This spicy chicken lime soup is like chicken noodle meets chicken tortilla soup for a spicy, noodle-less middle ground perfect for a cold winter day.

*This post for spicy chicken lime soup was originally published 11/16/2012. It’s been updated with new pictures and a few tweaks of the recipe. I could (and do!) literally eat this soup all winter long. It’s got the best limey broth, a good kick of spice and lots of warm, comforting chicken broth making it a great go-to whether you just need an easy dinner or a big bowl when you’re feeling under the weather.


So I’m writing this post in the airport (on Wednesday night…that’s about as far ahead as I ever get) and I feel the need to talk about a few things…

This spicy chicken lime soup is like chicken noodle meets chicken tortilla soup for a spicy, noodle-less middle ground perfect for a cold winter day.
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Firstly, CNN.

No matter which direction I turn in the gate area, it’s on.

And not only is it thrown up on the TV screens with subtitles but the lovely JFK airport has wired the sound into every 5 feet of ceiling space so you can’t escape it.

Without getting political in either direction, all I have to say is this…is the media even effing serious with the crap they televise?

The bs story after bs story that makes national headlines literally makes me sick to my stomach.

How and why do we tolerate this crap they feed us and call “news”?

Secondly, the birds.

There have been no less than 7 birds that have landed at my feet over the past 30 minutes in hopes that I’ll magically drop my $33 airport kiosk dinner on the floor for them.

That wouldn’t be weird if I were outside maybe, but I’m inside an airport.

Classy, JFK.

And lastly, the poor whiter than white American Delta gate agent assigned to the Shanghai flight.

This woman has been making repeat announcements of passenger names for the last 15 minutes straight and each one that comes out of her mouth you just want to give her a hug for trying really hard to sound it out like she’s on stage at a spelling bee.

I’m pretty sure she keeps repeating the same names because whoever those people are, they have no idea they’re even being called with the butchered attempts that are coming out of her mouth.

Spicy chicken lime soup is perfectly comforting for winter with a delicious tangy broth.

Now that that’s out of the way, I feel like I can focus on this soup.

Spicy chicken lime soup. Here we go…

I love the idea of chicken noodle soup but when it actually comes down to it, it does nothing for me.


I like my soups refreshing. As in spicy, limey and with tons of cilantro, just like traditional sopa de lima.

THAT makes me feel like I can kick a cold, not soggy noodles in chicken-y broth.

Jenna has an awesome Asian chicken noodle soup that totally fits the bill for me (and I’ve made multiple times) but when bok choy and Asian noodles aren’t on hand, this spicy chicken lime soup is my go to version.

This spicy chicken lime soup is my go-to winter soup and perfect if you're feeling under the weather.

How To Make Spicy Chicken Lime Soup

The base for this chicken lime soup is very similar to most soups. You have the typical ingredients to start things off:

  • onion
  • carrot
  • celery

What makes the soup spicy and gives that refreshing, lime flavor are:

You can make it as spicy as you like by just adjusting the jalapeño amount, but for me, a full one goes in without question.

I kinda like the numb mouth feeling the full pepper leaves you with when you get to the end of the bowl and if you’re sick, it’s one sure way to open up those sinuses!

I love using rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to throw in because the last thing I want to do when I’m sick is cook more than I have to. Shredded chicken from cooking a stewing hen is also great for this soup and you can use the broth from that method too!

If you keep frozen chicken breasts on hand, try making them in the air fryer (from frozen!) for a quick and easy way to have some cooked chicken on hand for this soup.

Feel free to stir in some greens too for added nutrition. Spinach or Tuscan kale would be good options. Or, try this Tuscan kale soup recipe instead!

This is a warming, refreshing and cozy kind of soup.

Pretty much everything this airport experience isn’t. I kind of wish I had a big bowl of it in my hand right now.

Love this spicy chicken lime soup recipe?

Try out these cozy soup recipessweet corn egg drop soupbuffalo chicken soup with orzo and Hot and Sour Egg Drop Soup.

Mexican vegetable soup (sopa de verduras) will also give you lots of Mexican flavor without any meat if that’s more your style.

Or, make this Thai red curry soup for an Asian twist with all the feel goodness you crave in the winter.

4.60 from 74 votes

Spicy Chicken Lime Soup

Servings: 2 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
This spicy chicken lime soup is like chicken noodle meets chicken tortilla soup for a spicy, noodle-less middle ground perfect for a cold winter day.
This spicy chicken lime soup is like chicken noodle meets chicken tortilla soup for a spicy, noodle-less middle ground perfect for a cold winter day.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled & diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • salt & pepper
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime


  • In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Once hot, add onion, carrot, celery and jalapeno and saute for about 5-8 minutes until softened and starting to brown.
  • Add garlic, ginger, cumin, salt & pepper and saute for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add lime zest and chicken broth, let mixture come to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add shredded chicken, cilantro, vinegar and lime juice and stir to combine.
  • Remove from heat, serve hot and garnish with additional cilantro.


Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 316kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 24gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 2093mgFiber: 5gSugar: 7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Soups + Stews
Cuisine: Mexican
Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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Recipe Rating


  1. This is a deceptively simple, but phenomenally delicious soup! I made it just as is, with a bit less jalapeño, leaving the extra on the table for those who want more of a bite. I put the chicken in the pressure cooker, so it shreds easily, and use the broth it cooked in. Between the ginger, the cumin and the lime, this is ultimate comfort food, and has become a staple in our kitchen.