King Ranch Chicken Soup is creamy and comforting with all the flavor of the classic casserole...and easy to make in the slow cooker, Instant Pot, or stovetop!
Winter is in full swing, which means that soup season is (still) upon us. I don't particularly care for the former, but I'm not sad at all about the latter...in no small part because I have King Ranch Chicken Soup to keep me warm! And after today...you will, too!?
Y'all have had King Ranch Chicken Casserole, right? If you live in Texas, your answer is probably a resounding YES. But if for any reason your answer is no, I'm gonna give you a minute to hop over and learn about one of the very best Texas comfort food recipes that our great state has to offer. Go ahead, now...I'll wait...
Alrighty! Glad to have y'all back. So now that you know about King Ranch Chicken Casserole, allow me to tell you about this wonderfully related soup that I concocted a few years back when I was writing my slow cooker cookbook. I was hard at work on my soup chapter, trying to think of favorite main dishes that I could convert into soups. I came up with yummy soup ideas like Bacon Cheeseburger Soup and Chicken Parmesan Soup and Chicken Cordon Bleu Soup. All of those made it into the final cookbook.
And guess what else did? Y'all are so smart...Slow Cooker King Ranch Chicken Soup!
The funny part was that I loved how that recipe turned out SO MUCH that I allowed it to be shared as part of my cookbook promotion, once Real Food Slow Cooker Suppers was published. As a result, quite a few of my sweet food blogger friends made the Slow Cooker King Ranch Chicken Soup from my cookbook and wrote it up in posts on their blogs to share with their readers and help spread word about my cookbook.
And as a result of that, you can now find that cookbook recipe for Slow Cooker King Ranch Chicken Soup allllll over Pinterest and the world wide web...made in the crockpot, made from scratch, and made without "cream of X" soups. But today, I'm bringing you my same popular slow cooker soup in versions for the Instant Pot and the stovetop! (Because as much as I love my slow cooker, the Instant Pot has its advantages as well...)
No Cream of "X" Soup
In case you've made King Ranch Chicken Casserole before with cream of mushroom and/or cream of chicken condensed soups, allow me to reiterate that there are no canned soups in this King Ranch Chicken Soup (or in my casserole recipe, for that matter). Instead, the base of the soup is a simple and quick sauce made with with butter, flour, and chicken broth.
I actually had the motivation to make this beloved soup recipe in the pressure cooker instead of the slow cooker one recent day when I was craving it for dinner but -- you guessed it -- I was short on time. And I actually really, really loved making this King Ranch Chicken Soup in the Instant Pot because there was only one pot to clean at the end of it!
How to Make It
The steps are ridiculously simple, y'all:
- Simply make your sauce right in the IP insert.
- Add the raw chicken and other ingredients.
- Seal and cook for ten quick minutes.
- Then shred the chicken, stir in some cheese, and...DONE!
Other Cooking Options
As much as I enjoyed making this recipe in my pressure cooker, I wanted y'all to have the slow cooker and stovetop options for this recipe as well...all in the same handy-dandy blog post! So for those slightly modified directions, scroll down to just below the recipe.
Regardless of which method you decide to try, this soup is such a zippy, cozy, delicious recipe that I think you're going to absolutely love it...whether you're already familiar with the flavors of King Ranch Chicken Casserole or not! I really hope you have a chance to try this one, friends.?
Helpful Tips, Tricks, & Equipment
- Diced tomatoes with green chiles (commonly known as Rotel) can be found in mild, original, or hot, depending on your heat preference.
- Leave the membranes and seeds intact for the most heat from a jalapeño. Remove and discard them for jalapeño flavor without the heat.
- My family finds this soup to be mildly spicy...in other words, all of my kids eat it without a complaint. But if you are more sensitive to heat than we are, you may choose to use mild (instead of regular) diced tomatoes with green chiles. You may also omit the jalapeño, and/or reduce the chili powder. Chili powder is not typically very spicy, but some brands are more so than others. So if you're worried about heat, you can always start with less and add more to taste.
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More Slow Cooker Soups
- Slow Cooker Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Slow Cooker Cajun White Bean Soup
- Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff Soup
- Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Soup
Instant Pot King Ranch Chicken Soup
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, 3 to 4 large chicken breasts
- 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, such as Rotel
- 1 medium jalapeño, minced (optional)
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar, Mexican blend, or Colby Jack cheese
- Additional shredded cheese
- Tortilla chips
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Set Instant Pot to SAUTÉ function. Add the butter and allow to melt. Add the garlic and saute until it is fragrant and light golden brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the flour and whisk continuously for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth; whisk occasionally for several minutes, until the sauce starts bubbling and is smooth and thickened. Press CANCEL and stir in the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and salt. Add black pepper to taste.
- Carefully place the chicken breasts into the sauce in the insert. Top them with the diced tomatoes with green chiles and jalapeño. Seal the lid according to the owner's manual and cook on HIGH pressure for 10 minutes.
- When the timer is done, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then carefully vent to release the remaining pressure (consult your owner's manual for more specific instructions). Open the lid, transfer the chicken to a cutting board, and gradually stir the shredded cheese into the soup. Pull the chicken into large chunks and stir it back into the pot. Once the cheese is completely melted and the chicken is heated through, stir well and serve immediately.
- To serve, crush tortilla chips in a bowl and ladle some soup over the top, garnishing with extra cheese and fresh cilantro, if desired.
So that was the Instant Pot version of this soup. But what if you want to make this recipe à la my cookbook, in the crock pot? Using the same ingredients, simply follow the below modified directions...
Slow Cooker King Ranch Chicken Soup
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute until it is fragrant and light golden brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the flour and whisk continuously for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth. Increase the heat to a simmer and whisk continuously for several minutes, until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and salt. Add black pepper to taste and set the sauce aside.
Place the chicken breasts in a large slow cooker. Top them with the diced tomatoes with green chiles and jalapeño and pour the sauce over the top. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, until the chicken is tender and cooked through but not overcooked.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Stir the cheese into the slow cooker, and cover the slow cooker for the time being. Pull the chicken into large chunks and stir it back into the slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker and cook for 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and all of the ingredients are heated through. Stir well and serve hot, garnishing as desired.
And what if you want to make this soup the old-fashioned way, in a pot on the stove?
King Ranch Chicken Soup Recipe
For a stovetop version of this soup, you will make the sauce in a pot on the stovetop, just like in the slow cooker version. The main difference here is that you will need to use pre-cooked chicken rather than cooking the chicken in the soup (as is done in the pressure cooker and slow cooker versions.) You can either cook (bake, poach, or whatever's your preference) three large chicken breasts OR use the meat from a whole, shredded rotisserie chicken.
Prepare the sauce as directed in the slow cooker recipe above. However, I recommend sautéing the jalapeño (if using) along with the garlic so that it has a chance to soften. Once the sauce is smooth and thick, stir in the seasonings and the diced tomatoes with green chiles. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the cheese and 3-4 cups of cooked shredded chicken (as from a rotisserie chicken). Cook for a few more minutes, stirring regularly, until the cheese is melted and the chicken is heated through.