Creamy, with just a touch of heat, chile relleno soup with chicken will warm you up from the inside out. If you love chiles rellenos, cheese stuffed poblano peppers, you’ll love this soup.

Overhead view of chile relleno soup in a black mug, topped with cheddar cheese.

Early fall is a great time to make this chile relleno soup. Those of you lucky enough (or hard-working enough, should I say?) to have a garden, have been harvesting ripe peppers from your vegetable patch. Even if you don’t garden, poblano peppers are in plentiful supply at farm markets and the grocery store. Homemade chile relleno soup is a delicious way to use some of those peppers.

I just love chiles rellenos. Peppers stuffed with cheese! Okay, I admit I like anything stuffed with cheese, I mean, who doesn’t? One of my favorite appetizers is sweet mini peppers stuffed with cheese. So addicting, I could eat the whole batch.

Chile relleno soup with chicken perfectly combines roasted poblano peppers, creamy cheese, and tender chunks of chicken into a soup that is equally as addicting. Perfect for a fall night!

Creamy soup in two black mugs, topped with cheddar cheese and cilantro.

About this chile relleno soup:

Chile relleno soup is easy to make. You get all the flavor of cheesy stuffed peppers without the hassle of stuffing the peppers. I also add chicken to the soup for more protein, making this a main course soup. Serve it with soft tortillas or tortilla chips and mango slaw for a fantastic dinner.

Roast the poblanos first for the best flavor. There are four easy ways to roast poblano peppers

While the peppers are roasting and cooling, get started on the soup. Sauté the chicken and onions in a good-sized pot, then add the garlic and cumin and sizzle for a minute. Add the flour and cook for two minutes. Pour in the broth and start to simmer your soup. Meanwhile, skin and chop the poblanos, which should be cool enough to handle by now, throw them in the pot, and simmer for 20-30 minutes. 

Almost ready to serve dinner? Stir in cream cheese and cilantro, and gently continue to stir and heat the soup. Serve immediately. Garnish each bowl with shredded Cheddar cheese and additional cilantro. I bet you can hardly wait!

Overhead view of two bowls of creamy chicken chile relleno soup.

How to make this creamy soup your own:

  • While chiles rellenos are traditionally made with poblano peppers, you could use other varieties such as Hatch peppers. Bell peppers would work as well, especially if you don’t like spicy food.
  • Add a cup of fresh or frozen corn kernels to the soup. 
  • Simmer a couple of chopped Russet potatoes in the broth until tender. 
  •  Chile relleno soup can be a delicious vegetarian soup, too. Just omit the chicken and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. 
  • To make this soup gluten-free, thicken the soup with cornstarch instead of flour.
  • Like bacon? Sauté chopped bacon in the pan until crisp, remove the bacon, and then sauté the onions and chicken in the bacon grease. Crumble the bacon and add it as a garnish or stir it into the soup. Another option would be to just use bacon and leave out the chicken.
  • Make chile relleno soup in your slow cooker.  Leave the chicken breasts whole. Use chopped peppers, no need to roast them. Put all the ingredients except the cream cheese and cheddar cheese into the slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Remove the chicken, shred it, and put it back in. Take some of the soup out, blend it with the cream cheese until it melts, and stir the mixture back into the crockpot. 

Overhead view of two bowls of creamy chicken chile relleno soup.

Storage and Reheating Tips

I LOVE chile relleno soup leftover. I can’t believe how much I look forward to eating this soup the next day for lunch! Make a double batch if you want so you’ll have plenty of leftovers.

Store leftover soup, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Gently reheat on the stove or in the microwave. Try not to let the soup come to a boil because that may cause the soup to separate. The emphasis is on “gently” reheat! 

Creamy soup in two black mugs, topped with cheddar cheese and cilantro.

Peppers galore!

Do you love peppers? So flavorful, low calorie, and nutritious, peppers are perfect for healthy entrees. Try a few of my favorites:

 

Overhead view of two bowls of creamy chicken chile relleno soup.

Chile Relleno Soup with Chicken

Yield: 6 cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Creamy, with just a touch of heat, chile relleno soup with chicken will warm you up from the inside out. If you love chiles rellenos, cheese stuffed poblano peppers, you'll love this soup.

Ingredients

  • 6 poblano chiles
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
  • 1 cup diced onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro, additional for serving
  • Shredded cheddar cheese for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. 
  2. Place whole poblano peppers on a baking sheet (line with foil for easy clean-up) and roast for 35-40 minutes or until skins are blackened, flipping once.
  3. Place peppers in a plastic bag, or a bowl covered with plastic wrap, and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  4. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken, onion, salt, and black pepper and cook 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently, or until onions are translucent. 
  5. Add garlic and cumin and cook for one minute, stirring, until fragrant. 
  6. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. 
  7. Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer. 
  8. Once chiles have cooled, remove skin, stem, and seeds. Dice the flesh of the peppers and add to soup. 
  9. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in cream cheese and cilantro, stirring to melt cream cheese.
  10. Serve topped with cilantro and cheddar cheese. 

Notes

  • Make chile relleno soup in your slow cooker.  Leave the chicken breasts whole. Use chopped peppers, no need to roast them. Put all the ingredients except the cream cheese and cheddar cheese into the slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Remove the chicken, shred it, and put it back in. Take some of the soup out, blend it with the cream cheese until it melts, and stir the mixture back into the crockpot. 

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 561Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 180mgSodium: 620mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 64g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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Verdict: I love this soup, it’s comforting and cozy and will warm you up from the inside out.
Husband’s take: Ben has no complaints about this, ever!
Changes I would make: None at all.
Difficulty: Easy!