This Caldo Tlalpeño soup is rich, comforting broth and packed with hearty flavors from the chicken and vegetables. The chipotle peppers add a smoky and slightly spicy flavor that balances out the sweetness of the vegetables.

Caldo tlalpeño is a traditional Mexican chickpea soup made of shredded chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, chipotle peppers, vegetables, and some spices & herbs like epazote and oregano.

This recipe is one of the most popular and traditional soups from Mexico, along with caldo de res.

The tlalpeño soup originated in Tlalpan, a district located in the southern part of Mexico City. The soup is usually served with avocado, shredded cheese, lime juice, and warm corn tortillas. It is a hearty and flavorful dish that is perfect for cold or rainy days.

To make caldo tlalpeno, you typically start by cooking the chicken with aromatics like onion and garlic. Then you will make a tomato and chipotle chile sauce by sautéing the ingredients, blending them, and combining them with the homemade chicken broth.

Cooking the vegetables in the flavorful broth is the next step, then finishing by serving the soup loaded with vegetables, shredded chicken, and toppings.

Close-up of Caldo Tlalpeño.

Ingredients

  • Chicken: I like to use bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks for more flavor. Feel free to use also chicken breast.
  • Chickpeas: Also called garbanzos. Canned chickpeas are the most convenient to use for this soup, but you can also cook dried chickpeas ahead of time.
  • Vegetables: I use green beans and carrots to make this soup simple, but some recipes use also Mexican squash and potatoes.
  • Spices & herbs: Commonly used in Mexican cuisine, epazote is an herb that adds a unique lemony flavor. You can use dried or fresh, but if you can’t find one, cilantro can be substituted for it. I also like to add oregano to infuse some earthy flavors.
  • Cheese: For serving your soup, Oaxaca cheese, queso fresco, or queso panela are the most common options.
  • Garnishes: Avocado (aguacate), chiles chipotles, and lime juice to serve your chicken soup with.

For the tomato sauce:

  • Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes give the soup the best sour and slightly sweet flavors, but you can also use canned tomatoes.
  • Chipotle peppers: For a smoky flavor and mild heat, use dried chipotle peppers. You can substitute with canned chipotle in adobo peppers or chile morita.
  • Aromatics: Garlic and onion enhance the flavors of the sauce.
  • Oil: Any neutral flavored oil for sauteing

How To Make Caldo Tlalpeño

Place chicken in a large stockpot and cover with 2 inches of water. Add 1 tablespoon salt, onion, and garlic cloves.

Bring to a boil and cook for 45 minutes or until chicken is nicely cooked through.

Cooked chicken in a stock pot.

Top Tip: Making your own chicken stock will give your tlalpeno soup a richer and more authentic Mexican flavor.

Remove the chicken from the pot and strain the broth returning it to the stockpot. Shred the chicken and place it on a plate, covering it to prevent it from drying out.

Make the flavorful broth

Heat the oil in a cooking pan over medium-low heat, add onion and garlic. Cook stirring constantly until the onion is softened and lightly translucent.

Add the tomato chunks and chipotle pepper, stir, and cook everything until the tomatoes start to soften.

Onions, tomatoes, chilies, and spices cooking on a pan.

Pour 1 cup of water and bring the mixture to a simmer, cook for 10 more minutes or until everything is nicely cooked through.

Simmered onions, tomatoes, chiles, and spices in a pan.

Turn off the heat and allow the ingredients to slightly cool down, then transfer to a blender along with the cooking water and blend until you’ll have a smooth sauce.

Strain the tomato sauce into the stockpot with the chicken broth you reserved before.

Straining the Tlalpeño sauce into the pot with chicken broth.

Add the carrots, green beans, and chickpeas. Add also the epazote, oregano, 3-4 dried chipotle peppers (optional), and salt.

Bring to a boil and cook until vegetables are nicely soft. Adjust salt to taste and turn off the heat.

Cooked vegetables in the caldo tlalpeño broth in a pot.

Serve:

Add chicken to every bowl you intend to serve. Ladle plenty of broth and vegetables.

Garnish with cheese, avocado, and one chipotle pepper. Serve immediately with warm tortillas and Mexican white rice.

Expert’s Notes

  • I recommend using a large stockpot to cook the chicken, this way you’ll end up with plenty of chicken broth for cooking the vegetables and serving the caldo tlalpeño.
  • Don’t skip the chipotle peppers for serving the soup, this is a key ingredient for caldo tlalpeño!
  • If you don’t have epazote, you can use fresh cilantro instead, or simply omit the herb altogether.
  • Make this tlalpeno soup vegan by omitting the chicken or replacing it with mushrooms and using vegetable broth instead of chicken stock.
  • Adjust the spiciness of the broth by adding more chipotle chilies if you want.
  • For a quick and easy way to make this flavorful soup, you can also use a rotisserie chicken. It won’t be exactly as the authentic caldo tlalpeno but will be delicious anyway.

What To Serve With Tlalpeño Soup

Caldo Tlalpeño is usually served with a chipotle pepper on top, some shredded Oaxaca cheese, cubes of panela cheese, or queso fresco.

Other favorite toppings are avocado, chopped onion, and a good squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Blue corn tortillas or regular corn tortillas are a must, and some people like to add arroz blanco or arroz rojo, making this delicious soup a complete and fulfilling meal.

Leftovers Storage

Caldo tlalpeño is a great way to get your daily veggies while still indulging in something hearty and flavorful. It is best enjoyed hot and fresh from the stove, but leftovers can be cooled and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

When you’re ready to take a break from the usual lunch routine, just reheat in the microwave or in the stove until nicely warm again and serve with your favorite toppings.

Caldo Tlalpeño soup served with avocado, panela cheese, and chipotle peppers.

FAQ

Are Caldos Healthy?

Caldos can be healthy, depending on the ingredients used in the recipe. For example, caldo tlalpeño can contain lean chicken breast, vegetables like carrots and green beans, chickpeas, and a flavorful broth made from scratch.
These ingredients are nutritious and provide a good balance of protein and fiber. Additionally, the soup is typically served with toppings like avocado, cheese, and lime juice, which add some healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants.

What Is Tlalpeño In English?

Tlalpeño is the adjectival form of Tlalpan, which is a district located in the southern part of Mexico City. So, technically, “tlalpeño” doesn’t have an English translation as it is a proper noun. However, the soup “caldo tlalpeño,” can be translated to “Tlalpan-style soup” in English.

More Caldo Recipes

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Video

Caldo Tlalpeño Soup Recipe.

Caldo Tlalpeño

6 servings
Enjoy this Caldo Tlalpeño soup. A rich, comforting chicken broth packed with hearty flavors from chipotle peppers, epazote, and chickpeas!
prep 25 minutes
cook 1 hour 25 minutes
total 1 hour 50 minutes

Equipment

  • 1 large soup pot

Ingredients 

  • 2 lb bone-in chicken (drumsticks, chicken thighs, or breast)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 cups green beans (cut into small pieces)
  • 2 medium carrots (cut into small chunks)
  • ½ Tablespoon dried epazote (or 2 sprigs fresh epazote)
  • ½ Tablespoon oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 3-4 small dried chipotle peppers (or canned in adobo sauce)
  • salt (to taste)

For the tomato sauce:

  • 2 medium tomatoes (cut into chunks)
  • 1 dried chipotle pepper (or canned in adobo sauce)
  • ½ small onion (sliced)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

For serving:

  • panela or Oaxaca cheese (or queso fresco)
  • avocado (cubed or sliced)
  • 3-4 limes (juice)
  • onion (chopped)

Instructions
 

Cook the chicken

  • Place chicken in a large stockpot and cover with 2 inches of water. Add 1 tablespoon salt, onion, and garlic cloves.
  • Bring to a boil and cook until chicken is cooked through.
  • Strain the broth and then return it to the pot.
  • Shred the chicken and place it on a plate. Cover and set aside.

Make the flavorful broth

  • Heat the oil in a cooking pan over medium-low heat, add onion and garlic. Cook stirring constantly until the onion is softened and lightly translucent.
  • Add tomatoes and chipotle pepper, and cook everything until tomatoes soften.
  • Pour 1 cup of water and bring the mixture to a simmer, cook for 10 more minutes or until everything is cooked through.
  • Turn off the heat and allow the ingredients to slightly cool down, then transfer everything to a blender and blend until you’ll have a smooth sauce.
  • Strain the tomato sauce into the stockpot with the chicken broth you reserved before.
  • Add carrots, green beans, chickpeas, and dried chipotle peppers. Add also the epazote, oregano, and salt.
  • Bring to a boil and cook until vegetables are nicely soft. Adjust salt to taste and turn off the heat.

Serve

  • Add shredded chicken to every bowl you intend to serve. Ladle plenty of broth and vegetables.
  • Garnish with cheese, avocado, and one chipotle pepper.
  • Serve immediately with warm tortillas.

Notes

  • Don’t skip the chipotle peppers for serving the soup, this is a key ingredient for caldo tlalpeño! You can add them to the soup so they will soften or you can use canned chipotle peppers if dried chiles are not available to you.
  • If you don’t have epazote, you can use fresh cilantro instead, or simply omit the herb altogether.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 serving without toppings | Calories: 467kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 126mg | Sodium: 126mg | Potassium: 706mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 4114IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 3mg
rate this recipeScroll down and leave a comment with stars!

Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Mari,
    Thankyou again for your wonderful recipes.
    I’ve been staying with my parents for the last week as my mother is recovering from surgery to remove a rare cancer from her right arm, so cannot cook, clean or work in her shop so my Dad has done all to the best of his ability.
    The one thing you said that was essential I did not have to hand-Chipotle! However I did have some Pasilla de Oaxaca which gave a wonderful smokiness to the soup. I also used a whole dressed chicken rather than portions but other than that it was served exactly as your recipe states.

    You are now my “go to” Mexican food guru.

    Thank you Mari

      1. Hi Mari,

        Good news, my Mum was given the all clear last week! Obviously she will be under observation for the next 5 or so years but it’s a huge relief to us all.

        Thankyou for your words of encouragement.

        Paul

  2. 5 stars
    This is pure comfort in a bowl! Rich broth, hearty chicken, and veggies. The smoky chipotle peppers give it a perfect kick! A warm, satisfying treat for cozy evenings.

  3. 5 stars
    This soup brings so much memories! My mom is from the state of Mexico and she will always said to us how she missed the real caldo tlalpeño, even she made it often, she said it was never as the one she used to eat in Mexico. Thank you for the recipe!