Using a high quality cheese for this cheddar cheese soup with chicken insures a superb flavored, rich textured luxurious soup. This soup features bite sized pieces of chicken breast, poblano peppers and your favorite Southwestern spices to liven things up. This is a crowd pleaser that will have everyone asking for seconds.
About This Recipe and Why It Works
The first time I prepared this soup we totally flipped over the “just right spicy” flavor and rich cheesy texture.
It’s bold enough to catch your attention and very hearty in nature. Which was somewhat of a surprise because the base of the soup is mostly chicken broth.
A can of tomatoes bring color and nuance, and milk and sour cream are added for richness.
Poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers and a lineup of Mexican spices such as cumin and chili powder make this a gratifying, gutsy cheddar cheese soup recipe that will warm anyone’s day..
The recipe works because it’s from my absolutely favorite soup cookbook, Dairy Hollow House. As you would expect from any bed and breakfast cookbook, it’s full of no-fail delicious soup recipes and fresh baked bread recipes.
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Mise en place. Always gather ingredients before starting any recipe. It will save you time and organize your mind.
- Dairy: Milk, Sour Cream, Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Full fat dairy is best for flavor and texture for this soup. Also choose a quality brand of sharp cheddar cheese for the best flavor result. Sharp cheddar adds a bold flavor that makes this soup very special.
- Chicken Broth: The base of the soup. If you can, use homemade chicken broth.
- Chicken Breast: Boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite sized chunks and sauteed before adding to this soup.
- Tomatoes: During the Winter months, I find that Roma tomatoes are a good choice. They’re meatier and work well when chopped.
- Flour: All purpose flour is used to thicken the soup.
- Onion: Sweet onion or yellow onion. A red onion will add a strong flavor profile for this recipe.
- Peppers: Jalapeno peppers and poblano peppers. Poblano peppers resemble green bell peppers and are mild on the heat scale with an earthy peppery flavor. This recipe calls for one jalapeno to add a bit of heat.
- Spices: Cumin, chili powder and cilantro.
- Tomatoes: In place of fresh tomatoes, use one 15 1/2 ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained.
- Chicken Broth: Use regular chicken broth or low sodium. You can also use vegetable broth. Beef broth would not be a good choice here, as the flavor profile would change and be too strong.
- Peppers: If poblano peppers are not available, a good substitute are Anaheim Peppers. Anaheim are smaller, so use six peppers to equal three poblano. If you don’t have jalapeno peppers, replace with one chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Just remove the veins and seeds and chop. Chipotle peppers are simply smoked and dried jalapeno peppers. You could also use pickled jalapenos from a can or jar. Just rinse them of the brine before chopping.
- Chicken: To make this soup even easier, use meat pulled from a rotisserie chicken. Both dark and white meat would work well here. You can also use cooked boneless skinless chicken thighs.
How To Make Cheddar Cheese Soup
It’s easy! Let’s get started
- Step 1: In a large Dutch oven, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the tomatoes, lower heat and simmer covered.
- Step 2: In a skillet, heat the butter and oil. Add the onion and saute until tender. About 5 minutes. Add the chile’s and cook until they have softened. Add the cumin and chili powder. Stir and then sprinkle in the flour, blending all.
- Step 3: Gradually add the milk and stir until smooth.
- Step 4: Ladle 2 cups of the tomato/stock mixture into the thickened milk and stir to thin. Pour the entire contents of the skillet into the tomato/stock mixture and let simmer over very low heat, stirring often. Let cook about 15 minutes.
To finish: Stir in the cheddar cheese and sour cream. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the chicken and chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in some hot sauce. Cook on very low heat until everything is toasty and blended.
Yes, just make sure it’s a good quality brand for ultimate flavor. BUT, yellow sharp cheddar will bring more color to the end result and is recommended for this recipe.
Freezing dairy based soups are not recommended. Any type of soup with a cream or milk base tend to separate once frozen. The end result is a soup with a grainy undesirable texture.
Packages of pre-shredded cheese contain ingredients to keep the cheese from clumping together. This means it won’t melt as smoothly when cooked in this soup, causing it to take on a grainy texture. The flavor will also be compromised. Use a good quality sharp cheddar cheese and grate it yourself.
Pro Tip: This recipe calls for salt and pepper to taste. Be careful with adding salt. Cheese naturally contains a lot of salt, so add just a little and then taste and adjust.
Storage and Reheating
Leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three days. Recommended method to reheat is in a saucepan stove top. You can also reheat individual servings in the microwave in increments using 50% power and stirring in between.
Recipe for Cheddar Cheese Soup with Chicken and Poblano Peppers
I hope you give this cheese soup recipe a try, and if you do please come back and give the recipe a star rating and leave a comment about your experience with the recipe.
And if you have any fabulous cheddar cheese soup recipes, let me know, I’d love to give them a try. I’ve been looking for a good beer cheese soup.
Looking for more soup recipes? Don’t miss my Soup Category, you’ll find lots of great recipe ideas, including the most popular soup recipe on my site for Anthony Bourdain’s New Mexico Style Chili Recipe.
More Favorite Creamy Soup Recipes
- Slow Cooker Creamy Wild Rice and Chicken Soup
- Easy Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Chowder
- Southwestern Cheesy Creamy Chicken Soup
- Creamy Lemon Basil Chicken Soup
Cheddar Cheese Soup with Chicken and Poblano Peppers
- 6 Cups chicken stock
- 15 1/2 ounces chopped tomatoes canned, undrained. Or three good sized fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 poblano peppers seeded, veins removed and chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeded, veins removed and chopped
- 2 teapsoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 Cups milk
- 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated. Use good quality cheese here.
- 1/2 Cup sour cream
- 2 Cups diced chicken meat from rotisserie chicken Or boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped and cooked.
- leaves Chopped fresh cilantro to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 shakes Hot sauce
- Cilantro tortilla chips and sour cream for topping
- In a large Dutch oven, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the tomatoes, lower heat and simmer covered.
- In a skillet, heat the butter and oil. Add the onion and saute until tender. About 5 minutes. Add the chile peppers and cook until they have softened. Add the cumin and chili powder. Stir and then sprinkle in the flour, blending all.
- Gradually add the milk and stir until smooth.
- Ladle 2 cups of the tomato/stock mixture into the thickened milk and stir to thin.
- Pour the entire contents of the skillet into the tomato/stock pot and let simmer over very low heat, stirring often. Let cook about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the cheddar cheese and sour cream. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the chicken and chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in some hot sauce. Cook on very low heat until everything is toasty and blended.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro, crushed tortilla chips and a dollop of sour cream.
Cheddar Cheese Soup …It’s What’s for Dinner.
This recipe was first published January of 2013 and updated February 2021 with step by step instructions and new photos.
Why Trust These Recipes? Lea Ann Brown has lived, worked and played in Colorado for 45 years. She has immersed herself in the Colorado Culinary space, is a Culinary School Graduate and publishes her Colorado food Blog, Cooking On The Ranch.