Chicken & Lime Soup

$6.39 recipe / $1.07 serving

It’s soup season and I couldn’t be happier. Soup is tasty. Soup is filling. Soup freezes well. Soup is where it’s at.

This is kind of a remake of my old caldo xochitl recipe, but better. A recent trip to a Mexican restaurant made me want to redo this recipe and add more lime, among other things. What we have here is the perfect mix between spicy, salty, and sour – that same famous combo that makes Chinese hot & sour soup so delish. I highly suggest adding a few cubes of avocado because the creaminess perfectly balances the other sharp flavors. If avocados aren’t affordable, try sour cream or some cheese.

This soup really doesn’t need a whole lot of chicken because it’s shredded, which means that you’ll have a little chicken in every spoonful. I used only one chicken breast that was about .75 pounds. And before you ask, I bought the chicken breast on special for $1.87 per pound. These sales aren’t always around, but when they are you have to take advantage and just stock up your freezer. Keep your eyes peeled for deals, they’re out there!

Chicken & Lime Soup

Chicken & Lime Soup

4.9 from 43 reviews
chicken & lime soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $6.39
Cost Per Serving: $1.07
Serves: 6
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.24
  • 1 medium yellow onion $0.28
  • 2 stalks celery $0.45
  • 1 medium jalapeno $0.09
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • ¾ lb. chicken breast $1.46
  • 6 cups chicken broth* $0.42
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes w/chiles $0.95
  • 1 tsp oregano $0.05
  • ½ Tbsp cumin $0.08
  • 1 medium lime $0.33
  • ½ bunch cilantro $0.43
  • 1 medium avocado $1.29
  1. Dice the onion, celery, and jalapeno (scrape the seeds out of the jalapeno before dicing). Mince the garlic. Cook the onion, celery, jalapeno, and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until tender.
  2. Add the chicken breast, chicken broth, canned tomatoes with chiles, oregano, and cumin to the pot. Bring the whole pot up to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat to low, place a lid on top, and let simmer for one hour.
  3. After simmering for an hour with a lid on, carefully remove the chicken breast from the pot and use two forks to shred the meat. Return the meat to the pot. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the soup. Get as much juice as possible from the lime by using a spoon to scrape the inside of the lime.
  4. Rinse the cilantro and then roughly chop the leaves. Add to the pot, give it a quick stir, and serve. Dice the avocado and add a few chunks to each bowl.
*I use Better Than Bouillon chicken soup base to make my broth because it is less expensive than buying canned or boxed broths.

Chicken & Lime Soup

Step By Step Photos

onion celery garlic jalapenoDice the onion, celery, and jalapeno. Mince the garlic. Add all four to a pot with olive oil and saute until tender. I actually forgot the jalapeno until a little bit later, so you won’t see it in the picture just yet :P

add chickenAdd the chicken breast. I only used one chicken breast that weighed about .75 lbs. Not at lot, but there is so much flavor in the soup that it doesn’t matter!

diced tomato with chilesI used a generic brand of diced tomatoes with green chiles. If you can’t find this at your store, you can use a can of diced tomatoes and a small (4 oz.) can of diced green chiles. You can usually find the green chiles in the Hispanic foods section of most grocery stores. They’re mild, but have a LOT of flavor.

soupSo, along with that chicken breast and canned tomatoes with chiles add the chicken broth, oregano, and cumin. Bring the whole pot up to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for one hour with a lid on top to hold in the moisture.

shred chickenAfter simmering for an hour, the chicken should be tender enough to shred. Just use two forks to pull it apart into shreds. Return the shredded chicken to the soup.

cilantroRinse the cilantro to make sure there’s no sand hiding in there then roughly chop it. It’s okay if you get a little stem action, they’re not rough.

add limeAdd the chopped cilantro and the juice of one lime. You want a good amount of lime juice so make sure you squeeze that sucker dry. You can roll it around on the counter top (with pressure) a bit before cutting it open to help the juices flow. I also like to twist a spoon into the flesh to break it up and squeeze even more juice out.

Chicken & Lime SoupServe with some cubed avocado… and maybe some tortilla strips or sour cream or Mexican cheese. It’s up to you!


  1. Sue Willis says:

    This soup! So good and a snap to put together. Very nutritious and flavorful, it has a lot of personality and on an unpleasantly cold night like we had tonight, it was warming in every way and made us happy! We sat around the kitchen table feeling grateful for this delicious hot soup and had a fun time! Thank you Beth for another outstanding budget byte.

  2. Amanda says:

    I randomly google searched for a chicken cilantro type soup and I found this one a year ago. I have not stopped loving it and making it! Thank you! It’s my favorite soup recipe.

  3. Franco says:

    I stumbled across some of your recipes on imgur which led me to your site and I’ve got to say that I’m so glad I found it! I love cooking but I often struggle to find exciting weekday meals that don’t need a thousand ingredients or twelve hours to prepare. All of your meals look exciting and tasty yet they’re simple and also cheap!

    I’ve bookmarked a load of your recipes and I can’t wait for the week ahead to try a load of them out!

    Anyway, this recipe was the first one I tried and it was amazing! I kinda made it into a Mexican chicken noodle soup by adding some nests of fine egg noodles for the last few minutes whilst I was shredding the chicken. I also added some cayenne pepper for a little more heat and I added some Soy too for seasoning.

    I’m planning on doing another version of this but with left over pulled pork as well as the noodles, I can’t wait!

  4. Becki says:

    Just made this tonight..Big hit with everyone! It has great flavor, is filling and easy to make:)

  5. I love this recipe and always come back to it for a quick healthy soup. I was just thinking and thought I would share, how great would this be over top shredded cabbage, or cabbage on top? I love the crispness of cabbage with tacos and beef soup and I think cabbage would give a nice crunch that chips on top would give (which I love) without the calories. mmm…mmm

  6. Jocelyn M. says:

    So excited about trying this recipe. If I go the crock pot route, would I still need to add the olive oil when throwing everything in the crock pot? I’m not big on cooking, so maybe the answer is obvious, but I’m clueless. Thanks!

    • Nope, that’s really just to keep the vegetables from sticking in the pot, which won’t happen in the slow cooker because of all the liquid. :)

  7. Robyn says:

    Found your blog through Pinterest and love it! I’m going to try this recipe tonight. Thank you!

  8. Jacki says:

    My absolute FAVORITE soup. It tastes so fresh with lime and cilantro. I’ve made this a bunch since I found your site and my whole family loves it. I always serve it with tortilla chips and we sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on it. Delicious. And easy. I love your whole blog. Thanks for great, easy, affordable recipes. :)

  9. Colette says:

    I made this last night and it was delicious! My husband loved it so much that he’s requesting that I make it at least 2 to 3 times a month! Awesome recipe! Thank you for sharing.

  10. Made this last night for the second time! My husband and I had my mom, dad, brother and sister in law over for dinner. Everyone loved the soup!! I used two chicken breasts, 8 cups of broth and two cans of diced tomatoes and chiles. Also two limes instead of one.. There was plenty for everyone and for everyone to take home leftovers. Absolutely LOVE this soup it is one of my favorites from your site!

  11. What’s the total calories for this meal?

    Thank you

  12. Jess says:

    Would this freeze well? I only cook for one or two usually!

  13. Ermey says:

    Hi can i use fresh tomatoes/green chilies instead?

  14. Wow! Eating this now. So yummy. Boyfriend is on his second bowl already. Definitely a keeper :)

  15. Caitlin says:

    I made this last night and took some over to a friends house. They loved it and said “let us know whenever you make this again, because we’re coming over.” It was so simple to make and so flavorful. I will definitely be adding it to my regular rotation.

  16. Heather says:

    I made this tonight and LOVE it. Pretty simple to make and delicious. Like Em, this is the first of your recipes I’ve tried and I’ll definitely be checking out your others. Already pinned a few of them I’m eager to make.

  17. Laura says:

    Just made this recipe for the umpteenth time, love it so much! I do add corn to bulk it up as I need my fibre :-) I’ve told so many people about your site and especially this recipe.

  18. Sophie Wolford says:

    I was a little wary to try this recipe because I’m not a huge tomato fan….but I love lime, so I went for it and I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am that I did! Very easy to make, and the flavor can not be beat!

    I did add a pinch of cayenne pepper, and will add a bit more next time (we just love spicy food…this is great without the heat as well). Also, I would love to try this next time with some rice and also add some black beans to bulk it up a bit.

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! Delicious!

  19. Allison says:

    Yuuum. This was very easy to make and so delicious. I didn’t have any celery and I used skinless thighs instead of breasts. I skimmed off some oil from the top before serving. The soup came out really tasty and was also an awesome hangover food.

    I just found this site last week and have already made several of your recipes. Thanks for your hard work, Beth!!

  20. I just went back for seconds. Amazing. Very easy.

  21. Katy W says:

    Just made this tonight…it was great (especially since my sinuses are messed up)…I served this with some cheesy corn bread (next time I’m adding jalapenos to the corn bread). The only thing I changed about this recipe was that I added some frozen corn at the end as well as some black beans, then I just heated the soup through a little bit more after shredding the chicken as well as the extra veg and it was PERFECT…:) Love your recipes girl!

  22. I love love love this recipe! I always add a can of black beans to help bulk it up. A dab of sour cream makes it so creamy/delicious!

  23. Christina says:

    Just made this soup and it’s amazing. Think I’ll add black beans and corn next time to make it a little more hearty

  24. This was my first recipe I’ve made from your website and holy schmoly was it good! I’m sick with a cold or allergies, I’m really not sure which one it is, so I’m congested. I figured I might as well find something with some kick to see if it helped.

    Well this did! I followed the recipe exactly other than adding 3 chicken breasts total as I needed to use them up but this was delicious and I’m going to make it over and over!

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