Recipe: Low Calorie Southwestern Chicken Soup

Dinner Recipes, Lunch Recipes, Poultry Recipes, Soups + Stew Recipes

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Packed with flavor, this low calorie southwestern chicken soup recipe has been a family favorite in my house for 2 decades! With less than 10 ingredients, this simple soup is sure to become a staple in your house too.

This southwestern chicken soup recipe is low-cal, easy to make, and a great way to sneak vegetables and fiber into your diet. This soup is in heavy rotation in my household. I often double the recipe to make a big batch and portion any extra soup into airtight containers to put in the freezer for an easy meal another day. 

With less than 10 pantry ingredients, there is a lot to love about this healthy gluten-free, dairy-free soup recipe with a bit of kick and packed with southwestern flavors. It’s also kid-friendly too! In fact, this recipe has been a favorite at my house with my kids for two decades!

Make this for an easy weeknight dinner, fall football party, or for a holiday get-together with friends or family. Served with shredded cheese, sour cream, sliced jalapeños and tortilla chips – it is hearty enough to be a meal.

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Ingredients You’ll Need

overhead view of raw ingredients for low cal southwestern chicken soup on white counter
  • Spices: you’ll need garlic, chili powder, and cumin for this soup. We found this combination of spices gives this soup a spicy, warming flavor that will have you going back for seconds. 
  • Protein: black beans and shredded rotisserie chicken add tons of protein to this low calorie soup recipe. You can also use 1 lb of cooked boneless, skinless leftover chicken breasts if you’d prefer. If you don’t have a can of black beans, you can swap for pinto beans. 
  • Vegetables: we like to add canned pumpkin and corn but you can add others if you’re trying to sneak some more vegetables into your diet. We also love adding: shredded zucchini, diced onion, and sliced bell pepper. 
  • Canned Pumpkin: The canned pumpkin is the secret ingredient for this southwestern chicken soup. It adds so much creaminess and nutrients, but you don’t taste any pumpkin flavor. 
  • Toppings: try topping this soup with fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, sliced jalapeño pepper, green onions, or lime wedges. Some of these will up the calorie count of your dish, so add them sparingly if you’re trying to keep this meal low-calorie. Greek yogurt is a good substitute for sour cream. 


  • Make it Vegan: use vegetable broth and omit the chicken. For extra protein, you can double the black beans or add some chickpeas. 
  • Make it Paleo or Whole30: to make this soup paleo or Whole30 friendly, omit the black beans and corn. 

Tools For This Recipe

How To Make Southwestern Chicken Soup

side by side photos of pan with spices and then mixed together for low cal southwestern chicken soup
  • Bloom the spices: wake up the flavors in your dried spices by sauteing them in ½ cup of the broth over medium-high heat on the stove in a large pot or dutch oven. 
  • Simmer: stir in the pumpkin, broth, and the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve: serve this simple and delicious southwest soup recipe with your favorite toppings like shredded cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, and cilantro. You could also add a squeeze of lime juice. 

How Many Carbs are in Southwestern Chicken Soup?

A bowl of this low cal chicken soup has 34 grams of carbohydrates, but only 19 net grams of carbohydrates since a bowl packs 15 grams of fiber. If you want to make a lower carb version, omit the corn and the black beans.

two individual serving bowls of low cal southwestern chicken soup with toppings on white counter background

Storing, Freezing, and Reheating

  • To Store: leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. 
  • To Freeze: store cooled soup in individual airtight containers or a freezer bag for up to 4-6 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Reheating: you can reheat this soup on the stovetop by adding to a saucepan over medium heat until warmed through. You can also reheat in the microwave, stopping every 1 minute to stir until hot.

How to Make Your Own Healthy Shredded Chicken

  • Step 1: Place chicken breast or chicken thighs in a pot. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Step 2: Cover with water (or chicken broth if preferred) to a level about an inch higher than the chicken.
  • Step 3: Bring to a low simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes.
  • Step 4: Check for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer. Chicken is cooked at 165 degrees.
  • Step 5: Remove chicken from water and shred. This can be done by using two forks to pull it apart, or by using my favorite chicken shredding tool. It’s been a huge time saver for me!

Making your own shredded chicken gives you the perfect healthy base for the week. Try any of these shredded chicken recipes to mix up your lunch or dinner routine!

Other Healthy Soup Recipes to Try

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 5 serving(s)


  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 16-ounce jar salsa
  • 2-3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • Optional Toppings
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla chips
  • Sliced jalapeño


  1. Mix garlic and spices with 1/4 cup broth and bring to medium heat on the stove.
  2. Add the rest of the broth and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add pumpkin and mix well.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, stir and bring soup to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with toppings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Calories: 263

Protein: 13 gram(s)

Fat: 1 gram(s)

Carbohydrates: 34 gram(s)

Fiber: 15 gram(s)

Sugar: 7 gram(s)

Recipe Cuisine: American

From the kitchen of:

Rate this Recipe

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (635 votes, average: 3.80 out of 5)


on Reply

This is absolutely delicious! My kids never knew it had pumpkin in it. I followed the recipe using about 2 cups of cooked chicken breast. Will be making again soon! (for cooked chicken breast I either simmer on the stovetop in a little water until done, or put in the crockpot on low for a few hours till done.

    on Reply

    Right! You can't even taste the pumpkin - that's what I love about it! Thanks for your tips on cooking the chicken breast, those are great ideas to try out!

on Reply

We loved this! I did add a 14oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes and the juice of 1/2 a lime and skipped all the toppings. It was so light and delicious.

on Reply

About how much chicken do you use?

    on Reply

    I usually use about 2 cups.

on Reply

What vegetable could I substitute for the corn since I am not suppose to eat it? This looks absolutely delicious and I am looking forward to trying this recipe. Thank you.

    on Reply

    you can just skip the corn! it will still be a delicious soup :) enjoy!

on Reply

Made this tonight, and it was so good! Hit a bit of a snag when neither I nor my husband could get the jars of salsa in the pantry open, but I used some enchilada sauce we had, and all was well. Will make it with salsa next time (provided I can get it open!) to see which way tastes best. Thank you for sharing!

on Reply

Absolutely delicious. I'm in Sydney Australia and I made a batch of this and used a bit of greek yoghurt as a topping and some corriander. 10/10 delicious. Packed with a variety of flavours, I cooked and mashed my own pumpkin as well. Overall it was a really fast and tasty recipe that's packed with veggies.

on Reply

This is delicious and simple, thank you. However if you’re really counting calories, this is pretty off, depending upon the size of the chicken used. I had one that yielded a pound of meat, and that brings the calorie count to 523 per serving

on Reply

What the serving size and amount?

    on Reply

    We calculated about 5 bowls of soup for this recipe!

on Reply

I just made this soup for dinner tonight and ill tell ya what, its delicious! I used 2 cans of corn just because i wanted a little more corn in it. I definitely recommend! The only issue was that it definitely needs salt.

on Reply

Just made this recipe and it is so good! I added extra chili powder because I like spicy food! Definitely will make this again!

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