Caldo de Pollo (Chicken Soup)

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I like the changing color of leaves, pumpkins, sunny days, chilly evenings, and wearing scarves. I tend to sleep better when the days get shorter and colder, and I love dreaming up soup and stew recipes that would not have made sense in hot summer weather. If you’ve been following my blog, you might have noticed that I have been posting a lot of soup recipes lately. My family and I enjoy trying out soups from around the globe.

Today I am going to show you my favorite way to make a simple soup called Caldo de Pollo. This is a Latin American soup that is made with chicken and vegetables. What makes this soup different from the North American version is the selection of spices (e.g., no bay leaf, thyme, or celery here). Caldo de Pollo also uses whole chicken pieces instead of chopped or shredded chicken, and the vegetable and potato chunks are left larger than you might find in the North American version.

Caldo de Pollo is typically made by first boiling garlic in water, adding chicken pieces (drumsticks, breasts, thighs), and then adding carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions. It is common to eat Caldo de Pollo plain, but some people add lemon juice or hot sauce and cubed avocado just before eating. I like to serve it with a side of corn chips that you can crush and add to the soup for extra texture and flavor.

If you like North American chicken soup I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the zesty alternative flavors that you’ll find in this recipe. I hope you give it a try.



  • 3 lbs. chicken pieces (4 drumsticks and 4 thighs), excess fat trimmed
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 large jalapeno or serrano pepper
  • 1 whole garlic, washed, excess skin removed but still all the cloves intact
  • 1/4 cup cilantro stems, chopped
  • 3 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 medium sized red potatoes or 3 cups cut into wedges
  • 3 carrots, peeled, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup jasmine rice
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes (2 cups) cut into large chunks
  • 1 whole yellow onion, peeled, (1 1/2 cup), cut into large chunks
  • 2 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika powder

Garnish for the soup

  • Lime wedges
  • Hot sauce
  • Cilantro leaves


Place chicken, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro stems, salt, and pepper in a heavy bottom soup pot. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for 25 minutes. If you see any scums floating on top, remove as much as you can.

While chicken is cooking, in a blender or a food processor, blend tomatoes, onions, cumin, and paprika to a smooth puree. Set aside.

Add potatoes, carrots, rice, and tomato puree to the pot. Stir everything well. Cover and cook on medium heat for another 25 minutes until chicken is cooked through and potatoes and carrots are tender, stirring once or twice.


Discard whole garlic and jalapeno. Taste for seasoning.

Before serving, remove all the skins from chicken. To serve ladle soup, including a piece of chicken for each serving, into bowls and garnish with cilantro leaves. Pass along lime wedges and hot sauce for everyone to help themselves.


Serves 8

Did you make this dish? I’d love to know how it turns out! Feel free to like this post and comment or use the hashtag #globaldinein on Instagram.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: