Very good

  • Diane

    This was not what we expected. This slightly tasted like Chilis soup. We followed the directions above and we were disappointed with the taste. We will stick to Chili’s for this soup.

  • http://lexypurses.com lexy.purses

    OMG! Spot on! I always come here for great food recipies, bu have never left a comment until now! WOW! Awesome…what else can I say! Deffinately need 2 cups of flour! Have a great day! Now I just need the green beans from Outback and I will be set! LOL

    Alexis